Announcing the Next LEGO® CUUSOO Set, and Fall 2013 LEGO Review Results

As promised in our review deadline post, here are the results of the Fall 2013 LEGO® Review! We’ve looked closely at each of the seven projects in this review period, and here is what we have decided:

LEGO CUUSOO #007: Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary

We’re thrilled to take the ECTO-1 and minifigure characters from BrentWaller’s Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary project and release them as the next LEGO CUUSOO set. This is an amazing model, and the set will be a fantastic representation of the cult classic film. Supporters know that Brent put a lot of love into this, and the final model, which we can’t reveal quite yet, will be largely based on his original car design. The final design, pricing and availability are still being worked out, and the set will be released later this year, so stay tuned!

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary

We’re still evaluating the Female Minifigure Set

The LEGO Review Board is still evaluating the Female Minifigure Set project by Alatariel, and we’ll let you know when we have a decision.

All other projects in the Fall 2013 Review periods will not be produced

The LEGO Review Board has evaluated each project according to our decision criteria. We’ve decided that all other concepts in the Fall 2013 review periods (including the Land-Rover Defender 110 project from the Spring 2012 period) will unfortunately not be produced as LEGO sets. However, this decision doesn’t take away from the amazing talent put into these projects or the passion supporters have shown.

Fall 2013 LEGO Review Results

What happened to the other Ghostbusters Project?

We had a special case during this review period: two projects based on the movie Ghostbusters reached 10,000 supporters within the same review period. At the time, we hadn’t fully considered a case like this. Our team looked both at both the immediate choice at hand and also at the precedent our decision sets for the future of the LEGO CUUSOO community.

Ultimately we chose to base this LEGO CUUSOO set on the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary project for two reasons; this project reached 10,000 supporters first, and our designers decided to base our upcoming set on BrentWaller’s car model. To clarify future cases, we’ve added a Guideline that states if two projects are based on a similar concept, we will consider the project that reaches 10,000 supporters first. See our FAQ for more information on this decision.

How do we make these decisions?

We know you work hard to gain 10,000 votes on a project, but that is really just the beginning of your project’s journey. Once a project reaches that 10,000 milestone, it moves from the Idea Stage onto the Review Stage.

During the Review Stage, a team of specialists within The LEGO Group – including LEGO set designers, marketing and business representatives, and other relevant team members – evaluate the project to determine its potential as a LEGO set. This involves analyzing the votes and information you give us about your project as well as factors such as a project’s playability, safety, and fit within the LEGO brand. This can take months, although exact timing varies due to all the factors involved. Every potential LEGO product, including those developed internally, goes through a process like this and must meet the same standards.

The LEGO Review Board makes all final decisions on which new sets the LEGO Group will release based on CUUSOO projects.

Winter 2014 LEGO Review Results coming Mid-2014

Now that we’re on our new Review schedule, the Winter 2014 LEGO Review is well underway, and you can expect results late Spring. This will be the last of the quarterly reviews and future periods will be labelled “First,” “Second,” and “Third” each year as described in our last post. We’re really looking forward to bringing you the Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary set and considering more of your projects as they reach 10,000 supporters and qualify for review.

Happy building!

Interview with Peter Reid, Creator of the Exo Suit

With the announcement of the next LEGO CUUSOO set still hot off the presses, we thought you might want to get to know the builder behind the project, Peter Reid. The final model is still being worked on by our designers, so as we wait for it to be produced, let’s learn a little about its history!

Exo Suit - Fan Submission, Not Final Product

Sara Moore: How long have you been building with LEGO® bricks?

Peter Reid: I’ve been playing with LEGO [bricks] all my life. It’s the best toy ever. I never stopped loving the brick.

SM: What inspired you to build this model and put it on LEGO CUUSOO?

exo suit hangarPR: I mainly build science fiction models, and decided to make a walking mechanical maintenance unit, to go with my expanding Neo Classic Space fleet. The Exo Suit was designed for heavy duty repairs and maintenance on the Federation colonies. I decided to put the model on CUUSOO because it’s one of my most popular creations.  The Exo Suit received a surprising amount of attention when it first appeared online, five years ago.

