Brickset news archive: Cuusoo
Can it really be that LEGO has not done a Food Truck? They seem to be cropping up everywhere in the States. It has been a while since I have been overseas, but if Wikipedia is to be believed, they are showing up everywhere else too.
Well, even independent of their actual commonality or lack thereof, food trucks can add a lot of activity and flair to any city scene. SpaceySmoke's Food Truck is a great rendition of the mainstream food truck.
This week we have returned to Dynamic projects, ones that use technical elements to animate the proposed set in some fashion. DerekMedina's Twist & Whirl is an excellent example of this.
Additionally, BrentWaller's Batman Tumbler is crawling to 10,000. At this point it is about 50 support away but it is taking its time. If I had to guess, I would say that a big reason for this slow progression is that three Tumblers have already been produced, one of which is currently available. Regardless, the Tumbler will get to 10,000 well before the June deadline for this review period.
To date, I have done 22 Cuusoo project reviews for Brickset over a variety of themes. I hope that these have demonstrated the wide variety of quality projects on Cuusoo. The fan-base here has certainly had mixed reactions to the various projects, the Brick-Sorting Excavator only got a few votes but the Single Lens Reflex Camera went from 177 support to over 1200!
Starting next week, I will be cycling back and re-exploring these and other themes but before I do though, I thought I would present this showcase of the 22 projects that have been selected for review.
I have also thrown in a link to a new gadget that could allow for some minimal Bluetooth control of power functions.
Cheers and thanks for the opportunity!
There are several (50+) game projects on Cuusoo. To clarify, I mean actual games like chess and not projects based on games like the Zelda projects. The majority of these projects are chess or Heroica variants. Most of what remains are traditional games recreated in LEGO with minimal added value for the effort. There are a few stand out games though that are fully executed and really take advantage of the LEGO medium. A shining example of this is the Labyrinth Marble Maze.
This week in Cuusoo we are looking at comic books, my second great geek passion! Comic book themed/inspired projects dominate Cuusoo. On project count alone they are second only to Star Wars. Unfortunately, from a quality perspective, most of these projects are found to be lacking.
Mmccooey's Iron Man however stands tall (literally, it's 0.5m) above not only its Cuusoo comic compatriots, but is also a technically and artistically advanced MOC in its own right.
The Mini Shops series received its 10,000th supporter yesterday. Today it received its official comment as well. It is the first project to reach this status for the review phase that will start on June 3rd.
When I started writing these reviews I wanted to showcase the breadth of project content on Cuusoo (for those crazy enough to dig around) and I decided to do it by selecting a wildly different type of project each week before revisiting a subject. Nearly 20 reviews later and I'm almost done with this task.
This week I bring to you my favorite "recreation" from Cuusoo. A project intending to recreate an everyday object in LEGO, other than architecture and vehicles, of course. In this category there is little that can hold a candle to Suzuki's Single Lens Reflex Camera.
Additionally, Cuusoo should have its next 10,000 supported project in the next few days: Mini Shop Series. It is 160 support away at the time of this publication.
Update: Mini Shops has achieved 10,000 supporters.
The chibi nature of the minifigs is often even played up by the expressions that LEGO gives them, and the LEGO Star Wars films certainly pull on this.
Many Cuusoo projects embrace the cute and do it quite well, but none more so than Mini-Animals. These are like cuddly little teddy bears, except you know, being made out of sharp, hard plastic.
Movies are very popular on Cuusoo, but there is some difficulty finding the movies that meet the brand fit and translate well to brick though. Not surprisingly, with no fewer than nine projects, many people find that the angular hero from Pixar's Wall-E is a perfect match for Cuusoo.
Micro builds are a popular subject on Cuusoo. It makes a lot of sense actually. The very popular Minecraft set was a micro build, the small form factors are ideal for having a lot of narrative content while keeping the costs down, and relatively small quantities of micro builds in the standard LEGO line keeps it novel.
T-brick's Medieval Micro Modulars are one of my favorite examples of the "theme" as its specific subject matter distinguishes it from the rest of Cuusoo mini builds, and it goes beyond the architecture and actually models a bustling street.
In addition to my regular posting, I have a few statements from Tim Courtney, LEGO Cuusoo Community Manager, who I was able to interview at SXSW Interactive.
Brixe is one of my favorite LEGO creators hands down, but they also set the standard for which I "grade" LEGO furniture. Brixe has an amazing skill for very tiny details which they use to bring a lot of life to home decor and vehicles alike.
This Living Room is but one of many examples of Brixe's detailed work.
Trains are very popular in Texas (my current state of residence). We have many Train shows and LEGO is a very popular part of them. I am nowhere near as skilled with trains as most of my compatriots in TexLUG but it has given me a lot of respect for them.
There are many fantastic trains on Cuusoo but the most creative train project is not a train at all, but a functioning Roundhouse.
The Land Rover Defender, thanks to a surge of support from LEGO fans and tweets from Land Rover getting their own fan base informed, has achieved the 10k support required to enter the Spring review.
This is by far the most technically complex build to achieve the 10,000 supporter mark.
The Land Rover Defender Cuusoo project is an amazing technical achievement.
The Spring Deadline approaches and it needs your support, or it will just have to wait another three months.
Plus hard numbers in a high level overview on what kinds of projects are actually on Cuusoo.
