LEGO explains why the 90th anniversary sets don’t have raised baseplates

Neither LEGO ICONS 10497 Galaxy Explorer nor 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle include raised baseplates – but they were once in consideration for both sets.

While 10497 Galaxy Explorer is directly inspired by the 1979 Classic Space set 497 Galaxy Explorer, which included a raised moon crater baseplate, 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle is instead an amalgamation of decades of LEGO Castle sets, factions and subthemes. But that set – which is available from today for VIP members – was also once in contention for a raised baseplate, in a nod to the classic Castle sets built on higher ground.

“We discussed doing a raised baseplate for the castle, because a lot of the 1980s castles had that,” LEGO designer Milan Madge told Metro. The final 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle instead rests its huge fortress walls on individual plates and bricks, including large round quarter-circle pieces – an approach apparently taken so as not to restrict the potential of the model.

“We’ve seen people online taking the box image from this castle and creating the outer walls, making it bigger, adding new towers,” Milan said. “That kind of flexibility that the built landscape offers you means that people can re-landscape and change the environment that this castle sits in, in order for them to expand it.”

While fellow designer Mike Psiaki ultimately dropped the raised baseplate from 10497 Galaxy Explorer, however – as he’s already alluded to in previous interviews – it wasn’t for the same reason.

“It’s not completely out of the question that we could make a raised baseplate, but when we were looking at the Galaxy Explorer, now being so much bigger… We thought that kind of takes away the focus from the ship,” he explained.

“The other thing we were wondering is what colour do we do if we make a baseplate for it? The original is grey… it’s just a little bit too much grey when you get that big. The ship is grey and all of these plates are grey and then also you need the little moonbase. And we thought that even though those things are part of that original set the most important part is the spaceship.”

10497 Galaxy Explorer is available now at, while 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle is available exclusively to VIP members through August 8, when it goes on sale for everyone.

LEGO ICONS 10497 Galaxy Explorer review
LEGO ICONS 10305 Lion Knights’ Castle review

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

One thought on “LEGO explains why the 90th anniversary sets don’t have raised baseplates

  • 06/08/2022 at 11:15

    Sounds like a pure excuse for cutting costs. They could’ve added a modular raised baseplate if this set would truly be considered worthy of an anniversary set by Lego.


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