Land Rover Defender: 835 support in 7 days? And what is really on Cuusoo?

Posted by ,

The Land Rover Defender Cuusoo project is an amazing technical achievement.

The Spring Deadline approaches and it needs your support, or it will just have to wait another three months.

Plus hard numbers in a high level overview on what kinds of projects are actually on Cuusoo.

The Defender is not what I had planned to talk about this week, but it is really in its final sprint and the current deadline is so close. Please help cut the wait for a response on this Technic marvel.

For those unfamiliar with the project, the Defender has lots of over the top features:

  • 5+R speeds, sequential gearbox with auto clutch
  • 2-speeds transfer case
  • RWD and AWD modes
  • all wheels disc brakes
  • both live axles with long-travel suspension
  • working steering wheel
  • working gear indicator

For the fans of Technic that don't care for Jeeps, the design allows for the removal of the entire frame, leaving all the fun technical stuff in one piece to easily integrate into anything you want.

For those who need to see this kind of stuff in video to fully appreciate it, well here you go:

Now, a few months ago I asked you guys to help Space Marines get to 10k ahead of the deadline. Well this is a much bigger push, but that is what I am asking for this time around too. The Defender is closing as the deadline approaches. Technically it does not need your vote, the defender will certainly have the votes by the Summer deadline. I am simply asking you to give this a push so Sheepo does not need to sit around for another three months.

There are plenty of reasons too support it though.

  • Support it if you want it.
  • Support it because you think Sheepo did a great job.
  • Support it because you want to tell LEGO that you want to see even more complexity in their Technic line.
  • Support it for the karma.
  • Support it because you are sure LEGO won't produce it and you want to be proven right. ;)
  • Support it to get the Valkyrie in the top three spot on Cuusoo.
  • Support it because you want more answers from Cuusoo on what they WILL and WILL NOT produce.

To be sure at 5k, LEGO said "our design team will need to address the piece count and complexity of this build, and see if it is feasible to maintain the essence of the model while ensuring it uses legal building techniques, is cost effective, buildable, and playable" and Sheepo has done nothing to address these issues, so yes, if you support this it will likely not get produced or it will be very much toned down. That does not mean you should not support it.

If you support it and LEGO produces something so watered down that it does not live up to what you wanted, just don't buy it, all you lost was the two minutes it took to support the project.

For the twitter crowd out there, please consider sending a tweet to Land Rover USA and Land Rover UK. If they re-tweet, then this could be very good for closing out the Defender.

Break down on what is on Cuusoo

In early January I started a project to see just what is really on Cuusoo. People have lots of opinions on the matter but I am the type of person that likes to see hard facts. So I took a snapshot of what was on Cuusoo and cataloged every project with at least 17 support which was 1812 projects at the time and almost 50% of the total.

Here is, in broad terms is what I found:

Broad categories of projects on Cuusoo:

Category Count Percent Description
Bellow 17 support 1833 50.3%

Various projects but all with 16 support or less.

Fictional IP 757 20.8% These are projects that contain "popular" IP for fictional concepts such as Star Wars.
No IP 755 20.7% Projects that are the creation of the submitter or model natural subjects (like birds).
Real IP 242 6.6% These are projects that contain IP based on properties that exist in the real world such as architecture, specific vehicles, individuals, and corporations.
Lego's IP 58 1.6% These are projects based on IP created and owned by LEGO such as Ninjago and Bionicle.

I have further break downs of each category presented above depicted here. I will do a more thorough write up and explanation at some point in the future but I wanted to start getting the data out there before it got really out of date.

I think it is significant to point out that at the time this data was collected, "quality" Fictional IP and No IP projects were nearly equal in count. That would appear to counter the argument that many make that Cuusoo is "just" pop culture IP projects. Sure, the projects with identifiable IPs do tend to get the most support, but there are plenty of crazy projects on Cuusoo that are the sole creations of AFOLs for those who don't mind doing a little digging.

