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The Earth Marshals... the next action theme?

Action Theme Ecology Pollution

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#1 Yatkuu

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:31 AM

You might recall that a little while ago LEGO made an open call for ideas for a new action theme oriented towards 7-9 years old boys…
Well… together with my good friend Pixel Fox we worked hard on a pitch and we would like to share it with the community today.
(to this day we have not heard back from Kim or LEGO… but who knows, maybe someday...)

We call it “The Earth Marshals”.

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Earth Marshalls by Pixel Fox, on Flickr

A group of eco-defenders – the Earth Marshals - is patrolling the planet looking to bust the evil polluters a.k.a. “The Stinkers”. Lead by the adventurous Victor Goodwind, the Marshals are a multinational multidisciplinary team comprised of scientists and engineers. They are mandated by various governments to stop this evil organization. These bad guys are mercenaries lead by the corrupted businessman Sebastian Mudflow whose only goal is to exploit natural resources to get rich, even if it is very often at the expense of the planet.

We submitted our idea to LEGO together with the above artwork just before the deadline on 15 November, but since then we worked a little more on polishing the idea and presentation so here are a couple of additional views from the different vehicles that we designed.
Note that the two factions' logos are also personal creations - the EM logo was designed by Pixel Fox, the Stinkers' logo is from my wife!

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Earth Marshalls by Pixel Fox, on Flickr

The idea behind the design of the Juggernaut is absolutely brilliant and hilarious, Pixel Fox explained me that it was a "freshly cut tree propelled machine". In other words, this vehicle cuts trees for the sake of being able to sustain the activity of cutting down more trees. It's immensely pointless.. but is completely in the spirit of what we wanted to achieve with this theme with dumb bad guys who do not care about the consequences of their actions.
The "Hazmat" outfit looks excellent in red... please LEGO hear us!

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Earth Marshalls by Pixel Fox, on Flickr

I don't think LEGO ever tried to produce a trimaran... seriously, wouldn't it be awesome?

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Earth Marshalls by Pixel Fox, on Flickr

The inspiration for the "Zodiac Coma" (I wonder if anyone will figure out why we named it that way) is a mix of aircraft carrier and an oil tanker.

Here are the main “trigger points” of this series:
  • ·    Clear dichotomy between the good and evil
  • ·    The good guys respect the nature, rely on renewable energy sources – wind turbines, solar panels...
  • ·    The bad guys use fossil energies, their only goal is getting rich... regardless of the consequences.
  • ·    The Marshals vehicles present modern and epurated designs, possible color coding : white, earth green
  • ·    The Stinkers use large and angular metallic vehicles, prominent exhaust pipes, possible color coding : dark red, brown, dark tan
So... do you think we stand a chance?

#2 DraikNova

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

Nice. Kinda resembles the "Green Guardians" project on Cuusoo.

Edited by DraikNova, 21 December 2012 - 01:04 PM.

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#3 Yatkuu

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 01:11 PM

View PostDraikNova, on 21 December 2012 - 12:57 PM, said:

Nice. Kinda resembles the "Green Guardians" project on Cuusoo.
I did not know about this project, I guess it's inevitable to have similar ideas on such mainstream themes.
The CUUSOO project seems to be a lot more Sci-Fi oriented though, what we had in mind for the Marshals is something a lot more contemporary.

#4 Wedge09

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

Really nice idea for a new theme :thumbup: :thumbup:

I think is very good for the message it carries that the good guy fight for the Earth against the bad guy ruining the planet; maybe children learn to respect the planet, I hope. :classic:

For the models the catamaran is great; in my opinion the bow of the ship should be more long and high, with a parapet as in whalers with the harpoon. :wink:

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#5 Faefrost

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

The MOC is great... The message and underlying story... Ummm how to put this delicately. It falls much too far into the political spectrum. Its trying to take a very complex issue of modern times. Human advancement and progress vs use of natural resources and preservation of the environment, boil it down to my side is good their side is bad, and force feed it to children as educational play. "Who could have a problem with that?" Honestly I don't think TLG really wants the backlash it would get from the more conservative press over something like this.
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#6 Crownie

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:19 PM

I really love both the idea and your execution of this. Renderings are great - it already looks like a produced theme in many respects. I laughed out loud at the description of the Juggernaut - hilarious, but so true to life. To echo what Faefrost said, I would be concerned that the material might seem a bit too 'real' or 'political' for a children's toy. The subject is one that is certainly taught in school, and obviously important, but I'm not sure how readily kids would choose this theme over others if given a choice.

