(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.
Below are the rules, in plain language and shortened. You can find the full CUUSOO Terms and Conditions and CUUSOO Guidelines at these links.
➡ 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.
- If you are collaborating with another user, you are responsible to agree on the division of royalties between yourselves.
- Please don’t use the LEGO logo in your LEGO models.
- Please don’t submit projects requesting the re-release of discontinued LEGO products or themes.
- There may be unintentional overlap between your ideas and our current product development.
➡ 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. 😉
Actually, LEGO did do zombies in the PotC sets. However, they we so specialized that they were almost completely useless outside of pirate zombies. Although I would like to see Back to the Future sets, there are two problems with this. One is the lack of a movie. If the movies are fresh (or at least have some aspect of them still going), LEGO seems more willing to make it. Even with BttF being as popular as it is, I doubt LEGO would make an arrangement of sets to fit it. Second is price. Licensed sets seem to go for more. I know there are people who would love to by the clock tower from BttF (along with various other sets based around it), but to be any good, it would likely be $200. At that price range, very few people who would want it would actually buy it. I think that the DeLorean is perfect, as it is (hopefully) not too expensive, is immediately iconic so even more passive fans would want it, and would only be risking a small profit if somehow it did not sell well.
Jacob, yeah, this is such a catch-22 situation! If you design sets that are not from a licensed theme, you may not be able to get enough fans. If you do go for something licensed, it should definitely be current so there is a fresh aspect to it. I think video-game licenses are a good option as they have many fans and many of them are ever-fresh. Or maybe create something from an already licensed theme, like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Super Heroes, etc. That way the designer catches the momentum already going on with that theme. The more I think about this the more I appreciate the genius behind LEGO NINJAGO; a theme completely LEGO’s own idea and out of the blue. Also, the modular buildings that were started by a LEGO fan. To create something so timeless, so appealing and so popular is not easy; it requires artfulness, timing and a good dose of luck. 😉
Very good points and I’m sure they will definitely be considered if any licensed projects actually get to 10,000 votes. CUUSOO is definitely still an experiment so it’s anyone’s guess as to how it will go. I mean, who would have ever guessed that Minecraft was going to be the first worldwide CUUSOO project?
I’m looking forward to seeing what project gets to 10,000 votes next. It could take months or maybe it’ll be another minecraft and snowball overnight. It’s kinda exciting! 🙂
Now that’s a great post, the next time someone asks me « what’s this CUUSOO thing?” I think I’ll give him/her the link to this right away!
Thank you so much for mentioning my “Winchester” project – I really, really appreciate it.
As a project owner on the site I thought I would share some of my experience. First of all, you need to be aware that it is incredibly difficult to get supporters – 10k is a lot of people. The main barrier is that people need to register before they can cast their votes… and that’s not the end of it, supporters also need to answer a few questions like “how much would you pay for this set”, “how many copies would you buy” and “why do you like it”. It’s all anonymous but even though… it’s not as easy as hitting a “like” button on FB. We can hope that as time goes by more people will have a CUUSOO account and will become familiar with the system but in the meantime the first projects to make it are having a hard time in gathering support because of these obstacles.
To make your project successful you will not just need to have a good idea and make a good MOC… you’ll also need to be the king of the public relations and be a pro of the social networks – Facebook, Twitter.. these tools are instrumental in spreading the word (I for one am terrible with these things, but luckily for me other people are doing it for me!).
A last piece of advice, if you think your MOC/project has what it takes to be a hit on CUUSOO, take some time to prepare it well – write a description in several languages, spend time in taking the best pictures… and most important… believe in your dream!
Yatkuu, nice to have you! Thanks for the excellent advise! Actually, I’m considering writing a separate post with your suggestions for those who would like to submit their projects to CUUSOO. It would be valuable advise and it could get further supporters for your project. 😉
I’m working on another post about how to find projects on the site so if you work on a blog about submiting, that would be great! We’ll definitely spread the word between the two of us. CUUSOO is just so exciting!
Sarah, yeah, it is worth spreading the word! It is a really interesting opportunity for LEGO fans! As you said; it is a dream come true, so might as well take advantage of it. 😉
Great advice, Yatkuu! Thanks so much for sharing.
And I’m happy to highlight your project as it really deserves it! 🙂
This so so cool! As I said on the Legend of Zelda project I am glad you took care of these misconceptioms and put them to rest. Many LEGO fans seem reluctant to join for some reason. My Dragon Slayers project made a cameo! How funny. Thank you for the article.
Thanks for the feedback! I too was shocked about how many people wouldn’t post their work to CUUSOO all because they thought that LEGO was going to steal their ideas. Crazy!
If you get a chance, post a link to your Dragon Slayers project so I can check it out. Maybe I can include it in a future post – I do love dragons! 🙂
Sure here is a link right now
I hope you like it. I would be in your debt if you put this in a future post of yours. Also while this is not a fact I thought this might be of interest for you. The two headed ninjago snakes this year I believe are based off of a two headed albino honduran milk snake born last year. Here is a link to it. THere is a reason why my username is lizard man!
Thanks for the link. I just browsed your project and must say that I am very impressed. I’ll read it in more detail and hopefully work it into a blog soon.
That two-headed snake is freaky looking. Funny that I don’t mind LEGO’s snake people, but real snakes give me the creeps.
