Cuusoo of the Week : "Majestic Airship" by Ssorg
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!
If you are not familiar with Ssorg, well simply put he is one of the Cuusoo's most supported creators. He has five projects, and all of them are in the top 5% most supported projects on Cuusoo. Definitely check out his works. Ssorg's most well know piece, the Douglas DC-3, is a thing of beauty. Today though, I am going to talk about his slightly lesser well known "Majestic Airship."
Besides just looking spectacular this vessel has a lot of playability features. Probably the most critical is the handle for safe transit, hanging, and low speed swooshing.
For minifig placement, the entire side wall hinges up to allow unfettered access to the cabin
A cabin door swivels down to become a boarding ramp. A retractable anchor is mounted for docking or high altitude antics.
And just to top it all off, the ailerons fins are adjustable.
As you can see, this is not a build for the squeamish. The "balloon" is a complex network of flexible rods and axles which plug into an unorthodox combination of Technic and standard elements.
There is a wide assortment of rendering and photos available on the airship's flickr page for those who want to see more details on the sub-structure.
At current support levels, this project gets 1.15 support a day. So unless we can get some real Airship enthusiasts enthralled there is still a long wait in its future.
Once that hurdle is overcome, there is no objectionable IP to stand in the way and the novelty of the concept should certainly give it an advantage. This is the perfect "type" of project for Cuusoo, one that steps outside of the norm for the LEGO Group but still glorifies what can be accomplished with LEGO.
This build does have quite a few design questions though, nothing insurmountable, but some of them are relatively unprecedented for the Cuusoo projects that have reached 10k to date.
Many LEGO fans decry Cuusoo projects that have a "high" part count. This certainly has more parts than any Cusso product to date. To this I would reiterate that LEGO employees have stated that there are no part count caps on Cuusoo projects. I would also add that the Cuusoo Facebook page regularly showcases high part count builds. The fact that many of the pieces are duplicates, rather than entirely different parts, and that the color variation is low does work in its favor .
A larger issue is likely the skin. It is rather easy for an enthusiast to make, but LEGO has its standards. This skin would either have to be treated paper, which I have not seen since old Harry Potter sets, or fabric, which would still require a special cut. I have no idea where fabric elements stand relative to "new elements" in the LEGO Group's willingness to fabricate new parts. I do imagine that they are less of a hurdle but that is pure speculation. I would say this makes it less likely than, of course, a project without a need for tooling, but Cuusoo has proven with the side printed plates of the Minecraft set that they are willing to take unusual approaches to accomplishing projects.
Probably the biggest challenge to the set is the oven. LEGO cook their builds in order to artificially age them. Any tension in the parts will cause the build to distort and warp. If the LEGO designers can't build a design that can stand up to the oven, then LEGO won't produce it. It may not be possible to design the network in such a way that conforms to product lifespan, construction complexity limits, and design budgets. The Lego designers are very good at their jobs though and I imagine that this would just result in a variation on the design rather than prevent its fabrications.