|The Ultimate Animal Collection|
This message was written by the creator of the project. Do not modify the message in any way.
Then you can click the green "Support" button (to the right of the image above). You'll be asked how much you'd be willing to spend on such a set. Each animal will cost approximately four bucks, so if you'd like to have ten animals, enter 40, if you'd only need five, enter 20 and so on. You don't have to actually pay anything, not right now, not in the future.
You will also be asked why you like this idea. So you could, for example, specify which animals you like most and which you don't care about, or perhaps why the animals are a good fit for the sets you own, or why they make for a good present. Really anything you like. LEGO will then consider your feedback when creating the set.
And that's it! Of course if you're not convinced just yet, scroll down for more pictures, or read on for a more detailed description of this set, and why LEGO should make it.
Thank you for supporting. And tell your friends! We can always use more votes.
As a token of appreciation for reaching 600 supporters, here are free building instructions for the donkey and the goat.
More building instructions, and of course more animals, will be released as more supporters come in.
So spread the word, together we can make it!
Actual project description follows
LEGO already has a wide range of animals covered, but it's hard to find sets that work together to form a coherent collection with a consistent look and feel. From one-piece premolds to monthly builds, from Wild Hunters to Creator sets, from City farms to keychains, from Friends collectable series to thousands of MOCs — it's a crazy mix of creatures. Some are very blocky, others rather detailed; some cartoonish, others ferocious; some huge, some tiny; some are glued-together, while others are just B models or submodels of universal building sets not really designed with animals in mind.
Each of them serves its particular purpose nicely, but the purposes are vastly different, and there are only a few animals (often just two or three) in each of these categories.
Additionally, with the obvious exception of premolds, barely any of the animals work at the City scale. We've got so many cars to choose from, so many ships, planes, fire stations, even prisons — and so few animals. Hundreds of spaceship sets — but only one rhinoceros, from 1997, in red!
So what I am proposing here is nothing less than The Ultimate Collection of animals that actually do fit together nicely. Animals that are cute enough to work for children, realistic enough to work for adults, and featuring building techniques intriguing enough for both. All of that as close as possible to the City scale, which translates into many fun challenges to surmount.
There are a number of ways how such a collection can be marketed:
1. As a nice big zoo set. Could be a huge, elaborate Direct Exclusive, or a smaller but still impressive City set that gets revamped every so often. Or a lavish, once-in-a-lifetime advent calendar, ticking in at 1200 parts.
2. As series of collectable animals. We have collectable minifigs, we have collectable Friends premolds, so why not this. Animals as impulse purchases, perhaps each with a fittingly colored plate to stand on, plus an accessory such as a plant from its natural habitat, or its favorite food (just a couple additional pieces, nothing too complex — it's the animal that should be put front and center).
3. As a combination of the above. A really nice zoo set, with six animals at least, followed in regular intervals by additional animals in polybags.
Now, the CUUSOO team has stated time and again that this site is meant for proposing single sets. It is only after bringing out one set that LEGO can determine how much actual demand there is, and whether expanding the set to a whole product line makes sense. A second and third Minecraft set are coming out soon, but that wouldn't have been an option had the first set not been a huge success.
So for now, expect to see this project realized as a collection of animals packed into a single set. How many animals it will comprise will of course depend in no small part on what price range you, the supporters of this project, have specified. Keep that in mind when supporting. (And of course you can also specify which animals the set would absolutely need to include, and which you personally don't care about.)
And one more thing. I keep referring to this as a "zoo", for lack of a better word and because that's likely the search term people will be using when on the lookout for animals to extend their collections with. But you may have noticed by now that I don't really care for fences or walls or stables, let alone cages. I care about animals. And this is not meant to be a set that teaches people how to build naked walls or endless fences. That would be a waste of bricks, frankly. This set should really be all about animals and fun building techniques. Everyone can then easily build a zoo, or jungle, or a farm, a meadow, a shore around them.
So with that out of the way, on to a few words on the proposed model designs you are seeing here — what guidelines I've been following to cater to both The LEGO Group and us LEGO fans, and what features you'd be getting.
