UCS Sandcrawler reaches 10,000 on CUUSOO

​CUUSOO is churning out some truly impressive models, the latest of which is marshal banana‘s massive UCS Sandcrawler. This is undoubtedly the epitome of AFOL building, featuring a minifig-scale model with furnished interior, power functions, and light bricks. Not exactly cost-effective to produce, but drool-worthy nonetheless. It’s worth noting that the creator is the first to achieve two successful CUUSOO projects, with his Modular Western Town having reached 10,000 votes earlier this spring.

​While I’m not optimistic that LEGO will want to spend so much money on such a huge and detailed set, there’s no reason why they couldn’t scale it down a little and turn a decent profit on another UCS model. I imagine that a halfway-decent Sandcrawler would sell quite well, given the inherent “playset” characteristics of such a large machine.


​​(I must admit that I have a special fondness for Sandcrawlers due to playing Star Wars: Droid Builder many years ago, in which a lot of time is spent running like crazy through the interior of a Sandcrawler testing new droids.)

Star Wars Dark Bucket Declined

Haru’s popular Dark Bucket project on CUUSOO hit 10,000 supporters a few days ago, but LEGO has archived the project due to the lack of building pieces. LEGO’s Star Wars license is for construction toys, not action figures (that’s held by LEGO rival Hasbro.) So without any bricks, there’s no way LEGO could legally produce this set. Still though, LEGO’s got the message that fans want lots of minifigures and hopefully will produce some great battle packs in the future. Congrats to Haru on bringing this unmet desire to LEGO’s attention, even if they can’t produce it exactly this way!

Do you remember… the Future?

Masashi Togami of Team BTTF wasn’t finished after his Back to the Future DeLorean project hit 10k on CUUSOO in April. He’s back with two more great models, and he needs your support.

The first is a remote-controlled UCS DeLorean built by the inimitable Legohaulic. It doesn’t have as many play features as the minifig-scale car, but this has the advantage of actually driving! The larger scale leads to much more movie-accurate detail, although I wouldn’t expect it to hit 88 mph with those tiny motors. I’d imagine that anyone owning this model would have to continually resist lighting the tires on fire before driving into the distance.

Next is a mini-scale Hill Valley Courthouse. The pivotal building throughout the entire movie trilogy can be altered to match its 2015 appearance or the classical style from 1955. The building comes with a tiny DeLorean and even connects to LEGO’s Mini Modular buildings. This is a must for anyone seeking to recreate Hill Valley’s town square or the climactic lightning scene.

If you’d like to support Team BTTF’s next efforts (and why wouldn’t you?), then visit their CUUSOO pages to vote for the UCS DeLorean and HIll Valley Courthouse. With enough support, maybe LEGO will release an entire commemorative theme for the 30th anniversary of BTTF coming up in 2015. As George McFly reminds us, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

CUUSOO winners and losers

These CUUSOO projects are really flying now. If LEGO had any doubts about the popularity of its little experiment, I bet they’ve been quashed by this point. But yet again the success of these sets is directly tied to their popularity among the gamer/sci-fi crowd.

First up is a nice Legend of Zelda theme, complete with various bows, shields, and swords to give Link his choice of armament. The designer, Mingles, has recreated the final scene of Ocarina of Time as a reference set, which works well in LEGO. I do like the idea of a classic Nintendo line, since the low-res older games can render particularly well in brick form and many of the games are still popular today. Unfortunately, I never got to play Zelda games as a kid (due to never having a Nintendo gaming system), so I’m not personally excited by this theme. I can tell that the world and characters of The Legend of Zelda were faithfully and lovingly recreated here, and I hope that Nintendo is open to a licensing agreement.

Next up is the Firefly Serenity Playset by tbone_tbl. While the ship is faithfully recreated, this pretty much sums up why I dislike so many of the projects on CUUSOO. Firefly is the very definition of niche: the TV series was cancelled before the first season was even finished, and it’s a decade old by now. How in the world is LEGO going to sell this large, expensive toy to kids who have never heard of or cared about Serenity? Yes, I know the series and movie are cult classics, but we’re talking mass market appeal. (And no, despite my love of sci-fi literature, I’ve never seen the series. This whole post is full of nerd shame for me.) Unsurprisingly, LEGO has already canned the project, citing the limited market and child-inappropriate content in the show.

LEGO makes toys for children and occasionally throws a bone to older fans. But there’s just no way they can abandon their core market and pivot to satisfying AFOLs’ every desire. I really hope CUUSOO can become a legitimate source of ideas for LEGO, but for now it remains largely hit-or-miss.

