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Next CUUSOO set: 21103 Back to the Future™ Time Machine

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Someone at Brickset mentioned that Danish television talked about CuuSoo, they showed all four models.

(models are shown 1m30s in)

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Interesting! It's quite a surprise to see that sketch models were created for all the sets that made it to review. I think that's a pretty good indication that contrary to popular belief, the Modular Western Town would not have been dismissed within a week with AFOLs left in the dark for months.

Could TLG have dismissed the Modular Western Town right off the bat due to licensing complications? Probably, but then again they have a history of "pushing the envelope" when it comes to licensing complications, so it doesn't surprise me that they might have struggled to find a work-around for the MWT (or at least hoped to approve it and delay the release until after The Lone Ranger). The dismissal then could mean that either they discovered their work-around wasn't gonna fly by Disney, or that it was decided that waiting for The Lone Ranger sets to end would be a poor choice that would involve betting against a franchise the company had a significant stake in.

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I think they pretty much would have to create sketch models of anything that passes that initial "brand appropriate" test. If for no other reason that the sketch model helps them estimate the costs of a project.

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Wow! That modular that guy got off the shelf was pretty cool. It would've been nice to know what they said though.

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It would've been nice to know what they said though.

I'm translating the whole thing right now. I'll have it ready for you in half an hour or so :) - just be patient!

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It's a bit sad that the people in here who don't understand Danish (which, let's face it, are most of you) won't be able to make much sense of the story, because it's really quite interesting. So I've done a rough translation for you.

The people involved are:

The news reader (NR)

Svend Erik Saksun (SES), labeled "retired" in the news story, but he's the ambassador for the Danish LUG "Byggepladen".

Michael Aae (MAa), journalist, DR (the Danish national state broadcaster)

Troels Lange Andersen (TLA), Senior Business Developer, LEGO

Jan Christensen (JC), Communication Manager, LEGO.

Here we go!

NR: Several companies have discovered that they could make a lot of money from the ideas of amateur inventors. One of those companies is LEGO. (pointing to the Minecraft set) The bricks I have here make up one of LEGO's new products, Minecraft, and that idea comes from a private fan. And there is more on the way, because LEGO has organised the process of collecting ideas from amateurs, into a system.

(cut to Svend Erik Saksun climbing ladder)

NR (off camera): Let's start with one of the people who hope to have an idea slip through the needle's eye at LEGO.

SES (while climbing ladder): This requires a steady hand, because otherwise it might... (inaudible)

MAa: Svend Erik Saksun has built with LEGO bricks all his life.

SES: The whole harmony of this building, and the finish up here, stuff like that adds a bit more fun to the whole thing. And these (pointing to the 2x2 corner panels) haven't been used this way before.

MAa: In this household, one does not adhere to LEGO's printed instructions.

SES: These are ideas that come from within, and then they emerge through the hands.

MAa: And the stuff that emerges is both big stuff and small stuff.

SES: This guy, Harry the Hedgehog, he's been around the world on the internet. There are many elements that you'd think couldn't be used to create animals, but he does look a lot like a little hedgehog...

(The clip goes silent for a couple of seconds, but I'd be surprised if this isn't pretty accurate)

MAa: Svend Erik has designed several hundred new LEGO models.

SES: Well, design... that's a big word. But yes, I invent, I make things from my own imagination every single week, I actually do.

MAa: Around the world, LEGO has at least 180,000 fans who, like Svend Erik Saksun, design their own models. And LEGO has discovered that what their fans create at home, presents enormous opportunities.

TLA: We have a webpage where we encourage regular people to give us ideas for products to make. (off camera) There's the Rifter from EVE Online, which we're also studying...

MAa: The webpage is called CUUSOO. That's Japanese, and it means "imagination".

TLA: It's great if we can find something there that we wouldn't have thought of ourselves.

MAa: On this site, fans from all over the world have uploaded their suggestions for new LEGO models over the past year or so.

TLA: Right now we have... we've got more than 10,000 ideas in our bank.

MAa: The other fans vote for their favourite models.

TLA: When an idea receives 10,000 votes, we guarantee that we'll take it into consideration.

MAa: That happens every third month. Today, there are four models on the table. One of them will be produced by LEGO. Troels Lange Andersen and Jan Christensen will help decide which one.

TLA (off camera, about the Rifter): Shall we start wil this one?

JC: Yes.

TLA: This is a real biggie (laughing).

