Saturday, March 8, 2014

Doctor Who projects flood LEGO Cuusoo

It's been about a week since the LEGO Cuusoo team announced that previous licensing conflicts over Doctor Who based sets had been resolved, so they can now accept projects based on the property. As expected, it did not take very long at all for several proposal to make their way on to the site.

Doctor Who holds massive potential for LEGO to create a set with massive geek appeal. Rather than relying on a retro property, such as Back to the Future or Ghostbusters, you have the ability to release a set that's still very much a part of current popular geek culture, even if it is more than 50 years since the series started.

Let's take a look at some of the more popular projects that have shown up on Cuusoo and appear on track to hit the 10,000 votes needed for review.

"Doctor Who" from GlenBricker
This one falls more under the category of general theme support, showing us a very basic T.A.R.D.I.S. design in the background and custom minifigures based on the 11th Doctor and companion Amy Pond to draw people in. Scrolling down shows a wide variety of other custom figs, with designs based on all of the past Doctors and many other companions and villains. The figures really push this one forward, in my mind, and is likely responsible for it currently being the most supported Doctor Who project on Cuusoo. It will likely be the first to hit the votes need for review, even though it does not have a very detailed T.A.R.D.I.S. model attached to it. That's probably the one glaring weakness of the project.

"Doctor Who and Companions" from AndrewClark2
This project places a much greater emphasis on the T.A.R.D.I.S. and includes a very nice looking model at minifigure scale. It's a render though, which really annoys me. Not having a physical model built I think is a very big negative for a project. I fully support the idea of a Doctor Who set, but I would really like to see what their model looks like in the physical world before I put my support behind the many offerings we are sure to have. Many of the current projects don't even have opening doors, which is another pretty big negative on this one. Instead, we get a model that folds up and is used as a backdrop for a scene depicting the control room. While still several thousand votes behind GlenBricker's project, this one is also on track to probably hit the review stage at some point.

There are several other Time Lord-related projects up on Cuusoo, but so far these are the only two to break the 1,000 supporters mark. That's likely because they are the most well polished projects and feature very excellent looking custom Doctor Who minifigures.

Making a show-accurate T.A.R.D.I.S. in LEGO is actually quite difficult at minifigure scale. Especially if you are trying to design a model with doors that open normally. None of the scale projects so far actually do that, from what I can tell. The best ones also rely heavily on decals to give the iconic ship its texture. You have to jump up to the larger "UCS-style" projects to find fully functioning doors, and most of those probably have no chance of actually getting done if past experience with larger Cuusoo models is any indicator.

While it still includes custom figures, I think monkey_roo's proposal has one of the better designed T.A.R.D.I.S. models in minifigure scale. I would like to see the Police Box signs recessed a bit, but it's otherwise a very good representation. The only real flaw is that, once again, the doors do not open properly.

I think it's fairly obvious at this point that we are going to get some sort of Doctor Who LEGO set. As of this writing, one project is closing in on 9,000 supporters and should qualify for the next review period.

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