(Written by Sarah)
For those who don’t know, LEGO launched a program for Japan in 2008 called LEGO CUUSOO. In Japanese, ”cuusoo” means to imagine and wonder about something unlikely to happen or exist. The concept of the CUUSOO program is to make LEGO fans’ dreams come true. The site allows fans to post their LEGO models to become LEGO produced sets if they get enough votes. This cute cartoon by FBTB.net pretty much summarizes what LEGO CUUSOO is all about.
Two fan-created LEGO models have been produced so far; the first product, the Shinkai 6500 submersible, went on sale in Japan in February 2011. The second Japanese LEGO CUUSOO model is the Hayabusa unmanned spacecraft launched in the first quarter of this year. Both models are available only in Japan, however you may be able to find them on eBay. (See current eBay listings at the end of this post.)
With those successes, LEGO opened CUUSOO to worldwide contributions in October 2011 and determined that a LEGO model would need 10,000 votes to become an actual LEGO set. One LEGO model has already made it 10,000 votes and that was Minecraft. It just passed the review process and is in the design phase.
Surprisingly, not that many LEFO fans seem to know about this opportunity, or those that do know about it, have some misconceptions. While CUUSOO is still in beta and changes are being made, the main thing to know about CUUSOO is that it does not steal your ideas. LEGO has rights to commercialize your LEGO model should it make it past 10,000 votes. This does not stop you from using your LEGO model or posting images of it online. I also got clarification that you can also use your project and images of your project offline, for instance as illustrations in a book.
CUUSOO PROJECT GUIDELINES
- Your submissions to CUUSOO must be original.
- Your submissions are your own work and no one else’s.
- You are at least 18 years old to submit a LEGO model. If you are 13 or older, you are welcome to vote and comment on projects.
- You grant LEGO the rights they need to commercialize your LEGO model. You can continue to share your project as you wish on your own website and online profiles.
- You will receive credit and compensation for your original LEGO ideas.
- Original LEGO Model Ideas. You will receive 1% of net sales if your LEGO CUUSOO Project is chosen and the LEGO Group commercializes it as a LEGO set.
- Original LEGO Part Ideas. You will receive a one-time flat fee as remuneration for a part idea that is produced, to be determined by the LEGO Group.
- Original LEGO Model Ideas based on Licensed IP. You will receive 1% of net sales if the model you submitted is based on third-party intellectual property (e.g. Star Wars or Angry Birds) and is your original work.
CUUSOO WEBSITE HOUSE RULES
- Be respectful.
- Stay on-topic and make intelligible comments.
- Don’t advertise, preach, or campaign.
- Keep it clean. LEGO CUUSOO moderators will step in if they must.
There are a lot of good projects on CUUSOO that do deserve support. It is easier now to find good quality LEGO models as the CUUSOO staff is working hard on removing/preventing projects that don’t follow the guidelines. To show you what I mean, here are four of my favorite LEGO models that are also some of the most supported LEGO ideas on the site:
LEGO MODULAR WESTERN TOWN: “A new line of LEGO modular houses based on a classic Western theme. Each house represents a single set and can be combined with other sets of the series. The buildings are featuring an accurate interior with a lot space for a fun play experience. Possible sets: sheriff’s place with jail, gun store, saloon, post office with stage coach, central store…” - by mb_bricks (Click on image for full description and more photos.)
I like this LEGO model because it’s so original. Yes, LEGO has made a Western theme before, but this takes the theme to a whole new level by working in modular designs. There are 5 two-story buildings in this project with some extra elements around it to make a complete Western town. I can easily see this as a series of sets, maybe as a sub-theme of the current modular series.
BACK TO THE FUTURE DELOREAN TIME-MACHINE: There are a couple of Back to the Future projects on CUUSOO, but this one has the nicest model of the DeLorean that I’ve seen. It also features a hover-board, Marty and the Doc. Back to the Future movies are among my favorites of all time so it would be great to see this released in LEGO form. Hopefully, it will pave the way for other scenes from the movies, but I’d be very happy with just this. Created by m.togami. (Click on image for full description and more photos.)
LEGO LEGEND OF ZELDA: “An official LEGO ‘Legend of Zelda’ is a thought that has crossed many peoples’ minds in the 25 years since The ‘Legend of Zelda’ was first released by Nintendo. With the infinite possibilities of what can be achieved with LEGO and the immersion created by the fantasy world of the Legend of Zelda, many fans have endeavored making their own LEGO Zelda customs and creations. With such dedicated fans of the Custom LEGO Zelda, it would surely only do both the series and its fans justice if Nintendo and The LEGO Company were to release such a desirable LEGO theme.” – by MINGLES (Click on image for full description and more photos.)
While this project is a concept rather than an actual LEGO model, I am in love with the accessory-designs that the project owner has created. There is concept-art for a variety of weapons, hats and other accessories that I would love to have in LEGO form. I am unsure of what this would turn out to be if it makes it to 10,000 votes, but I’d be happy to buy whatever sets are made if it has any of those cool accessories.
THE WINCHESTER – SHAUN OF THE DEAD: “The ultimate LEGO set for all the ‘Shaun’ fans! The idea is to turn ‘The Winchester’ into an exclusive LEGO set that would match the LEGO Modular Houses line. I am also very happy to share with you that we have the support of none other than Edgar Wright himself, Director of ‘Shaun of the Dead’! Check the post on his blog!” – by yatkuu (Click on image for full description and more photos.)
While I sort of liked the movie, what I really love about this LEGO model is the building and all the zombies. LEGO has only given us one nod towards the zombie-craze with a collectible minifigure, but now is definitely the time to do more. It would be a lot of fun to see LEGO make a large zombie-themed set and this would definitely be a cool way to go.
These are just a small sample of what’s on CUUSOO. If you didn’t like these, I’m sure that there are some other LEGO models and LEGO ideas you’ll like. Everyone’s tastes are different and the great thing about CUUSOO is that it gives you the opportunity to reach out to others who also like what you like. As I find more LEGO models that I want to share, I’ll do another post to highlight them as well as go over any changes that CUUSOO implements. There are also some tips I have for browsing and finding LEGO models on CUUSOO that I’ll share.
For now, dear readers, please let me know what you think about CUUSOO? Is it a dream come true? Or do you think it’s doomed to fail? Also, if you have any favorite projects on CUUSOO, please post a link to them in the comment section below. I’d love to check out new LEGO ideas.