JC: Yeah, it's a real biggie.

TLA: The model, as it currently stands, is relatively instable and unwieldy. It won't be... you could say it's not a play model.

TLA (about the DeLorean): This is the time machine from the movie Back to the Future, a Steven Spielberg movie from 1985. There aren't all that many kids that know Back to the Future...

JC: No, no, but it's still a cool car.

TLA: Yes, it is.

JC: And if I had bought it, I know that my six-year-old boy would want to play with it because it's a cool car, and I'd like to have it on display because I remember the movie.

TLA (about the Zelda project): This one... it's a game from Nintendo. It's got its own universe, and the players have proposed ideas for minifigures that we'll have a hard time making... right away. Because they require new elements. There are some figures with ears, long elves' ears and stuff.

TLA (about the Modular Western Town): The basic idea of this one is that you can remove elements, like this...

JC: Ah! That's nice.

TLA: And then you can decide how big you want your modules to be.

JC: Great.

TLA: I have to say, I really like this one.

JC (turning it around): And can you... is there anything... yeah, there's a prison in here!

TLA: Yeah, there's a prison in here, where you can put a bandit in jail.

MAa: Each of these four models have collected more than 10,000 fans' votes on the CUUSOO webpage. One of those votes came from Svend Erik.

SES: This Western Town, Western Modular Town, I am absolutely crazy about. And it's in my genre.

MAa: By letting fans vote for models created by other fans, LEGO gets even more out of their webpage.

TLA: When people vote for an idea, they tell us... they give us some indications of how much they're willing to pay for a product, and how many they'd want to buy, so we've got some data that tell us that if we are to make this product, we'll have to offer it at this specific price.

MAa: The amateur designers that manage to get their model into an authorised LEGO box, get paid in cash.

TLA: As of now, we actually give one percent of our revenue on the product, to the fan who gave us the idea.

SES (off camera): And then a four...

MAa: But it's not the money that attracts the amateurs.

SES (off camera): ...and an eleven...

SES: All of us, at least the hardcore fans, we strive to... or let me say, dream of... it would be amazing to have one's name on a LEGO model. It's as simple as that. It doesn't get much bigger than that.

SES (off camera): I've made this game, Tric-Trac. Of course, it's based on the existing game, but I've made my own version and built it out of LEGO, and tried to get it to look nice and work properly. It's going onto the CUUSOO site because I want all the world to be able to participate and play this game. It's just a matter of hitting the right key - then, who knows, maybe Tric-Trac is just the product that can get Svend Erik onto the world map. (laughing)

NR (off camera): So, the amateur inventors, like Svend Erik Saksun, risk spending several hours on something that still doesn't end up being bought by a company. (moving on to another story).

That's all! Feel free to ask questions if something's unclear. I hope you've enjoyed the translation - after all, I need to provide a favour for the community every now and then to deserve the title I so proudly carry :)

DISCLAIMER: I've just translated the piece. That means I can't be held accountable for any errors in the piece itself - like the reporter claiming that CUUSOO means "imagination", when we've been told all along that it means "wish"; or that he says that "one of the models will be produced by LEGO" like there's a guarantee that one model will be produced every quarter. I don't know if such a guarantee exists - I doubt it, but again: I've just translated it!

Reason for edit: Spelling, grammar - and disclaimer.

Edited by L@go

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Wow! Thanks for that translation, L@go!

I voted for the MWT, but not for the other models. I was certain that I was going to go into production. Pretty disappointed by that decision, but I believe there may still be a future for something like that.

I'm a huge fan of Back to the Future, but the Delorean model doesn't do a lot for me. Depending on the final product though, there is a very good chance I would buy it just for the sake of having an official BttF Lego set.

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Thank you for the translation. I have been unable to watch the video due to computer. I am with most people in the line of thinking the MWT would have passed, but it did involve licensing, just not in the way we expected. I have to wait and see BTTF set, but I think it would be worthwhile to have it as a display piece (depending on price and design).

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It's good to see all four prototypes. I'm not too keen about the windscreen or doors on the Delorean, but even if they don't change much I'm still getting it. I just got the BTTF trilogy on Blu-ray for Christmas, but I got it a few days earlier as I would see my cousin for Christmas ( so we get each others presents early). It was such a coincidence when the next day I awoke to the news that LEGO is making this. I Can't wait to get this, I know it would have required a new Mold but it would be really cool to have gotten Einstein with this. Well maybe in the future, after all there's a lot of BTTF on CUUSO. Maybe it will turn into a small theme.

