Friday, February 28, 2014

Brief Hiatus

Hello All,

I have some big projects coming, both Actual Job Work and Lego stuff so I will not be posting regularly.

Expect regular service to return after SXSW, so around mid March. 

Cheers and Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Team BttF's Jules Verne Train is coming into the station

Team BttF will soon have their third Back to the Future based project reach 10,000 supporters.  The "Jules Verne" Train is based on the time traveling train seen at the end of the trilogy and it will be the first train design of any sort to reach 10,000.
This will be evaluated with the Lego Birds and Modular Apple Store in the review starting on May 5th.  Ideally we will receive a production decision in early September, if Cuusoo sticks to its target goals.

The Back to the Future theme has recently gotten an injection of fresh blood with AFOL favorite Orion Pax coming to Cuusoo.  He has already uploaded several projects including a range of models based on "2015."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The TARDIS can once again Land in Cuusoo

From the Cuusoo Knowledge Base

Sometimes we have to turn down project submissions that refer to specific brands or licensed properties. We do this to avoid getting your hopes up for something we know we aren't able to make. In these cases, we already know the LEGO Group can't secure licensing rights to produce construction toys based on a particular brand or property, due to a conflicting interest with a third party.

If such a conflict goes away, we'll then be able to accept projects based on a particular brand or license.

The Fine Print:

If your project was previously turned down, archived, or deleted due to a licensing conflict that is now resolved, you may re-submit it as a new project. Supporters from past projects cannot be applied to a future project.

Resolved Past Licensing Conflicts

We now welcome projects based on the following licenses that used to have conflicts:
  • Dr. Who - February 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ghostbuster's on the Scene

Lego has revealed the production model of the Ghostbusters set and  That is a just fantastic. 

This set is, wisely in my opinion, more about the look and less about the functionality as this Ecto-1 sits three Ghostbusters, and I assume no proton packs, by removing the roof.  

Details are pretty light but you can see the official posting here.

The really interesting thing, is that this means that Cuusoo set 007 has been revealed, and likely released before Exo-Suit, Cuusoo set 006.   The posting does mention that Lego is working with Peter Reid on the model.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cuusoo of the Week

Open Letter to Project Creators Who Don't Support Projects

For those interested I have posted an open letter here to the small subset of Cuusoo creators who don't support other projects.  This is not in any way a witch hunt, I am not naming names.  I am just trying to give these people perspective on how these people are portraying themselves, which may are may not be accurate to their true nature.

Pick of the Week

The L. Rivendell Museum of Natural History

I, at lest personally, give a lot of the modulars on Cuusoo grief for not showing their internals.  I think a modular has to have both an impressive exterior and interior.  Challenging the preconceptions of Lego architecture and design.

Klikstyle's The L. Rivendell Museum of Natural History, however, is so fresh and complex and compelling from the exterior that I would have selected this for my pick of the week without a single shot of the interiors (though they are quite impressive as well).

The "suspended atrium" is an epic feature: visually compelling and technically challenging.  The color scheme of dark blue grey and nougat plays together excellently.  The elements of the building avoid repetition with innovative brick use and appealing variations.

Despite my earlier comments, the interior is not to be missed.  The "museum displays" are well thought out and showcase skill in small, clever design work as well.

All in all, an excellent build.

Honorable Mentions

CRG Dawnlight
by tgbdz

This is a really marvelous ship!  There are tons of little details all over that scream Sci-Fi.  It has a really excellent "clean greeble" feel with all kinds of compelling geometries that really draw in serious Lego builders. 

tgbdz continues to be one of my favorite Lego designers on Cuusoo.


When I ask AFOLs which builders they admire, the name "Orion Pax" comes up, a LOT.  And it is pretty clear why with this amazing K.I.T.T.

K.I.T.T. has become a popular subject on Cuusoo of later but this one manages to look very smooth while still conveying the key feature of the car, including the glowing red bar at the front.