I will throw in another factoid from my research. Of the quality projects (at least 17 support), here are the top 5 most common subjects for Cuusoo projects:

  • Star Wars (242 projects)
  • Comic Books (140 projects)
  • Made up Vehicles (119 projects)
  • Based on Video Games (117 projects)
  • Parts (82 projects)

A Week of Cuusoo

My favorite new project this week is the Custom Hot Rod Pickup Truck. It has a lot of great details and it is a subject that has not been touched by the Creator line in over a decade. Others favorites include Creator Dump truck, Mother Brain, and Submarine.

My review of these projects, and a showcase of all the projects that came out in the last week, and a few more graphs breaking out the content on Cuusoo can be found here.

31 comments on this article

By in United States,

Want it as a set,and has lots of good bricks, but seems to detailed to be a set.

By in United Kingdom,

I love the Defender and supported it long ago, it is great to see it so close to the 10,000 mark at last. Sheepo's Technic models are absolutely spectacular.

It is interesting to see a breakdown of how the Cuusoo projects vary and I am very happy to see Star Wars and Super Heroes so high on the list of project numbers. I would like to see the Tumbler in second place at the moment become a Lego set, but I fear it will be rejected for the obvious reason that we already have a Tumbler (albeit in different colours and completely inferior if you ask me). Thanks for the informations Huw.

By in United States,

I think its piece count is close to that MKII crane (2500-ish pieces). 807 to go for the Rover.

By in United Kingdom,

It may be an iconic vehicle and a technical achievement to build one out of Lego but it really does not appeal to me. Lego is at its best when it features bright colours. It doesn't have to be yellow, red and blue all the time but what is that Defender? Grey, white and black?

I wish TLG would go back to releasing sculptures. That's something I could get behind.

By in United States,

Well, it's a pretty loaded review period already with the Bugdroid, Exo-Suit and Legend of Zelda. For fans of the Defender, it may be best if it gets pushed to the next quarter, where the likely competitors seem a bit more vulnerable: the Batmobile (possible conflict with 76001) and the Mini-Shops (possible licensing issues).

Selfishly, I'm really rooting for the Exo-Suit, so I wouldn't be unhappy if there's one less project in this quarter's review.

edit: Almost forgot to say, thanks for providing the data on what projects are actually on Cuusoo! Very interesting.

By in Ireland,

"If Lego produces something so watered down that it does not live up to what you wanted, just don't buy it".
To me that is the problem with Cuusoo. You vote for a project for particular reason but there's no guarantee that the element that made you vote makes it into the actual model. For Lego the problem is that for most projects they have to make changes to turn it into something they can release but those changes may turn people off the project.

As for the Defender, maybe not every technical trick will make it into the actual model but the essence of this project to me is that it is pushing the supercar to a new level. So as long as it has more features than any supercar before it (and it has a better turning circle than the Unimog) I'll be happy. I would prefer to see it in dark green though, not grey...

By in United States,

@ Modok,

I do not agree with your statement as the only things projects are competing for directly is the single production spot. If a project is good enough to be produced but not picked for the current review slot, then it will be passed to the next one.

So, If the defender is viable, getting it in to review as soon as possible will give it more opportunities to get produced. If the defender is NOT viable, then fans will not have to wait as long to hear about it.


I know your frustration in general, but I just don't see this as a problem.

First off, there have only been three sets made. The satellite looks very true to the original. The sub was a blurry picture to being with, leaving Minecraft. I am sure there are some people who supported the original Minecraft project who are dissatisfied with how different it is but I have never seen one comment on it so I have no idea how large that community is. (I would love some links if anyone has any). So based on that it is hard to read to much into it. I might have a different opinion if/after the Exo-suit gets produced.

Second, I know people often ignore what projects actually say, or read their own concept into it. Most recently from the FTL project, it seems that half our commenters are thinking that for some reason the ships will be minifig scale when they will get produced, when there is no mention of this anywhere in the project. The FTL fans it appears just support it because it is FTL, Many people who do not know what FTL is ask up what it is even though there is a significant description of it in the project. Similarly with my Corellian Defender, even though I discuss the rumored Jedi Defender Class Cruiser IN the project, people continue to post comments that "This is being released." From this it appears to be impossible to control expectations.