Most of us use LEGO to recreate inanimate fabrications of our lives and imaginations, like vehicles and buildings. The hard edges and angles of the brick lends itself to such acts. However some of us strive to recreate the organic out of the same pieces of plastic. Most of these creations are distant shadows of the originals, but some select few are able to click these lifeless brick together with such intuition and skill that they cause people to reconsider what is possible with LEGO.
Perhaps that opening paragraph is a bit over the top, but I can't help but think such things when looking at Vuurzoon's Red Squirrel.
The most famous of these, in LEGO circles at least, is probably the small YELLOW project.
One of my favorite Cuusoo art projects though is the overlooked LEGO Mondrian, which uses the LEGO medium to expand the subject instead of just recreating it.
Legend of Zelda has received the 10,000 support it needs to be reviewed for production on Cuusoo making it the second Zelda based project to do so.
This incarnation did not replicate (for the most part) the elements that lead to the rejection of the original, so its chances for production look good. Being on top of a total of over 22600 votes demanding Zelda related products.
Plus opinions on the new project restriction revealed in the Zelda Official Announcement.
The Bugdroid, the Android OS mascot, has received the 10,000 support it needs to be reviewed for production on Cuusoo.
It took a while, but it has now gotten its official comment and it is moving into the review which will start on March 4th.
Given that the design is simple, direct, and economically scaled (especially in the color and parts budget), the big issues I see are market and precedent.
Team Jigsaw, the team that brought you the amazingly presented Thinking with Portals project, that reached 10k in a few days, is at it again with Steam Rod. This time treating us with a high quality Steampunk set that many LEGO fans have been looking for for years.
Update: Team Jigsaw's Gallery is now online with more pics.
Though it likely shows my age, I desire none of these moreso than one of Alatariel's fantastic MOCs themed on MegaMan 2.
This is certainly one case in which I would not mind "Mega" getting mixed in with my LEGO. (Cue the groan...)
These gorgeous "Tiny Trucks" by Robiwan are not only one of the best real world vehicles projects on Cuusoo but also one of my favorite LEGO builds, period.
Star Wars makes up over 13% of projects over 17* support making it the most "popular" subject for Cuusoo project creators. Not to mention the astounding UCS Sandcrawler currently under review.
This week I eschew my usually humble nature to show you my favorite Star Wars project, the Corellian Defender.
Additionally I have some advice for Cuusoo project creators that I hope will be taken to heart.
Update: Thanks to generous Brickset fans Medusa's Temple only needs 200 more support to reach 1000. Cheers -GB
It is rather difficult to come up with a good subject for a Cuusoo project. If you go with something really popular it is likely licensed and you have that going against you or LEGO might just already have it in the works. If you make something totally original then it is hard to find a vein of supporters that will carry it to 10k.
This makes ancient history and mythology a good source for material. LEGO has been flirting with it for a while with their minifig series line, and arguably Pharaohs Quest and elements of Atlantis, but they have not pursued dedicated sets.
Myths are old enough, obviously, to be in the public domain and wide spread enough that people can identify with the concepts you are trying to evoke. On top of that, there is enough leeway in the stories to allow the builder to still have a lot of creative input. Thus we find several projects on Cuusoo dedicated to mythology. My favorite of these is Medusa's Temple by Strider.
Peter Reid's Exo Suit is in its final days on Cuusoo with less than 200 support to 10k.
The deadline is far far away so this is more of an informative posting than a last minute request like the one for Space "Marines/Troopers."
Regardless, how about we give this thing the final push? It is a marvelous build with more greeble than I would think possible on a structure standing on two thin legs.
If you like exo-suits, hard-suits, mecha, power armor or what have you, here are the next thirteen "Mecha" themed projects coming down the line (in order of support).
It would be very interesting to see if Brickset readers could fill the weekly Leaderboard (Top 10) with Mecha come Sunday.
Update: The Exo Suit has reached "Achieved" status.
This makes the most supported "un-achieved" Mecha project the Valkyrie
What follows is the next twelve most supported Mecha projects on Cuusoo.
So far I have provided city, castle, space, adventure (sort of), projects with a message, and parts. Now it's time to show off one of Cuusoo's many LEGO clockwork wonders: a gear logic-brick sorting art piece.
This Brick sorter is a masterful combination of mechanical cunning and brick artistry. Read on to see the video of this marvel in motion.
Although no where near as popular as the MOCs, Cuusoo does allow users to submit a concept for a new part.
Other than the rule stating you can submit parts and a statement that the creator would receive an appropriately sized one time lump sum for their idea, there is very little information on how this would actually work.
Even more so than the unusual MOC project, part projects just can't seem to get any traction with support. This makes sense when you consider that non-hard-core LEGO fans are not likely to see the inherent value in these kinds of projects.
Based on the lack of overall information on the part review process and the difficulties they face, I have decided to just make one showcase of some of the more interesting parts rather than occasionally writing an article about one at a time.
In other news:
For the Zelda fans, there is a new Zelda project: Legend of Zelda: Iron Knuckle Encounter that has received nearly 200 support in less than two days.
And finally, for those obsessed with numbers, I have added a new reporting feature to my blog. The right sidebar includes daily support values for several projects with links to most projects. This reporting feature is still in beta so give me a note if you notice something wonky please.