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I'm not too keen about the windscreen or doors on the Delorean, but even if they don't change much I'm still getting it.

They probably might for better conveniance or even detail. They built the model like that to just get a better idea of what they are working with, and tangible models are better to analyze than pictures.

-Omi

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This is one set I can't wait to get. LEGO + Back to the Future = Instant win. I just hope the price isn't too extreme...

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The Back to the Future series are my favorite movies. I was so excited to learn that they were coming out with this set. I can't wait to get it! :classic:

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Man, I've been away from EB too long over the holidays - so much great news! The new Palace Cinema, this... too much LEGO stuff to keep up with!

It's unfortunate that beautiful-looking western town didn't make it, but honestly I'd have been shocked if it had. I don't quite get the reasoning; the "conflict" with an ongoing project (presumably The Lone Ranger) seems to me to make sense only if there's some sort of contractual stipulation in their license agreement with Disney that they won't do other Western-themed stuff at the same time they're doing the Lone Ranger sets, and even then I'd have thought they could just wait - it's not as though The Lone Ranger is going to be around forever anyway; they could just hold this western town back (or even release it alongside the theme, as a complementary set). However, Disney could very well want no other Western LEGO sets out at the same time. I think the bigger issue is that it's, well... big. Really big. Seriously, that model is essentially a whole collection of modular buildings; it would surely have to be insanely expensive, dwarfing even the UCS Millennium Falcon in price. Could they possibly make a case for doing a set that might list for $800, $900, $1000 or more?

But it is interesting that the reason they cited is conflict with an ongoing project, rather than its sheer size. Does this mean they could revisit it once they're no longer doing The Lone Ranger (assuming that's the conflicting project)? Or are CUUSOO proposals a one-chance-only thing, even if the reason for rejection isn't a permanent condition?

Real disappointment about the Western Town not making it into the ranks. Back to the Future - okay, K.I.T., David Hasselhoff minifig, perhaps the addition of a rhinestone coyboy hat for a special MOD. That's about it for the highlights. Are there really Back to the Future fans still out there? As a big fan of the 80s, it was up there with the A-Team. :thumbdown: At least we have the Lone Ranger theme. :thumbup:

It's bizarre to me that you'd think so. There's a huge difference between Back to the Future and Night Rider; the former was then and still is much more popular, and yes, it does continue to enjoy a huge following. I also don't understand your statement "it was up there with the A-Team," followed by a thumbs-down (!). Are you saying BttF was/is as bad/cheesy as The A-Team? That's... well, art is subjective and all and of course you're entitled to your opinion, but Back to the Future is widely regarded now as a classic, which The A-Team is not.

I fully expect this model to be the best-selling CUUSOO model yet, actually.

Edited by Blondie-Wan

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It's unfortunate that beautiful-looking western town didn't make it, but honestly I'd have been shocked if it had. I don't quite get the reasoning; the "conflict" with an ongoing project (presumably The Lone Ranger) seems to me to make sense only if there's some sort of contractual stipulation in their license agreement with Disney that they won't do other Western-themed stuff at the same time they're doing the Lone Ranger sets, and even then I'd have thought they could just wait - it's not as though The Lone Ranger is going to be around forever anyway; they could just hold this western town back (or even release it alongside the theme, as a complementary set). However, Disney could very well want no other Western LEGO sets out at the same time. I think the bigger issue is that it's, well... big. Really big. Seriously, that model is essentially a whole collection of modular buildings; it would surely have to be insanely expensive, dwarfing even the UCS Millennium Falcon in price. Could they possibly make a case for doing a set that might list for $800, $900, $1000 or more?

But it is interesting that the reason they cited is conflict with an ongoing project, rather than its sheer size. Does this mean they could revisit it once they're no longer doing The Lone Ranger (assuming that's the conflicting project)? Or are CUUSOO proposals a one-chance-only thing, even if the reason for rejection isn't a permanent condition?

From early on in the MWT Lego had said that it would be too big to do all of it. The fans had voted on which building took priority, so it would have been the Saloon. So size was not really the issue. The contract conflict most likely means just that. No directly competing products while the contract is in active production. We can be reasonably certain that the conflict was with a Disney contract. We know Disney as a rule prefers a certain amount of exclusivity with licensees. And just by eyeballing it, we can clearly see that no Lego Pirates sets have been produced during the run of PotC. So it all reasonably adds up that the presence of the LR license precluded them from the MWT.

