LEGO 7311 Red Planet Cruiser (Life on Mars) Review and Mod

by Matthew Thompson

LEGO Red Planet Cruiser 1

The Red Planet Cruiser is a smaller set from 2001’s Life on Mars theme. It contains 73 pieces and retailed for an MSRP of $6.99. I rather like the color scheme. Green being my favorite color, I am kind of a sucker for any LEGO set that utilizes it well. Not only do you have the bright green, but also what is referred to as “Sand Green” which is the pale green you see featured in this set. On top of that I grew up loving green and orange together, so from a color palette standpoint this set hits me just right.

LEGO Red Planet Cruiser 2

As you can see it comes with some slightly poseable arms as well as some wings equipped with thrusters. Its oddest feature is certainly its leg. Not legs, but leg. It has a few joints to it which means you can bend it different ways. Tuck it up under to make it more of a flyer, but as is, its main way of travel seems to be hopping about which the boxart supports with its streaks arcing behind the vehicle indicating as much. I have always kind of dug that about this set. That idea plus the color scheme always made me think of it as a frog of sorts, even if its form doesn’t mesh with that at all. While that single leg gives it some unique character, I feel it hurts playability a bit. In a theme that typically has a lot of versatility, I wouldn’t have minded a quick way to switch between a single leg and two. Just for more options.

100_0854

It also comes with one Martian minifigure named Altair. As I mentioned in my review of the Excavation Searcher, these aren’t your typical minifigures, so they don’t sit normally. Altair tucks pretty nicely into the Cruiser’s seat though. His orange hair also goes well with the accents on the vehicle.

This is a nice little set. I imagine my affinity for the color scheme means it appeals to me more than most. It lacks the typical versatility of the Life on Mars theme. Like many of the other smaller sets, it isn’t modular so it can’t break up and hook into other sets. The build isn’t anything to write home about either, but I still find I just dig the look of this set.

I did decide to try and do a small modification and see how it turned out. So now I will walk you through it.

LEGO Red Planet Cruiser Mod 1

So as you can see here, I decided to just turn the cruiser into a bipedal vehicle. I left everything up top the same except where the legs start and their general build. I used some other pieces from various Life on Mars sets including a duplicate of this set I have to give myself some more options on building the legs. At the bottom, I used the sand green wing pieces for the base of the feet. From there I just tried to find a way to build up those feet in a symmetrical way that kept with the feel of the set. I was hoping to work in some of the brighter green. I had them where the sand green slopes are. And I planned to put sand green slopes where the grey ones are now, but couldn’t find two of the same width as the grey. Then I also added some orange pieces for some contrast.

LEGO Red Planet Cruiser Mod 2

This rear view of the Cruiser gives you a look at how I tweaked the legs. I took the plates off the back of the original leg and then pushed them apart a little where they attach to the body. I’m not sure it was the right call. I easily could have left them together. Then it could have kept the same general shape, but had the ability to move its legs independently. I ended up just liking the look of them apart to give this mod a different feel than the original set. I really like the appearance of the green plate and orange vents that run up the back of the legs too. They are really sharp I think.

LEGO Red Planet Cruiser Mod 3

And here you can see the real advantage of the bipedal design. You have a lot more movement options and can make it walk so to speak or just pose it in ways you could not before. They can still fold up just as in the original build to go for a more aerodynamic look good for zooming and swooshing around, but now you have more options on the ground.

As much as I like how this mod came out, I feel part of the charm of the set is the single leg and its hopping style of movement. Life on Mars isn’t exactly lacking in bipedal mechs either. So you sort of trade off that originality for something with more poseability and movement options. Depending on what you like, this simple mod might be a good option. Personally I really love the way this one looks sitting on my desk with the legs staggered like in the final picture in this blog.

That will do it for my look at the Red Planet Cruiser. Hope you enjoyed my review, quick mod and pictures. Thanks for reading!

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