There is, what appears to be, a full, televised, and in depth news report on the Cuusoo Summer Review.
It can be found here and starts around 15:15.
Unfortunately, being uneducated I can only look at the pretty pictures and guess what is being said. It is, I assume, all in Danish.
What I can tell you is that each of the models is presented and discussed. I would really appreciate it if someone who knows the language would mind filling the rest of us in on the story.
Cheers and Thanks in advance!
This being Christmas Eve, the obvious choice would probably be one of the "Winter Village" themed builds or an actual Christmas-themed set.
Instead I am going to play up on the good will toward your fellow man aspect that tends to be a common this time of year.
What I have for you today is a very straight forward project. The intent of the Handicapped Accessibility Pack is to package together the parts required to add an accessibility ramp to any LEGO building as well as a wheel chair to go with it.
I think this set really showcases the inclusiveness that I have found and appreciated in the LEGO community that I hope all of you have enjoyed as well.
Please also consider tweeting this project and posting it to pertinent Facebook pages. If you are a firm believer it takes a celebrity for a project to get traction, well, here is one you can tweet a request for support to:
Cheers and Happy Holidays to you all!
Yesterday after about seven months of review, Cuusoo revealed Back to the Future (BTTF) - DeLorean Time Machine as the the fourth official Cuusoo product. In the process they also rejected The Western Modular, The Legend of Zelda, and the Eve Rifter.
I found the results a bit surprising but very logical in hindsight. Each time a project is approved or rejected it shows a lot about the Cuusoo process, mindset, and constraints.
What follows is my opinion on lessons learned from this latest batch of project results and a few other opinions.
Updated on 12/23/2012
Here's a quick summary of the outcome of the review that's just been published:
- Back To The Future DeLorean - Passed!
- Eve - Failed, 'more challenging business case', as many predicted.
- Modular Western Town - Failed, conflicts with The Lone Ranger, as many predicted.
- Legend of Zelda - Failed, too many new moulds, as many predicted.
So, no real surprises I guess. Personally, I think the right set won (as it were) and I look forward very much to getting my hands on one. The BTTF trilogy is one of the finest and most consistently entertaining ever made that can be watched time and time again, and this is a fitting tribute to it. In fact I think I'll go and buy the Blu-Ray box set in celebration!
Here's Tim from LEGO Cuusoo explaining the results:
What can we learn from the result? Does it provide clues as to which other projects waiting review will pass? Let us know what you think in the comments. Glenbricker will post a detailed analysis, and what he believes it means for future projects, later.
Not much more to say than the title. This image is found on the official Cuusoo blog.
Here is my wild and wholly unsubstantiated speculations:
My gut is telling me that the whole reason this took so long was because of BTTF. It seems the most complex negotiation to me while having the highest potential for a novel, viable market. With all the parties involved though, I image they were are pushing a "now or never" agenda on it.
If Zelda is not rejected, I assume it will be postponed to synchronize with a 2014 Wii U Zelda release.
On the face of it I think Eve Online is a great fit for LEGO. However I am not 100% familiar with the IP, so I don't know if it has any skeletons in the closet that would prevent a brand fit.
As for the Western Town, there is no reason to ever reject it. The clear question for them is, do they want to line up with The Lone Ranger or not? Do they think people will buy all The Lone Ranger stuff AND a Western Modular OR do they think it wiser to pace out Western content?
Update: With all the speculation I am a little surprised that nobody has thrown out the idea that they could have finished the second review even. If they did start the September review in, well September there is a possibility it could be done. It is not explicitly clear at this time if they complete one entire review before starting the next one or if they have parallel offset review going on. Regardless, of any outcome, we will learn a lot about the process when this first quarterly review is revealed.
LEGO has not attempted a blimp since 1999, the 5956 Expedition Balloon which used highly specialized parts. This is unfortunate as these vessels are well and truly part of the pulpy adventure scene.
I think Ssorg's Majestic Airship is just the thing to remedy this long overlooked mode of transportation.
This build is truly majestic, a masterwork of style and engineering.
Update: Project has reached the 1k mark! Only 90% of the way to go!
One of the points of these Cuusoo selections is to show the breadth of projects that are available. Also, LEGO fans all have their own theme preferences. So each week I am attempting to pick projects that are very different than what I have picked before.
First I showed a city theme set, then a castle theme so I guess the natural progression is space.
There are a lot of projects that claim to be "Neo-Classic" space but I think the LL1012-12 NCS-Speeder by T.Oechsner is one of the best examples of this style on Cuusoo.
If you have looked at Cuusoo at all in the last couple of days, you have probably seen Architecture: Space Shuttle crawler transporter by Teazza
It was released to Cuusoo on Monday and has, at the point of this writing, garnered over 250 votes.
This is no surprise. It is a fantastic MOC. It is a perfect scale for display while still large enough for details. And what details!
Even the base is a work of art unto itself. It uses a combination of vertical and horizontal brick to great effect. If you look really closely you can see that the crawler is "leaving" tread marks on the road.
The only problem I have with this MOC is that the primary booster of the real shuttle is a dark orange color, not the depicted red. I know, it's a lame complaint.
What follows is a collection of the best "real space" builds found on Cuusoo that could also use your support.