It is my opinion that most people don't have a strong idea what they are supporting to begin with so it would be nearly impossible for Cuusoo to make everyone happy. You could call this a problem with Cuusoo but I don't see how Cuusoo could address this issue as it is more of a feature of humanity.

That being said I think Cuusoo is very wise to make people type in specifically why they like a project. I think if someone REALLY wanted Lego to make a project as depicted that they should have a canned answer to the question for people to copy and paste.

Finally, when I support a project I do it with hope that it will get produced but no faith that it will. I know that Lego is still out there to make money and protect it brand image and it will not go against those tenants. If I support a project and it does not get made I lost a few moments it took to support and had fun thinking about what it would be like to have that set...and maybe get inspired to do something about it personally. If I support a project and it gets produced but it is not quite what I wanted...well that happens every time a new line of Lego comes out. People buy the set that is closest to the mark, acquire the pieces they need to get it the rest of the way and presto.

I am assuming we are not going to get the Wild West Delorian out of the next Delorian set but that won't stop me from buying the base model and "Westing" it up.

Even if the Cuusoo model I supported is so off base from what I "supported" that I can't recover ANY of it, It still did not cost me anything. BUT If I am still interested in acquiring what I supported, I know know there are others out there who would not mind collaborating with me to get what I want made.

For instance, If you really like the Land Rover Defender, as is, well, the instructions are now available. Sheepo is charging for them though.

I agree with you on the Dark Green 100%

Wow, I talk a lot.

By in United States,

^ "I do not agree with your statement as the only things projects are competing for directly is the single production spot. If a project is good enough to be produced but not picked for the current review slot, then it will be passed to the next one."

I thought that was the subject of some dispute. After what happened to the Modular Western Town, which could've been pumped till a later quarter, I don't take it for granted that good projects will be queued for later on.

In fact, given Cuusoo's status as LEGO's readheaded stepchld, I suspect LEGO would really prefer to make as many of these projects go away as possible.

By in United Kingdom,

Well, I'm into Cuusoo now! I was tempted to join by the fantastic Nebulon B Frigate, and this is such an obvious second project to support. I can't quite get over the disc brakes! Astounding achievement, the optimist in me is hopeful... ;)

By in United States,

Sheepo now has instructions for this model at his website! I love this model and supported back in May and as much as I would love to see this release from Lego, I do not think it will ever happen in it's current form and here is why.

The model is large over 3,000 pieces and has a good deal of weight, which is going to be very hard on the transmission and those driving rings. Those rings were made to switch between functions and not so much take on the torque from the large motors to make big vehicles move. People will be destroying them left and right. This is why the only model that we have seen motorized using the driving rings was the slow moving excavator. Of course then you will have someone try and start driving the vehicle in 3rd, 4th, or 5th gear and break all kinds of parts. There needs to be a fail safe in place to prevent this from happening. One of the key points that attracted people to this model was this transmission concept.

From the pictures that I have seen there appear to be many techniques used that Lego designers would not use that may involve flexing parts and the entire brake system would most definitely get cut. These features are very cool, but not really built in a practical way like official designers do.

The design of the body would also have to be completely overhauled to fit Lego's Technic platform. This isn't a Cuusoo project that the design team could replicate and improve in a shortened time frame and keep all of the cool things that got people to support it in the first place. If anyone wants it, I recommend getting the instructions from Sheepo's website.

In my opinion, Sheepo should have did a redesign and maybe eliminated and altered the things that were going to prevent this from passing the review when he got his 5,000 supporter message. But then I suppose that some people would have been upset because the purpose of why they initially supported had been changed. I wish Sheepo good luck with the review and thank him for his inspiring Technic creations.

By in United States,

17 support isn't a lot. I wonder what the break down is if the threshold is 100.

By in United States,


I will certainly grant you that Cuusoo is an evolving beast and anything I say might be totally different the next day.

Also, your welcome on the data. Glad someone else finds it interesting. I will post the actual number sometime later. Like I said elsewhere I just need to get it to look nice first.