1. Each animal uses different building techniques and/or seed parts. Different slopes, different tails, different legs, different eyes, different studs-not-on-top approaches — at the same time maintaining a consistent look and feel across the entire collection, and a scale that varies as little as possible. Obviously there's room for improvement here and there, but for the most part if you pick two animals at random, they will complement each other nicely.
2. Each animal went through many design iterations in Lego Digital Designer and actual bricks alike, to help optimize not just the looks, but also the sturdiness, the playability, the center of gravity, and the parts count. I also created draft building instructions to see how easily they can be followed by children of different ages, since some of the models feature peculiar SNOT techniques.
3. Most animals have at least one point of articulation. Heads, tails, fins, trunks, ears, mouths — everything that could possibly be made to move at this scale, does. Without compromizing the sturdiness.
4. No new molds! All models shown here use parts that already exist, and building techniques approved by The LEGO Group. That's the whole point of this line: using existing bricks, in existing colors, in original yet perfectly legal ways.
5. At the same time, each model typically offers a rare part or two. An absolute must-have for completionists like myself. If you tried to purchase them individually, you might end up spending a dollar apiece, plus shipping, and you are unlikely to get them all from one place. (I am speaking from personal experience.) So here you get a chance to save quite some money.
6. Some market research has been done already. I've been showing the animals around, one at a time, for about a year now, on a wide range of sites (Brickshelf, Flickr, Rebrickable, the LEGO subreddits, LEGO.com, MOCpages, various chats…), and testing them on my friends and wife, the most merciless critic. One typical reaction across the board has been "I like them all, but I like X most" — where X differs wildly from person to person. So even if this project ends up as a series of polybags, LEGO doesn't run the risk of producing forty different animals and then only ever selling four. All animals will be sought after by their respective fans.
7. And I don't need to say anything about the general appeal of animals to children of all ages, and adult fans of LEGO alike. Here we are not talking about some obscure video game; we are talking about a subject matter whose potential is enormous outside of the core group of its supporters here on CUUSOO. We are talking about products that can be put up on any shelf in any toy store anywhere in the world, and grab the interest of passers-by young and old.
8. The part counts range from 26 to around 90. So for a series of separate polybags, that would mean the price ballpark is five bucks per animal on average (be it US dollars or Euros), with € 2.99 for smaller animals like the reindeer, and € 8.99 for the elephant. Perfect for impulse purchases. And for a single set, it's getting cheaper still, so you can just take the number of animals you would like to have and multiply it by four, and that will get you the pricepoint you should be expecting to see.
9. So again, at this scale even a truly giant advent calendar of 24 animals would be perfectly affordable — just over a thousand parts, no new molds, no printed pieces, no minifigs, no stickers, no third-party licenses. (For comparison, both in terms of parts count and price, that's less than the Mini Modular Buildings, the Shuttle Adventure, the Friends Summer Riding Camp, or Creator sets such as Transport Ferry or Model Town House.) Though at the end of the day, how many animals the actual set will comprise will depend on what price range the 10,000 supporters of this project have specified on average.
10. And of course, your choice is not limited to the animals presented here right now. Lots and lots of other animals can be considered. People have already started submitting ideas in the comments section. Drop in by, have your say! Obviously not every animal in existence can be built at this scale, but there are dozens that can. Walking, flying, swimming, prehistoric. Sky is the limit.
In fact I am working on more animals as we speak. Here's one final look at my current collection. Support this proposal and it can be yours!
Update August 21st: More than 600 supporters. Here are just a couple reactions lifted from the comments section:
- "Nice models. Unique, educational. Great gift sets. We want a zoo in the city!" - "Using regular bricks makes it classy!" - "Nice variety of building techniques. These models look like they would be useful in teaching new builders good building techniques." - "I really really like that all of the animals look like actual animals."
Thank you for the kind words and your support. Keep it up, tell your friends, spread the word!
Image credit: Glen Bricker kindly offered his help in rendering the last image. In case you're not aware of it already, do check out his Cuusoo blog (and of course his own Cuusoo projects, of which he has quite a few).