A company called Etadyne has put the kit together, containing all 2186 parts needed to build the ship, which is priced at just $385. It doesn't contain the custom minifigs: they'll set you back another $85.
You can also buy the instructions as a PDF separately for $15.
Interested? Head on over to Etadyne.com to find out more.
Being a fan of fantasy novels and old school RPG, I have always been a fan of the Traveling Performer Troupe. That being the case, I am a huge fan of Bobsy's Medieval Travelling Theatre (*).
So right off, great concept and one that has not been investigated by LEGO (that I know of). Also, this design has just the right level of details to make it at home in any number of scenes. I could see this wagon parked outside/inside any LEGO Castle, entertaining royals at the Kingdoms Joust or the common folk of the Castle Medieval Market Village, or even perhaps with one of AlexP's masterworks.
The number one project on Cuusoo right now is "Space Marines." Will it get to 10k, Yes of course, no question. So why am I wasting your time talking about it instead of some overlooked gem, like the Calamity Jane 2 (see what I did there). The reason is that the current review deadline is this Monday.
Any project that does not reach 10k by Monday will have to wait three more months to even start the review process.
Space Marines accrued 179 votes last week, second only to Female Minifig Set. Unfortunately Space Marines needs to get that many votes in the next four days to beat the deadline.
One of my favorite projects on Cuusoo is the Ambulance (Type 3 / Type III) by SpacySmoke. Sure I love all the giant, crazy, over the top sets too but this project is a ideal demonstration of compact elegant design with fully implemented playability.
The First and most obvious reason to appreciate this build is how accuratly it recreates a Type III Ambulance.
That might sound a bit mundane but the most recent Lego ambulance, 4431, looks a bit like a generic van with a Hospital logo on it, in my opinion. For example, compare it to the Satellite Launch Pad van from 3366.
This build is unmistakably an ambulance though. An ungainly box shape strapped to the back of a van. The use of the cabinet, grilled bricks, and snotted tiles and plates add a lot of nuance to the build. The cheese wedges above the rear tires are a great touch. The brick based stripe of color going down the middle is a fantastic integration.
I'm sure many of you have noticed by now, Purdue University has achieved their goal of 10,000 supporters within 36 hours for their sports icon Purdue Pete. With 45 minutes to spare, at 8:15 PM local time, that's quite an impressive accomplishment. An official comment from TLG has been posted just minutes ago.Also yesterday, CUUSOO posted the current status of the summer and fall LEGO reviews to their blog. Unfortunately there is no real news. Basically, they are working out the final details for the summer review while the fall review has started. As for the winter review, the deadline is December 3rd (at midnight, GMT), which is only a little over a month away already. At the current rate of support, it looks like Purdue Pete may be the only qualifying submission. Space Marines! did receive a slight boost from the Purdue visitors, so we hope to see it included as well.
Hi everybody! My name is Dennis and I am introducing a weekly article on Brickset highlighting a particular CUUSOO project.
I will soon introduce myself better and explain what this is all about. For now I am rushing into this, because something big is happening right now. To be honest, this Pick-of-the-Week is not representative of what will likely be spotlighted in the future. But this is certainly not your typical CUUSOO project. I am talking about Purdue Pete."Who? What?" you ask. Who is Purdue Pete and why is he so popular all of a sudden? Well, this little guy is Purdue University's mascot. The scale model was designed and built by the associate dean for engagement in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Sandra San Miguel. Earlier this week the University heavily promoted the project in the school newspaper, on their own website, and on Facebook. They called for a record number of votes, hoping to garner all 10,000 in a 36 hour period starting October 24th. According to comments from people who claim to be involved, mass emails were sent out and they had multiple iPads set up at various, high-traffic locations around campus as voting kiosks.It's quite obvious they have been successful with their campaign. Supporters have been pouring in and you can see them for yourself every few seconds on CUUSOO's Discover page. At the time of this writing, there have been 8,350 votes cast over the last 24 hours. It looks like they are well on their way of reaching their goal.Now, as an AFOL myself who also happens to have my own CUUSOO project, I completely understand why this project is disappointing to many in our community. Although it is unfortunate that the majority of these people are likely only voting for this specific project and are not voting for any other idea, I believe this can still be considered a positive thing. The way I see it: many people have been exposed to CUUSOO whom were previously unaware of the program. Surely many of these students had LEGO growing up, so this may very well encourage those who have "outgrown" LEGO to rediscover the hobby as an AFOL. As young people who are more likely to use social media, I think sharing this project on Facebook, Twitter, etc. will have a positive effect for CUUSOO and the LEGO fan community in general.With all that said, do I think TLG will approve this project? I think it's pretty clear to us that it is not a good model fit for production. I'm sure, since this is Brickset, I do not have to go into the reasons for this. However, it does bring up some interesting thoughts. American sports fans are very passionate, whether it's at their school or professionally. Imagine a LEGO model for every major school's mascot. That's a huge potential market full of young people who have generally "outgrown toys". An official model for their school, created by one of their own, could easily rekindle their interest in LEGO as an AFOL. Taking that into consideration, I think Purdue Pete is not such a bad idea after all. Although it is an IP idea, it is original and something that hasn't been done before. It may actually have potential.Update: As of 7:39 PM (GMT), the Purdue Pete project stands at 8,846 supporters, which makes it officially the top supported submission. Voting has slowed significantly, so it will be interesting to see whether or not the 36-hour goal will be achieved. Either way, the campaign has been very successful and I am sure it will reach 10,000 supporters soon.Update: As of 12:15 AM (GMT), the Purdue Pete project has achieved their goal of 10,000 supporters. It's my understanding that the 36-hour period ended at 9:00 PM (EST), so they reached 10k with 45 minutes to spare. Very impressive, I must say I did not think it would happen. Congratulations to Sandra, the creator, and Purdue University for their success. I look forward to TLG's comments.
