Saturday, July 27, 2013


A lot of serious FOLs are upset that the "best built" projects on Cuusoo don't get recognition while special interest projects achieve 10,000 support quickly like Purdue Pete and ATLAS.

There are two fundamental truths behind this.

First off, the complaint that these FOLS is absolutely true, the reason is that FOLs don't drive Cuusoo, Special Interest Groups do.  64% of every user supporting a project on Cuusoo only vote for the one project that interests them.  82% support 3 or less.   These are people who really like a singular concept like Purdue Pete, ATLAS, Curiosity, or the Wizard of Oz or like a specific theme of projects like Real Space, Buses from Poland, and Batman.  The idea that it is made out of Lego is secondary to their love of the subject.   

Secondly, FOLs also have special interests.  Any FOL can appreciate a well made MOC, but they are really drawn to the builds that fit whatever niche subgroup they really like.  Some FOLs are into accurate recreations, some into Trains, others into sci-fi, some share their fascination equally between comic book heroes and Lego.  I know one AFOL that is singularly into building in the style of Classic Space.  FOLs, as a community, share a love of the medium for creation, not the subjects created by it.

So, that brings us here.  I am under no illusions that FOLs will exceed the overall voting power of the special interest groups that come to Cuusoo in pursuit of their favorite subjects, nor is there a point in doing so , but I would certainly like to see what we can accomplish.

What I have done here is created a survey listing the Cuusoo projects I have showcased on Brickset that emphasize the skill of the project creator while not having an extremely popular IP or organized audience to boost its ratings.   

To show your support for great Lego Crafters, despite any opinions you may have for Cuusoo, please vote for your favorite MOCs in the list.  The project with the most votes in two weeks will be freely promoted on Brickset and my own site.  I also ask every other FOL site to post this project as as a service to the community.  

Now I also ask that we as a community support all of these projects through Cuusoo as well to help highlight great builds on Cuusoo and show solidarity for our fellow AFOLs who are trying to make their mark on the Lego Group.

Yes, I know a lot of these projects have issues that will prevent them from reaching production.  Please put that aside for a moment and let Lego deal with the complexities.  

If you have no other reason to support these projects other than to show this solitary within the AFOL community then please consider voting for the project and using the following feedback when Cuusoo asks "why you like this project"

I am supporting this project because I want to see unique creations from the AFOL community get supported on Cuusoo.

If you want to make a stronger statement consider this alternative:

I am supporting this project because I want to see unique creations from the AFOL community get supported on Cuusoo and I am committed to purchasing any Cuusoo set that is inspired by AFOLs.

Will this bring any change to Cuusoo?  That is really up to you.  If  100 FOLs respond to this. No, just an unusual blip in Cuusoo usage.  If 1000 FOLs, hm...maybe.  IF 10,000 FOLs put these and every other cool, unique, FOL inspired build in the review box, how could it not?  So please, help get the word out on this campaign: tell your local LUGs, post on forums, tweet to your followers, face your bookers, and red your its, or whatever other way you got to spread a message.  

For those of you complaining about Cuusoo to other FOLs on forums, you are accomplishing very little other than ruffling the feathers of other FOLs.  Supporting a movement on the other hand can potentially accomplish something very interesting!  If nothing else, it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.    

Select the projects you think deserve Special Recognition

Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekly Crowd


Well, I have been off for a few weeks, geeze crazy times.  Lots of things to do.  Brick Fiesta on one end and Austin Board Game Bash on the other.  Now I gotta build some Mobile Frame Zero mecha so we can try out...well Mobile Frame Zero, but it is good to be back.

I am going to start slow but do a quick review of some stuff that came up when I was dropping some content.

Correlation of Project Support Data i.e "Future Suggestion Feature"

There is a brief into  about it here.  Warning, these pages are UGLY looking.  I am working on the technical end right now and will save the facelift for when I have time (ha time!).  Basically it takes all the supporter data and figures out what people are supporting based on specific projects.  I need to build an interface still but the idea is that it correlates Cuusoo user support data to find support trends.  Not surprisingly, for example, the people who support one Polish bus, tends to support more than one Polish bus, and the guys that support Iron Man Halls of Armor, support, comic themed content, especially Iron Man, and supporters of generally amazingly high end Cuusoo projects tend to support generally amazing high end Cuusoo projects.

