Bionicle LEGO Ideas Compendium

Firstly, it’s no coincidence I’m posting this the day Sokoda’s Legend of Bionicle set failed to pass muster.
When I read the news, I felt defeated, depressed, and a little angry. But as the day wore on, I thought more and more about why this decision had been made. Among a number of other points I’ve made in the official topic for his project, one thing I realized is that we all put our eggs in one basket.

There are several other Bionicle ideas on the site, and ALL OF THEM are and have been in the hundreds for months, while Sokoda’s shot to 10,000 in less than a month.
We can still leverage that kind of support and momentum for any number of ideas.

One Bionicle idea making it to review is a novelty and an exception, especially since both iterations of the theme, in the end, became unprofitable. Two Bionicle ideas making it is a coincidence. Four, five, six making it is enough for the powers that be to pause and say to themselves “…you know, I think there might be something to this.”

Here’s the point I’m trying to make: support Bionicle Ideas. Even if they have no chance because the molds were destroyed long ago, so what? Promote the brand. Don’t let them forget it. It’s not like it costs money to support an Idea, it takes less than a minute, and you’re not even promising to buy it (though it would be nice if you did, but life happens).

But that’s more than enough ranting. Here’s the reason I started this topic. Below is a set of links to all current Bionicle Ideas, mostly compiled thanks to Lenny7092 on BZPower.

  1. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/7df8a5e2-518b-473d-8c4a-056db1d754bc
    The Amaja Circle

  2. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/b68c92b0-6a0c-4264-a2dc-d4dd6ffba149
    UCS replica of 8534 Tahu

  3. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/76618127-4e4d-4d8f-a6f9-2d53a2618f33
    TECHNIC piece revamp of the Toa Mata

  4. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/b2d13635-4c8d-41a8-930d-15b40e98293b
    Brickheadz Toa Mata, 20th anniversary commemoration

  5. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/37e80913-962b-47c3-9d57-464c4b358030
    Technic/CCBS remake of Takanuva Stars

  6. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/4fe87789-0310-4955-bee8-109a7d7034ff
    The Temple of Time from Gen 2, but with a Gen 1 twist

  7. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/8b81cdb6-59de-4eb0-9245-8db1b1789b2b
    Micro map of the island of Mata Nui

  8. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/79c2e738-3def-46a2-81f6-9b950ee955c6
    Technic/ System depiction of the Mata Nui Robot

  9. https://ideas.lego.com/projects/a20506be-09e4-4760-a0de-f1d9dbe659aa
    Mounted bust of Tahu’s Kanohi Hau

I’ll keep this list updated as new Ideas go live. Why not share this with friends? Why not promote it on Bionicle social media groups? Why not discuss it in our own branches of the community? Why not try?

The ball is in our court. Play well.

14 Likes

All have been supported by me, as will all future entries.

Thank you for doing this, and here’s hoping this won’t be the last time a Bionicle set makes it to review.

@cast I also would hope that you all will continue to plug Bionicle Ideas on the channel. Your support was a major factor in getting Sokoda’s MOC to the top, and continuing to bring attention to these other attempts can ensure LEGO keeps seeing Bionicle, even if it’s just on the periphery.

We need them to know that we’re here. Even if we’re screaming into a void, at least we’re making noise.

5 Likes

I can confirm that we will continue to do so. I’ll be talking with Meso about it and we’ll figure out our next steps.

12 Likes

On the subject of underloved Bionicle LEGO Ideas projects, I think this one deserves a spot too: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/79c2e738-3def-46a2-81f6-9b950ee955c6

:stuck_out_tongue:

3 Likes

Completely missed that one, somehow.

Mata Nui Rising is my favorite. The map is nice too.

2 Likes

I’d love to see that micro-map become reality.

3 Likes

Same. I can imagine me putting that in my back pocket or bag and carrying it around for the sake of adding more beauty to my life.

I also dig that Amaja circle model because the good/evil element in it is timeless and would be recognizable even to non-fans of the series.

And I love the attitude of the builder behind the UCS Tahu model. If you check the updates tab, you’re in for some real salty determination right there.


Eventually I think we should also put some research into understanding how to get our projects to succeed in review. If we build a list of likely considerations and spread them around, we might be able to get even more builders to take the plunge. (We already know some: brick-built, less prints, safe for kids, stable, etc.)

But honestly, I’m not in the mood for that right now - I’m more in a “flood the next review, storm Billund, and make them pay!” mood to be honest. That’s probably not going to be a good principle for the future, but I’m…human…and I wanted to buy Sokoda’s set.

Yeah.

