For first time, LEGO Ideas picks no projects to make a reality – and that’s OK

On October 30th, LEGO posted to the Ideas Blog that they had the final results of the latest round of fan-made-projects-made-reality. And the winner is….

No one.

All 13 of the projects were rejected. But I’m OK with that. You should be too – so go ahead an unbunch your panties.

Before we get into any of the specific details as to why all projects were rejected, let’s take a look at everything that was up for contention this time around:

Image courtesy of LEGO Ideas

Image courtesy of LEGO Ideas

Let’s be brutally honest – none of these are very good. Some aren’t even built as prototypes yet. And here lies the inherent problem with the whole idea behind LEGO Ideas and fan-made submissions. When you open up and create a platform for anyone to submit a project you’re going to get a lot of undeniably fantastic ideas, with an even larger amount of garbage.

LEGO attempted to put a system in place to stem the flood of shitty ideas making it to the final round by requiring a project to have 10,000 votes. And that only even got them into the review round. But in its infancy, LEGO Cuusoo (what Ideas was originally called) only had a small number of participants, and a smaller number of folks voting on projects. We were treated to amazing short-run sets like the Mars Curiosity Rover, and the ExoSuit, and Ecto-1.

Now with LEGO’s popularity explosion in the last few years, the Ideas site has turned into a platform for thousands of would-be LEGO builders to launch thousands of shitty designs. And with more people participating, there are inevitably more less-than-stellar projects making it to the review stage as they are upvoted over and over again.

I mean, seriously, I love Daft Punk’s mysterious and awesome persona music, but really – the “project” was two minifgs with a few small accessories and helmets. It’s not going to get made folks. They can be made using existing minifigs.

In fact, let’s look at the next batch of projects currently up for review for the next time:

Image courtesy of LEGO Ideas

Image courtesy of LEGO Ideas

Aside from the potential for another big modular building for LEGO City, the rest of these are either too small, far too complex & large, or just overall bad designs. Oh, also, another dinosaur that looks exactly like the one in the previous round. OK OK, the race cars are kinda neat.

I’ll let LEGO handle the official reasons why none of the projects were picked this time around (acquiring 3rd party rights, play-ability, similarities to existing or future sets already in production, etc). Watch the video of the official announcement below:

While it may be disappointing to the creators of these projects to have not been picked – I think this is a good move for LEGO. It was time to remind everyone that LEGO will decide what is best for their product line.

My only hope is this begins to make folks think more carefully about what projects they’d really like to see become an official set. Does it appeal to a wide audience? How expensive will it be? Is it playable, or displayable? Is this something that is actually really fuckin’ cool to be in LEGO, or is it something you saw in passing and thought oh hey that’s kinda neat.

And finally, how about some originality. Aside from the ExoSuit and the Birds, all the LEGO Idea sets have been LEGO-ized versions of nostalgic cultural symbols or various famous objects. I’m not disparaging them, don’t worry – I own most of them, I’m just saying – what better place to use your imagination and build something original? That’s the whole idea behind LEGO.

So don’t despair. LEGO made the right decision.

Play well.


The Next LEGO CUUSOO Set: ‘Who Ya Gonna Call?’

The official LEGO Cuusoo blog has announced what the next fan-created official LEGO set will be: The Ghostbuster’s famous car ECTO-1, along with minifigured version of our favorite characters: Venkman, Winston, Ray, and Egon. As a child of the 80’s and a lover of the film, this is great.

While the original fan model will be tweaked to conform to LEGO guidelines and building specs, let’s hope that it doesn’t end up looking like the previous Cuusoo set for Back to the Future‘s time-traveling DeLorean – which as you may recall looks like shit.

It’s unfortunate the set didn’t include the Ghostbuster’s famous fire-house headquarters from the movie. You can see the complete set in the picture below – along with the other sets that were considered but ultimately rejected. It’s too bad, too, the headquarters and the car would have made an awesome set. The Female Scientists set is still under consideration – and I hope they decide to go ahead with it because there needs to be a larger focus on women in the sciences. Make it!
Here’s a cheesy video from LEGO revealing the winner, and talking about some more LEGO news. Visit the official Cuusoo blog using the link at the top of this post to read the full release details.

