The incredibly popular rocket is one of two retired sets the LEGO Group has resurrected this month, as 2018’s 21313 Ship in a Bottle has also returned to store shelves as 92177 Ship in a Bottle. Aside from a strange printing error on the instructions, though, nothing seems to have changed about that model. And at first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the new and old Saturn V sets.
That’s because for the most part, they’re exactly the same – right down to that knowing piece count of 1,969 (reflecting the year the rocket took humans to the moon). But when you compare the inventories of both 92176 NASA Apollo Saturn V and 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V, you might notice a minor discrepancy.
You see, the original LEGO Ideas set includes 26 dark grey 2×4 plates. The relaunched version, however, includes just 25. The missing piece has instead been swapped out for a 2×4 plate with Technic holes, which is put to use in the mini Lunar Lander that accompanies the main model. You can see the difference in the instructions for both sets below.
While the LEGO Group hasn’t called attention to the change, it appears to have been made for structural reasons. In the original model, a ‘fez’ element connects to the underside of the plate, representing the lander’s engine nozzle. The open hole of the Technic plate presumably has stronger clutch power to hold that piece in place – and, therefore, the entire lander, which is otherwise not connected to the 10×10 plate it rests on.
It’s hardly a massive change, and probably not one that justifies upgrading your original rocket. But it’s great to see the LEGO Group’s designers aren’t content to rest on their laurels, and will take any opportunity to improve their own products. Where 92176 NASA Apollo Saturn V is concerned, those improvements could only really be minimal anyway – it’s still one of the greatest Ideas sets of all time.
For more space-based content, check out these mind-blowing facts behind the original Saturn V rocket that inspired the set.