Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekly Crowd

News

You may have noticed that I am not posting on Mondays as often any more.  I am working on a new few new tools to help promote Cuusoo projects.  They are in early beta but I am very excited about them.  I don't want to go into details at this point because the principles behind them could change pretty radically in over the next few days/weeks.

I will strive to continue to post my three core articles (2 here and 1 on brickset) each week if not on Monday.  Thank you for your patience.  

Kickstarter

Code Monkey Save World

Johnathan Coulton is of those compelling internet music personalities that has cropped up over the years.  He is well know for his melodic cover of Baby Got Back and many of his own unique songs like Code Monkey and Re: Your Brains.

This kickstarter markets Coulton's music and celebrity but with a brilliant twist worthy of a kickstarter.  Comics writer Greg Pak ("Planet Hulk," "Batman/Superman," "Magneto Testament") and artist Takeshi Miyazawa ("Runaways")  have joined with Coulton to make a graphic novel based on the Coulton's works.

The concept is quite clever: Take a great writer and artist and leverage the works of an online celebrity for instant kickstarter success.  

$15 gets you a digital copy of the novel and all the songs that inspired the book, plus a new song inspired by the book. 

Threadless

Circuitree by Tigrrr

I love a good pun.  It is even better when the pun can play off itself with some great dichotomy.

According to the artist this is design "combines man-made with natural, showing both sides of human nature (fundamental needs and evolutionary aspirations)." Plus, it glows in the dark! 


Cuusoo

Pick of the Week

Smurf's Village
by C3brix

Support Level: 61

This is a really nice build but more than the build, I love the concept.

Smurfs have an interesting angle when in comes to Lego in that minifig smurfs would be approximately life size.  This gives a lot of interesting play options that don't quite translate as well with the standard figure.

Take a mideval pull cart and put it next to a Minifig and it is a scaled down pull cart, put it next to a smurf and suddenly that same pull cart is a tiny little construct made of "twigs" instead of "boards."  I built a Lego aquarium recently with a castle, ship-wreck and a deep sea diver and a few critters like fish, snails, and an urchin.  Most people perceive the set as an ocean scene with a diver, ship-wreck, and castle (?) as scaled down with enormous fish rather than everything being life sized.  To be sure I need to do some more work on the fish to clarify their scale.  Back to the point though, since people "know" that Smurfs are diminutive, you can play with perception of scale a lot if you have a few of them integrated into a MOC. 

As for the actual project content, I would suggest to C3brix that they get rid of the large base and wilderness and focus on the buildings alone.  The scenery looks good for a MOC but I think the focus should be on one or two well built cottages. 

On top of all that, Smurfs have a viable brand fit with Lego.  They are a family friendly IP, an international cartoon from the 80's that is also enjoying a return in the movies with a recent box office success (monetarily if not critically) and two movies coming out shortly.  On top of all that, the movies have extremely large casts of internet wielding celebs that could be leveraged for support.

Update: It has come to my attention that the Construct Toy license for Smurfs is currently being used.   This greatly reduces the chances for this project via Cuusoo.

Honorable Mentions

The Adventure Time Project
by Jazlecraz

Support Level: 1876


This is what I said about the Adventure Time IP late last week and it still applies:

The Adventure Time IP is a tricky one to pin down as far as Lego Brand-fit.  The imagination of the material goes hand in hand with Lego certainly, but the maturity of the themes is something that is very grey.  I would compare it to Star Trek the Original Series.  Sometimes the themes are very mature, sometimes they are mature but disguised, and sometimes characters get killed.  Virtually anyone would say that Star Trek The Original Series is appropriate for kids but imagine if it did not have all the history and cultural impact behind it.  

Now I really enjoy Adventure Time.  It is a fresh series with amazing visuals that undermine the otherwise simple style.  Many episodes would be fine for any audience but Brand fit has to stand the most intense content that Adventure Time has to offer.  Now, I have seen all of season one and a random smattering of the rest of the series so, for those who are less familiar with Adventure Time, I provide these two examples of some of the more extreme episodes:

  • Dungeon, is one of the more violent episodes with some creates that provide some amazing, but disturbing imagery.
  • All the Little People is one of the trippier episodes.

I find both episodes excellent but I don't know how many more years I will wait before letting my kids watch them. 

As far as this project's content goes, though all very "pretty" the full scale tree house, as presented does not appear to be structurally sound and the minifigs are a non-starter since Lego will not produced new parts for Cuusoo sets.

