Fan blog New Elementary reveals Exo-Suit logo

Today, Tim Johnson over at New Elementary has revealed the first piece of the upcoming Exo Suit; the logo. Here at LEGO® CUUSOO, we’ve been working with Exo Suit creator Peter Reid and some of his local AFOL friends on the set’s launch. We’re very excited about this collaboration and looking forward to bringing you the Exo Suit.

Check out the Exo Suit logo on New Elementary

Stay tuned for more news both here on the LEGO CUUSOO blog and throughout the adult LEGO fan community.

LEGO Ghostbusters Set Revealed at ToyFair New York

Today we gave a first look at 21108 LEGO® Ghostbusters™ to select collector and LEGO fan press at ToyFair New York, and here it is for you as well!

It’s not every year a pop culture classic like Ghostbusters has a big anniversary, so the team here at LEGO CUUSOO has been working overtime to make this set available as soon as possible. 21108 LEGO Ghostbusters will be available for purchase in June 2014 for USD $49.99 / CAD $59.99.

First, some details from the set’s description:

This fun and iconic vehicle from the blockbusting ‘80s movie is fully loaded with all the paranormal detection equipment needed to track down those ghastly ghosts. It also features cool Ghostbusters logo decoration, removable roof, tracking computer and seats for 3 minifigures.

Now, enjoy a first look at this exciting upcoming set:

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While LEGO fan builder Brent Waller couldn’t join us at ToyFair, we’ve learned from working with him just how big of a Ghostbusters fan he is. He recently told us; “As a child I would recreate Ghostbusters out of LEGO [bricks]. I had a very primitive Ecto-1, Ecto-1A and the Firehouse as well as all of the main characters with “Classic Space” air-tanks for Proton Packs. As an adult rediscovering my love of LEGO [building], recreating it now was a way of recapturing that unbridled creativity of my youth.” Here’s the man you have to thank for this awesome set in full costume, including Proton Pack:

Brent Waller

Exo Suit Progress

For those of you watching closely, yes we did skip a number! The design process for the Exo Suit, our sixth LEGO CUUSOO set, is coming along nicely–however we’re not quite ready to share details. Fan builder Peter Reid is giving us input on the Exo Suit design as we move it toward production, and you can expect more updates on this LEGO fan favorite throughout the Spring.

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!

Six Winter LEGO Review Qualifiers and a New Review Schedule

Earlier this morning (12:00 a.m. GMT to be exact) the deadline passed for projects to qualify for the Winter 2014 LEGO Review. The last four months has brought us six new qualifying projects, and several fan favorites. Congratulations to everyone who qualified! During the upcoming Winter LEGO Review period, we will consider:

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What is the Winter LEGO Review?

We take the projects that have reached 10,000 supporters by January 6th and put them into a batch called a “LEGO Review.” From there, we decide which projects will move on to become official LEGO sets, and which are not possible to produce. These review batches have a rolling deadline and now happen three times each year. Check out this Knowledge Base article for more information: What is the “LEGO Review” and what is the current status of projects in review?

Reviews Now Three Times Each Year

The LEGO Review schedule is shifting from a quarterly schedule to three times each year. While reviews will happen less often, this shift aligns the review schedule with the rest of the LEGO Group’s internal processes in a way that allows us to release results more regularly. Review deadlines will now be early May (First Review), September (Second Review), and January (Third Review) each year.

Our goal is to deliver results for qualified projects from the previous period as (or soon after) each new period begins. This means instead of waiting up to nine months for review results like in the past, you’ll see results approximately four months after a review period begins.

2014 LEGO Review Schedule

2014 LEGO Review Schedule

From Passing Review to “Box in Your Hands”

The most intense part of the process comes after we announce review results. During the Production stage, our professional model designers finalize the design, while others create the graphics and building instructions, produce the sets in the factory, and ship them to distribution centers (warehouses) around the world so they’re available to buy. We’re working to shorten production times for you, but we’re still bound by the laws of physics. We don’t have replicators, teleportation, or delivery drones just yet!

Fall 2013 LEGO Review Results Coming Soon

Now that we’re back from the holidays, the LEGO Review Board is finishing up the results of the Fall 2013 LEGO Review. Look forward to these results over the next several weeks.

The First 2014 LEGO Review Deadline is May 5th

Projects that reach 10,000 supporters by 12:00 a.m. GMT May 5th will be included in the First 2014 LEGO Review. You have four months to help your favorite project reach 10k to be reviewed as a potential future LEGO set, so get busy and good luck!

LEGO® NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Available January 1st

Hailed by NASA as a “miracle of engineering” when it landed on Mars in August, 2012, we’re thrilled to present a LEGO set based on this historic spacecraft. The fifth LEGO CUUSOO set, 21104 NASA Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, will be available in the LEGO Shop online for $29.99 from January 1st, 2014.

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.

