Friday, November 14, 2014

Natural History Museum reaches 10,000.

https://ideas.lego.com/projects/46720


The Natural History Museum has just reached 10,000 supporters.

Despite the frequency with which even very high quality "City"-esqe Modulars are published to Ideas, the Natural History Museum is the first to be applicable for review, which is quite an accomplishment indeed.

To be sure, we have had several licensed ones and, of course, the Western Themed Modulars, but this is the first Modular to reach 10,000 through the modular's specific subject matter.

The Natural History Museum will be joining the following projects in the review that starts on January 5th, 2015:
Given the size of the current review (10 projects!) it would not be surprising if at least one of those gets pushed to the next review as well.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Little Prince Survey

This survey is in support of the LEGO Little Prince project. 



Which Figure Type would you like to see for the Little Prince? Check all that apply. 

Which Figure Style would you like to see for the Little Prince? Check all that apply.

 
Please Note! 
No specific detail of the presented figures are final.  The figures depicted are intended to give a good impression for what the "type" and "style" options are referencing to aid you in your selections.   

Big Bang Theory and LEGO Birds get approved for Production!


LEGO has selected our Big Bang Theory LEGO Ideas proposal to be an actual LEGO set!

Alatariel and I (GlenBricker) are not only deeply honored that LEGO has made this decision, but also excited and proud to be some small part of a show that we both love.

This proposal has been an amazing ride right from the moment it was posted to Ideas, and with reaching 10,000 in less than a month, was once of the fastest projects to reach that goal.

We give the deepest thanks to all those who voted for the project as well as shared it with their friends, families, and readers! Without your support this, quite literally, would not be possible.

This announcement of production will lead to other milestones such as the reveal of the official set, publication of release date, and, of course, the actual release of the set.  If you would like to stay on top of these details, please consider following us on twitter or our blogs:


As for the other projects that shared our review:

Congrats to the LEGO Birds project! We hope to see some Doctor Who sets make the next review and our deepest sympathies go out to those projects that were not picked up. We know that you have poured your heart and soul into your Ideas Campaigns and that getting to the review, without reaching production is incredibly disheartening. For those wishing to rework their concept and post again, we wish you the best of luck.

For the Doctor Who fans out there, to showcase how much we all love Doctor Who, please consider also voting for the 10th Doctor's Tardis project. The more votes in ANY Doctor Who project there are, the more likely it is that at least one project will get produced. 

Thank you once again!

Alatariel & GlenBricker



For those still reading, who have enjoyed our work, please excuse this moment of crass promotion of our other projects.

Vardo (Romani Wagon)
This build is based on the Reading style wagon of the Romani People. The project itself however was inspired by the works of Patrick Rothfuss.



Future Project...
http://ideas.lego.com/projects/83039Alatariel has a new project in the works. If you liked the Research Institute or Big Bang Theory there is a pretty good chance this one will also appeal to you.

When it does get published you will find it at this link.

The Discworld
This is a project based on the popular Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. 

Mega Man Project
Alatariel is not only a fan of Science and Big Bang Theory but also of classic console games. This is her LEGO take on the side scrolling platformer Mega Man. 

Magic School Bus
Cruisin' on down Main Street...

This project is an attempt to capture the creativity, magic, and science from the ever popular Magic School Bus series of books and shows.

Rebuild the bus into a variety of shapes while using LEGO to explore science and imagination.     

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some Interesting Ideas

Pick of the Week

Civilization: Beyond Earth Worker Mech

This is about as good it gets as far as project execution.

With the main image we have:
  • An attractive model that is well scaled to the target audience and does not discourage people unfamiliar with the IP 
  • The quality of the model image is first rate, showing its features clearly with great lighting, angle, and focus
  • The dialog on the main image makes the subject matter clear
  • The additional graphic accentuate the draw to the project without detracting from the subject
And as far as the subject:
  • Vehicles and Mech appeal to LEGO and its fans and this is combination of both.
  • Civilization has inroads with both old school gamer and new audiences
  • The project release is well timed with the release of the game
This is one of those project that stands firmly at the kind of production values and presentation that one should aim for when creating a project on Ideas.