A plea on Reddit asking people to vote on this Cuusoo model of the Mars science laboratory curiosity rover yesterday has garnered the project some 3000 votes in 24 hours and it currently stands at over 9900, so it should reach 10,000 early today. (Thanks Dennis)
Update: 2 hours later... It's achieved 10,000!
I'm sure this is exactly the sort of model LEGO wants to see on Cuusoo, but I guess the only issue is, interest in the Mars rover is high at the moment given it's only just landed, but will people still want a model of it in 6-9 months time when they've all but forgotten about it?
Meanwhile, the Android droid is at nearly 6,000 supporters, so it has slowed down somewhat this week. I'm sure it'll get there eventually...
MB_Bricks' UCS Sandcrawler achieved 10,000 supporters this afternoon (while I was at Kew Gardens with my wife). It took something like 6 months to get there, but once projects appear in the top six on the Cuusoo home page, success is virtually guaranteed, eventually...
It will be very interesting to see what LEGO do with this. I don't think there will be any licencing issues: the main potential problem is of course the size and cost of it.
If LEGO is to do it justice it would need to be the largest LEGO set ever, with in excess of 10,000 parts and a cost of $1000 or so.
Truthfully, can you actually see LEGO do that for a Cuusoo model? I sure hope they do, but somehow I doubt it. We probably won't know until well into 2013 now in any case: the next Cuusoo review period starts in September, I believe, and we're still waiting on news from the June one.
While on the subject of Cuusoo I'm sorry to see that I'm going to have to eat my words about the Android model. It's just about to hit 4,000 but that's a long way from my prediction of reaching 10,000 by the Olympic closing ceremony :-( I'm sure it'll get there eventually, particularly now it's on the Cuusoo home page. Update: It's gained 1000 supporters in one day and is now above 5000 so, who knows, maybe my prediction was only about a week out...
You may have noticed that I removed the Cuusoo Corner from the home page, and if you didn't, well, that's why I removed it; it was not proving to be very effective for anything other than filling my inbox with requests for projects to be added to it.
It's become increasingly clear that LEGO fans alone struggle to make projects succeed. They need support from other online groups, and the larger those groups, the better. I know I'm covering old ground now, but that is of course the reason why Portal, Eve, Zelda, Minecraft, etc. have had success in reaching the magic 10,000 supporters.
It's also the reason that this project has come from nowhere to 3,000 supporters in just 48 hours (so I read at BrickFanatics). It's a very cute, well made model of something instantly recognisable and appealing to 50% of tech users, which is exactly the audience that Cuusoo and LEGO appeal to. (The other half are Apple fan boys and probably hate it :-) )
Given that it's only one-third of the way to its target, my headline may seem a little bold, but given the coverage it's getting in Android circles, I predict this will reach 10,000 before the Olympics closing ceremony.
If you haven't already done so, head on over to Cuusoo and give it your support, so I don't have to eat my words...
The next Cuusoo project to hit 10,000 votes and enter the review stage is Thinking With Portals! by Brickthing. Based on the videogame Portal 2, it's taken just a little over two weeks to hit the magic number which is pretty impressive given that there hasn't been much noticeable hype about it on the internet that I've been aware of.
The project was no doubt helped along by a very high level of presentation and seems to be well thought out. Whether it passes all of the Cuusoo team's criteria remains to be seen and we won't find out for quite some time given that the next review is not scheduled until October (I think).
Let us know what you think, do you think Portal would make a good LEGO product, does it fit with their brand values, would they want to consider yet another licenced set?
The Minecraft set has sold out in the USA and won't be returning. Brickset reader Dennis received this email from LEGO Direct Consumer Services:
"Thanks for your interest in our products.
"Set#21102 CUUSOO Minecraft is sold out. There were 10,000 sets created, Dennis, and all have been sold! There are not plans to produce any more of the set. Meanwhile, we have a team of experts in Denmark whose job it is to invent new LEGO® toys every year. They spend their time trying to create new and fun toys for children of all ages. You never know though, some of the old favorites sometimes make a comeback, so keep a look out!"
If true, 10,000 seems an incredibly small number, and if they have sold out in a matter of weeks it must surely have set some sort of record for the set available for the least amount of time from LEGO.com.
It's still available in Europe, but probably not for long, so if you intend buying it I suggest you do so soon.
Update: Tim from Cuusoo has stated in the comments "Actually, the message Dennis received is inaccurate. We knew the LEGO Minecraft Micro World would be popular, and though we are temporarily sold out at LEGO Direct, more than 10,000 have been made, and we are planning to meet demand on this item throughout the year."
