Collectobil - SYSTEM-X Construction of the Month - March 2003



AREA 51 

System-X Construction of the Month: "Area 51"
The recently discontinued space theme - and especially the aliens - didn't break collectors' harts. But is there really no room for more than one intelligent form of life in the PLAYMOBIL® universe?


The abrupt discontinuation of the space theme was no surprise. Although it may have been a question of poor timing or the lack of built-in adventure, most often the reason for the failure of the space theme is attributed to an overdose of system-x.

Building Plan Space Commander base (3079)Especially the Space Commander Base (3079) was overloaded with system-x features. The set came with a 24 page building plan which was just too complex for many youngsters. And even mums and dads were nearly exhausted after making the more than 350 required system-x connections. Though it may have been a superb set in terms of design and use of material, it was not what people expected of a PLAYMOBIL® set.

retrofitted Little Green MenBut let's get on to this month's system-x construction. I have often wondered why PLAYMOBIL® had never considered a more contemporary space theme - like a good old space shuttle and a nice set with ground crew. Next I wondered how we could bring in the aliens... and then it was obvious that Area 51 was the way to go.  For those who may not have heard of it yet, Area 51 is an alleged US government facility in the Nevada desert where aliens and flying saucers would seek contact with the human race on a fairly frequent basis. Yeah, right

Think of the possibilities: an Area 51 building with research labs and lots of strange outer world characters to populate it: a team of retrofitted ''Little Green Men', some 'Black Dwarfs', the 'Men in Black', a few great-looking technicians in biohazard suits and a delegation of alien ambassadors. Aside from a flying saucer, everything that's needed to create an AREA 51 theme is already there in the PLAYMOBIL® universe ...

The construction itself uses elements of the discontinued Space Commander Base (3079), the Airport Terminal with Tower (3186), The Ambulance Medical Center (3130) and a few add-on sets. The hangar rooftop was taken from the Pony Stable (3120). The Nevada desert vegetation comes from the discontinued Indian Village (3870) set.

The green Alien figures are customized with parts from several other figures, like a Viking horseman and the thief that comes with the new police station (3165)

The interior picture on the right shows a few workstations with alien technology, a green alien, some station personnel and the illustrious 'Men in Black' at work on a peasant who claims to have seen a flying saucer.


A set of new decals like 'Area51-type' warning signs and additional decoration of the main entrance was created in Adobe Photoshop and printed on adhesive paper.

Another interesting detail is Area 51's 'Alien Autopsy' room. But as is often the case with an Alien Autopsy, even our well-trained cameraman had a hard time getting a clear picture...



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