For those of you unfamiliar with Orion Pax's work, I suggest you check it out

E.BE Sport Car

This is a very solid, really fun car.  The car has a bit of bulk to it but it wears it really well.  Additionally the hood, trunk, and doors all open.  There is even a excellent motor under the hood that matches the design style of the rest of the build.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
by fatfred
At least the third on Cuusoo but my favorite to date.  Not sure how many people are familiar with this vehicle though.  Tough to get in touch with the audience of such a classic.
Harley Davidson Elektra Glide
by fatfred
Extremely well done motorcycle.  I like the windshield a lot. 
Small Trawler
This is a great example of building to a scale that is acceptable to figures and the budget.
GALAXY COMMAND - Arthalian Pirates
Reekardoo and Kitbristo keep churning out quality content for Galaxy Command.   
Harry Potter Black family s house
by SHuN23
SHuN23 has taken a very interesting approach here by leaving off he walls of the build.  I think it is a smart move.
1984 Macintosh iPad Dock - 30th Anniversary
I just don't get it.  You take a marvel of portability and then you put it in a really expensive, very large case.  I always have some difficulty with "utilitarian Lego" projects.

I think this is an excellent MOC, a fun display, and a brilliantly orchestrated marketing ploy,  but I can't wrap my brain around this for a product.  More power to them certainly, but who is the market for this?

Think about it.  This is by definition only for iPad owners, which, I grant you, is a large community, but still, it is a singular club.  Then you need that special subset of iPad owners that are enamored enough the 84 Mac that they want to put their iPad in a stationary cube that mimics the look of it, all the while preventing charging, holding vertical, and one may assume, deadens the acoustics.  On top of that this target audience further is willing to pay the extra expense of having the whole thing made of Lego instead of a single plastic shell.

The team did a wonderful job playing on the business aspect of their video, but that was about entertaining people.  Marketing is another issue.  I wish them great luck, I could be totally wrong, but like I said, I always find these utilitarian projects confusing.   

Cuusoo Etiquette: Don't be "That Guy"

Or "Gal" (I use "guy" genderlessly personally but people tend to correct me)

I have waffled about writing an article about this subject because it will probably make me sound like a bit of a snob but tonight I am, I guess feeling a bit on the snobby side.

If you post a project on Cuusoo and you have not supported any other projects, you look like an expletive.   I am going to go ahead and give you the benefit of the doubt and say you are not an expletive, but you are certainly swimming like an expletive and quacking like an expletive, so the community is going to go ahead and think you are an expletive.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weekly Cuusoo

Apple Store Modular in the final Stretch
Gotoandbuild's modular has less than 100 support to go.

This is technically the second Apple store to do so but I find it difficult to really consider the Mini Store Series as a predecessor given how spread out it was.  This is also only the second modular to have reached 10,000.

Personally my favorite project by Gotoandbuild is the Urban Moto: A Modular Motorcycle Shop


Minimum Time to Product

So, last Olympics there are a LOT of projects that came out based on, well, the London Olympics of 2012.  This week a 2014 Sochi Olympics project got published.  This does not just happen with these events but they are a good example of moments in time that are..well, locked in the past.

It is very difficult to market a product for an event that is in the past, you have to find people who care about it having happened enough to buy your merchandise and that is a tough sell.

Now movies are pretty much the same thing but you do have a few chances at a second grab.  They go through phases.  There is the build up to the premiere, the actual release, then a second wave of hype when the movie is distributed for personal performances (pay per view, downloads, etc...) and then you have a few fallow years until either sequels or nostalgia kick in.

Too often I see people create Cuusoo projects for a movie the days after theatrical release.  Sure there is a lot of hype and excitement going on but if you will notice, the Lego movie premiered last night, but the toys hit the market a month ago.

Finally,  I see lots of people comment on brand new Cuusoo projects using references to the current or quickly upcoming market.  These comparisons often fail to accurately take into account the long delta between first supporter and first buyer.  

Assuming a project gets to 10,000, lets take a look at some numbers for how long it takes to get to the shelves.
  • The Curiosity was reviled on June 14th 2013 and hit the market on January 1st 2014.  That is 201 days.  Lets round that up to 7 months.
  • The Reviews are currently scheduled to take approximately 4 months
  • After reaching 10,000 supporters, the wait can be from 0 to 4 months until the review starts.
So you can see, one could legitimately expect 11 to 15 months before a product is available.  When you throw in the time it takes to get to 10,000, well, if you want to make a Rio 2016 Olympics set,  you better get going.   

Cuusoo's Load Time Issues

Cuusoo has been having some real issues handling their load recently.  For that reason they have taken down the two processor intensive aspects of the site, the Real Time Feed (RTF) and the Activity Feed.  Although this has disgruntled a few of the users, this is a pretty smart move on Cuusoo's part.

The feed is something that is fun to look at and keeps the super-fans engaged, but it is not an inherent function of the site.  The Activity Feed facilitates communication between users but Cuusoo has tried to make clear that they are not a forum.