LEGO is heading Back to the Future

“If you’re going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”

That’s probably what CUUSOO users Masashi Togami and Sakuretsu thought when they created this fantastic DeLorean Time Machine. This model has been up on CUUSOO for a long time and steadily accumulated votes until it passed 10,000 late Saturday night. The car is well done for minifig scale, but the minifigs are the real stunners here. Since Back to the Future is a trilogy, they just had to include exquisitely detailed Marty and Doc figures (and hover modifications for the DeLorean) from all three films. Check out the official project page for more photos.

LEGO’s official comments are promising, although they’d obviously have to get an official license to sell the set. I don’t know what mindshare Back to the Future holds with kids these days, but I imagine the legions of older fans who would purchase this set could more than make up for its age. The films practically define the 80’s, and I’d wager the franchise still has more fans than Minecraft, EVE Online, and Shaun of the Dead put together. LEGO seems to like the idea of releasing a commemorative set for the trilogy’s upcoming 30th anniversary, though that won’t happen until 2015.

I’m just glad that an outstanding, kid-friendly MOC finally got voted to the top. Back to the Future is one of my favorite films, and I’d snap this up faster than you can say “Great Scott!” Let’s hope LEGO feels the same.

CUUSOO Happenings

LEGO CUUSOO had a busy day, with a new model reaching 10,000 votes and one being rejected.

First, the Shaun of the Dead Winchester MOC that reached 10,000 last month has been officially turned down by LEGO. It’s a great model, but LEGO ultimately decided that a violent, R-rated movie wasn’t appropriate for its target market. You can read the press release here. Nevertheless, LEGO was very complimentary towards Greg, the model’s designer, praising his dedication and constructive attitude. Hopefully he’ll be back with a great new model in the future!

Second, this EVE Online Rifter has reached the 10,000 votes needed to enter production. Unfortunately, it’s just not very well done. My eyes hurt just looking at all those studs! Hopefully LEGO will rebuild the model in a sleeker design, as their comments might suggest. At least, as LEGO points out, they have a history of crafting impressive spaceships.

Once again, CUUSOO has been discovered by the Internet, where MMORPG games, zombie movies, and Minecraft are bigger than life. This time, Joystiq and Kotaku featured the MOC, helping to boost the numbers with massive traffic. I’m still skeptical that niche licensed themes like this can attract enough customers to make CUUSOO profitable for LEGO. Only time will tell, but I hope the success stories aren’t limited to video games.


Scott Peterson’s project really wowed me today while I was wading through hundreds of mediocre Star Wars MOCs on CUUSOO. So many concepts on the site aren’t worth producing, but this is exactly the kind of gem I hope wins out.

Scott’s concept of life-size UCS lightsaber replicas is probably the best CUUSOO project I’ve seen so far. He’s crafted exacting replicas for Anakin, Luke, Yoda, Obi-Wan, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and Darth Malgus. And don’t think that these are just the hilts either – transparent red or blue blades can be attached. (I imagine these would be rather flimsy due to their length, and certainly not recommended for intense battles.) Complete with fully-realized interiors and colored focusing crystals, these models give any expensive replica a run for its money. Combine the massive success of Star Wars LEGO with the demand for life-sized props in the geek community (either for display or cosplay), and it’s easy to see how popular these sets could be.

Scott’s CUUSOO project is fairly recent, but he still needs a ton of support to attract LEGO’s attention. I strongly encourage you to vote for his concept and to check out his impressive gallery on Flickr.

An official Shaun of the Dead LEGO?

Yatkuu‘s CUUSOO rendition of the Winchester Pub has reached the necessary 10,000 votes after it was mentioned by Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg during his appearance on Conan O’Brien’s TBS show.

It’s a fantastic model, complete with everything necessary to recreate the zombie apocalypse, but I can’t see LEGO actually producing this. R-rated violent films aren’t exactly LEGO’s wheelhouse, and the company is very protective of its child-friendly image. Besides, much like Minecraft Micro World, this might not have a broad enough appeal to be a successful product. LEGO seems to be experiencing the power of internet fads, where a niche product gains thousands of supporters overnight and is then forgotten by the vast majority.

Perhaps because of this, LEGO has introduced an approval process to CUUSOO that will screen for plagiarized or objectionable sets much like Apple does in the App Store. While there are solid arguments for and against app store censorship, I can’t imagine much pushback for LEGO’s new policy. There are far too many duplicates and low-quality projects on CUUSOO, and this should address the problem.

Regardless of whether LEGO actually produces the Winchester, I encourage you to check out the set in more detail. This is a first-class MOC that earned much respect from the AFOL community long before Conan shared it with the world. Congratulations to Yatkuu for such a creative model and the support thrown behind his ideas!