Don’t cross the streams.

New official LEGO Mars Curiosity Rover, available 1/1/14

From the official LEGO Cuusoo blog:

Stephen Pakbaz (“Perijove“), a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the actual Curiosity rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, designed and submitted the rover project to LEGO CUUSOO in late 2011, to further the educational outreach of the Mars Curiosity rover’s mission, and to encourage greater public support for space exploration. His project reached 10,000 supporters within two weeks of the landing in August 2012, and was selected for production by the LEGO Review Board this June.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 9.55.41 AM lego_mars_curiosity_rover_2-620x390

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, and I applaud Stephen’s model and it getting picked – especially since he actually worked on the rover for NASA, but it could have been so much better. I love that it’s an affordable $29.99, but I’d have been willing to easily shell out $75 or so for a much larger, and comprehensive model of this badass rover.

A while ago I reviewed the LEGO Space book, and LEGO artist Tim Goddard made a freaking awesome model of Curiosity.

Copyright Tim Goddard 2013

Copyright Tim Goddard 2013

Copyright Tim Goddard 2013

Copyright Tim Goddard 2013

I spoke with co-author Peter Reid about the build and he said it’s pretty big and complex. Perfect. Look at the size; the detail. It’s hard to determine exact size since there is nothing for scale, but just compare the camera mast, and the, uh, tail fins? Goddard’s model is quite large, and perfect for display. Exactly the kind of complex model LEGO and science nerds, like me, would want. Not some piddly little one dwarfed by Darth Vader’s TIE fighter. The real Curiosity Rover is roughly the size of a large sedan car.

I’m happy Curiosity got a model, but it’s disappointing. It kind of confuses me how LEGO will put so much detail and scale into something like their modular buildings, but then skimp on something like this. Yes, I am aware it’s based off Stephen Pakbaz’s model and it’s probably about the same size as he originally made it. But, LEGO reserves the right to change/modify the models as they see fit. Here was one instance where they should be drastically upscaled.

Tuesday Tirade: The LEGO DeLorean set looks like crap

If you’re like me you probably weren’t aware there was an entire division of LEGO called LEGO CUUSOO. Basically it’s a place where fans can create their own LEGO models or sets and post them publicly. If they get enough supporters backing their idea (10,000 minimum), then they are considered by LEGO for official production. It’s fairly new and there have only been four official Cuusoo models released.  What’s the bonus (aside from having your model put into production)? You get a cut of the profits too. It’s only 1% of the total net sales, but hey it’s better than a kick in the face. In fact, the Exo-Suit from the LEGO Space book I reviewed a while ago was LEGO-BTTF-DeLorean-1chosen as #6 to be produced.

Anyway, on to today’s tirade.

LEGO Cuusoo model #4, which has just recently been released was the DeLorean time machine made famous by the Back To The Future movies.

But, holy crap does it look terrible. I mean, just look at it. I don’t know what’s going on with the tiny roof and the frame. The front end is blocky and ugly. Look, I applaud the person who made the original model that was voted on, but this is pretty terrible by LEGO standards.

This is what the originally submitted model looked liked that was voted up:
thumb640x360It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the final product. It’s at this point I should tell you LEGO reserves the right to tweak your model before its final official release. In this case, they made it worse. According to GeekDad, the design changes were to accommodate some interior details, but, poor form I still say.

Thankfully, the same designer who made the original before LEGO slaughtered it is at it again. Check out his hopeful model of the DeLorean for LEGO’s Ultimate Collector’s Series:
thumb640x360-4Not only does it look fantastic – it’s also larger and is remote controlled. It’s only a little over 500 votes away from hitting that 10,000 mark, too! Click the picture to go to the LEGO site for it. This is one I could get behind.

I’d also like to give a shoutout to Zach Sweigart who created another model of the DeLorean back in 2006. His looked pretty badass as well. Click the picture of the link to visit his site to see many more pictures.

I know this seems like a weird thing for a Tuesday Tirade, but as a fan of LEGO it’s pretty disappointing to have such an sub-par model. LEGO usually has excellent standards and a great attention to detail. At a time when people are creating literal masterpieces of architecture and art with LEGO bricks I feel this set is pretty far below par.