It's so close, though. You have two factions, both brilliantly thought-out, an appropriate conflict and some really eye-catching designs. I'd buy them to support the message if nothing else, but I think some of those builds I'd want to keep. Great job on that aspect.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, and thank you for sharing these with the board - it's great to see some well-executed, professional designs. :classic:

#7 Lance

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 05:58 PM

Wow, I love this!
It's a great motivation for kids to stay green, and the model designs are superb :thumbup:

I hope this becomes a reality :wub:

#8 Yatkuu

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:38 PM

Thanks for the feedbacks, some very interesting points!

In response to Faefrost & Crownie, I fully understand your point that such a theme could be perceived as politically engaged but I think it all depends on how you want to present it and how far you are willing to go. Even in the middle of debates between radical ecologists and people held as responsible for the pollution of the environment it is always possible to find some common grounds - some basic principles. For instance, I think it is a no brainer that humans should be respectful of the planet, the flora/fauna. Nobody in his right mind could say otherwise (at least not publicly...)
Just like the thieves from the City sets these bad guys are completely dumb, they don't have any political agenda - they are just stupid and venal.
Granted, this theme is not the answer to a very complex problem the human kind as a whole is being faced with but I'm hoping it could serve as introduction material.

Edited by Yatkuu, 30 December 2012 - 08:40 PM.


#9 Jargo

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:52 PM

The eco warriors buggy, quad and trimaran are good enough on their own. I'd buy that as a set regardless of the theme. I'm not awed by the stinkers side of the theme idea though. More realism might have appealed more. By which I mean as an AFOL. With some tinkering I'm sure it could be made to work for KFOL.

Edited by Jargo, 31 December 2012 - 01:24 AM.


#10 Hey Joe

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:10 AM

The Zodiak part of the name must refer to Greenpeace's ship, what about Coma?
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#11 Brickington

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 01:37 AM

I like it!

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#12 Yatkuu

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 11:07 AM

View Postbjtpro, on 31 December 2012 - 12:10 AM, said:

The Zodiak part of the name must refer to Greenpeace's ship, what about Coma?
Hehe, nice try but that's not it!
"Zodiac Coma" is an anagram for another ship's name...

#13 Hey Joe

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

Anagrams, I hate anagrams... ;)
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#14 Echo

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:48 PM

Your designs are very nice and look very much like something LEGO could produce, but the idea itself will never get approval. LEGO would never make something that has so much potential for massive negative media backlash. Environmental stuff is highly political, whether we like it or not, and such a highly exaggerated view of the two sides of the equation that clearly takes one side over the other (The sides essentially boiling down to being the right and left of the political spectrum.) would be a very unwise PR move on the part of LEGO.
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#15 Sir Walter Maugham

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:58 PM

I share the concern that this concept is too political as well.

View PostYatkuu, on 30 December 2012 - 08:38 PM, said:

Granted, this theme is not the answer to a very complex problem the human kind as a whole is being faced with but I'm hoping it could serve as introduction material.

I don't think TLG is in the business of introducing any sort of world views or messages to their target audience: children. :sceptic:
I understand that the concept of "destroying the earth" is something that everyone can agree is wrong, but the whole "good guys use renewable energy, bad guys use fossil fuel" is somewhat of a sensitive issue.

But like others have said, these designs are great. The Juggernaut looks amazing. :thumbup:

Edited by Sir Walter Maugham, 31 December 2012 - 10:59 PM.

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#16 jamesster

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:13 AM

As others have said, the models and 3D renders are top notch, you guys did an excellent job there. I'm just not so sure LEGO would be OK with the theme itself... Though I did get a laugh out of the "Bulletproof windshield to survive stones thrown by hippes". :laugh:

#17 Yatkuu

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:06 PM

Thanks again, great feedback guys!

View PostEcho, on 31 December 2012 - 10:48 PM, said:

LEGO would never make something that has so much potential for massive negative media backlash. Environmental stuff is highly political, whether we like it or not, and such a highly exaggerated view of the two sides of the equation that clearly takes one side over the other (The sides essentially boiling down to being the right and left of the political spectrum.) would be a very unwise PR move on the part of LEGO.

I never considered the possibility that such a theme could be subject to negative media backlash... I mean, it's basically the "Agents" series with an eco twist. Again, I think it all depends on how you present the subject. The "trigger points" we have listed may not be the wisest, fossil energy versus renewable might indeed ruffle a few feathers - in particular coming from a company that produces plastic. There are many ways to educate the kids to the problems of ecology, down the line it is up to LEGO to ponder this carefully. I don't think they are too afraid of a little controversy, they did stand their ground with Friends.

