Cuusoo of the Week : "Majestic Airship" by Ssorg

Posted by ,

LEGO has not attempted a blimp since 1999, the 5956 Expedition Balloon which used highly specialized parts. This is unfortunate as these vessels are well and truly part of the pulpy adventure scene.

I think Ssorg's Majestic Airship is just the thing to remedy this long overlooked mode of transportation.

This build is truly majestic, a masterwork of style and engineering.

Update: Project has reached the 1k mark! Only 90% of the way to go!


If you are not familiar with Ssorg, well simply put he is one of the Cuusoo's most supported creators. He has five projects, and all of them are in the top 5% most supported projects on Cuusoo. Definitely check out his works. Ssorg's most well know piece, the Douglas DC-3, is a thing of beauty. Today though, I am going to talk about his slightly lesser well known "Majestic Airship."

Besides just looking spectacular this vessel has a lot of playability features. Probably the most critical is the handle for safe transit, hanging, and low speed swooshing.

For minifig placement, the entire side wall hinges up to allow unfettered access to the cabin

A cabin door swivels down to become a boarding ramp. A retractable anchor is mounted for docking or high altitude antics.

And just to top it all off, the ailerons fins are adjustable.

Now lets take a look under the skin!

As you can see, this is not a build for the squeamish. The "balloon" is a complex network of flexible rods and axles which plug into an unorthodox combination of Technic and standard elements.

There is a wide assortment of rendering and photos available on the airship's flickr page for those who want to see more details on the sub-structure.

Its Chances

At current support levels, this project gets 1.15 support a day. So unless we can get some real Airship enthusiasts enthralled there is still a long wait in its future.

Once that hurdle is overcome, there is no objectionable IP to stand in the way and the novelty of the concept should certainly give it an advantage. This is the perfect "type" of project for Cuusoo, one that steps outside of the norm for the LEGO Group but still glorifies what can be accomplished with LEGO.

This build does have quite a few design questions though, nothing insurmountable, but some of them are relatively unprecedented for the Cuusoo projects that have reached 10k to date.

Many LEGO fans decry Cuusoo projects that have a "high" part count. This certainly has more parts than any Cusso product to date. To this I would reiterate that LEGO employees have stated that there are no part count caps on Cuusoo projects. I would also add that the Cuusoo Facebook page regularly showcases high part count builds. The fact that many of the pieces are duplicates, rather than entirely different parts, and that the color variation is low does work in its favor .

A larger issue is likely the skin. It is rather easy for an enthusiast to make, but LEGO has its standards. This skin would either have to be treated paper, which I have not seen since old Harry Potter sets, or fabric, which would still require a special cut. I have no idea where fabric elements stand relative to "new elements" in the LEGO Group's willingness to fabricate new parts. I do imagine that they are less of a hurdle but that is pure speculation. I would say this makes it less likely than, of course, a project without a need for tooling, but Cuusoo has proven with the side printed plates of the Minecraft set that they are willing to take unusual approaches to accomplishing projects.

Probably the biggest challenge to the set is the oven. LEGO cook their builds in order to artificially age them. Any tension in the parts will cause the build to distort and warp. If the LEGO designers can't build a design that can stand up to the oven, then LEGO won't produce it. It may not be possible to design the network in such a way that conforms to product lifespan, construction complexity limits, and design budgets. The Lego designers are very good at their jobs though and I imagine that this would just result in a variation on the design rather than prevent its fabrications.

20 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

This is my very favourite CUUSOO project, I've been repeatedly plugging it around the web for months! I love airships, but also think this is a really excellent design too, with a great balance of playability, scale, and an interesting structure. Hopefully this brickset plug will be the extra boost it needs to start snowballing towards 10,000!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

> We have not seen any really large sets coming out of Cuusoo yet.

Well we've only seen one set coming out of Cuusoo so far. Doesn't seem enough to spot patterns about part counts!

If we're going to extrapolate from the one model and lack of any update, it seems just as likely that Cuusoo is dead, and there will be no more models, they are just working out how to quietly close it down, without causing a stir.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

there have been 3 sets from cuusoo so far
shinkai 6500

hayabusa

minecraft

Gravatar
By in Portugal,

The best cuusoo story so far!

http://lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/31711

Please Support!

Sorry for making publicity here but for some reason this project wasn't given front page presentation... and I think it deserved it!

Gravatar
By in United States,

*its chances.

"It's" stands for "it is".

Gravatar
By in United States,

I guess I missed the memo saying I was supposed to come in here and plug OTHER CUUSOO projects.

Regardless, this is a nice set. I like that it has some crazy complexity to it, and yet from what I can see it's still totally LDD-legal, which is sort of an arbitrary filter I apply to MOCS and stuff [for no good reason, really].

Gravatar
By in United States,


@ Ronny,

Thanks a lot. I know I often swap those out so I always try to reread my writing a few times. Cognitively I KNOW the difference, but when I am writing...

@ leemcg

I was not actually sure if you were agreeing with my statement or not so I updated it to clarify my point. Thanks for the feedback.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I don't want to overly labour the point, but isn't this set 75% none lego?

Still, would be awesome to do an Indiana Jones & the last crusade one, although the insignia might be a problem in a licenced set.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^ I think my last comment was a bit harsh, this is blooming fantastic.

