Hayabusa available in Japan today and at shop.LEGO.com this spring

The second LEGO CUUSOO release, Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa, is now on sale in the Japanese market and available for purchase at CUUSOO STORE Japan for ¥6,615!

For those of you outside Japan, we have a little surprise for you: a limited number of Hayabusa sets will also be available exclusively online via shop.LEGO.com. We’re still finalizing the release date, but couldn’t wait to share the exciting news. The set will be sold online to all 23 countries that shop.LEGO.com services and retail at $49.00 / €49,00. Once we have release dates, we will let you know here.

The original Hayabusa model on LEGO CUUSOO was built by Daisuke Okubo, and achieved 1,000 supporters on the Japanese-only version of LEGO CUUSOO in the spring of 2011. LEGO model designer Melody Louise Caddick designed the final model you see today by refining the concept models that were built based on Daisuke’s original project. The March issue of LEGO fan magazine BrickJournal features an article that interviews both Okubo and Caddick.

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Hayabusa (“falcon” in English) is an unmanned spacecraft built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), designed to travel to a small near-Earth asteroid named Itokawa and return sample material to Earth.  Hayabusa’s mission began in 2003 and ended successfully in 2010.

The base of the LEGO model represents the surface of Itokawa, the near-Earth asteroid that Hayabusa was sent to explore. The black tube contacting the asteroid is called the “sampler horn.” Upon contact, Hayabusa fired a bullet through the sampler horn into the asteroid. Since gravity on Ikotawa is less than 1/100,000th that of Earth, fragments floated up into the spacecraft’s sample container and were returned to Earth. The sample material was returned to Earth in the gold-colored re-entry capsule, that descended through the Earth’s atmosphere and was recovered in the south Australian outback at the conclusion of the mission.

The model also features the small gray and blue Minerva mini-lander, intended to hop across the surface of the asteroid and feed back images from it’s camera to the satellite. The actual Minerva was 12cm in diameter and 10cm tall (about the size of a softball).

The Hayabusa model was produced and packed at the LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark in December 2011. Exclusive products like these are packed by hand in a smaller factory, which you can see in the behind-the-scenes video below.

Announcing LEGO Minecraft™ Micro World, the third LEGO® CUUSOO product.

We’re thrilled to give you the first look at the third LEGO CUUSOO product, 21102 LEGO Minecraft Micro World. The Minecraft project was the first to reach 10,000 supporters on LEGO CUUSOO and pass the review required to become a LEGO product.

The Model
Each box includes parts to build four cubic modular vignettes that you can connect to recreate the Minecraft experience in LEGO bricks. One Minecraft block is equal to one 1×1 LEGO plate with a tile on top–not a perfect cube, but the best approximation at the chosen scale.

The set includes two of Minecraft’s most iconic characters, Steve and a Creeper, represented as “Micro Mobs.” The surface of the modules comes off to reveal mines and hidden resources beneath. You can build your own landscapes, stack cubes on top of each other, and build the world of Minecraft as you wish. LEGO Minecraft Micro World presents a modular standard for building a Minecraft world that can be configured any way you like.

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The Design Process
LEGO Minecraft Micro World
was developed in collaboration with four LEGO fans: Chris Malloy, Michael Thomas (suparMacho), Kyle Tingey (koalaexpert), and Bjarne Panduro Tveskov. These fans developed their own concepts alongside LEGO designer Steen Sig Andersen and the LEGO CUUSOO team, and helped us shape the product into its final version.

The concept has taken quite the journey from the original concept images at a 2×2 brick scale. Once the group saw the micro-scale concepts, there was no doubt that this was the right direction for the product. Bjarne Panduro Tveskov, himself a former LEGO model designer, said the scale “packs the most Minecraft DNA into the model per LEGO brick,” and we all agreed.

Now Entering Production
Now that the product design is complete, the LEGO Minecraft Micro World is entering production. Over the next couple months, look forward to highlights of the design process and maybe even a sneak peek into the factory as it comes off the line. The set is in the middle of a record six-month journey from concept to finished product and will be available for you by summer 2012.

Pre-Order Yours Today
You can pre-order today and be one of the first to receive LEGO Minecraft Micro World when it ships this summer. LEGO Minecraft Micro World is available for pre-order exclusively through Mojang retail partner J!NX for $34.99. To pre-order yours, become a fan of LEGO Minecraft on Facebook. You’ll also be able to buy the sets this summer via shop.LEGO.com and select LEGO brand retail stores.

Mojang will donate the 1% proceeds from LEGO CUUSOO to charity.