View PostSir Walter Maugham, on 31 December 2012 - 10:58 PM, said:

I don't think TLG is in the business of introducing any sort of world views or messages to their target audience: children. :sceptic:

Well... I think that's really too bad. Why couldn't the kids be educated to more than just building creativity? I think action themes can and should be more than just plain good versus bad fighting.
Let's consider a recent example - Pharao's Quest. I loved the series, it's the first theme that got me into buying all the sets... BUT I did have a major issue with the theme, the story was completely stupid! LEGO makes an Ancient Egypt theme and the best story line they can come up with is Tomb raiders shooting at Mummies? Would it really hurt to take this as an opportunity to tell a bit more about real ancient history? It does not even have to be at the expense of the story line, for instance, the sets could have shown in the instructions some fact sheets showing where the designers took their inspiration - the Sphinx, the great Pyramids...

#18 Faefrost

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

View PostYatkuu, on 02 January 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:


I never considered the possibility that such a theme could be subject to negative media backlash... I mean, it's basically the "Agents" series with an eco twist. Again, I think it all depends on how you present the subject. The "trigger points" we have listed may not be the wisest, fossil energy versus renewable might indeed ruffle a few feathers - in particular coming from a company that produces plastic. There are many ways to educate the kids to the problems of ecology, down the line it is up to LEGO to ponder this carefully. I don't think they are too afraid of a little controversy, they did stand their ground with Friends.



Well... I think that's really too bad. Why couldn't the kids be educated to more than just building creativity?

The problem is the world view being put forth here is very one sided. I know in the US the theme you propose could easily be seen as having a "Greedy Right Wing Republican Corporations are Evil" vibe going with it. And there are a lot of subtle queues to that in the designs. And also remember there is a fine line between education and indoctrination. This theme seems to be dancing a bit over it.
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#19 Algernon

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

I love this idea, but it might be a little too controversial for LEGO. I hope I'm wrong!

#20 Sir Walter Maugham

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

View PostYatkuu, on 02 January 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

Well... I think that's really too bad. Why couldn't the kids be educated to more than just building creativity? I think action themes can and should be more than just plain good versus bad fighting.
Let's consider a recent example - Pharao's Quest. I loved the series, it's the first theme that got me into buying all the sets... BUT I did have a major issue with the theme, the story was completely stupid! LEGO makes an Ancient Egypt theme and the best story line they can come up with is Tomb raiders shooting at Mummies? Would it really hurt to take this as an opportunity to tell a bit more about real ancient history? It does not even have to be at the expense of the story line, for instance, the sets could have shown in the instructions some fact sheets showing where the designers took their inspiration - the Sphinx, the great Pyramids...

Teaching history though a theme is completely different than pushing a certain worldview (philosophy of how to live your life) or political message.

Edited by Sir Walter Maugham, 02 January 2013 - 10:52 PM.

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#21 lightningtiger

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:01 PM

Interesting concept......but it actually reminds of something similar I wonder what that might be ? :laugh:
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#22 CallMePie

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:10 PM

View PostAlgernon, on 02 January 2013 - 05:36 PM, said:

I love this idea, but it might be a little too controversial for LEGO. I hope I'm wrong!

My thoughts exactly. These models are awesome, they're so....chibi. :grin:
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#23 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:04 AM

This reminds me about my own project I made someday -  "Lego Eco". The baddies were Lumberjack, Oil-loving guy, female Hunter and boss- The rich man- Heavy Diamond. :D
Great designs, artworks and characters! That's why I would love to see your series  as real sets.
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#24 Zzz

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

I would buy the Juggernaut in a heartbeat. This theme is your answer to my questions: having an action theme that is a little more mature and cool. Not as colourful and simple as TLCs themes but a little darker. In my opinion they should have an action theme that is somewhere between weird Sci-Fi movies and let's say Afro Samurai. Simply weird and strange stuff, creating an immense and cool world of weirdness, not only something colourful.
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#25 Rez

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

This is neat.  The story didn't hook me at all but the set designs are excellent-  especially the two water based ones.  I wish we would see more imaginative variations in vehicles beyond "different sized trucks" and "monster truck..  that looks like a wolf!  lion! etc!!"  Any liberal use of the Hazmat suits is a-ok in my book.

Did anyone make a dinosaur related theme for this thing?

Edited by Rez, 07 January 2013 - 09:09 PM.




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