In my last Ideas Showcase article I mentioned that I planned to write a feature article for any Ideas project that had reached 5,000 supporters.
In my first such article, I am showcasing a project close to my heart - Kakapo.
This product Idea reached the 5,000 supporters last week. I have been following its progress closely and believe that this could be the start of a disruptive new LEGO theme.
Read on as I describe this project in detail and see why it could be the start of a popular new theme.
The kakapo (Strigops habroptilus)
The common name of this large, large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot "kakapo" comes from the Maori "kakapo", from kaka ("parrot") + po ("night").
There are only 148 kakapo alive today. It is ironic that for this project to be successful, 10,000 people will need to support a model of a bird with a population of just 1.5% of that number.
The model has changed a bit since Hayden first put it on Lego Ideas: while it started out at 473 pieces, it has increased to 490 parts. The main reason for the changes was that Hayden was never really happy with the legs and feet (he has always found these to be the hardest components to assemble on any of the birds he has built!)
As it started to gather supporters on LEGO Ideas, Hayden realised that the model needed to be robust enough to stay balanced and in one piece if the LEGO designers were going to review it. The design is meant to be for display, but it does have movable wings, tail feathers and the legs can rotate.
Hayden thought that making a kakapo out of LEGO would be an effective way of generating awareness of endangered species and share New Zealand's native fauna to the world. "The idea that this set could inspire someone to seek further information about an endangered species or realise an interest in conservation of wildlife is exciting to me," explains Hayden.
Hayden accepts that this set may have more of an appeal to New Zealanders, however, he has received comments and support from people all over the world who want one. He thinks this is largely to do with Stephen Fry’s ‘Last Chance to See’ documentary where he meets Sirocco.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation has a Kakapo Recovery program which combines the efforts of scientists, rangers, volunteers and donors to protect the critically endangered kakapo.
The Kakapo reached 5,000 supporters last week and therefore it gained an extra six-months extension. The project is currently at 5161 supporters and has 600 days remaining.
Hayden produced this festive image of his kakapo to celebrate his project reaching 5,000 supporters.
Comparison to 21301 Birds set
There will always be comparisons between this product Idea and the successful 21301 Birds Ideas project released in 2015.
"Outside of the Birds Ideas set and a few other small Creator sets, LEGO does not really offer a lot in the way of sets with buildable animals," says Hayden. "I think this is a missed opportunity. I think my Idea project is separated from the previous Birds set by its focus on a critically endangered species. I see this as a way to build interest in, and perhaps contribute to, conservation efforts."
A line of critically endangered animals made as LEGO sets would be a good way to raise awareness of these critically threatened species. The LEGO Group could take this product Idea and create a disruptive new theme similar to the Architecture theme designed by LEGO Certified Professional, Adam Reed Tucker.
This is the key point of difference: the Kakapo, and other related sets, could be sold at wildlife sanctuaries and zoos around the world. Locations where LEGO sets are not normally found. This was one of the reasons why the Architecture theme took off: the sets were sold at museums, book stores and in the buildings depicted by the LEGO Architecture model.
Kakapo chick + free instructions!
Hayden has designed a kakapo chick and supplied free building instructions and parts list on the Updates tab of his Kakapo Ideas page.
Would you like your Ideas Project featured in an exclusive Brickset article?
Please get in touch with me, using the contact link on my profile, if you would like your Ideas project featured at Brickset in one of my Ideas Showcase articles.
There are currently five Ideas projects that have Achieved Support. Four of the five projects have featured in my Ideas Showcase articles here at Brickset: The Chemical Plant, Playable LEGO Piano and Food Stand Diners as well as my own Queen Victoria Cruise Ship.
You'd be surprised how few people get in touch asking for a promotion. I will take a look at the project and I usually comply with people's requests to promote their Ideas project. It is an underutilised avenue.
Today, Brickset has their yearly traffic review report. It is the third most visited LEGO-related website behind LEGO.com and Bricklink.
Additionally, if your project has reached 5,000 supporters then I will write a feature article. I will ask that you send me some high-resolution images and a short write-up describing your project.