I will be cleaning this up, adding an interface, and developing personalized suggestion code over time

"Inevitable Discovery" and the start of Chapter 7!

I went on a rant the other day in a blurb about types of projects.  For a long time now I have been planning on typing this up and cataloging them and then I anciently went and started it.  So now I feel the need to give it a page.  I will add to this when I again, "have time" but for now it is starting what for lack of a better term is "Inevitable Discovery" (which is a term derived from the legal term Inevitable Discovery which was brought up by Eurobricks user ShaydDeGrai which discussing my post there.  Great annalogy, I like the term, kinda don't, trying it out.

Regardless, that has got me finally started on Cuusoo Users Guide Part 7: Creating "Successful" Projects.  I will try to add more to it over time.   

Cuusoo Intersecting with Kickstarter

BrentWaller., the creator of the Batman Tumbler that got to 10,000 and has a spectacular Ghostbusters project heading the same direction has his hands full of Crowd themed projects it turns out.

Today he posted "...myself and 4 other colleagues currently have a Kickstarter going for a video game "spiritual successor" to the Syndicate series of games from the early to mid 90s called "Satellite Reign" check it out here if you're interested"

I had been admiring this project for a while but it is in its last hours.  It is not only the spiritual successor but also has some of the same people that developed the Syndicate series.  That game was groundbreaking then and this game looks groundbreaking now.

Pick of the Week (or whatever, its been a while)

The Road to Oz
by Jeremiahkc

Oz is on a bit of a kick lately and is especially buoyed by its pending 75th Movie anniversary coming up.  I love this project for its playability and displayability.  It has done a great job capturing key moments in the film without overburdening itself with trying to capture every moment, as the name indicates this is the "Road to Oz".

The modular nature of the three elements allows the Oz fan to re-enact independent scenes for the journey but when it comes to putting it on the shelf you can choose very linear build or a shorter one with a lot of curiosity inducing depth. 

Each figures is well orchestrated, there is of course an issue with molds.  I am becoming more an more lenient on my view about these things.  There are certainly presentations where the mold makes the build (Portals comes to mind) but in this case, I see some creative printing could address the need for molds.  For the tin man, just use the Sad Clown hat and print a hand hold on the side.  Similarly with the Cowardly lion.  A smaller dog is required though, and perhaps a basket like the Red Riding Hood one. 

The techniques used in the build are stylish enough to give it character but not too complex for young fans.  I really like the method used for the road as well, though the part count is a bit high, there really is no way around it when using tiles for brick patterns.  It is clear that the part count is higher than any Cuusoo product to date, but matched with obvious interest from Warner Brothers ( and launch of Wizard of Oz in 2014, this might be just the media blitz required to get a larger set produced. 

Honorable Mentions

Super Heroes Racers
by Okay

Ok, So I was just talking about "Inevitable Discovery."  This is a great example of using the Lego minifigs in an existing IP creativly, and man does it look fun.  Okay has done a phenomenal job matching a huge variety of characters with cars that match their characters, themes, colors and history.  Very well done!

Burj Al Arab
by Srezkall

Just so very lovely!  Although, to me, the Burh Al Arab is one of those building I expect to be on Lego's list, so if Srezkall is serious about getting to to production through Cuusoo, they better get down to business on collecting those votes. 

Invert Jumper Plate
by Monkeypilot

I was just complaining that they don't have one of these!  Please vote for it.