Thank you. I am glad you like my project. Yes I suppose the snake is a bit freaky looking. LEGO’s snake people seem to come off as charming and whismical. I would find it a funny coincidence if LEGO did not get inspiration from that snake. It seems to be too much of a coincidence.
That is one gorgeous snake! Although I doubt LEGO got the idea from there, as this snake was born just recently, but it could have been a different one. As far as I know 2-headed snakes are not that uncommon. 😮
Yes it is a pretty snake. A two headed snake is pretty rare especially in the wild, but There are quite a few in captivity. What do you think of my CUUSOO project?
Anyhow keep up the good work! Not enough people are on CUUSOO which is sad. It is such a wonderful site and so many more people from the community could join.
Lizardman, I checked out your CUUSOO project, and I love the story-line! The story is well developed and has plenty of opportunities for great LEGO sets. The sets themselves can be worked on more, but the story is great! It would appeal to both LEGO castle and LEGO fantasy fans. With LEGO Lord of the Rings just coming out and LEGO Kingdoms still in, the market may be too crowded right now for another castle/fantasy line, but I believe it has great potential for the future! 🙂
Maybe you could work on some of the sets/dragons/characters a bit more to make the line more appealing in the meantime. I really think it would be a great line of LEGO products! I would definitely buy them! 😉
Yes I know what you mean about the sets. I have my first bricklink order coming in soon so my next update to the project should look much better! I have severely limited parts, but with this order I hope to polish up the sets. I don’t think the astle competition right now would be a big deal. I takes a while for the CUUSOO products to get manufactured so I think in that time it would cool off if it did make 10,000. I hope to improve the MOC’s within this week. What areas for improvement do you see? I am constantly updating this line with new sets every two weeks to a month so you can expect improvement and better MOC’s as I improve my brick collection and skills.
Lizardman, good points! As far as any improvements, I would say just make one sets from the series and build it completely as best as possible. It desn’t have to be the biggest set, especially since you have limited pieces, but that one set should really have the “vow” factor. Take a professional photo of it, or have someone do it for you. Basically have one set, one picture, that will sell the whole line in the minds of voters. It would be the one picture that would circulate around the Internet, what people would share, stand behind, and vote for and say that it is really-really cool. At least that’s how I would do it. 😉
I agree. You should pick one set, one that you know you can build, and make it your centerpiece. As it is going, the other projects with multiple sets are being prompted to choose just one to feature and be made into a set. So you’d be best served by doing that up-front.
Thank you for the help. I submitted my first bricklink order and my new MOC should be better. I hope you will enjoy it. It will be up as soon as I can get my order and built it. Thanks for everything!
Keep us posted on new developments of your project! 😉
Are you talking to me? Anyway I will let you know when I update the MOC. Thanks for everything! How long has this site been around? It is really a nice place.
Lizardman, yes, sorry, that was meant for you. I participate in discussions from the “back office” which looks different than the thread here, but it allows me to see all comments, questions and discussions on all posts at one place. But it is harder to see threads, so I sometimes put my comments in the wrong place. 😳
theBrickBlogger has been around since last January, so a year and one month old. You are welcome to hang out as much as you like. And if you ever want to write a full post just let me know. Contributors and guest-writers are always welcome. 😉
That western themed modular building idea would be awesome sets!
Definitely! So…did you support it? 😉
I don’t have a Cuusoo account, but I’m thinking about making an account so if I do I’ll be sure to. 😉
I definitely recommend signing up. It doesn’t take very long and allows you to support a lot of cool projects. Then you could post your own, if you wanted.
That’s what I thought too! I really like that series! 🙂
There’s some real nice projects on there. A few LOTR and Star Wars items too.
Definitely. I like that there are so many different projects because there are so many different interests. Is there any particular LOTR or Star Wars project that you like the most?
UPDATE: Sarah has a new post on LEGO CUUSOO; sharing some tips and tricks of navigating the site and highlighting some more worthy projects. Check it out here: Navigating LEGO CUUSOO… http://thebrickblogger.com/2012/02/navigating-lego-cuusoo/
Great news!! The Winchester made it to 10,000 votes and is now in review with the LEGO team. Check out the official LEGO comments: https://ideas.lego.com/
That is amazing! Would you like to write about it? 😉
I’m thinking about it, but I’m still working on the convention blog. Taking longer than I thought. But I do have another group of projects that I want to feature so I can include a shout-out about this making it to 10,000.
Unless you want to write about it. You may have a different take than I do.
Sarah, I can give it a try, but you are the CUUSOO expert. Let me know if you don’t have the time though and I will put something together. This is huge news for the LEGO community, and a great victory for a fellow LEGO fan! 😉
I can do it. I’ll make it next on my list. I just found a pretty cool Roman project on CUUSOO that I want to showcase so I can talk about that and Winchester in the same blog and the Scorpion Ship. Make it a short blog.
Oh, dear! I love the Roman project!!! And that ship is HUGE!!! Looking forward to your post! 😉
Yup they’re both awesome. I’m hoping I can crank out the post quickly so you can get it posted soon. 😀
I found another great set that doesn’t seem to have enough support: https://ideas.lego.com/
Wow! Those are nice trees! This reminds me; I did want to put together a post on LEGO trees! 😀
There is a project about smurfs, would they come handy, with the revival of the smurfs in the smurfs movie recently? A second movie is coming up soon.
Possibly. But as far as I know someone else already have the license. I think it’s Megablok. Can’t say for sure, but I have definitely seen the sets the last time I was at Toys’R’Us.