The Model

This LEGO version of the highly advanced mobile laboratory features lots of great details, such as 6-wheel rocker-bogie suspension, articulated robotic arm and multiple camera sets, plus a display plate complete with LEGO brick Martian rocks – perfect for testing out the rover’s go-anywhere suspension! Similar to other LEGO CUUSOO sets, the building instruction booklet also includes background information about the fan builder, the history of Mars exploration, and the real Curiosity Rover.

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In His Own Words

Stephen Pakbaz recently received his very own Curiosity Rover LEGO sets and would like to share with you this review:

I was extremely excited to receive the official LEGO model of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover in the mail. Opening the box was followed by a lot of high-pitched giggling (I was the only one in the room, so I’m not sure who it could have come from!). For me, the building experience was similar to what I felt when the real Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars. Thanks to everyone at LEGO CUUSOO who made this possible!

The Curiosity rover is one of my favorite and most popular creations. Understandably, I was very interested in what the final model would look like, since the LEGO design process depends on many factors in order to meet their high standards. Ultimately, there is not much of a difference between the official model and my prototype and I can see how the differences add up to significant improvements on my original design. My favorite improvement is the use of the Black Steering Arm, which uses ball joints to connect the rocker-bogie suspension to the swiveling arm on top of the rover body. It makes the rover even more accurate, robust, and easier to put together. It is one of the more rare LEGO elements and if I had known that it existed three years ago, I’m sure I would have used it too.

The instruction booklet was another important part of the set that I was looking forward to. It is a high quality booklet packed with all sorts of images and educational information about the rover, including some of the fascinating history of Mars exploration. My favorite parts are the tidbits added to the margins of the building steps that provide extra information about various components of the rover as you build them.

Above all, the LEGO Curiosity model is not just a display piece. It has a functioning rocker-bogie suspension system and fully articulated robotic arm. It can be used to explore the unknown regions of your house or office. After climbing the outer walls of Carpet Crater and descending into Couch Canyon you will finally be able to determine if your living room was ever capable of supporting microbial life!

– Stephen Pakbaz

The Curiosity Mars Rover was developed by scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is a NASA facility managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. For more information about Curiosity, visit http://mars.nasa.gov/msl.

U.S. Design Patent D673,482.

Updates to the Guidelines, House Rules, and Terms of Service

Today we’re introducing some updates to LEGO® CUUSOO’s Guidelines, House Rules, and Terms of Service based on things we’ve learned over the last two years. These changes will help focus the contents of your projects toward what we’re able to commercialize through LEGO CUUSOO. We’ve seen a lot of great ideas and models from you, but not everything fits what is practical or possible to make and sell.

Now that we’ve been through a few LEGO Review periods, it’s easier to decide what types of submissions work as potential sets and what kinds don’t. In order to nurture a pipeline that’s more in line with what is possible to produce, these changes narrow the scope of what we’ll consider.

What’s changing?

The new Guidelines, House Rules, and Terms of Service clarify and refine what types of submissions we’ll consider as potential LEGO sets. Our goal is to make review decisions more quickly, which means new CUUSOO sets will get into your hands sooner.

Highlights

Here are some changes we would like to highlight:

New Guideline What This Means 
Brick-Based Construction Toy Projects Only Please only create projects suggesting standard LEGO sets and not new parts, software, websites, apps, or non-LEGO brick based products (backpacks, mugs, etc).
One Project = One LEGO Set Projects should only suggest single stand-alone LEGO sets, and not a series of products or a playtheme.
No Minifigure Series or “Battle Packs” We no longer allow projects suggesting solely minifigures, minifigure collectibles, “battle packs,” “character packs,” etc.
Only Use Authentic LEGO Parts Please do not include non-LEGO brand bricks in your projects, whether from competing brands or after-market customizers.
No Company Logos or Team Mascots We no longer consider projects consisting of company, team, or organization logos or mascots.
Please Don’t Use Our Logos You may not use the LEGO Logo (or represent it), or any of our other logos in a way that could imply we endorse your project. See this guide for clarification.

CUUSOO Sets and Potential Playthemes

LEGO CUUSOO is set up to evaluate and release single LEGO set concepts that reach 10,000 supporters, and not playthemes, product ranges, or parts. The LEGO Minecraft concept proved so popular that the LEGO Group decided to release more sets as a continuation of our license agreement with MOJANG. This is really exciting because even more people will be able to celebrate their love for building, both with LEGO bricks and in the Minecraft universe!

While this naturally gives hope that your concepts could also make it to “theme status,” our team still sees future scenarios like this as incredibly rare. Nevertheless, it is a possibility, so we’ve also added Guidelines language that clearly states we don’t offer credit or compensation for any potential follow-up sets, since those are developed by us outside of LEGO CUUSOO.

New House Rules

It’s occasionally necessary to remind people of our expectations of respect, etiquette, and fair behavior, so we’re adding these two House Rules:

  • Respect Privacy. You may voluntarily link to your social media accounts on your profile but please do not share your email address, phone number, or other contact details. Never share someone else’s personal details that are not readily available on their LEGO CUUSOO profile.
  • One Account Per Person. LEGO CUUSOO is designed for creative people who play fairly and honestly. Secondary accounts will be removed when discovered and users who operate multiple accounts risk being permanently banned from participation. Please refrain from creating “team” or group accounts.