Update 2: LEGO Direct Consumer Services is now stating "We just got an update on this item last night, Dennis, and we anticipate Set #21102 LEGO Minecraft will be returning. We have forecasted and ordered enough to last us through the holiday this year. We are temporarily out of stock but anticipate replenishment in the future."
So, panic over for now, and the 'Brickset 'effect' has had a positive impact on getting clarification on this.
Just read this in the Cuusoo blog:
"We're happy to announce that LEGO Minecraft Micro World is now shipping! If you pre-ordered your LEGO Minecraft set on J!NX, they began shipping pre-orders in the order received starting June 13, so if you have not received it yet, look forward to it arriving soon.
"If you haven't gotten yours yet and are you are purchasing other Minecraft-related merchandise, your best bet is to order your Minecraft set from J!NX. If you're ordering other LEGO sets or are building up your VIP Points, you can order from LEGO Shop at Home. LEGO Minecraft Micro World retails for $34.99 / €34,99."
Perhaps more significant (for me, anyway) is that the 21101 Hayabusa will be available from July 8:
"Hayabusa, the second LEGO CUUSOO set, is on sale now in Japan and will be available to order from shop.LEGO.com starting July 8 and will be sold online to all 23 countries that shop.LEGO.com services and retail at $49.00 / €49,00."
The Cuusoo team has made an appeal for people to share their tips and tricks about how to build and promote Cuusoo projects.
It's an open call for people to blog their best tips for using LEGO CUUSOO. Submissions will receive a link back to them from the Cuusoo site.
I haven't submitted anything so I'm not best placed to post any tips, but here's my two cents' worth anyway:
Promote, promote, promote: Submitting a project to Cuusoo is just the start, not the end. If you don't promote your project every way you can it will languish in the low hundreds of supporters, those who happen to stumble across it. It's not sufficient to just promote among LEGO fans: you need to reach out to other audiences relevant to your project.
Think outside the box: Don't bother submitting anything that's remotely like what LEGO is already producing, or is likely to. Come up with something new. Modular building are great, and there are some excellent examples on Cuusoo, but ultimately they will fail because LEGO has its own agenda for producing them. Same goes for Star Wars. LEGO has this covered already and won't let a Cuusoo project disrupt their existing plans. The LEGO birds project is an excellent example of something new and original.
Find a kid-friendly IP, or no IP at all: Related to point 1 above, success is more likely if you can tap into a new fanbase, which generally means basing it on an intellectual property. But, you have to be careful to make sure it's LEGO- and kid- friendly. The bigger the IP the better, and they don't come much bigger than Apple, which is a good example of an ideal property with a massive fanbase. Having said that, if your project is not based on an IP, but is something that nevertheless has wide appeal, you won't have to worry about whether LEGO can secure rights to it. LEGO birds is an excellent example, again!
Write a back-story: Use the project description to tell readers why they NEED the model you are promoting to compel them to support it. If there's a back-story to your model, tell it. Lots of good quality photos help, too. It's not sufficient to add one photo and one sentence: "Here's a model of xxx. Please support it..."
- Think one model at a time: Proposing themes or series of sets is not what Cuusoo is for: it's for single sets that can be produced one at a time, and stand alone as worthwhile models in their own right. It's OK to think ahead to what could be done once success has been achieved, but the project should focus on one model only. Having said that, although the LEGO birds one breaks this rule and proposes several models, I think it's OK in this case because when it's successful, LEGO can take its pick from them.
Now it's your turn: use your blog to post your hints and tips, particularly if you've submitted projects, and when you've done so, submit your link to LEGOsupport@cuusoo.com with the subject "CUUSOO Tips Blog Post" by the end of Sunday, June 24.
We usually have a heated debate in the comments to Cuusoo-related articles, so bring it on... :-) Oh, and if you haven't already supported the LEGO Birds project, please do so now. I believe it has a very high chance of success and acceptance, as you can probably tell...
- Promote, promote, promote: Submitting a project to Cuusoo is just the start, not the end. If you don't promote your project every way you can it will languish in the low hundreds of supporters, those who happen to stumble across it. It's not sufficient to just promote among LEGO fans: you need to reach out to other audiences relevant to your project.
The Star Wars Dark Bucket project on Cuusoo, which achieved 10,000 supporters over the weekend, has been rejected already. No surprises there, since LEGO hinted it would be when it achieved 5,000 supporters, but it is surprising that they waited so long to do so. The 'license conflict' that's mentioned in the comments had been acknowledged for some time, after all.
I am sure this would have been a great seller, even if the price was, let's say, $2 per minifig = $200.
EVE Online Ships - Rifter - by czar
Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine - by m.togami
The Legend of Zelda - by MINGLES
Modular Western Town - by mb_bricks
Secondly, the My Little Pony project has been archived. LEGO's comment reads: "Since the property is owned by Hasbro we've decided it’s neither a brand fit nor a strategic fit for the LEGO Group to pursue a My Little Pony license, and so we will not consider My Little Pony projects on LEGO CUUSOO any further." This of course a shame for the project submitter and its supporters, but it was inevitable...
It looks as if the Star Wars dark bucket will hit 10,000 supporters today; it needs just 150 more votes as I write. However LEGO has pretty much said they can't make it as it is in their comments, but the fact it too wasn't archived along with MLP suggests that perhaps there's a remote chance something could be produced. In any case, it's just missed the deadline for review this quarter so we'll just have to wait until the next review in September to find out more.