5 Likes

I’m unsure my comment got picked up on the livestream earlier about Sokoda’s set not getting picked but I get a feeling with Lego’s strange obsession with wanting to pander to old properties back in the 80’s and 90’s, I feel like Lego is trying to take a piece of the market Funko Pops currently hold over. It just seems like the most likely thing from a business standpoint, especially with how licensed IPs consist of half their products in the past few years. Pop culture sells and Lego wants in on that action and get adult collectors hooked on it.

The reason why I feel their efforts are awfully misguided is for two reasons.

1: Funko Pops are stupidly cheap and easy to mass-produce. It’s essentially the same template tweaked slightly into the desired character and bam! You got a new Funk Pop. Copy and paste for nearly every intellectual property known to man and you got a marketing strategy that works. While Lego can easily follow this same strategy, unlike Funk Pops though, these licensed sets are really expensive and the only thing any collector would care about is the minifigures included rather than the bricks to the set. In additon, with Lego’s diligence to making characters in their licensed properties look as accurate as possible, they often make specialized head pieces that tend to see use for one set and never again elsewhere, a similar issue Bionicle faced during the later years of G1 which made producing sets extremely expensive. This also leads to my next point.

2: The ease of access. Not counting second-hand markets and special versions, Funkos are incredibly cheap. They are also incredibly simple as the Funko you get will be shown in the packaging, which make collectors really happy. Lego sets though are different. For one, these special sets can only be found online and they aren’t exactly the most affordable things out there. If you want to get them physical, you would have to go through the toy section of your local store which may be seen as awkward to some and it might not be on the shelves as it has to complete with Lego’s own IP’s. Funko Pops you can find about anywhere and thrive in places geeks and collectors would normally go to, like a Gamestop, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, and even your ma-and-pa comic store. As for when you get your set of whatever show or movie you or your parents grew up on back in the day, it often requires assembly, shelf space depending on the model you have (usually a giant house like with the Simpsons and Home Alone), and every collectors nightmare, opening the box and packaging. For these Lego sets, you can’t display with the box alone. For one, it would take up way more space than the physical model does. And two, you wouldn’t be seeing the actual thing and observe it from all angles, pose it to your liking, etc. Lego sets seem to cater to an audience that isn’t your typical collector, one that prefers to build models and show them off, a market that seems to only be found in Asia which Lego doesn’t seem to pay much attention to, at least to my knowledge anyway.

TL;DR: Lego seems to be wanting some of that Funk Pop money but fails to realize why it works well with Funko and not Lego. Lego’s business model seems to cater to a very specific demographic and often been associated with younger audiences and timeless appeal. It does make me disappointed Lego is heading down this “boomer pop culture” direction but I don’t really have much power to stop it. As they say, let the people vote with their wallets and see what happens.

6 Likes

I don’t really know anything about Pop Funko, so I can’t really weigh in on that, but I agree that the last round of Ideas clearly caters to an older audience looking for nostalgic novelty. And, to be fair, all three Ideas gained enough support to be reviewed.
I’m still naive enough to believe we can present another nostalgic market to LEGO.

As far as “ideas for Ideas” go, I’d love to see someone try and make a system Ignika in a similar vein to these builds:

If any mask deserves a treatment like this by Lego, I feel like it’s the Mask of Life. The Hau is another contender, but that’s kind of already been tried by a lot of people (including Lego themselves, once). Maybe an Avohkii or Kraahkan, but I feel like those are less iconic.

I feel like this could get enough of a limited release (and have enough visual appeal, given that this particular mask was designed by an artist and not a set designer) where it could be more justifiable as a marketable set, too. It would be super eye-catching on the box, and it would have an engaging build rather than a repetitious one, which are two critical things Lego looks for in a set release.

Make the UDD symbol the base, too. :stuck_out_tongue:

7 Likes

I haven’t seen these before, and agree a single mask or series would be great.
Were it up to me, I’d have a small run of red/gold Hau’s, blue Krana Xa, Orange Vahi, Avohkii, and gold Ignika. Though of those, yes, the Hau is the most immediately recognizable.

2 Likes

I’d love that many too, eventually, but remember - safe to start small. Lego would like to see one really good set, rather than ten that they can’t sell. If it performs well, maybe then they would consider doing more. (And if it doesn’t, at least we got one.) :stuck_out_tongue:

The two pictured sets aren’t exactly cheap, either. :stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

It’s pretty simple why Sokoda’s project didn’t pass the review stage (and the same reason why those linked here wouldn’t pass) - LEGO wants to make things that enough people will buy.

Think about market size.

If you’re submitting a “commemorative” set that only really appeals to someone who knows deep G1 lore, then you’re trying to sell to the tiny fraction of G1’s original customers that know that lore, still like LEGO, and still care.
Compare that to the tens of millions who’ve seen Awful American Sitcom 17 and also like LEGO - it’s obvious why one is chosen over the other.