A few points that I would add though:
  • This project did well to come out just after the game, but ideally when your project is based on anything with a date involved, you want to strive to get it out in advance to take full advantage of the hype.   I do assume however that in this case, AndrewClark2 maybe have been contractually obligated to postpone the release until after the game went public.  This advice is really directed to the public at large.
  • There are unavoidable similarities between this build and Emmet's construction mecha from the LEGO Movie.  This could negatively impact LEGO's decision to produce as to not confuse branding.   There is nothing to be done about this though.  If you have an idea, and it shares some elements with something LEGO is already doing, consider what you can change to make it more novel and what you want to keep to get buy-in, but if you are basing it on a specific subject (such as a Civilization Worker Mech in this case), all you can do is stay true to the subject and hope for the best. 
  • Some will consider this really pedantic but personally, I would have kept the content about the gift to FIRAXIS, and the related image, for an update to the project.  I perceive that content as diluting the message and connection to the core demographic of supporters rather than building it up.

    Normally I would not bother to mention this, especially relative to how tight the project is, but as I think this is otherwise an expertly well orchestrated project, worthy of emulation, I feel obligated to note that as something I usually try to avoid.

    I am not saying there is no place for these types of stories.  Placed in the updates, this content provides interesting details to people who are "opting in" to see more. 

 

Honorable Mentions


Canal House Modular Art Gallery
by haperon

A well done Modular.

I do tend to gravitate more towards modulars with a bit more complexity and variation in the facade.  Regardless of how accurate it is, a brick building is a brick building...

One of the things I love about this project though is how it has this novel concept of two different timelines, a historic one and a modern day.  It is a nice touch that creatively helps the project stand out.



Gee Bee Z Super Sportster Airplane

I love Gee Bees for some reason.  


The Legend of Zorro

This project certainly has some presentation elements that I recognize and approve of: 

Clear title, Character, and Build in one image.

I will note that if you look at it too long, it kind of looks like a giant man and horse are about to trample on some tiny people ;)

The proposed build is well done with eye catching features and attention to detail like variations in the color of the shingles.  I like how the build opens up too for play areas.

Although I and many others enjoy Zorro, it will of course be hard to convince LEGO to execute such a profound build, but you really need to impress people for them to take notice. 




Apple Macintosh 128K
by Fbsarts

I would not have "Honorably Noted" this project if I had not seen the actual details that are hidden inside the build.  This project has a secret that you can only really grok by looking at the project.  Yes it has a clever "sticker" indicating "circuits inside" but that didn't really make sense to me.

Seriously though, check out the project directly.  It has some really excellent content.  This project is just waiting for some geeky blogs to find it.


Red Skull's Hydra Roadster
by ArtGONG

This could easily have been the project of the week.  The design speaks well to the subject AND to the scale.  It also executes the subject without overdoing it.  Of course, in the long run, it will be a hard sell to get a "bad guy" vehicle from a single movie produced.

WELL DONE!


Bubble Hockey

I love these dynamic projects but they never seem to do well on Ideas, much to my sorrow.  

Notables

Jurassic Park Explorer (with minifigs)
This is certainly a step I approve of, if you have a project with a lot of content, it never hurts to spin it off to smaller projects and see if you can strike the right cord with the target audience.
UCS Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler
Not sure if JP has the full draw to support super scaled vehicle models but they certainly look great
UCS Jurassic Park Explorer
See above
Old Machinery Factory
Not sure what I would be supporting with this one.  If I am going to get something with that kind of scale, that is generic, I want to see some inside content that is really appealing too.
Volkswagen Pick-up
A nice build
Release from Valimar
I was wondering when we would see some heavy Silmarillion content.  Not sure how well it will play with the masses though.  
English Telephone Box
This project does a good job trying to show ways the build might be used on your desk.  Pretty good idea. 
Town House
This is one of those projects where the best stuff is not demonstrated at all. There is a ton of detail inside this project but you have to click through to see any of it.
BIG HERO 6 - Baymax and Hiro's Lab
Not what I would call the best MOC or fig, but a good example of getting a project out before the release date.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some Interesting Ideas

Jurassic Park opens its gates

The title pretty much says it all.  Jurassic Park was on Ideas's verboten list for a while but with LEGO gaining access to the Jurassic World line, it looks like the projects are welcome back to Ideas as well.  There has been quite a rush of project, not like Doctor Who of course, but you can't miss it.

There are some impressive projects to date, but as most are "car" or "car + prebuilt dino" I don't see much of them getting out from under the cloud of  inevitable discovery.

 

Return of some classic Pirates!

Skull Cove. RedBeard's Return!
by DarthKy

This is another project by DarthKy and myself and I am extremely pleased with the result AND the community response!  1000+ support in less than a week for a LEGO Homage is a rare event on Ideas.