Update: the Star Wars dark bucket hit 10,000 votes overnight!
The Cuusoo team has posted the third and final article about the review process.
This one gives tips on how to give your project the best possible chance of passing review. Once again it's a great post and I encourage you to go and read it.
Finished? Right... now let's consider the projects that are to be reviewed soon, and also those that are in the top 6 and see how they stack up against the tips. Remember this is just my opinion: by all means disagree but let's not have a heated argument about it!
- Legend of Zelda - although the concept is kid-appropriate (so passes tip 7) it depends on new LEGO elements (so fails tip 4). Thus, Legend of Zelda will not pass review
- Modular Western Town - Kid-appropriate, no license required, no new parts (so passes 4, 7 and 8). One individual building from the town is likely to be a reasonable size and cost, so tip 3 passed. So, the Modular Western Town will pass review.
- Eve spaceship - This is a hard one to call. I would say it passes all tips except 8 in that it requires a new license. However, given LEGO was able to secure a Minecraft one, the signs are good for getting an Eve one. I would say then, that Eve will pass review.
- BTTF DeLorean - I'd say the model aligns with tips 1-7 but as it requires a new license, review success will depend on LEGO being able to secure it. Therefore, the BTTF DeLorean may pass review.
- Star Wars bucket - This won't pass review, LEGO has already said as much.
- My Little Pony - This, too, won't pass review, because of the licensing issue. Tip 8 states "some licenses can be exclusive" and Hasbro owns MLP IP and makes MLP toys so won't let LEGO make them too.
- UCS Sandcrawler - this fails tip 3 (size and cost) and also tip 5 (new ideas and new categories) and therefore I doubt that this would pass review.
- Space Marines - It pains me to say this, because I really like the project, but this will fail review too. The main reason is that it proposes a playtheme and doesn't 'think in terms of individual sets' so will fail on tip 6. There isn't sufficient focus on one particular model, and without several tanks or spacecraft the concept fails.
- Exo-Suit - I think this will pass review, but the resultant model will be nothing like the original Pete Reid creation. It's the only one so far that fails on tip 2 'Your model can actually be too good for CUUSOO'. LEGO will be able to turn the idea into something that looks similar but it won't be made of 1000 small pieces held together in borderline-illegal ways.
- Macross VF-1 Valkyrie - I'm not going to pass comment on this as I don't know enough about it...
It's also interesting to consider the models I've added to Cuusoo Corner. I would say the ones that have the best chance of success are Piano and the British birds. Neither require licensing, they are simple builds, small models, feature new ideas, are kid-appropriate and although both of them propose a series of models, the individual models are small enough that LEGO could make a kit of, say, 4 pianos or birds and still keep the cost reasonable. I reckon the modular Apple store stands a good chance, too. It's very appealing to adults but still kid-friendly, Apple is likely to be pro-LEGO (most techie companies are!) and thus might grant a license.
It will be interesting to look back on this article in a year's time and see whether, as many of you suspect, I talk a load of old rubbish, or whether much of it has come to pass :-)
Update: As Huw predicted, the My Little Pony submission has been rejected (YC 6/4/12)
It's been a relatively quiet week over at Cuusoo. The projects in our Cuusoo Corner are gradually gaining support but it doesn't look as if any of them will reach the target of 10,000 any time soon.
However it does look as if the Star Wars dark bucket will do so fairly soon, although I think we can be certain that, in its current form, it will be rejected for the reasons LEGO has stated in the project's comments.
The Ghost In The Shell project (those cool Technic walkers) has now dropped references to the movie/cartoon and has rebranded itself ARAKN3. I think this is a sensible move given the nature of the IP, although the machines are now not quite as attractive as they were.
The Cuusoo team has published the second of three blog posts which detail the process behind the quarterly review. This goes into some depth and what's particularly pleasing about it is that is demonstrates a very high level of transparency for the whole Cuusoo process. This should mean that when projects are rejected, the reasons are clear and lessons learnt can be applied to future submissions.
Something that's becoming very apparent is that it's not enough just to put a project on Cuusoo and expect people to find and support it. It really is up to submitters to promote it every way they can, and not just in AFOL circles. Cuusoo Corner is helping to an extent, but not enough to take it to 10,000. This is probably why projects based on an intellectual property that has a fanbase on the Internet are so much more successful: there's a ready supply of fans to tap into. The trick is to choose an IP that is 'LEGO friendly'.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has emailed with suggestions for Cuusoo Corner. I am reading and filing them all, but I've received so many requests that I haven't been able to reply to them all, or add them to the Corner just yet.
Update 23rd May: The ARAKN3 project has been archived today. Find out why in the official LEGO comments. LEGO's explanation seems fair to me.
We've (nearly) done it! As I write the Modular Western Town stands at 9950 votes at Cuusoo and is sure to reach 10,000 in the next few hours which will be quite an achievement given it's not based on a licensed property and has been promoted only within the AFOL community.
If you haven't supported the project yet, please do so now and do your bit to help it reach its goal!
Update: 22:00 GMT: We've done it! Well done everyone and thank you!
You will have no doubt noticed by now the new Cuusoo Corner box in the side bar, which has been named after the long-running discussion in the forum.