Minecraft™ LEGO® CUUSOO Project Passes LEGO Review

Happy New Year! Since the Minecraft™ project reached 10,000 supporters on LEGO® CUUSOO, many of you have been eagerly awaiting our update.  Until now, the project has been in the LEGO Review—a stage before product development begins where a LEGO Jury evaluates the idea’s feasibility as a product and makes a decision.

We’re happy to announce that the Minecraft project on LEGO CUUSOO has passed the LEGO review and we are now developing a concept that celebrates the best aspects of building with the LEGO system and in Minecraft. We can’t wait to show it to you—but it isn’t ready just yet. These things take time, so we appreciate your patience. More details are to come.

Updates to the LEGO CUUSOO Terms of Service and Guidelines

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve made some key updates to our Guidelines, House Rules, and Terms of Service, which we have outlined in two earlier posts here. We’re making these changes to provide a foundation so we can continue building LEGO CUUSOO and help your projects succeed. Here we’ll walk you through the most significant changes. You also might want to review the entire Project Guidelines and House Rules so you are familiar with all of the changes.

Improving Project Quality
Many of the projects on LEGO CUUSOO are very high quality and we are amazed at the talent and creativity expressed here. We’re working to help increase quality on some of the lower quality projects as well. The new Guidelines, House Rules, and TOS are motivated in large part by the desire to build LEGO CUUSOO into a vibrant, creative community of high quality ideas that have strong potential to become LEGO products.

A Focus on Original Work
LEGO CUUSOO exists to allow you to share your original ideas and to help you make your LEGO wishes come true. LEGO builders of all ages put a lot of effort into their creations, and naturally take pride in them. It isn’t fair for you to upload someone else’s work as your own. Therefore, LEGO CUUSOO only allows users to create projects based on their own work, without exceptions.

Projects We Allow
Here are some details on the types of projects that are welcome on LEGO CUUSOO:

  • Original Projects – If you submit an original idea that you conceived yourself, it reaches 10,000 supporters, and we opt to produce it, you will receive the standard 1% royalty.
  • Projects Based on Third-Party Intellectual Property – We welcome projects based on third party intellectual property (such as movies or games). If one of these projects reaches 10,000 supporters, we will handle the necessary licensing arrangements (so don’t worry about that). Like any LEGO CUUSOO project, you must provide your own original model and cannot use anyone else’s work. If we produce a product based on your project and original model, you will still receive the 1% royalty.
  • Theme-Based Projects – You are welcome to create projects to introduce a new LEGO theme or product line. (Note: We initially restricted these projects with the new Guidelines update, intending that such a rule would improve project quality by making projects more focused. However, we recognize the effort you are putting into projects like these and will instead work to help increase quality by offering our own tips and suggestions that will encourage others to support).
  • New Part or Element Projects – It is difficult to quantify up-front how many kits in which a part will be sold, and over how many years. We’ve decided it makes more sense to compensate part designs with a one-time flat fee that we determine. That fee could vary, which is why we don’t define it up-front, but it will be fair and proportionate to what the royalty would be for a LEGO set project.

Removing “Bring Back” Projects
LEGO CUUSOO is designed for you to submit your own new and original ideas to be considered as potential LEGO products. Since “bring back” projects are links to retired products the LEGO Group owns, they aren’t original or new and aren’t appropriate for CUUSOO. We will be contacting owners of “bring back” projects and removing them over the course of the next week.

Protecting Our R&D Efforts
There’s naturally a possibility that you could post a Project without knowing the LEGO Company is already developing a similar product. Because our product development timelines span months and even years, we ask that you understand overlaps of this nature are unintentional on our part. By participating on LEGO CUUSOO you agree that if this happens, you will not claim infringement against us. In return, we promise you that we will not take this clause in the TOS and Guidelines as license to be opportunistic, and will respect instances where your projects predate our efforts.

Creating a Positive and Respectful Environment
LEGO CUUSOO is meant to be a fun and respectful atmosphere. We’ve established the House Rules so you can help us keep it that way. The House Rules have two important updates this week:

  • Please keep your comments coherent. Refrain from using incomplete sentences, ALL CAPS, txtspeak, chatspeak, and the like. Respect other users by writing comments that are easy to understand.
  • We don’t allow advertising, religious preaching, or political campaigning and we do not allow content that is intended to put down anyone else’s political or religious views. Also, LEGO CUUSOO is not a format for you to advertise your business, employer, or non-profit. For context and explanation, refer to the House Rules.

Shifting Gears
We’ve made these changes to provide a foundation to help your projects succeed. We believe the new Guidelines communicate more clearly the types of projects that we are looking for and provide a clear baseline from which we can encourage high quality ideas and curate content appropriately. Now that these updates to the Guidelines and Terms of Service are in place, we’re shifting gears toward helping you increase the quality of your projects and attract more supporters.

Happy building!