Darthky and I tried to create a non-ship pirate set that would appeal to hard-core LEGO fans looking for more than the standard sets provide and I think we have delivered on that mission statement.
Darthky implemented a map table that just blew me away the first time I saw it. Really great parts usage.

It was also a lot of fun taking the classic figures of our youth and re-imagining them with modern levels of detail.

Of course, with a whole new Pirate line coming out in just a few months, and Pirates of the Caribbean on the horizon, we realize that these are pretty rough seas in which to launch our venture, but we will have fun with it anyway.



Pick of the Week


REVENGE - Frigate class shuttle (Galaxy Command)

I have a soft spot in my heart of the Galaxy Command line on Ideas.  I was invited to help on some of the renders in the early projects but my responsibilities, LEGO and Non-LEGO both have required me to step back.  However I still respect the group and love to see them come out with more content.

What is Galaxy Command?  Well, it is a MOC series that has been produced on Ideas with aspects of it crowd sourced to the Cuusoo/Ideas community.

In many ways Galaxy Command reminds me of that webcomic you have been reading for years.  If you dig back into the archive you can see where the creators were learning their style and how to basically get the most out of their art.  With GC you can see how the quality and style have continued to develope.

This  "Revenge" is the culmination of GC to date with a compelling, rendered design, great background, and eye catching logos and designs.  It has a very tough climb ahead of it though both in support and review as "generic space ship" does not tend to do well on Ideas, regardless of execution. 


Honorable Mentions


Jurassic Park

Extremely happy to see the return of this project now that Jurassic Park is back on ideas.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "The Bus"

Great figures and an ambitious set concept!

I must say however that I think the execution of the set could use a bit of work.  One of the most difficult aspects I have found in creating a solid "Ideas proposal" is pairing the right set with the right figs.

In this case, I feel that too much is being attempted in one design and unfortunately, both the aesthetic and the playability suffer for it.

The "Bus" can't look as cool as it might because it is housing a ton of playable scenes and the playability of the scenes (the rooms inside the Bus) are less accessible due to their integration and support of the  Bus framework.

That being said, the base concept is a compelling one and sure to draw fans of the show.

Holiday Gingerbread House

A fun concept that has a good chance of getting produced some day, if not through this project, then another, or perhaps LEGO itself.  Personally, I find the idea that most gingerbread houses are the same scale as LEGO minifigure houses too much fun of a coincidence to pass up for long. 

While I would prefer this model to not be specifically based on an existing Winter Village set, there is technically nothing wrong with it, and the muggles are certainly not likely to judge based on that criteria. 

The Stolen Ship

A novel design for a classic pirate ship!  There is a clever technique where the hull pulls out like drawers, check it out.

The Bat Spaceship! (Patent Pending)

Sometimes a single feature, not even related to the build, can really promote a project.  With this one I really love the integrated Batman and LEGO Space symbol.


Notables

Spooky Cemetery!
by saabfan
A well presented project.  I think the fine details of the project however need a bit more kick to be a real candidate for 10,000.
Lord of the Rings: Rivendell diorama
A gorgeous build with phenomenal technique!  I am afraid its shear scale might scare away potential supporters though.  
Audi R8
A well executed design.  The passenger area is especially well done.  If it has a smoother look it might get a bit more traction.  
Cloud City
by VAkkron
An extremely impressive LDD design!  I do question the playability of the build however.  There is a lot of content inside the build that I would question the accessibility of, with issues similar to that of the Shield project listed above.  

I would perhaps suggest something akin to the Deathstar, where the playscapes are  fully open on the side instead of top down. 

Fairy Tale Modular Set
by jrbony
These are amazing designs and, where they individualized I would not hesitate to support them.  As is however I find this project too similar to the faults of the mini shop series project: uncertainty in which aspect is being supported and too many divergent IPs in a single project.

 

Cubical World
A nice clean office design.
Micro-Dinosaurs
I could have a lot of fun with microbuild dinosaurs.  It cold be a great building lesson as well. 
Voyager Mission
by LuisPG
A well done Voyage, and well presented.
LABYRINTH
In interesting take on turning the movie into a set. 
Micro-Scale Space Dart I
by Colin23
I have always though that microbuilds along this design concept are a great idea. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Brickstarter: Mouse Guard

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crazybricks/bricks-of-the-mouse-guard-for-your-miniature-figur


Guy Himber is at is again with his crowd funded "Crazy Bricks."

