Friday, March 28, 2014

A Month of Cuusoo (Sans Doctor)

Been a While...

Been a wild month.  Lots of work, family, and Lego projects keeping me busy.  The more crazy elements are winding down though so it looks like things will be stabilizing again shortly.

As for SXSW, doing a panel on Lego was a LOT of fun.  I got to speak in front of about 600 people about Lego.  The second biggest group of people I have spoken in front of is about 20, so that was a pretty novel experience for me. 

People seemed to enjoy the panel quite a bit but there is no real point in repeating the content here.  The panel was specifically about how a company (Lego in this case) deals with a creative and active fan base (Us) who confuse branding by creating official looking content that is anything but.  Like this Lego Breaking Bad video game.

So, fun stuff for "muggles" but nothing new to report for the FOL community.  

The Vardo

Vardo (Romani Wagon)

I have been thinking about doing this project for a while so I am glad to finally have gotten it to a sharable level of development.

Vardos are described by Wikipedia as:

traditional horse-drawn wagon used by British Romani people as their home. Possessing a chimney, it is commonly thought of as being highly decorated, intricately carved, brightly painted, and even gilded. The British Romani tradition of the vardo is seen as a high cultural point of both artistic design and a masterpiece of woodcrafters art.
 
Though these are real, I was actually first introduced to this this concept via a fictional re-imagining of these in the Kingkiller Chronicle novels by Patrick Rothfuss and since reading about them I have been considering how I might build a colorfully, curvy wagon while integrating Modular Style internal details into a single build. 

It came out better than I had anticipated.  Now to see how it evolved as I build it.


The Doctor

So, there have been more than 47 Doctor Who projects uploaded to Cuusoo at this point.  Wow!  People were just waiting for the chance...Mario Brothers is going to be insane when that drops.  Well, I am going to leave Doctor Who out of this review.   I assume my readers for the Cuusoo round up don't need to hear about ALL these projects.  If you are interested in keeping tabs on ongoing projects here is a link to all the Doctor Who projects.

Pick of the Week

20.000 Leagues under the Sea NAUTILUS

I was thrilled to see Orion Pax's Nautilus this show up on Brother Brick. The Nautilus is one of my favorite fictional conveyances of all time.  It has, for years, been in my Lego "to do" list but...Wow!  Orion Pax has done Captain Nemo proud with this one.

The scale of this amazing build does place it within a very specific market of fan, but oh what a piece.  I would sincerely love to have this in my collections...Plus, imagine all the great Squid MOCs such a product would inspire.

Honorable Mentions


Disney Princess Frozen: Elsa's Ice Palace
by Fohzen

I love Frozen.  It has a lot of great content for everybody and a great message.  Additionally this is an epic MOC and, and exceptional gift for any parent AFOL to grant their children (as the project indicates).

The sheer volume of translucent elements is awe inspiring and the ice monster is a great touch. Olaf also looks great, but I am not certain the tuft of "hair" coming out the top of his head is Lego.

I honestly wish "Fohzen" the best with this project but I can't imagine that Lego does not already have something to this effect on the drawing board already.

By all accounts the Lego Princess line is going very well, especially based on the difficulty of getting your hands on some of the sets.  Disney and Lego are not going to sit around not monetizing Frozen.

Likely the main reason we have not seen Frozen Disney Princess sets already is that..ahem...Frozen does not have any "Disney Princesses" in it.  Disney is quite protective of who is an Official Disney Princesses, and Elsa and Anna are not yet on the list.  They WILL be on the list.  But they are not now, so they can't be in a line of Princess Toys.   

Please do vote for this project, I am just speaking to the possibility of this project reaching production as a Cuusoo project. 

One other issue to consider is the use of translucent elements.  The grip strength of Translucent elements is greater than that of standard Lego elements so Lego apparently avoids translucent on translucent interconnect...or at least that is what I am told.  It is not unheard of in official Lego builds, only avoided.  This build is the antithesis of that design goal.   This is more just to say, when Lego does produce a Frozen Ice Palace, I would be surprised to see a lot of directly interconnecting trans-blue elements. 


Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. LEGO Set

Man, I have really enjoyed the last month of offerings on Cuusoo.  Scooby-Doo is YET ANOTEHR favorite of mine. 

The minis are spectacular and really do a great service to representing the beloved characters while also having a true minifigure feel. 

I have a small issue with this set and a big issue though.

The small issue is the use of the Van as a crime lab.  This is A) Not canon at all and B) perhaps too derivative of the Character Builder model.

I try to tell myself to get over it, having a lab is a great playset idea, but it is still just not an aspect of any of the various series I recall.  This reminds me more of the Norwegian's Mobile Investigation Laboratory Facility from episode 19 of Pushing Daisies..yeah, I went there...this I assume is a personal issue more than anything and not a factor for most supporters...I accept that I am a bit loony in this regard, but there you have it.