People have been asking me for instructions for years, but several of the parts are quite hard to find, and some of the connections fall apart quite easily. In its current form, it’s not suitable for production. An official CUUSOO Exo Suit will mean a more user-friendly version can be produced, and everyone can enjoy the model.

SM: Did you run into any challenges when designing this model?

exo trio in hangar

PR: I tried to make the Exo Suit look as cool as possible, which took a long time to get right. All models have their challenges but the joy of working with LEGO [bricks] is there are so many ways to solve them. Building is like a puzzle, where you know what you want the end product to look like. You have to find the right combination of parts to make it work.

SM: The road from publishing the model to reaching 10,000 supporters can be long. What did you do during this time to promote your project?

PR: I did a bit of social networking with Flickr, Facebook and Twitter, and was lucky enough to be featured on several popular geek websites. The project gained momentum fairly quickly, and reached 10,000 supporters in nine months.

SM: What advice can you give to other CUUSOO members with active projects?

PR: Keep on promoting your project when you can. Ask friends and family to support you.

Models based on existing properties (like Minecraft and Back to the Future) have a built in audience and a better chance of getting votes. The Exo Suit proves non-licensed models can also break through.exoback2

You just need to do whatever you can to make people see your project in the best light – spend time developing it, take good quality photos, think about your write up, and take advantage of social media. Do everything possible to get the message out there.

Editor’s note: The final design, pricing, and availability of the Exo Suit are still being determined, so stay tuned for further information leading up to the Exo Suit’s release in mid-2014!

Congratulations to the SEVEN Qualifying Projects in the Fall 2013 Review!

That’s right, seven! Over the last three months we’ve seen the largest batch of projects qualify for the LEGO® Review to date, including several projects that rose in the ranks quickly after spreading via social media.  Here’s a list of the projects that qualify:

  • Female Minifigure Set – Alatariel saw a surge in support for her project in early June, after her concept featuring vignettes of women LEGO Minifigures in science and technology careers took off. After over a year online, it grew from 2,000 to 10,000 supporters in just under a week!
  • ATLAS Mini Model – Education Outreach Project – This project rocketed to 10,000 supporters in just a few days thanks to the support from a popular Facebook community (of people who really, really love science). Congratulations, SaMe!
  • FTL – Faster Than Light – CrashSanders and GlenBricker created this project that depicts spaceships from an indie game where players command a starships’s systems. Imagine owning your favorite micro-scale ship from this fun game!
  • Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary – Can you believe it’s been almost 30 years since Ghostbusters came out? BrentWaller artfully re-created the fire station, ECTO-1, and characters from the classic film. Ghostbusters fans online caught on and rallied support for this fantastic project.
  • Poptropica: Dr. Hare’s Lair – The creators of popular childrens’ game Poptropica are trying to hatch an “evil plan” by proposing this concept for consideration as a LEGO set. Dr. Hare’s Lair captures the essence of the hit online game in LEGO bricks. Will they succeed?
  • Ghostbusters – Another Ghostbusters project? We hear you loud and clear! Ghostbusters fans also voted up this great project that offers another take on the ECTO-1 and characters from the film.  Congratulations, TeeKay!
  • The Road to OZ – The road to OZ might be fraught with peril, but JeremiahKC, the road to 10,000 supporters was a breeze! And with his perfect capture of such a beloved story, it’s easy to see why. Nicely done!

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What is the Fall Review?
We take projects that reach have reached 10,000 supporters by September 2nd and put them into a batch called a “LEGO Review.” From there, we decide which projects will move on to become official LEGO sets. These review batches have a rolling deadline and happen once per quarter.

Check out these three posts for more information on that process: Projects Reaching 10,000 Supporters Will Now Be Reviewed QuarterlyThe Quarterly LEGO Review: How does it work?, and Cheat Sheet: How to Pass the LEGO Review with Flying Colors.

What about the other past Reviews? When will those results be published?
Our team is working on the past several review batches. Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done, and you can look forward to news coming in the not-so-distant future (Unfortunately we cannot say exactly when). For more on why these reviews take so long, check out check out the end of this article.

LEGO Review Batches in Progress

The Winter Review Deadline is December January 6th
We’re shifting the review deadline by a month to better align with our internal calendar at the LEGO Group. For us, it makes more sense to begin a review cycle when we’re freshly back in the office after the holidays, than it does leading up to a busy December holiday season.

