LEGO® Set Review: 8480 Space Shuttle
See also Jim Hughes’s review


[8480 Set Photo] Space Shuttle (us)
LEGO TECHNIC rumfærge (da)
Space Shuttle Colorado (uk)
Technic Banner
Technic / Tech Build

Ages 11-16 105 page manual: 2 models, 41 steps for shuttle. ©1996
Price Range: 275 Australian dollars

Review Written: 15 October 1996 by Ben Constable
Special Features / Compatibility
  • Small Motor (9v)
  • Large Motor (9v)
  • Fibre Optic System (9v)
  • Extra Elements Decals: Yes
    Scale: The set is roughly the same scale as the town minifigs, and it has chairs for this size person to sit in. I do not think that a minifig or two would look out of place in it, apart from the fact that they would not have any controls to use.
    Errors: 1 page correction to instructions

    Ratings: Set: Must-Have Models: Must-Have Playability: Must-Have

    If you are into technic, start saving for this one now. If you loved the Super Car, then you will love this set just as much, maybe more, depending on what you like. I would buy this for a gift or myself again. I have no regrets about getting it, and would get it again.


    The set is a space shuttle with a moving arm and fibre optics in the back to simulate the engines. It is about 50-60cm in length. It is the same color as the real shuttle (white on top, black underneath). Looks the same as on the box. The arm is controlled by a gearbox, which selects one of four functions - opening the bay doors, raising the arm, rotating the arm, and changing where the lights go. Another control opens and closes the satellite. The wheels can be raised or lowered, and the flaps at the back can also be controlled. The set also has instructions for a submarine with a exploratory vehicle that can roam outside, but I have not built it yet and cannot comment on it.


    I first saw this set when I got the catalogue. I liked the look of it, especially the fact that it came with motors and stuff out of the box, and that it did so much. When it came out in Australia, I decided to take the plunge after seeing it in the shop. I could barely contain my glee as I rode home on the bus to put it together, which took me about 9 hours in two bursts. By then I was sure glad I got it - the set is fantastic.

    It takes a lot of effort to build, because some of the steps are involved and you may have to backtrack if you make a slight mistake. But that is what expert builders is about. As with the Super Car, there is a change to the instructions, which is just put in as a replacement page in the huge book you need to build the thing. And I can see why - stuffing up the step that they replace would mean the fibre optics do not work. A handy tip if you buy it - the fibre optic parts are thin, transparent and there are eight of them. Find what bag they are in and remove them carefully and put them aside - or you will spend all afternoon looking for them.

    The stuff all works as said in the catalogue, with the bay doors, etc., moving about. It is very sturdy and nice looking too. It is a huge set - same length as Super Car (roughly) and slightly higher. The wheels are sprung via a cam on the front wheel, so they feel nice to put in and out.


    Set Rating:Must-Have

    All in all, a fantastic set. If you are a Technic person, you must get it. Price seems very steep, but when you consider the motor that is included, which retails at $60 by itself, then you see that it is roughly Super Car price. The models are both fantastic – the submarine also looks cool, with a robot – like thing coming out of it. In fact, I reckon you could whack up a quick robot with the parts in this set. The instructions also have some really cool part arrangements that I will be copying soon.

    Model Rating:Must-Have

    As a display piece, it is great. Looks a charm sitting next to a Super Car.

    Playability Rating:Must-Have

    The set is great to play with. It actually moves by it’s own accord - I am used to having to move LEGO constructions about, and this set moves by itself. A kid would have even more fun with it.


    I loved the way that the set was so realistic - The LEGO Group seems to have kept up with the shape and design of the original shuttle a lot, making it look very nice. But a lot of effort also went into the internals, which make it work like a real shuttle.


    My only dislike is the price. Even though it is very good value compared to buying all the bits separately, it would still be better if cheaper (obviously).


    The shuttle has got the new fibre optic system. Basically it has a distributor which distributes the light via a axle, so although there are eight outputs, only one is lit at once. Some pieces that were new to me are in the nose, to make it look nicer, and it uses aquazone-like pieces for the engines at the back. The gearbox is very similar to that of the Supercar, except it uses a different assembly for the guide at the top.

    After building the shuttle I have 22 parts left over, and one rubber band. The submarine uses some of these pieces though.


    The decals in this set are attractive.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Theme
    Ben Constable 19 --- Technic

    I am finishing my second year of a combined degree in Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of New South Wales, Australia. I have been playing with LEGO since I could walk and talk, with a break during high school for a few years. Technic is my favorite theme, but I really loved the trains and space when I was a kid, as well as the cool town stuff. I still like the look of these sets, but Technic is just so much better to play around with. The Super Car and the Space Shuttle have renewed my interest somewhat.

    This is a fan created web site. LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.
    All views expressed in the reviews on this site are those of the review author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Joshua Delahunty or the University of California.
    Set names and photos are copyrighted materials owned by The LEGO Group, used according to its Fair-Use Policy. Set photo scans courtesy of Pause Magazine.
    Background imagery supplied by and Copyright © Todd Lehman. Used with permission.
    3-D Element bitmaps supplied by and Copyright © James Jessiman. Used with permission.
    All product line and theme banner graphics hand-drawn (not scanned) and Copyright © 1996 Joshua Delahunty.

    Send comments on these pages to the editor at

    Return to Technic Menu Return to LEGO® Reviews Menu