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!

LEGO® Back to the Future™ at San Diego Comic Con, On Sale August 1 Globally

The fourth LEGO® CUUSOO set is finally here! Today we’re proud to show you 21103, LEGO Back to the Future.™

The Back to the Future Time Machine was submitted by two fan builders and selected last December to be the next LEGO CUUSOO set. Based on the 1980s film trilogy starring Michael J. Fox, the LEGO Back to the Future Time Machine was chosen due to its broad worldwide appeal and that the model lends itself to challenging and creative building for both children and adults.

Fans whose LEGO CUUSOO ideas are selected for production earn one percent of the total net sales of the product. Fan collaborators on this LEGO CUUSOO project, Masashi Togami and Minifig Builder Sakuretsu, will donate royalties to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The Model
This set features such details as the Flux Capacitor, a time display tile, the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor, and LEGO Minifigure versions of Marty McFly and Dr. Emmet “Doc” Brown. You can build all three versions as featured in the Back to the Future™ trilogy, right down to the printed OUTATIME and barcode license plates. This unique set also includes a fascinating instruction booklet containing production notes, original images and fun details from the movies.

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The Design Process
The original model submitted by Togami and Sakuretsu provided a strong starting point for the product you see today. Veteran LEGO designer Steen Sig Andersen crafted the final set design based on the fan submission, input from Universal Studios Partnerships & Licensing, and the official Back to the Future fan website BTTF.com.

On Sale Soon Now
LEGO Back to the Future is available this week in limited quantities at the LEGO booth at San Diego Comic Con and participating European LEGO stores. It goes on is for sale globally August 1 in the online LEGO Shop, LEGO Stores, and select retail partners, at a recommended price of $34.99 / €34,99.

Back to the Future Films are trademarks and copyrights of Universal Studios and U-Drive Joint Venture. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Editor’s note: Thank you to those who have reported the spelling error on the Flux Capacitor brick. Please see this Knowledge Base article for more information.

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!

Results of the Fall 2012 LEGO® Review

We’re excited to share the results of the Fall LEGO® Review. In September, three LEGO CUUSOO projects entered the second quarterly review period for projects that successfully reach 10,000 supporters. These three projects—Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, UCS Sandcrawler™, and Thinking with Portals!™—have been being considered for production by the LEGO Review Board.

Today we’re thrilled to announce the results of the Fall LEGO Review in this video:

21104 Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover
It is with great pleasure we reveal that the next LEGO CUUSOO set will be the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, based upon the LEGO CUUSOO project by Perijove.

This project rose to popularity in late summer 2012, when the real Mars Curiosity Rover approached and landed on the planet Mars in its historic mission. The model designer, LEGO CUUSOO user Perijove is a Mechanical Engineer who worked on the actual Curiosity rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Perijove writes that he built and submitted the rover to further the educational outreach of the Mars Curiosity rover’s incredible mission, and to encourage greater public support for space exploration.

The final product is still in development. Exact pricing and availability is still being determined, so stay tuned on this blog and LEGO CUUSOO for an update on when you can buy your own LEGO rover in the coming months.

What does the review process look like?
The LEGO Review process goes through four distinct stages; Brand Fit Analysis, Business Case Development (including License Agreements if applicable), Model Design, and then a Final Review, where the findings of all prior stages are reviewed together. Check out this blog post for a more detailed description of the review process.

How did we arrive at our decisions?
We know you’re looking for a bit more information about the decision process, and what has happened with each project. We can’t share all details, so here are our comments on the three projects:

Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover
by Perijove
After analyzing the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover project, we learned that this product has niche appeal and strong demand from the space and education communities. The product aligns well with the LEGO Group’s mission to “inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” including those who will build our future in outer space.

Like the Back to the Future Time Machine, which was approved in the Summer Review, the model presented in this project is built very closely to the LEGO Group’s design standards and so the final product will be very close to Perijove’s original design. It has a high play value, it fits well with voters’ price expectations, and we’ve secured the rights from NASA to release this project as the next LEGO CUUSOO set.

For these reasons, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover project has passed the LEGO Review, and has been selected for production as the next LEGO CUUSOO set. Pricing and availability are still being determined.

UCS Sandcrawler™
by mb_bricks
This is a project of epic proportions; a Sandcrawler that could potentially dwarf even the Taj Mahal, currently the largest LEGO set ever produced. Unfortunately we can’t approve this project in the LEGO Review based on our ongoing relationship and collaboration with Lucasfilm on LEGO Star Wars.

Thinking with Portals
by Brickthing and Team Jigsaw
When this project was posted, Portal™ fans showed up in force to vote this to the top. As of today, the test results are not yet in; we’re still looking into the possibility of releasing a set based on the Thinking with Portals! Project. Once we have a decision, we’ll share it with you here.