The core feature of Cuusoo is to allow people to vote on project ideas and though many projects are discovered via the RTF, which can reveal projects trending upward, most project supporters come to Cuusoo using direct links to projects.

With the heavy load functions disabled, the core responsibility of Cuusoo, to allow people to go to a project, create an account, and support a project are mostly unaffected by the current load problems.

The lack of the RTF has made if very difficult for the Cuusoo regulars to see what is really going on in Cuusoo.  For those who need their fix, I can recommend the daily support tracker.  It only updates once a day, so it is not a perfect solution, but it can give you a good feel on what has happened in the last 24 hours.


Personal Projects

X-Men: X-Mansion

Well, DarthKy and I have done it again.  Another Super Hero Modular. Some of you love it, and probably a few of you hate it.  But you know what, it has been a blast to work on.

The response from the community has been fantastic.  In less than four ( complete ) days the project reached 1000 supporters. In less than five it has reached 2000.

I have said this before, and I will say it again, collaboration is very fruitful on Cuusoo. 

Discworld: Tiffany Aching

This one ain't going nowhere but I love it.  I really like Discworld.  I had been thinking of doing something like this for a while but could never get the sheep right so I never published it.  Then bam, one of my friends said, "Make the core of the sheep one stud wide, not two" and everything fell into place.

I know that tiny literary vignettes are not taking over Cuusoo but I enjoy doing them.  

Pick of the Week

Inspector Gadget
by jalex

Jalex really nailed this one.  Spectacular minis, fun IP, great set concept, very good scale, amazing art.  

I had no idea Dr. Claw had been exposed but apparently it was an action figure. So, if you are having a hard time picturing something in a build, do what Jalex did, homework.  See if some of the conceptualizing has already been done for you.

I think the set is awesome but it does have two issues going against it.  Brain is hard to pull off.  Very decent model but it looks like Unikitty and K-9 had a kid.  The other is the integrated gadgets of the Inspector.  Those are incredibly difficult to pull of but integral to the character.  the only one depicted in the set is the extending neck...but nothing is going to every attach to the top of the standard Lego fedora and nothing will come out of hands...

Didn't keep me from supporting it right away.

Honorable Mentions

AVATAR - Mountain Banshee

Well done Reekardoo!  This is probably my favorite Avatar project to date.  I also see that you are timing well to ramp up for the sequels.

Really clever use of the three claws on the wings.

I keep waffling on how I feel about the head.  I think it is an amazing job from the perspective of knowing how difficult it is to make a tiny Lego "monster" head look even a little bit organic, but I am not sure the Avatar community is going to feel the same way...and it is their vote that is really gong to count for getting this to 10k.

Best of luck!

5th wheel camper and super duty pick-up truck.

Wow!  Dudes, this totally deserves more than 36 support!  This is a fantastic build!  Take a look at the project.  This is a fully loaded camper.  The awning is a nice touch!

Wind-up Caterpillar
by Lipko

The third of the really fun and amazing motion series!  Check out this video then go support all of Lipko's projects. 



Small Sternwheeled River Paddle Steamer
A really impressive steamer and a fantastic presentation.  I would really like to see Lego produce one of these.

I have a strong feeling this is one of those projects that is going to lounge around in the low 100's.  Not sure if there are enough steamboat/Lego fans to pull this one through.
miniature Maersk Train - miniature train project #
by bangoo
I love this line of tiny trains by bangoo.

When they get the fully series done they should really push the collection on the Lego train community. 
Mach 5
Fantastic Build with a very well decked out interior.  Especially well done when you consider how curvy the Mach 5 is. 

The down side is that good or bad, I don't think the original Lego Speed Racer went over very well.

I don't see Lego really returning to this IP without a movie (even a bad one) backing it up.  

Velociraptor - Lego dinosaur fossil
by bangoo
A nice dino-skeleton build but it relies way too much on the lack of gravity to function and I always have a hard time getting excited over builds that fail to take that into account.

This build certainly needs a stand but I also worry about the joints that make the build, as presented, possible. The flexibility of the neck and tail come at a price...
Baby s Nursery
Very well done. 
Noir Café
I really like pulp (which overflows just a touch into noir) so this project speaks to me.  But that is more a reflection of my personal taste than viable community draw. 

The presentation is clever, I understand what MarcCorrigan is getting at, but I don't think it is doing any favors in the thumbnail view department, where most people will just see it as a dark blur.