As a result, you get another month to qualify this time! If your project didn’t quite make this deadline, you can still qualify for the Winter Review if you gain 10,000 votes by 12:00 a.m. GMT January 6th. That’s still only four months away, so get to it!

Interview With Perijove, Creator of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover

If you haven’t heard by now, the results are in and the next LEGO CUUSOO set to be released is the 21104 Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover submitted by Stephen Pakbaz, or Perijove as he’s known on LEGO CUUSOO. The set wouldn’t be available until 2014, but you can get an insider scoop on the model by getting to know its creator.

Stephen Pakbaz's original project design

Stephen Pakbaz’s original project design (Note the final product is subject to change).

Sara Moore:  How long have you been building with LEGO® bricks?

One of Stephen's sketchesStephen Pakbaz: I have been building with LEGO bricks since before I can remember, beginning with LEGO DUPLO sets.  The earliest set I can recall was the LEGO DUPLO 2700 Freight Train.  Later, I had a big red brick-shaped bucket full of basic bricks.  My first LEGO System set was the 6833 Beacon Tracer from the M-Tron theme that I received on my sixth birthday.  I still have it on display in my LEGO room.  In middle school, I began to acquire sets with my allowance, expanding my collection and creating more complex models.  In high school, I enjoyed learning about space exploration by designing my own concepts for manned missions to the moons of Jupiter.  I used graph paper notebooks to sketch out LEGO models of these spaceships.  To this day, I often use graph paper as part of my design process when developing my next LEGO creation.

SM:  What inspired you to build The Mars Science Curiosity Rover and put it on LEGO CUUSOO?

SP:  When I built this model, I was working on designing some small parts and performing tests on the real Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.  It was my first real job as a Mechanical Engineer and the first spacecraft I worked on.  My favorite mechanism on the rover is the offset-differential rocker-bogie suspension system, which allows the rover to stay balanced and keep all six wheels on the ground as it travels over the rough Martian terrain.  Since the real rover was still under construction, there weren’t any toys or models yet.  Taking the real rover out for a joyride was definitely not an option, so I decided to build my own out of LEGO bricks.  I discovered that it was also a useful tool for explaining the features of the rover and demonstrating how it worked to friends and family.

After the LEGO model was completed, I brought it to my first meeting at the LEGO Users Group Of Los Angeles (LUGOLA), which is one of the many fan clubs, located around the world, that regularly meet to share models and participate in various LEGO displays and community events.  The other members liked my rover, told me about LEGO CUUSOO, and encouraged me to submit my model.

The rover out on displaySM:  Did you run into any challenges when designing this model?

SP: The first challenge was choosing a scale.  I began with LEGO Minifigure scale, which is about 1:40, but it was too small to incorporate a working suspension system.  Back then, I didn’t have enough pieces for a larger TECHNIC style model.  I found a nice balance in between by using a scale of 1:20, which is the same scale used for the Miniland displays at the LEGOLAND theme parks.  Another major challenge was the suspension system.  It required a lot of fine tuning.  If any piece was too long or too short, the body of the rover would lean back too far or droop forwards.  Some parts needed to be positioned to within half the thickness of a single plate.

SM: The road from publishing the model to reaching 10,000 supporters was long. What did you do during this time to promote your project?

SP: I began promoting my project by choosing an ideal time to post it.  I submitted it just before the real rover launched on its way to Mars.  This made it easier to bring attention to the model and get an initial boost from the overall media exposure.  Shortly afterwards, I moved across the country to a new job at Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia.  One of the first things I did after moving was join the Washington Metropolitan Area LEGO Users Group (WAMALUG).   Through this group, I was able to participate in public LEGO displays at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  It was the perfect place to engage the public about the rover and its mission.  The museum expressed interest in my model, which inspired me to create seven Curiosity kits that I ended up donating to the museum as well as several other institutions to use for their own educational outreach efforts.  To create the kits, I used digital models and made step-by-step instructions.  In addition, I posted them online so anyone could build the Curiosity rover using their own pieces.    Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time promoting my project through various space websites, blogs, forums, friends, and other social media sites.  Timing worked in my favor again when my project achieved 10,000 shortly after the real Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars.

