Back before LEGO put an end to Ideas submissions based on active licenses – including Star Wars – amateur set designer Aaron Fiskum (aka Psyense) got a very recognizable model nearly to the finish line.
Describing himself as having “geek tendencies”, Aaron has been enjoying LEGO since the tender age of four, and considered himself a fan of the construction brick from his fifth birthday when his father bought him an advanced set. This lasted until teenage interest put him into a Dark Age, which lasted until he turned 39 when his discovery of the Ultimate Collector Series subtheme brought him back to the light.
Dusting off his old bricks and turning his hand to making his own models, Aaron built a large-scale version of Luke’s X-34 landspeeder and taking the concept of the MOC (My Own Creation) to the nth degree, the Star Wars fan put his building skills up for scrutiny when he entered his UCS X-34 Landspeeder onto the LEGO Ideas platform.
Since its launch in 2011, the Ideas (née Cuusoo) platform has been a popular way for custom builders to put sets forward, through a voting system, to LEGO for their review. With thousands of sets – from simple designs created by children to advanced construction developed by adults – added each year, very few accumulate the 10,000 votes to make it through to the review stage – and even fewer make it to the production line.
With hundreds of Star Wars models already lodged on the Ideas platform, the chances of Aaron getting his UCS landspeeder noticed was pretty slim, but his entry got spotted by a number of blogs, influencers and forums and a groundswell of popular support carried him.
“The landspeeder just made sense, as anyone that loves Star Wars knows what it is,” he told the LEGO Ideas team in a 10k Club interview (now defunct).
By the end of the race, Aaron had got his LEGO Ideas entry further than any Star Wars project had before – accumulating all the necessary votes and getting to the review stage in record time.
- January 14th, 2015 – UCS X34 Landspeeder submitted to Ideas
- January 26th, 2015 – 1000 votes received
- April 30th, 2015 – project deadline extended
- August 16th, 2015 – 5000 votes received
- August 22nd, 2016 – 10000 votes received
- September 5th, 2016 – added to Ideas second-round review
- January 3rd, 2017 – 10k Club interview published
Unfortunately, the review team ultimately rejected Aaron’s model – not because it was based on an active intellectual property license (because LEGO had already decided to grandfather in submissions that pre-dated the change in guidelines) though.
In an official update from the LEGO Ideas team at the end of February 2017, Aaron’s supporters were informed in a boilerplate statement that “high standards for what it takes to be a LEGO product; including factors such as playability, safety, and fit with the LEGO brand” weren’t met.
Aaron continued to build large science fiction models out of LEGO, but his UCS X-34 Landspeeder was his one and only Ideas submission. Rejection wasn’t the last word in Aaron’s story, however, because the team at LEGO House invited him to put his UCS X-34 Landspeeder on display to mark the attraction’s first birthday at the end of 2018.
Just like 75827 Ghostbusters Firehouse Headquarters and 75936 Jurassic World Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage, both of which had Ideas submissions that were rejected prior to their official releases, the new 1890-piece 75341 Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder raised the controversy – which was addressed by LEGO when the debate about the Jurassic Park raged – that LEGO was using the Ideas platform for inspiration.
In our desire to continue to allow LEGO Ideas members to submit product ideas based on third-party licenses, we have in the LEGO Ideas guidelines acknowledged the fact that there may occur unintentional overlaps between products being developed internally by our design teams and those submitted by fans via LEGO Ideas.Source: LEGO Ideas Team (via StoneWars.de)
Whether Aaron was contacted by LEGO is unknown, but as a Star Wars fan he’s sure to be impressed by the set that his model surely influenced.
However this footnote in the history of the LEGO Star Wars theme ends, at least there’s the knowledge that – despite the claim by some fans “no one asked for” a UCS Landspeeder – the fact that ten thousand people supported Aaron’s bid indicates otherwise.
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.