Guidelines, House Rules, and Terms of Service, oh my!

We refer to these a lot, but what is the difference between them? Here’s how these documents relate to each other:

CUUSOO Guidelines House Rules Hierarchy - Cropped

Moving Forward

Our team has learned a lot over the last two years of the LEGO CUUSOO Open Beta. We’ve browsed your great projects and ideas, and have had the privilege of evaluating those that make it into the LEGO Review. We’ve learned volumes about what’s possible to produce and what isn’t within the CUUSOO framework.

As a result of these changes, there are now many existing projects we won’t consider anymore. Many projects that no longer fit will soon be removed and their creators notified. Owners of projects that can be modified to fit the Guidelines will also be contacted. To simplify the administration of this change, projects with over 1,000 supporters will have until December 31 to make the necessary changes, and projects under 1,000 are asked to make the necessary changes before they reach 1,000 supporters.

Know that we can’t express enough how much we appreciate the passion and energy that goes into each and every one of your submissions, even if we’re not able to make them. Thanks again for enthusiastically sharing with us the things you would like to see made into future LEGO products and we’re looking forward to making more LEGO wishes come true as we grow.

Interview: How do LEGO® CUUSOO sets get reviewed and produced?

Want to know a little more about how we review your LEGO® CUUSOO projects to become LEGO sets? Today the ReBrick blog features an interview with our Business Manager, Daiva S. Naldal. She’s responsible for bringing LEGO CUUSOO sets to market!

Daiva

Daiva has over ten years’ experience at the LEGO Group and has worked on products ranging from LEGO Castle, Sports, Minifigures, and was responsible for building up LEGO Architecture. Now she brings her passion and business savvy to leading the LEGO Review and producing sets for LEGO CUUSOO.

So, hop on over to ReBrick and read a little bit about how the process works, in Daiva’s own words.

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!

Results of the Winter, Spring, and Summer LEGO® Reviews

It’s been a busy summer for us. We’re finally able to share the results of not one but three review periods: Winter 2012, Spring, and Summer 2013. We’ve looked closely at each of the ten projects in this these review periods, and here is what we have decided:

LEGO CUUSOO #006: Exo Suit

We’re thrilled to take Peter Reid’s original Exo Suit concept and create a LEGO® set based on it. The set is now in development, which means professional LEGO designers are creating the final version that will become the LEGO CUUSOO set. Final design, pricing, and availability are still being determined, and we’ll reveal the final product leading up to its release in 2014.

Exo Suit - Fan Submission, Not Final Product

We’re still evaluating the Land-Rover Defender 110

We’re still in the process of evaluating the Land-Rover Defender 110 by Sheepo. We’ll let you know once we have a decision on whether it will be released as a set!

All other projects in the Winter 2012, Spring and Summer 2013 Review periods will not be produced.

The LEGO Review Board has evaluated each project these three review periods according to our decision criteria. We’ve decided that all other concepts in the Winter 2012, Spring, and Summer 2013 periods (including the Thinking with Portals! project from the Fall 2012 period) will unfortunately not be produced as LEGO sets. Sometimes our best hopes and plans end up not working out. After a thorough evaluation, the LEGO Review Board has determined that we will not release a set based on any of these projects. We realize this is disappointing to some, so please know that this decision does not take away from the beauty and effort put into these projects by each talented LEGO fan.

Winter, Spring, & Summer LEGO Review Results

How do we make these decisions?

We know how hard you work, vote, and spread the word to see your favorite concepts become reality. Once a project reaches 10,000 supporters, our team is then responsible for deciding what sets LEGO CUUSOO will produce according to our criteria and business model.

By gaining 10,000 supporters, a fan-submitted project moves from the Idea Stage to the Review Stage, where it earns the opportunity to be considered as a future LEGO® set in a quarterly process called the “LEGO Review.” Gaining 10,000 Supporters is just the first step in this process.

During the LEGO Review, we take your vote and the the information you give us in the brief support survey into consideration. This contributes to the Review Board’s analysis of a project’s potential as a LEGO set.

The “LEGO Review Board” composed of LEGO set designers, marketing and business representatives, and other relevant team members across the LEGO Group examines each qualified project. They evaluate concept models and determine if the concept meets our high standards for what it takes to be a LEGO product; including factors such as playability, safety, and fit with the LEGO brand.

Every potential LEGO product, including those developed internally, goes through a process like this and must meet the same standards. The amount of time this takes varies due to all the factors involved, however, know that every set must be fully evaluated before we make a decision about its viability as a set.

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

Fall LEGO Review Results Coming Early 2014

The Fall 2013 Review results will be available in early 2014

We’ve already started our review of the seven projects from the Fall 2013 period, and we’ll share the results in early 2014. Our team is looking forward to bringing you the Exo Suit and considering more of your projects as they reach 10,000 supporters and qualify for review.

Happy building!

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!