Bear in mind that the 10k goal on Ideas is only a guide for LEGO to their potential market size. It works well for random designs like the typewriter, where 1% of Ideas users voting for it might suggest 1% of all LEGO fans being interested in buying it. However, in the case of heavily community-pushed designs, the 10k supporters are probably most of the potential buyers, so it is not profitable for LEGO.

I’m not saying Ideas is pointless, as it reminds LEGO that BIONICLE is a strong concept. But any design relying purely on G1 nostalgia is very unlikely to pass. The Mata, remade in system (using mixel joints) might have a chance, otherwise you need something that’s good enough to sell on its own merit, like a Mata Nui diorama that captures the artistic style enough to appeal to any LEGO collector.

3 Likes

We’re talking a $100 set here. $100 x 10K is $100,000. Now I don’t know how much expense it takes to produce these sets, but they have such limited production runs that the market size is hardly an argument.

For example, I wanted to buy the female scientist set back in the day and couldn’t because of how hard it was to get - it sold out before I got online and it never made to to my Lego store. Same for the old fishing store (believe me, I wanted that set, but I had no money at the time and yeah). If you don’t meticulously keep track of the Ideas platform itself and the progress of the set you want, you’ll never get it.

The reason Sokoda’s set failed seemed glaring to me when I first saw it - the cost of the printed parts. There is a lot of printing needed to produce that thing, from the prints on the robots to an entire custom mini figure print job. The Iggy fig doomed the show.

In my “optics” the reason for rejection had nothing to do with Bionicle G2, pop culture conspiracies, or mass market. The reason had to do with dollars and cents. The reason why sitcoms, typewriters, and pirate ships get through is that it’s cheaper for Lego to produce sitcoms, typewriters, and pirate ships. How hard is it to make a sitcom scene when you’ve already made two…and also a lot of City stuff and Friends stuff that’s slice-of-life? Lego already makes the Technic parts for that typewriter…and how hard is it to fit another run on the pirate ship making machine?

Basically to get past Ideas you need a set that’s cheap for Lego to produce that isn’t terrible. That’s something we the fans do have control over.

And which is easier to fix - the amount of prints in our next proposal or Lego’s relationship to sitcoms? Design work is about details and changing small things instead of big things.

———————

Slightly related point (not implying Votuko was thinking the opposite of this, and it’s a response to the latest TTV commentary on the Sokoda thing):

Blaming our failure on external forces that we have is no control what is paralyzing this community in general, I think. Lego isn’t listening to us because we blame them for our problems every time we don’t get what we want (they view themselves as above criticism), and we blame them for our problems because they don’t listen to us. This cycle of us blaming and complaining and them ignoring goes back to 2004 with Metru Nui backlash. We’ve all got our reasons and our ax to grind. (Not to mention typewriters to burn.)

But what side of the relationship do we have control over? And I don’t mean that in a jerky “stop complaining and suck it up!” sort of way. I mean it in a “Lego, we’re still here, and we’re not leaving or going down without a fight” way. We keep going in spite of their bad behavior. The complaints are legit - the company should pay attention to their customers. I’m an advocate of expressing our rage constructively. The memes are a good start.

I also mean it in a “how can we improve?” way. Because on the listening balance, they are probably not going to change. The only people we can change are ourselves. The only thing we can decide is what we are going to do.

1 Like

Just a quick aside, that would actually be $1,000,000 :stuck_out_tongue:

100% agree. I think there’s a lot more to analyze here than “Lego hates Bionicle and its fans and we never have any chance ever”. That’s defeatist, pointless, and will never get us anywhere.

5 Likes

That’s assuming every voter will also buy. I guarantee that this is not the case, and with how the Bionicle community reacted to G2, there’s no reason for Lego to believe that the fans will buy the sets that they say they want.

Even so, if even a tenth of them did buy that’s already $100,000. Are you seriously telling me that wouldn’t be a profit in the end?

1 Like

You’ve got a solid point. I have no idea what the actual production costs are, but I’d be very surprised if it cost Lego that much to produce a set. Distribution is expensive - maybe they just don’t want to overshoot…?

Or maybe they want a certain brand image with the sets they’re choosing. I’m not sure.

I’d be interested to see the stats for how limited some productions runs can be, if you have them. It’s very hard to find those sorts of numbers!

What you can find is estimates that LEGO create around 200 new sets a year, of which they sell around 200 million copies. So an average production run might be one million copies of a set.

Now, I accept that some sets will have fewer copies made, but I have a hard time believing that any modern full-release set has had a production run as small as 10 thousand.

Similarly, some fraction of 1 million Euros (after deducting materials, manufacturing and designers’ wages) might persuade me to make something, but LEGO is a company that makes 1 billion Euros profit each year. They make far more money by focusing on set ideas that will sell to a large audience, rather than the original 10k Ideas backers.

1 Like