17 does not sound like much....but then again neither does 10,000 really when you think about it. To put those numbers in perspective, Land Rover USA's twitter feed has 80k+ plus followers. Neil deGrasse Tyson has 1 million followers, Felicia Day has 2 million, Steven Colbert has 4.5 million followers.

These single individuals could, if they choose to, crush Cuusoo's 10k mark.

To at least partially answer your question, currently projects with 100 or more support make up the top 17% of Cuusoo projects. Which mean that more than 80% of all projects on Cuusoo have less than 100 support.

The "floor" of Cuusoo is always drifting up now 17+ represents the top 57% of projects on Cuusoo.

By in Italy,

Every word we spend on Cuusoo is just beating a dead horse.

By in Canada,

Until I get the last 12 supporters I need to reach 200 for my boardgame, I refuse to acknowledge any other projects!

By in United States,

I was under the impression that as soon as you submitted a project to cuusoo, you give the rights over to cuusoo. If Sheepo is selling the instructions, doesn't this break that agreement?

By in United States,


So does that mean if I give you a support that you have no intention of returning the favor until you hit 200..?


That is what Cuusoo stated when you enter a project, but I would think there would have to be some type of paperwork to make everything truly legal.. Besides, what is to stop someone from just deleting their project..? The Winchster was entered, got the supports and and then failed the review and from what I understand instructions were made afterwards... I have instructions for my models on Cuusoo as well, and until Lego packs them in a box and slaps a Lego Logo on it, the instructions will be available...

By in United States,

@behemothjosh (and partially to Paul Boratko)

Two things are absolutely clear, when you post a project to Cuusoo you relinquish ownership of the idea to Lego. Also, you may give you instructions away for free as in the case of the Winchester.

Beyond those two statements there is some dispute.

In the early days of Cuusoo I know a TexLUG member that asked Cuusoo if they could sell the instructions and they were told they could not.

It is clear however that many projects (Serenity, Vampire GT, Land Rover Defender, and a few others that are not coming to mind at the moment) are selling instructions and since they appear to be continuing to do so, there is a question as to what the official policy is.

It is as likely as not that these groups are violating Cuusoo's policy but that Cuusoo is not currently enforcing their rules. These rules may just be in place to allow Lego to take Legal action should they deem it necessary in the future.

By in United States,

Selling instructions to me seems no different if I were selling an instruction book for a retired(or current) official Lego set... It's not like there is a big secretive project that no one knows about... My main project on Cuusoo is dated now anways.... XD

If Cuusoo were as strict as it should be, there would be no photos or photo build steps be allowed anywhere on the internet except Cuusoo...

People have replicated my Cars just from the detailed pics that I have posted on Brickshelf, not to mention my website...

By in Canada,

The Mother Brain project is my favourite new project this week!

By in United States,

Actually, I think Cuusoo is reaching a critical point of *maturity*, now that all of the most obvious and most famous copyrighted characters have been posted as a project, all inching their way slowly up to 10,000 to meet their fate...

And so now, if people want to put up a new project, or to get some attention in the mix, then they have to either do something distinctly better, something distinctly new, or just get creative in some bold new way! And that is exactly what I am seeing when I look at the "New Projects" pages... There are lots of top-notch projects, very few little-kid projects, no more just-post-a-logo projects, and lots of builders taking ideas to the next level! Kudos Cuusoo! =)

Plus I definitely think that they will keep Cuusoo, because they get a lot of great marketing intel from it. But they will probably be very strict about maintaining their brand image, and fairly strict about not making new molded parts.

By in Canada,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while the Land-Rover is awesome, LEGO seems pretty pessimistic about it in their comments. Basically, the model is too complex as it is to produce (too many parts, illegal building techniques). To pass, it'll probably have to be watered down to the level of currently existing Technic models, while retaining the absolutely unnattractive chassis.

I love the original model, but I don't see what Cuusoo can do with it / for it.

By in United States,

The 'Brickset Effect' has kicked in! There is now only about 150 more supporters to go for the Jeep.

By in New Zealand,

11.30 pm in NZ, 55 votes to go, I reckon he'll crack it by sunrise. Goodnight folks.

Return to home page »