SM:  What advice can you give to other CUUSOO members with active projects?

The seven rover sets

SP: Promotional effort, enthusiasm, and especially patience are crucial components for a CUUSOO project.  This applies to the project creators and the supporters.  My advice is to enjoy the journey.  During my experience, I had a lot of fun meeting and interacting with others who shared similar interests, whether it was LEGO building, the Curiosity Rover, or both.  It was also very satisfying to be able to contribute to the educational outreach effort for space exploration, even before the project reached 10,000 supporters.

Want more from Stephen? Follow him on CUUSOO to see what he’s up to next!

Congratulations to our three Summer Review Qualifiers!

As of 12:00 a.m. this morning, we have two three new qualifiers for the LEGO CUUSOO Summer Review. That’s right, the “League of Legends of LEGO” project reached 10k with just a couple hours to spare! Here are the projects that qualify this time:

  • Mini Shop Series – After crushing the 5,000 benchmark in late January, this project was able to reach 10,000 by April – only 19 days before this project turned one year old! This is truly an inspiration for other project creators, both in terms of design and promotion. Great work, Pekko!
  • Batmobile Tumbler Minifig Scale – BrentWaller was so inspired by the idea of a LEGO® Batmobile Tumbler that he actually painstakingly hand painted and dyed bricks to create a camouflage version to accompany the original model you’ve got to admire that kind of determination! This is truly a slick, beautiful model, and it’s just an added bonus that a LEGO Minifigure Batman can actually ride around in it.
  • League of Legends of LEGO – The Raid on Baron Nashor – Addam did an excellent job sharing concepts for LEGO sets based on the popular League of Legends game. When we asked him to focus his idea on a single concept, he rallied support and concluded with presenting the Raid on Baron Nashor as an iconic LoL scene to consider.

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But wait, what’s the Summer Review?
If you’ve missed the blog articles mentioning the review process, you should go back and focus on these three educational posts: Projects Reaching 10,000 Supporters Will Now Be Reviewed Quarterly, The Quarterly LEGO Review: How does it work?, and Cheat Sheet: How to Pass the LEGO Review with Flying Colors.

What about the other Reviews? When Will Those Results be Published?
We are currently working on the results of the Fall, Winter, and Spring Reviews. Be patient Grasshopper, and read the end of this article if you want more information on why these reviews take so long.

LEGO Review Batches in Progress

The 2013 Fall Review Deadline is September 1st
If your project didn’t quite make it this time, you can qualify if you gain 10,000 votes by 12:00 a.m. GMT September 1st. That’s just three months away, so get to it!

4 Questions to Improve LEGO CUUSOO

We’ve hidden something on your LEGO CUUSOO profiles. Haven’t noticed it yet? That’s okay, we’ll guide you…

  1. First, go to your profile by clicking either your username at the top of the page or “My Page.” 
  2. Click “Account Settings” on the right below your profile image. 
  3. Click the “Profile” tab. 
  4. And scroll….
  5. And there it is; a fan survey!

Help Us Understand You Better
Help us improve LEGO CUUSOO by telling us a bit more about what kind of LEGO fan you are. Please take a moment to answer these four questions on your profile. It’s nothing too personal, and we handle the responses anonymously. By taking 2-3 minutes, you’re helping us improve the LEGO CUUSOO community and better understand your needs as fans, thus helping us support you better!

It’s really a win-win situation, so please help us out by following the steps or links above and saving your responses on your profile.

Here’s a Screenshot of the Survey Questions



Interview with Team BTTF

In case you haven’t heard, the results of the Summer LEGO® Review are in, and the next LEGO CUUSOO set will be the Back to the Future™ Time Machine based on the project by Masashi Togami (m.togamiand Minifig Builder Sakuretsu (sakuretsu). But who are these builders? Take a minute to get to know Masashi and the team that inspired the the next LEGO CUUSOO set.

Team BTTF tells us they aim to use LEGO® products to re-introduce the world to the movie “Back to the Future.” With that goal in mind, they created the “BTTF Time Machine.” However, this is only the beginning for Team BTTF; they actually have three other projects in the Idea Stage on LEGO CUUSOO and say they are working on more. Perhaps you have seen the remote control-operated BTTF UCS Time Machine, the micro-scale Hill Valley Courthouse, and the minifigure scale model of villain Biff Tannen’s Ford.