As far as waiting until the conflict is over? At this stage I don't believe that CuuSoo has any mechanism for that. Lego would have to license the set from the creator and then bury it for several years. The creator would have to simply walk away from it for an extended period? Would he be paid in some manner above and beyond the contracted CuuSoo royalties? At what point does it step outside of the walled garden of CuuSoo and become some sort of Lego sub contractor arrangement? While a fantastic set, I suspect that any response other than rejecting it raises a ton of questions that The CuuSoo project is not prepared to deal with at this time.

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Yeah, on Modular Western Town which was pitched BEFORE LR and would appeal to fans of REAL Western history as much as Tinseltown Fantasylanders... "Man the lifeboats, Timmy... you're spewing it awful deep in here."

Besides, Lone ranger will only last a finite time, MWT could have been just tabled until after LR runs its course. Sorry, LEGO, after that craptastic line of bull, I'm not even buying the DeLorean which I had looked forward to--it may be that all the business you get from me for 2013 is two Horizon Expresses and that's it. Between this and your institutional ADHD about not keeping themes around for a longer term... At this rate, since all their licenses are fast becoming Disney IP, LEGO might as well just sell out to the Mouse and get it over with.

"So long, and thanks for all the fish!" That OTHER unnamable building-blocks company that got the StarCraft license thanks you for part of what would have been YOUR slice of my disposable income...

Edited by Diamondback

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Yeah, on Modular Western Town which was pitched BEFORE LR and would appeal to fans of REAL Western history as much as Tinseltown Fantasylanders... "Man the lifeboats, Timmy... you're spewing it awful deep in here."

Besides, Lone ranger will only last a finite time, MWT could have been just tabled until after LR runs its course. Sorry, LEGO, after that craptastic line of bull, I'm not even buying the DeLorean which I had looked forward to--it may be that all the business you get from me for 2013 is two Horizon Expresses and that's it. Between this and your institutional ADHD about not keeping themes around for a longer term... At this rate, since all their licenses are fast becoming Disney IP, LEGO might as well just sell out to the Mouse and get it over with.

"So long, and thanks for all the fish!" That OTHER unnamable building-blocks company that got the StarCraft license thanks you for part of what would have been YOUR slice of my disposable income...

Wow, I thought the ignorant posting in this topic had settled down... evidently not.

Let's go through item-by-item.

1) Fans of REAL Western history, frankly, are not typically a part of the core LEGO audience, and are probably far outnumbered by people who know of Westerns exclusively through pop culture. It's like the dumb complaints there used to be about how Ninjago would have less appeal than a real Japanese historic theme... yeah, about that...

2) "Lone Ranger will only last a finite time..." that's a complete guess, not based on any facts. Sure, there are no guarantees about its longevity, but IDEALLY TLG will want it to become an ongoing franchise and keep the rights for future films. "Tabling it until after LR runs its course" would be a silly idea for a number of reasons. First of all, there's no reason to assume that something that appealed to buyers when the Cuusoo project was voted on would still appeal to them three or four years down the road. That's like saying that "Our market research in 2002 suggested that Galidor would be a big hit, let's release it again in 2013!" Second, as many people have already pointed out, there could very easily be terms in the Lone Ranger licensing agreement that prohibit TLG from releasing a non-licensed Western set right on the heels of their license. Third, you're basically suggesting that TLG should gamble on the failure of one of their own themes.

3) TLG not keeping their themes around for a longer term makes perfect sense from a competitive standpoint. A big part of making a theme successful is making sure it stands out on store shelves. Keep a theme around for too long and it's a signal to competitors that they can put out their own products within the same genre and piggyback on your line's success. Additionally, once a theme has been on shelves for a certain amount of time, a lot of the people who bought the theme will have had their fill and a lot of the people who didn't buy the theme never will. There are "evergreen" exceptions like City and Castle that have ALWAYS had competition on toy store shelves and have been pretty consistently successful anyway, but even those have to cycle through different incarnations to remain appealing to buyers and retailers.

4) "All their licenses are fast becoming Disney IP"... ummm, no. There are a handful of Disney IPs this year (only one of them currently known to be a System theme, unless you count Star Wars and Marvel Super Heroes). Saying TLG is selling out to Disney is like saying they sold out to Nickelodeon in 2006, when they had Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bob the Builder, and Spongebob Squarepants sets. In fact, even this year two of the major licensed themes (DC Universe Super Heroes and The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) are owned by Warner Bros, which coincidentally also owns the distribution rights for Ninjago DVDs and is the parent company of TT Games, the company responsible for most LEGO video games.