New Horizons spacecraft - Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission
by Plutofan
Nowhere near as sexy as Curiosity but I do expect this project to pick up some steam in 2015 when the end goal of the mission is in sight.
Poseable Lego minifigures Batman
by 1upbrick
I simply don't understand the projects that try to "fix" the minifigure.  The only thing I could want that a minifigure can't do is bend the legs.  In my opinion the figure is perfect the way it is though. 
by Reekardoo
Well done Mecha, I really like the winged samari motif.
Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine
by Zachattack77
Absolutely lovely.  But either BttF is going to go gangbusters and Lego will make this independently or it will flop and Lego won't want anything more to do with the license.  Vote for it anyway though, it is a work of art.
The Minimal Series
by Isreal.lemus
This build set is all over the board and quite clever but I doubt it will ever get the votes it needs to reach production.  This is more of a Lego primary fan project and that just is not where the votes come from....also. this is the epitome of projects that most people can accomplish satisfactorily without buying a dedicated set, excepting of course all the flesh colored elements.

Pirate Ship: Going Merry
by Brook1994
Very nice build of the Going Merry!  Surprised this does not have more votes, figured the One Piece fan base was more active. 
Gilligan's Island
by Thekeaneboys
Technically I don't this project has a shot, but I like it.  It sounds fun, but that is a lot of nostalgia talking. 

Chibi Lego builds.
by Darthky

Darthky is very prolific isn't he?  Creative concept and not in Lego's ordinary vein.  I am not sure if these could get produced as they are slightly contradictory to the Lego's Bionicle type builds but personally I like them a lot.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Back to the Future is revealed officially, New Minecraft sets, and Lego Licensed Cuusoo Projects

Well, I still have my nose buried in work, site coding, and a variety of updates but I of course had to post on all the news right now.

Back to the Future...August 1st 2013

The Back to the Future set, leaked well in advance, is officially out there and to be released on August 1st.

photo courtesy of
Huw at Brickset has a fantastic and thorough review of the set and I really recommend you check it out

Minecraft the Series

Well, now they have gone and done it.  A Cuusoo project went from an idea, to a set, to a series.  On September 1st, Minecraft Village and Minecraft Nether will be released.

The fact still stands the Cuusoo is for producing a single set.  These are not Cuusoo sets but from Lego's standard line.  Cuusoo produced its single set, then the market spoke and what is said was "Give me more MINECRAFT!"

This will of course fuel the ever optimistic project creators that their idea will get turned into an ongoing series of Lego sets and they are absolutely right.

If you submit a project to Cuusoo that goes to 10,000 in a matter of days and sells out in hours when then yes, you can too can be the creator of a new line of Lego.  I wish you the best of luck accomplishing this herculean task. 

Now, there are of course some people out there who will claim that these sets look a lot like sets already proposed on Cuusoo.  To them I say, no, there are a lot of minecraft sets on Cuusoo that look a lot like the original Minecraft set.

There are, in my opinion, only three legitimate ways to "win" at Cuusoo: bring totally new content to the Lego company, prove a viable concept and market for an IP previously unrelated to Lego, or present pre-existing content in a new way.

Totally New Content

Granted no fan created content has passed the review yet but I believe that is just a matter of time.  The difficulty there is finding a market where it does not exist.  This is incredibly difficult for two reasons, 1) In order for Lego to produce a Cuusoo idea it needs to be sure people will go out and by it without s mult-million dollar campaign like Ninjago or Chima.  and 2) Lego is very good at what it does.  It has people who are looking at trends years in advance.  This is their job.  If there is room in the market for a concept, they will, ideally fill it  with a set or a series.  This is, of course, the issue that Space Troopers has to face as Lego ALSO saw the market well before and was developing Galaxy Squad.

So you need to produce an idea that people are so thrilled about that the market is obvious but novel enough that it is not coming down the line, on the market, or just getting off the market.

I am planning a big event to help out on this front in the next couple days so keep your eyes open. 

Existing IP, but new to Lego

This is currently the most successful, and will likely continue to be the most successful approach to getting your Cuusoo project produced.  The market is established and identifiable in these cases so there is little risk and advertising is easy.  The greater difficulties with this type of product are pre-existing licensee agreements, brand fit, contract negotiations, and timing.

All products to date have fit this model.