This time around the subject is Mouse Guard, an avant-garde comic series set in a world much like our Earth but instead of humans being around, you have sentient mice. Not giant Mickey mice, but your standard scale mice with minimal physical anthropomorphism. 

It is certainly an interesting read and the art is quite phenomenal. You don't have to take my word for it as it is an Eisner award winning publication.

Well, back on point to why we are all here. Himber is crowd sourcing the production of minifig compatible Mice head for minifigs and a variety of medieval weapons.
I gotta say, I love it when minifigs are presented as "actual size" and Guy has proven he can deliver on these kickstarters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Some Interesting Ideas

News


I have two additional articles that might be of interest to FOLS this week.

  • An interview with Alatariel, the creator of the Research Institue.   We discuss her history with LEGO, her experience with the project, and her thoughts on LEGO Ideas.
  • An in depth review of The LEGO Neighborhood Book.  I would recommend this book to any FOL, but especially to those trying their hand at a modular on LEGO Ideas.



Pick(s) of the Week

This is one of those rare weeks where I could not decide between two great projects.

Concorde Display Set

The Concord is one of those modern marvels that, like manned moon missions seemed to be the start of something new and spectacular, a new era,  but unfortunately stands alone (well, nearly alone) as a singular front runner. 

I think, like the DC-3, that these detailed aircraft builds could be a way for the classic non-LEGO model building community to transition to the interlocking bricks that the kids are much more into these days.  Additionally LEGO could bring aviation geeks or avgeeks (their term like our FOL) that don't have the time or skill to build classic models into the LEGO fold as well due to the ease with even a complete novice can execute a LEGO set.

As for the model itself, I like it a lot.  The heavy studding of the wings is a bit of a negative but there is really not much you can do about that.  The addition of the Bristol Olympus engine is a great touch to set this apart.

As usual ABStract expertly executes the presentation of the main image with an attractive model, background, and titling.

As for the audience, although this is an retired aircraft this is a pretty good choice.  You have this transcontinental appeal (North America, UK, France, and even Barbados), you have an in with avgeeks, and as an engineering marvel you have a lot of engineers that identify with the craft.  


Little Red Schoolhouse
by tdh-br

If you are a serious LEGO fan, make sure to really check this project out.  At first I was not expecting much, but as I really examined it, it went from notable, to honorable, to a shared "pick of the week."  Like the Food Truck, this project really exemplifies the subtle excellence you expect in an official LEGO model.

Excellent model at the perfect scale that really nails the image people have of the tiny red brick schoolhouse.  The roof is also extremely well done and quite efficient with part usage.  I love that the structure is off angle as well, though there are more officially acceptable ways in which to execute it.

I really love how the project basically nails all the critical points without excess.  That is extremely difficult for even experienced FOLs to pull off.   At the same time there is attention paid to even simple part placement.  For example, the pillars are turned 45 degrees off standard to give them a bit of a pop.

The Bus is a nice accent and gives us that vehicle that nearly every LEGO set needs.

The only problem is I am not sure about the global appeal of this image of an "old school" school.  I think of it as very "North American" image and not just because of the U.S. flag integrated into the project. 

Honorable Mentions

Steampunk Betty (Emerald Night Redux)

A fun build that leverages a classic set.  Very clever.  I like how the mecha is clearly embracing the train motif, not just using parts from the Emerald Night but also trying to evoke the design itself.

I think the legs fail to live up to what the rest of the build is delivering.  I also think this project might be the ignominious winner for "most tags on a single project."

Versailles 1668
by Djeaser

This build is not quite so huge as a first look might imply.  Micro scale on a grand scale!  Not quite sure where I would display this but it is simply gorgeous.

Pictorial Map of The United States
by mmbace

Love this for all the same reasons as the European model.

As someone who grew up in Wyoming I feel inclined to give my two cents: Add a reference to Yellowstone, perhaps Old Faithful.

 

Notables

Project Voltes Five (Voltes V)
Only vaguely familiar with Voltes but this project has done a great job of accessing the subject fan base.
Lego Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
With all due respect to Konrad Keska and the project supporters, I must admit that I am not too impressed with this set concept.  It would make a mind blowing MOC, and I certainly appreciate the work, but it falls flat for me as a product.

First off, the structure in the main image, is large and thin with no minifig play value other than, well, going through the entrance.