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Other Reviews in Progress
The earlier review batches are in progress; you can find a summary of the projects in review on our blog. The next review deadline is Monday September 2, 2013. Best of luck on your favorite projects’ journeys to 10,000!

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!

Just 6 Days to Qualify for the Summer 2013 LEGO Review

There are just six more days to qualify for the Summer 2013 LEGO® Review. Projects that reach 10,000 supporters by midnight (GMT) on June 3 will earn a place in this review period, alongside Mini Shop Series and Batmobile Tumbler™ Minifig Scale, to be considered as potential future LEGO sets.

How can you help your favorite project reach 10,000 supporters by June 3? Share with your friends via social networks, LEGO fan forums, and to others who can help spread the word too. Make sure you ask them to sign up and support, as that’s what will put your favorite project over the top!

Who has a shot at 10k?
Well, as the LEGO Minecraft™ and Purdue Pete™ concepts showed us, anything can happen. But here are the top 5 projects who are closest to the goal. Will one or more of them reach 10,000 in time?

  1. League of Legends of LEGO
  2. FTL: Faster Than Light
  3. Macross VF-1 Valkyrie
  4. Poptropica: Dr. Hare’s Lair
  5. LEGO Bird Series

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LEGO Review batches begin on a quarterly basis, so projects that don’t make this cut may qualify before September 1 for the next LEGO Review.

But what about the Fall LEGO Review … you know, from last year?
While you’ve been anxiously awaiting the results of the Fall 2012 LEGO Review (and subsequent reviews, let’s be honest), our team has been considering the  UCS Sandcrawler, Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, and Thinking with Portals! projects as potential LEGO products.

The Winter and Spring LEGO Review periods are also in progress, though they’re naturally in earlier stages. Here’s a snapshot of all of the projects that have achieved 10,000 supporters and are awaiting a review decision:

LEGO Review Batches in Progress - May 28, 2013

Why does it take so long?
Since we began quarterly review batches last year, we’ve been learning that it’s difficult to give definite timeframes to expect results. Our posts on the review process present a nice framework for how we consider a project for production–but it is by no means an easy process. Ultimately, the products we release must fit our brand and strategy, have a strong business case, and a final model must fit our design, buildability, and playability standards. These factors are compounded when working with license partners, each of whom has their own terms and standards.

Projects in each quarterly review are considered in batches, so we announce the results for each project simultaneously. All three projects in the Fall 2012 review period require that we negotiate and collaborate with license partners and this adds complexity to the process. Especially in cases where we are negotiating with third parties, we won’t share news about some projects earlier than others.

We’re anxious to share the exciting news about the Fall 2012 and subsequent LEGO Review groups, and will do so when the time is right. Thanks again for your patience through the process, and stay tuned!

New Blog Address, Please Update Your Links!

Some of you may have heard that our blog host, Posterous, has decided to close down at the end of April. Oh no!

So, we’re happy to share that we’ve found a new home for the LEGO® CUUSOO blog on WordPress. We’ve also given the blog a snazzy new subdomain: http://blog.LEGO.cuusoo.com. Woohoo!

Please Update Your Links!

All links to the old LEGO CUUSOO blog will stop working on April 30. If you own a LEGO fan site or blog, we encourage you to update your links to the new LEGO CUUSOO blog. Now, there’s a little twist, so pay attention; WordPress adds in date stamp directories on all of their articles. For example:

So, you will need to visit our blog and get the new links manually (sorry about that, there wasn’t a way to change this).

Our team is updating all links to the old blog in your comments on LEGO CUUSOO, and we will also update links within blog posts and the Knowledge Base over the coming week.

Errors on users’ My Page and Activity Feed

Today we have received reports that users’ My Page is not displaying their activity feed or project lists. Our development team is aware of the problem and working on a fix.

In the mean time, please log out of the site, clear your web browser’s cache, and log back in. In some cases this may fix the problem. If it does not fix things for you, we appreciate your patience as our team works on a solution.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

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

Profile-fan-survey

 

LEGO fan GlenBricker interviews Tim Courtney at SXSW

Last week my colleagues Peter, Signe, Sara, and I had the privilege of meeting LEGO CUUSOO user and blogger Glen Bricker at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Not only does Glen create his own high quality projects, he can be seen tirelessly answering questions and helping others with their projects. Glen blogs a lot about LEGO CUUSOO at GlenBricker’s Review, so we turned our meet-and-greet into an interview opportunity.

In the interview I talk about:

  • Our team
  • The roadmap to leaving “beta”
  • How your LEGO model factors into the LEGO Review
  • …and give my single biggest piece of advice to project creators

LINK: Read the “Interview with Tim Courtney” on GlenBricker’s Review.