The big issue is Scooby Doo.  Savath has done a great job showcasing the existing dog elelment as Scooby-Doo, better than I expected possible, but is it enough for Lego to make a product?  When the titular character cannot be recreated in a true to form fashion, can the quality of the otherwise superlative minifigs make up for it?  

There is a third issue that will either be critical or negligible and that is the Character Builder license.  This is the real reason why Scooby-Doo has been relatively dormant.  Is the license available?  Is Character Builder still in control?  Well, they might not be, they let go of Doctor Who for one reason or another, it is also possible for Scooby-Doo.  More importantly, it will eventually be true for Scooby-Doo.  The real question is, will Schooby-Doo be available when this project hits 1k.   

So...where does that leave us....Well, Scooby-Doo is an awesome brand fit for Lego.  It integrates with all the City content, a lot of the adventure content and is not out of place with nearly anything else to some degree or another.  (Some of the early Monster Fighter sketches were even Scooby-Doo spoofs for crying out loud.)   Scooby-Doo is also multi-generational and still going strong.  The Mystery Inc. series was amazing.  Personally, if I didn't know that Scooby-Doo had a licensing issue I would have jumped on it a long time ago. 


But we still come back to Scooby...If I could see Lego springing for a custom part for any project, it would be this one...but without the "real Scoob" I just keep picturing opening this set with my kids and my son saying "that is not Scooby-Doo!" when I show him the standard, unposable, dog shaped brick.  That is the great production hurdle for this project. 



French station .Gare française

Wow, just gorgeous!  This would be a fun one to see in real life, especially as part of a whole Train show. 


Ghostbusters. Slimer & Stay Puft

Using the old dragon arms to make a Slimer is an excellent idea.  Also, Staypuff is an excellent scale, more economic than movie scale but big enough to get the point across.  I love those hands, the mouth is awesome, and those might just be the best use of Lego eyes I have ever seen.


Sea-Food Truck
by knuf1

I really like how this project recontextualizes "ocean" elements for a Food truck: Surf boards, ship's wheel, and even a shark become kitsch for a kitchen on wheels.  The car itself is well done, as is the food truck element.  Add all three together: Car, kitchen, and kitsch and you have a fantastically dense and appealing set.


Geeky Flower Pots
by gilakai

I find this a very fun idea.

5-wide Classic Car
by Hajdekr

Very nice design, especially given the very restrictive scale.  The steering wheel is a great touch.


ZX-Rogue Speeder

This design really calls out to my inner space nut.  It is conservative in scale but still has a very respectable level of greeble and some more advanced building techniques.

Notables

Ghostbusters HQ
Very well done!  The dark orange is a very good match for the actual structure.  The Lights are technically not Lego though so I am surprised Cuusoo permitted the project to be posted.
Meridian Galley
by BoB_TBT
I love these ancient Roman Bireme and their variations.  They have, it seems become the Batman Tumbler of the the ancient world.

Each offering is fantastic but none of them have really gotten any traction except perhaps the one in Medusa's Temple.  No project dedicated specifically to Roman ships has even breached 500. 
Marvel Superhero Racers
by Okay
I love Okay's work both on Cuusoo and his humorous minifigure pictures on Flick.  I am glad to see he has divided his multi-license Superhero Racers into a series of projects.  

These are a lot of fun designs in this project. 
Emotions: Classic Farm
Great MOC.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - 3 in 1 car-boat-plane
There are more than a few Chitty Chitties on Cuusoo.  I certainly like this one the best.  The use of the boat is very clever. 
The Warlock Beast
by BoB_TBT
Really well done MOC.  Lots of character.  The problem with almost any build based on a Big Fig is that almost all of them are licensed.  This LotR beast looks awesome but from what I understand, only LotR sets can use this bruiser.

The original Lego Troll is of course an option, but it does not look anywhere near as awesome as this. 
Microfighter Sandcrawler
by PePeNog
Another example of inevitable discovery.  A very impressive MOC that looks like it fits right in with the new line of "Microfighters." 

That is exactly why this project won't result in production.  Lego will either produce this on their own, or not at all.    
Code Monkey Save World
I threw this project together as a lark.  I am a cube based code monkey myself so the story struck close to home.  Also, the song "code monkey" as a lot of personal value to me.  

Of course, chairs are pretty much the worst thing you can build in Lego, it just emphasizes that minifigs can't bend their knees making them look like kids, but I like how this office chair turned out. 
Discworld - Mini Worlds
I must admit that I like the idea of this project.  Very well done MOCs.