Present Pre-Existing Lego Licensed Content in a New Way

This is perhaps the most difficult of all but with the review results from the Sand Crawler, Cuusoo has pretty much reiterated their commitment to being open to this idea. 

Basically if you present pre-existing Lego licensed content in Lego's tried and true method of "Lego-izing" such content, then you are basically asking Lego to sell its model, with its brands, in its way, but to give you credit for it, and that is just not going to happen*.  This is true for the vast majority of Star Wars, Super Hero, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit  and Minecraft projects on Cuusoo.

If you want to produce existing licenses you need present it in a way that Lego has not done before.  Here is the litmus test:  If the project (however well or poorly executed) looks like something that that you would expect Lego to produced, then they already have that covered.  Every scene from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit has been reviewed for product already.  There is at least one UCS Star Wars Vehicle each year and a finite number of Star Wars vehicles.  They will eventually produce a UCS of every vehicle they think is worth producing.  They will eventually produce every mainstream Star Wars vehicle worth producing in minifig and midi scale.  In some cases they will do it again and again (Like the Tie Fighters).  Batman fighting a random member of his Rogues gallery is a given.   

So what is Novel then?  What is like-yet-unlike.  Here you go:

Star Wars: Lightsabres, Mico Vignettes, Brick Built Figures**

Super Heros: Brick Built Figures, Iron Man Arc Reactor, Super Hero Racers

Minecraft: ChickenMacrofigures

Lord of the Rings: Microbuilds

These are novel approaches to existing licenses and have a valid shot, in my opinion.  They don't look like anything Lego has produced with these properties.

* Now there is one exception I am willing to accept to all this and that is if you present an existing license, in the Lego "model" but somehow do it in such a way that grabs the attention of the fanbase to the extent that you get to 10000 in a relative blink of an eye...then Lego might accept that your idea is worthy of independent recognition, but I would not count on it.  This is in effect what I was attempting with the Corellian Defender.  At the time, Star Wars' expanded universe was relatively  untouched.  I was saying to them "hey, don't overlook SWOTOR" but it turns out they were not. 

** I really don't know if figures build with normal Lego could violate Hasbro's exclusivity license, the point of this article is that it is a novel approach to an existing license though and that is why I include it.

What was my point again?

Ok, so that was a meandering journey, and not one I expected to write about today, but the point is, I am not telling people not to post whatever they feel like (that Cuusoo accepts).  Who knows really?  But, of all the projects you can submit, submitting an existing Lego license in a very Lego like way, is probably not going to get you anywhere on Cuusoo and you certainly should not be surprised to see Lego produce very similar content as it is just a natural extension of what they do

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Feature: Suggested Projects

So, I have not been blogging for a while due to a variety of reasons.  There is a pretty significant one as far as Cuusoo is concerned. 

I have been implementing a system for extrapolating patterns of support from project to project.  This is still in Beta, and pretty ugly but I have had a lot of fun working on it.  I will develop an interface for it later so you are not limited to these examples but here are a few to try out right now.

What this really does is show what other projects people supporting the given project are supporting and it sorts the return based on how frequent that support is occurring.

So, you can see that of the 9600 accounts there were created specifically to support Purdue Pete, plus the 400 other accounts that already existed before voting for Pete, only 49 of those accounts voted to immortalize the Purdue alumnus Niel Armstrong in Lego with the Apollo 11 Cuusoo project.  
Will have more on this later but I wanted to share what I have so far (however ugly the interface).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Brick Fieata 2013 Overview

It has been a while since I have updated.  Sorry about that but I have been on vacation and then went right into Brick Fiesta.  Here is a very brief summary of what the event and a few highlights: 

Brick Fiesta 2013 is currently underway this weekend.  It is the Third Brick Fiesta and is unique in that it is the only Lego Convention in the Americas that is operated by a LUG.  Additionally, it is the only traveling convention in the Americas.  It started in Austin Tx, then moved to Houston, and this year it is in Dallas.
It is a young con so it is still evolving but Huw gave me permission to share some content from the con with you guys this week.