An interesting piece of news that was revealed a few days ago on the LEGO Ideas website (formerly LEGO CUUSOO) is the next fan-created LEGO set that will be officially produced by LEGO. According to the announcement the 8th LEGO Ideas/LEGO CUUSOO set is going to be the LEGO Research Institute. So let’s talk about this. 🙂
First of all, congratulations to Ellen Kooijman (a.k.a. Alatariel), who designed the LEGO Research Institute. Originally she proposed a whole range of small vignettes featuring female minifigures at various lines of work. I highly recommend checking out her LEGO Ideas page because all of her builds are fantastic. As she was gaining more votes, and based on the feedback she received both from her supporters and from the LEGO review team, she narrowed down her proposal to one set with the three of her most popular designs: the astronomer, the paleontologist, and the chemist.
This just shows you how the creator of a successful LEGO Ideas project stays open to feedback and is willing to change and morph their idea based on the response they get. Alatariel knew that LEGO won’t be approving all of her vignettes, and instead of just leaving it up to LEGO to pick whichever vignette they wanted, she took the proactive approach and choose the three most popular ones based on the feedback she received from her supporters. This way we will not get one set with not just one, but three of her vignettes! A win for her, a win for the supporters of her project, and a win for LEGO! I really respect her for that. Nicely done!
Another interesting aspect of this announcement by the LEGO Ideas review team was that Alatariel’s project was in fact not even part of this review period. Her project was left over from the previous review phase, and LEGO was still deciding if they want to produce it as a set. Here you see the LEGO review team lumping her project together with the six other sets from the current review period, and then picking hers. Which basically means that from the current review period LEGO rejected all of the projects.
This has been causing quite a bit of upset in the LEGO community. Most LEGO fans are happy about Alatariel’s project being chosen, however there are concerns that the LEGO review team gave no explanation of why no project was picked from the current review period, and why they were all rejected. This would have been very helpful for the LEGO community; especially for those who have current projects on LEGO Ideas, or planning to submit something in the future. For example this is the third time a LEGO Legends of Zelda project made it to 10,000 supporters, and each of them were rejected by the review team. This is unprecedented, and it doesn’t seem to make much sense. There are obviously plenty of fans of Legends of Zelda who want a LEGO set, and there seems to be no licensing or other conflicts. So why keep rejecting the idea? 😕
Also, there are still some confusions about how many projects LEGO may pick from a review period. From this review (and previous ones) it appears that only one project is chosen and everything else gets rejected, however LEGO has stated before that there is no such restriction. The point is that even if your LEGO project makes it to 10,000 votes, it is not in the finish line by any means. Yes, it is closer, but you may be surprised that another project that was not even in your competition takes over and runs in first… it isn’t supposed to be a contest, but it surely looks like one, with rules that only the LEGO review team knows about.
Getting back to the awesome LEGO Research Institute with the three female scientists, it is interesting to note that LEGO is systematically and consciously responding to the demand to include more female minifigures in sets. (In fact some people accuse LEGO of choosing this project only to appeal to feminists.) You already see this in pretty much all LEGO sets released in the past couple of years. I’m not just talking about the release of LEGO Friends, but even in such boy-oriented themes like LEGO Ultra Agents where there is not zero, not one, but three females: one bad-girl, a female agent, and a female researcher. Go girls! 😀
So congratulations, one more time to Alatariel and her LEGO Research Institute project! The final design, pricing and availability for this set are still being worked out, but it’s on track to be released in August of this year, which is about the same time the LEGO Ideas Exo Suit set should be available. So keep an eye out for both of them! (This is not official yet, but according to BrickPicker the price of the LEGO Research Institute is going to be $19.99 and the LEGO Exo Suit will be priced at $34.99.) In the meantime you can check out the currently available fan-created LEGO Ideas/LEGO CUUSOO sets at the Online LEGO Shop.
Also, the first 2014 LEGO Ideas review process is well underway, and you can expect results late summer/early fall. This review period includes the LEGO Bird Project, the LEGO Modular Apple Store, the LEGO BTTF – Jules Verne Train, the LEGO Big Bang Theory (also by Alatariel), and two LEGO Doctor Who projects. Let’s see which one will make it! I think it will be one of the Doctor Who projects, but you never know…
What do you think? How do you like the LEGO Research Institute? Are you happy that it was chosen as the next LEGO Ideas project? How about the rejected ones; are you disappointed about them? And which idea do you think will be picked next time? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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