The small version is affordable and much more robust with no new parts.  I was toying with the idea of doing something very similar in fact.  I really like Jazlecraz technique of putting the doors and windows on tiles and creatively attaching them.  This is a good flat surface for the print, and would make for some highly prized printed elements for micro builds.

This was almost my pick of the week.  The quality is certainly there, so what happened?  For one thing, this project does not need my support at all, 2000 in the first week!  Geeze!  There were also a few details that I penalized the  project on when deciding on my pick for the week. For instance, there was already a full scale AT Tree House project on Cuusoo with excess of 1k.  Remember, Lego makes the final design so it does not matter which project gets to 10k for an IP to get produced.  Jazlecraz is free to post a new project with the same goal, and this is no doubt the better of the two, but I am also free to not reward it with top honors.   Also, I find it hard to give the pick to projects that introduce new molds so there is another pick of the week point against it.  The final reason was the greyness of the IP.  I would rather give the weekly pick to an IP that is well within Lego Brand fit than one that is on the boarder.  So for the nitpicks out there who wonder how "Smurf Village" got the higher billing, that is why. I will certainly be supporting this project though and wish it the best on its journey to 10k. 

Update:  When I originally posted this article it did not occur to me that  Jazlecraz was using a 4 x 4 round brick with technic holes and technic studs to attach the printed tiles.  In response I questioned why they had chosen to float tiles for the presentation.  I stand corrected.  Very clever part use! 



XP-13 Tesla
by Jwg258

Support Level: 31

Jwg258 has a lot of projects on Cuusoo with a variety of high quality space craft and high playability vignettes.  I really appreciate how Jwg258 always uses interesting geometries and interesting color choices in his ships.

I.M.C.T.B. Module 4: Medusa and the Petrified Colossus
by Therealindy

Support Level: 7

Therealindy has been splitting off their project series into independent projects.  This one is probably my favorite of their Cuusoo creations to date.  The Colossus is well done with good technique on the head and arms and nicely paired colors.  I like how the torso is done with plates to give the effect of musculature as well.  The pairing with the Medusa really sells the project.


I.M.C.T.B. Module 5: Boudicca's Alignments at Stonehenge
by Therealindy

Support Level: 6

This is one of the best "Stonehenges" I have seen.  The project has a smaller version which I prefer for displayability and cost purposes.  Regardless of the scale though, this build takes great advantage of off-angle building to get some creative geometries. 


Notables


The Ultimate Zoo — Collectable Animal Series
 by Schwallex

Support Level: 59

These designs are fun and certainly worthy of support.  Word of warning though, this is not a "zoo" as the title indicates, this is just a collection of animal builds, very interesting animal builds to be sure.

Schwallex does a great job explaining the philosophy of the design's concept.

L.M.I.R. - Roman Temple
by Bigboy99899

Support Level: 58

An impressive build with some great details and some attractive internals.  However, even if accurate, this build has a lot of dead volume and bland brick. 

L.M.I.R. - Roman House
by Bigboy99899

Support Level: 45

This shares the same positives and negative of the Roman Temple, but more extreme.  The internals are gorgeous and I really recommend you take a look.  Even more than the Temple though, this build has a LOT of bland walls and roofing.    



Coffee machines at SortBucks
by Irisyuni

Support Level: 16

Clever and well designed but I doubt this project will be able to muster the 10k.



After the bump is a showcase of all the projects that came out in the last week.


Week of Cuusoo

The Adventure Time Project
by Jazlecraz

Support Level: 1876

See review above.

The Nether - Minecraft
by Gueltron

Support Level: 106

This is one of the best minecraft "clone" sets  I have seen.  I still just can't get behind it though.  I am in full support of minecraft projects that really bring something new to the table, but I just can't get much enthusiasm mustered for the projects that take the official Lego model and apply a different biome to it.

Smurf's Village
by C3brix

Support Level: 61

See review above


L.M.I.R. - Roman Temple
Support Level: 58
L.M.I.R. - Roman House
Support Level: 45

SWAT Truck
Support Level: 32
XP-13 Tesla
Support Level: 31
Iron Man - Monte Carlo Attack
Support Level: 30

Coffee machines at SortBucks
Support Level: 16

Grey Alien
Support Level: 16
The Flying Scotsman
Support Level: 15

NEW COLOR BUCKETS
Support Level: 13

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Support Level: 12
Tintin Marlinspike Hall
Support Level: 9
Bug-out Bunker
Support Level: 8

John Hancock Tower Boston
Support Level: 8
Darth Bane's Snake Speeder
Support Level: 7

Green Goblin's Glider
Support Level: 6

Minecraft Extra Mobs
Support Level: 4