Sunday, 9 June 2013

LEGO CUUSOO: Vote for the Women

It's time to jump on a CUUSOO bandwagon. This was not a project that was on my radar, however it just hit 9,000 supporters. Having now looked around the web, it seems like other folk were aware and have been spreading the word about this excellent project. So why should this be the next LEGO CUUSOO project to become a reality?

I wrote an article last October about how the number of female mini-figures in LEGO City has drastically improved. Not only has it improved, but there are female Police Officers and Fire Fighters. It took a while, but it seems LEGO finally decided to reflect our society a bit more accurately in the flagship theme. The Collectible Minifigures is another line that includes many female characters, and tends not to stereotype too much in what role they do. Of course LEGO Friends and pink brick buckets cater specifically to girls with an almost exclusively female lineup of characters. What many female this doesn’t address, however, is the lack of female characters in a majority of LEGO themes - and the implication that those themes are not for girls.

According to what LEGO have said previously, LEGO Friends is intended to be an entry point for girls, which will then lead to them checking out other LEGO products too. But looking at other themes, there only tends to be one token female character at best (see Ninjago). The reason that City has better gender equality than other themes is actually due to the number of adult fans who collect it, and constantly reminded LEGO that a few female citizens would improve the aesthetic of their table-top towns. Now, with LEGO continuing to consolidate its position in the toy industry, the company is coming under more scrutiny from casual observers and parents (hence the tough questions when LEGO Friends was launched).

Before the Collectible Minifigures turned up, the ‘impulse’, buy-at-the-checkout product was a small set featuring a mini-figure and small build – predominantly City, but also for themes such as Castle and Pirates. Now that the Minifigures line has been so successful, definitely isn’t going anywhere and has a large following of non-LEGO fans, it seems a good time to introduce another of these impulse type lines. Minifigures are so popular it’s not likely they would be competing for the same cash. Alatariel’s LEGO CUUSOO project, “Female Minifigure Set”, seems the perfect product. 

A Female Minifigure Set would provide a brilliant impulse product and also encourage girls to look beyond Friends and check out some regular mini-figure based sets. The great thing about Alatariel’s project is that the mini dioramas would fit in great with LEGO City, or just provide fun little dioramas on their own. Lined up on a shelf they could be really collectible in their own right. These concepts are so well executed that they speak for themselves, but here is the pitch from Alatariel which is equally convincing:
Although recently LEGO® has started to design and add more female figures to their sets, they are still a minority. A small set of minifigures, which LEGO® has made in the past for different themes, would provide a great opportunity to add women to our LEGO® town or city communities. I have designed some professional female minifigures that also show that girls can become anything they want, including a fire fighter or a paleontologist (main picture). Being a geochemist myself the geologist and chemist figures are based on me:-) Due to the limitations of LDD the heads and hairstyles I used here are a bit limited. Ideally, Lego would produce some new face and hair designs, but at least I would like to see some 'rare' ones included.
Each figure comes with a 6x4 base plate and a corresponding setting to enhance the building experience and stimulate creativity. The sets also come with lots of accessories, such as birds, buckets, tools, bones, etc. I have designed 13 sets, but I imagine a selection of 3 or 4 would make a good box size. If the project would come close to 10,000 supporters perhaps a vote could determine which ones are most popular!
Please press the green 'Support' button and share on Facebook/Twitter if you like my project!
The cool thing about these little dioramas is that they capture the “essence” of a profession or situation, and the scope for more sets is huge. The Mechanic and Scientist are personal favourites, the use of short legs to create a long coat on the latter is a great move. The number of different hairstyles that the Minifigures range has provided would allow a lot of variation to be possible in the finished product.

I try to be selective as to which projects on CUUSOO I vote for, and even more selective as to which I publicise – partly due to a lot of skepticism still with the whole process. This project absolutely deserves to hit the review stage, it could be the first non-licensed project since CUUSOO was opened up to actually get the green light. And if our community selected a project that showed LEGO, through votes, how much we value having female mini-figures in our LEGO sets – that would send a very clear signal, and a signal we could all be proud of. 

Click here to go and support “Female Minifigures Set”.

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