This is a new feature of the site that I will be using to showcase outstanding projects at Cuusoo to encourage you to support them.
The box shows one entry at random, which changes every hour, from a selection of hand-picked Cuusoo projects. I intend to promote around ten or so projects at a time, and will be happy to take suggestions for those to include. I will not be promoting projects based on intellectual properties that do not align with LEGO's values, or those that do not stand a hope in hell of ever being made.
This afternoon the Cuusoo team made a statement about brand standards that outlines what makes a suitable LEGO product. It states that they will not make products that feature:
- Politics and political symbols
- Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people
- Sex, drugs, or smoking
- Alcohol in any present day situation
- Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture
- First-person shooter video games
- Warfare or war vehicles in any situation post-WWII to present
- Racism, bullying, or cruelty to real life animals
which are all pretty obvious, but I think there is one missing:
- Intellectual properties that it is not currently possible to license, that the owner would not grant a license for, or that do not meet the terms of a current license agreement
So, the Star Wars Stormtrooper bucket should be out (in fact LEGO has said they cannot make it in their comments) and My Little Pony probably would be as well. Think about it: why would Hasbro let another company make toys that would directly compete with its own? I suspect projects based on Dr. Who would fail to meet this requirement also.
Anyway, I hope you like Cuusoo Corner: let's see if we AFOLs can get models that we want, as opposed to what wannabe AFOLs want, to review stage now.
As I correctly predicted (and have been criticised for doing so), the Serenity Firefly Cuusoo submission has been rejected by LEGO because it is not a good 'fit' with the LEGO brand. A statement was posted late yesterday in the Cuusoo blog.
What I find most interesting about it is "We learned the IP was questionable regarding a brand fit, and since we anticipated this project reaching 10,000 the team got a head start and reviewed the project on these criteria."
What we can read into this is that the BTTF, Zelda and Eve projects have not been immediately rejected so perhaps there is hope that at least one of them will see the light of day.
Important update (9th May): The LEGO Cuusoo team has specified exactly why the model was rejected on Facebook:
"The primary reason we have decided not to consider the Firefly IP for a LEGO product is the Inara Serra character, who is a "companion," or prostitute. This character and her profession are central to the story in the Firefly TV series. The character is inextricably linked to the story, and it isn’t possible to produce the model and license the IP without creating a link between the LEGO brand and this character."
Acually as I type,  the Serenity Firefly project stands at 9981 supporters but I suspect that by the time many of you read this it will have reached its goal.
The fictional ship the model is based on is full of curves and thus difficult to render in LEGO form (pictures here and here) which would explain why the model is not the most attractive LEGO spaceship you'll ever see.
The movie it comes from (IMDB entry) is PG-13 and contains material that LEGO will likely deem not suitable for kids. For this reason I believe that it won't pass review.
It's somewhat disappointing that so many models based on what are likely to be unobtainable or undesirable licences are successful at Cuusoo, while those that LEGO would have no objection to, or reason not to make, are struggling, such as the modular western town and my good friend Peter Reid's Exo-Suit.
I suspect once this latest batch of achievers has been reviewed in June, LEGO will be forced to change the Cuusoo rules once again to keep this sort of model, one that cannot ever be produced, from being submitted in the first place.
 Actually, while I've been typing, it's hit 10,000!
 Well that didn't long, the idea has been rejected already!
Yet another design reaches 10,000 votes on Cuusoo. What does everyone think? Are there enough Zelda fans out there and is this the right scene to reimagine in LEGO? Though I'm not the biggest fan of the game, I'm certainly excited to see what LEGO can do with this submission.
Now, all that's needed is a license from Paramount and some new minifig parts/prints for Marty and Doc.
Until now Cuusoo sets have't featured minifigs, or at least have just had 'stock' ones thrown in, but this will require new ones. Of course they don't necessarily need to be in their 'western' outfits as shown in the picture, but I think they'd need to have new face prints if nothing else. I'd be surprised if Cuusoo has a budget for this, but I guess we'll see...
Until recently, this Back To The Future model at Cuusoo has been neck-and-neck votes-wise with the modular Western town we've been promoting heavily.
Now, as I write, the DeLorean has leapt ahead and now just needs 97 more votes to reach 10,000!
It's a great model of an iconic vehicle from one of the best movie trilogies ever made so let's see if the Brickset effect can push this to 10,000 overnight. When I get up tomorrow (it's 22:45 here now) I want to see that this has reached the goal.
If you haven't supported it yet, and you're over 13, VOTE NOW!
(thanks to the Brickster in the forum for prompting me to write this)
Today, the Cuusoo team has announced that LEGO will NOT be making 'The Winchester' from Shaun of the Dead, the reason being given, in the annoucement that:
"...we have decided that – good though the model is – the film Shaun of the Dead contains content that is not appropriate for our core target audience of children ages 6-11."
The 'no' decision comes as no surprise to me, to be honest, although I would have loved to have seen it made.
You can read our previous discussion on LEGO's dilemma whether to release or not.
Personally I think the model is crude, blocky, too covered in studs and not enough greebling, particularly compared to other models of spaceships that grace the pages of the likes of Brothers-Brick. However, the craft is an interesting shape so I fully expect LEGO to be able to take the basic design and make something more appealing.
Now let's see if we can give the Modular Western Town one more push and get it to the magic 10000!