No building toys companies here are unnameable except by personal preference, so I'm tickled by the notion that you are planning to buy toys when you can't even bear to name their manufacturer.

Edited by Aanchir

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I would assume Lone Ranger will be similar to POTC (I realize it is Disney either way), as in they would hope for a long running franchise. With that said, the sets may not be available indefinitely, but the theme itself would probably stick around for quite some time, just with breaks waiting for movie advertising.

I think a lot of people are into the Western theme as an idea, but there isn't a lot out there to stimulate buyer's wants with the exception of a possible new hit movie. I agree with the sentiment that people who voted for one set may not be as interested in it down the road, or maybe just less interested, so shelving an idea isn't the best either.

As far as CUUSOO in general, only time will tell how it works out. I think there are some great ideas on there and some will eventually get produced, but they still may not sell as well as expected. I understand the Minecraft set sold out right away, but I had no idea it even released yet, so hopefully they will have better press on that. Or maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention.

As far as the BTTF set goes, I can make no guarantees that I will like it, so with every other LEGO set, I will wait until pictures or holding it in my hands because I've been uninterested in multiple sets until I bought them and built them and was far more pleased.

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I agree with most of what Aanchir says above, though I do doubt anyone at LEGO really thinks The Lone Ranger is going to be a long-running theme. It looks very much to me like another single-wave licensed theme along the lines of Speed Racer and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

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Let's see, Disney just bought Lucasfilm = Star Wars and (defunct) Indy are part of the Mouse. conceded oN DC.

reason I was hesistant is I know some folks, though not as bad as other sites, go apoplectic when you say "Mega Bloks"... and I'm not an MB koolaid-slurper just like I'm not with Lego (but believe me, seeing virtually nothing to warrant my attention in the 2013 catalog is PAINFUL to admit), but as a longtime StarCraft fan it has long been my position that whoever commercially offered a Battlecruiser at a reasonable price would get business from me, and it just happens that Team Canada beat Team Denmark to the punch getting the license.

At the risk of being labeled excessively negative, my money is on Lone Ranger being a fad, just like the 1994 reboot of The Shadow was, and the short-lived recent attempt at a Knight Rider "Next Generation". Too many old farts around that still remember the original, and are gonna pan it for not meauring up... (And though I'm not of an age to have seen it originally, I did see enough reruns while young to put me in that camp.)

At the very least, I, and I believe a lot of us, could be mollified if there were reassurance from Lego that "declined this time does not mean barred from future consideration, try again after LR runs its course and if you can get 10K supporters again then you're back in the game." That's not TOO unreasonable, is it?

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At the very least, I, and I believe a lot of us, could be mollified if there were reassurance from Lego that "declined this time does not mean barred from future consideration, try again after LR runs its course and if you can get 10K supporters again then you're back in the game." That's not TOO unreasonable, is it?

That's pretty much what Lego has said, besides not naming the Lone Ranger theme outright. Any declined project can be resubmitted provided it was not declined on the basis of something that will not change (such as brand fit or licensing issues). Hopefully, if and when this project is resubmitted, it will be modified to account for its size, since it seems most supporters were only willing to pay for the value of one or two buildings.

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I agree with most of what Aanchir says above, though I do doubt anyone at LEGO really thinks The Lone Ranger is going to be a long-running theme. It looks very much to me like another single-wave licensed theme along the lines of Speed Racer and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

You may be right about Speed Racer, but I highly doubt Prince of Persia was banking on being a one-wave theme, because I don't believe the movie was dead-set on being a stand-alone movie. I guarantee a big factor in licensing discussions with TLG is whether a movie is intended to promote an ongoing franchise or become a part of a new ongoing franchise. And Prince of Persia, from what I saw, seemed like the kind of thing that might have been intended as the start of a bigger series, if it had been successful in the box office.

The same, I think, applies for The Lone Ranger. And that's why I doubt the theme is being presented as a one-wave theme right off the bat. If there are more movies, TLG will surely be keen on releasing more sets, unless of course the movie is successful but the sets flop.

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Does anyone else think the rumored Scientist from CMF Series 11 will introduce a new hairpiece that will be reused on the Doc fig?

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