How does the team work together? Masashi Togami is the team leader and in charge of the team’s product concepts and managing PR activities to gather supporters. Sakuretsu is in charge of model building and customized LEGO Minifigures. However Legohaulic built the BTTF UCS Time Machine. Before beginning a project they decide as a team which role each member will take, then they work together, each member bringing their own unique personality and skills to the project.

Interview with Masashi

Sara Moore:How long have you been building with LEGO bricks?

Masashi Togami: A little under 30 years. I first began playing with LEGO bricks at age 5.

SM: What inspired you to build this model and put it on LEGO CUUSOO?

MT: When I was in elementary school, “Back to the Future” was the first movie I ever saw. BTTF, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015, continues to provide hope and dreams to viewers today.

From the present to the past, and to the future. Since I was a child, I always believed that the BTTF Time Machine was a perfect match for the world of LEGO [bricks]. Using bricks, I attempted to create the BTTF Time Machine countless times. However, I never had enough of the necessary bricks and, as a child, I lacked the building skill necessary for such a detailed project so I never succeeded.

20 years later, after becoming an adult, I met a LEGO minifigure builder (customizer) named Sakuretsu. He listened to my childhood dream, and in 2011 we added the BTTF Time Machine to LEGO CUUSOO.

SM: Did you run into any challenges when configuring this model?

MT: Sakuretsu specializes in sample builds and the customization of LEGO Minifigures so I asked him to answer this question. There are two major points to discuss:

  1. Customized figurine configuration. First, I sketched some ideas for clothing and hairstyle while watching the movie, and tried to reproduce them for a LEGO Minifigure. The hairstyle in particular is entirely handmade and cannot be reproduced. I used a magnifying glass while creating the parts so that they would appear just like those in the film.
  2. Sample build configuration. The characteristics of the time machine change slightly between each of the three movies, which made it difficult to replicate. I edited the gull wing doors and the operation of the tires from part 2 over and over. Personally, I wanted to create it as an actual 2 person car so instead of using the usual size (6stud), I used one size larger (8stud).

SM: You’ve said before the road from publishing the model to reaching 10,000 supporters was long. What did you do during this time to promote your project?

MT: It was a long and hard road to reach 10,000 supporters. In general, we sought to gain supporters through the following three steps:

  1. Improving the quality of sample builds. Several users left constructive comments about the sample build on the project page which Sakuretsu took into consideration. In reality, the quality of the sample build from the debut of the project and that of the sample build from after we gathered 10,000 supporters is quite different.Even after the decision to produce the design is made, Sakuretsu maintains a strong desire for improvement. He went on to develop an even more accurate sample build. See here for more details.
  2. Developing a strong relationship with various media sites. We searched for community sites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc., that have a connection with LEGO or BTTF and regularly contact the managers of those sites with details about Team BTTF. They often post about our team projects on their sites. We keep a record of all articles about us on this page.Famous sites such as Gizmodo, Engadget, and Wired had a huge impact. After they posted articles about our team, we always made sure to express our thanks through an e-mail to help them remember our name and our activities.
  3. Increasing the fan base of Team BTTF. We created a Facebook page at the end of December 2011 and began updating about the status of our projects and support numbers. The people who “like” our page could be thought of as our die-hard fans. As of January 2013 we have gathered more than 1,000 “likes.” We hope to gather 10,000 “likes” in the future.

SM: What advice can you give to other CUUSOO members with active projects?

MT: The film Back to the Future taught us the following:

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
“Your future is whatever you make it.”

If you haven’t yet seen the Back to the Future trilogy, we hope you’ll take the time to see it. In order to make your dreams come true, it is important to always fight for them. Even if you fail you must always view failure as a step closer to success.

We hope that all of your wishes come true.

Editor’s note: Be sure to follow Masashi and Sakuretsu on LEGO CUUSOO and check out other projects from Team BTTF! If you’re looking for more information on the upcoming 21103 Back to the Future™ Time Machine, hold tight please. These things take time and we will share details when they are ready.