Gravatar
By in United States,

^Well if Lego made it, it would be 100% Lego...

Gravatar
By in United States,

Glenbricker:
I'm glad to see you chose this project for this week's Brickset spotlight! The build certainly is ingenious, and I'd love to purchase it as an entry in the new Creator Expert line of sets.

Although awareness helps, your reviews often finish speculative and critical in tone (e.g., all text beneath "Its Chances"), especially for a process that is already too steep. I wish the criticism could be saved for the Cuusoo team. It has become clear to me that the fault of a great build in failing to reach 10k does not fall within the creator's control. You could do possibly anything to support your project-- spam forums, post flyers, pledge to donate to charity, etc-- but it will never be enough unless a person or entity with power to drive votes jumps behind your project.

So please, there's no point in nitpicking a creation or pointing out its minor faults under these circumstances. It's disrespectful.

Gravatar
By in Finland,

@goldfish, it may be visually largely non-lego, but in terms of pieces and weight it's entirely another thing.
Besides I'd like to remind that my purpose there was to make a valid CUUSOO project, rather than present the most awesome airship MOC ever. For a CUUSOO project it's important to avoid the piece count go sky-rocketing. I chose paperboard-skin (an official set would probably have fabric like the ship sails in pirate theme) as an easy and cheap solution. The 100% Lego solution, the skin made of Lego pieces, would make the set *insanely* piece-intensive, heavy and expensive, and thus more impractical for CUUSOO...
And still, thanks for "blooming fantastic" comment. :)

TLG has a a lot of experience making that fabric stuff (the ship sails) so it shouldn't be much of a problem. And I bet it doesn't count as "new piece", a thing lessening project's chances of getting produced. I believe the "new piece" means actual Lego bricks which would require new molds and other complex industrial production procedures, while simple cut fabric should be easier for TLG.

@RedCoKid, thank you too for your supporting comment.
Sure, I as the project owner believe in the chances of the concept and I may not entirely agree with every single skeptical thought by Glen. Like the "oven" notion; the airship frame is and can be made quite sturdy while not having much weight to bring itself down, and it's not overtly complex, basically just a bunch of a little repetitive beams. :)
However, it is totally thanks to Glen's decision to pick this as "Cuusoo of the Week" that this project is now having a surge of supports, in fact, it's getting supports faster than EVER before, including its first day. During the first 24 hours the airship got incredible 138 supports (very much for a project not promoted off-site), but now after some 20 hours it has received 156 supports, and still more are coming in. In addition, this will quite surely put it in the Top10 list next week, promising again supports faster than usually. Since Glen did this to my project, I would never call his way disrespectful. :P

Still, @RedCoKid, I fully agree and am delighted for your awareness & perception that it's very hard, even nearly impossible, to reach 10,000 supports without getting lucky and having some prominent outside interest & help (from non-AFOL communities or celebrities..) and thus I indeed hope no Lego fan would turn away due to some hasty skeptical assumptions, which seem to happen all too easily. For example, many people seem to have believed, not reading the description, that my CUUSOO Titanic has tens of thousands of pieces and would cost thousands of dollars or something, and then have not supported. I had to add piece & price range info (4,000/$250-300) on the main pic to avoid it.

Very much thanks to Glen and to all of you Brickset people for your interest and help for my airship project. :)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^ do you have instructions for the cabin part? ps: I did support it on cuusoo.

Gravatar
By in Finland,

@goldfish, I don't have any actual instructions but I can give the MLCAD file, like via email.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@RedCoKid,

I respect your feedback and in response I have clarified my statements.

Having posted about a few things in the past I find that if you don't post the good with the bad that people think you are not paying attention and then they stop paying attention to you. Also, people quick to point out what you have "overlooked" tend to be nowhere near as polite about it when being "informative."

I am a strong proponent that you should support any Cuusoo project that you like the concept of, regardless of the Moc. The evidence for this is clear: http://blog.brick-hero.com/2012/07/cuusoo-users-guide-part-3-supporting.html The Lego designers are inspired by the project not restricted by it.

As to being disrespectful, I am sorry you feel that way. My comments are only meant to inform the creator and the community of obstacles I see ahead of them, or perhaps issues I find with the Cuusoo system. I provide this content to help improve the project being discussed and potential projects in the future.

I defend the part count of the Airship, point out that a project that requires tooling is less likely to get made than a project that does not, and point out that the Lego Group does stress tests on their designs and that that could be an issue for a framework design with elements being flexed. All of this is rather factual.

To put this in another context. Several project use the default desert, ocean, space, or mountain background for their LDD images regardless of how little sense they make for the MOC. To help these people out I created an set of instructions that explains how they can get rid of these backgrounds with great ease or even put in a more appropriate one. http://blog.brick-hero.com/2012/10/cuusoo-advice-simple-background-editing.html (note that the most supported project with a default LDD background has about 185 support).

There is absolutely no way that I can recommend this simple guide to a user without implying that their project lacks finesse. Would you have me not make these suggestions? And if you would, well, at what point should I stop then?

Regardless, I thank you for your feedback and will keep it in mind in the future.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Has anyone made customized Rocketeer and Timothy Dalton minifigures? It would be a BLAST to them battle it out on the ill-fated airship.

Commenting has ended on this article.

Return to home page »