If it was by itself I could see it working out okay as a display model propped against a wall, but still the whole structure only gets a few minutes time in the movie and it only serves as the entrance and exit to the movie's last sequence, in other words, it is a lot of bricks and volume to display something, though assuredly pretty, is technically irrelevant to the film and story.  I feel the same way in regard to the Lars homestead.  It is a desert igloo where that whiny kid Luke lives before all the cool stuff happens.

But, despite the main image, there is actually a long sequence of traps and such from the movie attached to the back of this build.  So, you have this inherent setup problem.  Where are you going to put this thing.  When you are considering a design you hope to market you need to do a thought exercise where you try to picture where someone is going to put the set to showcase it.  Generally people only have a few location in their home that are appropriate and they tend to only have one good viewing angle.  So in order to see the sequence of traps, all you see is the back of this really tall, thin, wide structure.  If you display it with the pretty wall face out you end up with this awkward facade hanging out in space with a thin, long hard to see structure pushing it out from the wall.

Now, on to the "action sequence."  This is also problematic.  This structure is basically a canyon build.  It is long with two sides, the problem being that everything of interest is inside the canyon.  This obstructs the view and lighting and  is an impediment to general playability.

As a comparison lets look at the action sequence set from Raiders.   


You can see that one side is open.  The circumstances of the sequence are the same: Characters going down a long tunnel of traps and challenges, but in this case, LEGO has created an open diorama.  This has a much wider angle of playability, and view and has a very photogenic view angle. 

King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table
Well presented and executed.  The figure count does seem a little high though but I would like to think that fans of the project and LEGO would be receptive to scaling down a project of this nature if that was required.
Music School and Instruments Music Store
by max78tn
An interesting concept and fairly well executed.  I think you need something really astounding to warrant a four story modular.  This could easily be condensed.
Huckleberry Finn Diorama
by mpoh98
Beautiful.  I would not know this is Huckleberry Finn though if you didn't tell me.  This one certainly deserves an image title.
The Hobbit: Troll Barbecue
by saabfan
Similar to the Huck Finn one above, at the scale of the thumbnail for this project I might not have realized this was the troll sequence from The Hobbit.  However, with the integrated image title, this is much more likely to get fans to click through. 
Hogwarts Castle Micro
A nice reboot of Scorpius's earlier version.
Modular Bank Robbery
Clever idea to have a story integrated into the modular.
Lego | Arkham Knight | Batmobile
Not too familiar with the Arkham Knight Batmobile but the design here is very compelling.  Glad to see the use of text in the main image stress the subject matter.
Santa's Sidecar (featuring Rudolph Red Nose 5)
I really love the X-wing Reindeer in this. 
White Lake House
A well executed design of modern architecture. 
Kenworth W900 Road Train
An impressive truck.
The Hobbit - Halls of Thranduil
I like this build.  It has a lot of unique character, especially the "antlers" on the throne.

I don't care for how the pictures for the project are sorted though.  The first six images are for a much larger, over the top, "Canceled" version that detracts from the quality of the more elegant project.  I don't exactly mind that they are included, but I think it would send a more consistent message if the "cancelled" images were after the main concept.

Turtle CS-1 and the Space Guys
While I love the turtle on this Ideas has specifically prohibited "Battle packs" or sets that are predominantly figures. 

I therefore find it quite surprising that Ideas confuses the issue by allowing a project that actually refers to itself as a "battle pack" in the text.
Spaceship
by Sevalgo
A great design magnified by an excellent presentation.
Rolling robot - PALLA
Personally I love this.  But I don't see much point for it to be LEGO.  By its very nature it is a sphere.

I love dynamic projects that I can figure out how to change into something different while leveraging the animatronics that the build introduces.

Adding anything to this sphere will basically break its function.  So, awesome concept, but I can't see a way to leverage the design.
Gym Equipment
A lot of well designed equipment.    
Corner Doughnut Shop
I like the concept of a Doughnut shop and the internals are well done.  The outside is impressive and well structure but I would like to see some more color for a doughnut shop.
Aria Space Station
This is an impressive build.  It is unfortunately sullied by spam tags: Star Wars? Star Citizen?  Piano?    
HMS Romulus
The right background and some basic rendering help a space ship stand out.
Batman Beyond Project (75 Years of Batman)
An impressive build of the future batmobile.
Robinson Crusoe
A great example of an impactful main image.  The right render and custom figure could would have made this stunning.
The House
A lot of detail and surprisingly impressive builds hidden behind a low-rez render and a horrible background.
Stage for Rock, Jazz and Metal Band
Your main image is critical to selling your project.  This project offers so much more than the main image implies!