A Lego Beagle (Darwin’s): Vote for it!

February 8, 2015 • 10:55 am

I don’t know how long Lego sets have been around, as I didn’t have them as a kid (I made do with Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, and Tinkertoys). But they’re how a favorite among kids, and I like the idea of multi-use toys that you can make many things with.

Legos can also come in specialized kits, and the company has invited people to submit their own ideas for build-your-own Lego kits on a site called Lego Ideas.  But I’ve found the BEST Lego Idea, and you can vote for it. The process of voting is described below: if a project gets 10,000 supporters, it’s reviewed by the company and then submitted for everyone. The most popular Legos get made into kits:

Well, here’s a project, brought to my attention by reader Sarah, that I think we can all get behind: a model of the H.M.S. Beagle, complete with Darwin, Fitzroy, and a number of cool accoutrements. The project is described here (there are high-resolution photographs on Flickr).

The builder notes the details and rationale; I’ll give some pictures:

The HMS Beagle was built with great detail and as accurately as possible, using 2024 pieces.

Because of the high historical, scientific and educational importance of the theme, I think this set would be a great addition to collections of Lego, and both kids and adults could learn a lot while they play, evoking the travel of these great explorers of the nineteenth century, whose discoveries changed the way we understand nature.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 8.57.02 AM
Note about the sails. I made sails with bricks because LDD don’t  have canvas sails option, but if the project becomes approved, I think the model would be more stable if used canvas sails, plus more than 700 bricks would be saved, and the set would be cheaper and more accessible.
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 8.57.29 AM
1778461-o_19d2pmusv1lrh1fp0obj11fvq307-fullI’d rather see Darwin’s cabin showing him arranging his specimens, but this will do:
 Darwin rides a turtle—awesome! And there’s a finch, too!
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The 8 “mini-figs” are below, and how angry Fitzroy looks! He wasn’t very good pals with Darwin, and eventually killed himself by slitting his throat with a razor.
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 8.58.41 AM
It’s easy and free to support this project: just go to the project’s page and click “support” in the upper-right-hand column. You have to register, but it takes just a minute and there’s no obligations or anything. (I’ve already voted.) You can also click below to get to the page:
Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 10.33.57 AM
We need 9,000 more supporters to get Lego to look at this, and if every reader took 5 minutes to give their support, we’d be over the top in a day.  Think of the children! Can you think of a better way to get them interested in evolution?

53 thoughts on “A Lego Beagle (Darwin’s): Vote for it!

  1. Another minor correction. The most popular sets don’t necessarily get produced. Of the half dozen or so that made the 10k cut last time around, only two are being made.

    A set does have to pass 10k to be considered.

  2. I started following new Lego ideas, and supporting some (under a pseudonym) a few months ago. There are some amazing projects people come up with. 🙂 It was through this process that the female scientists set was approved, although unfortunately I never saw it available in New Zealand. 🙁

  3. This looks great. It might be expensive if it ever comes out though, judging from the size and number of minifigures. Still, I should register and support it.

    We recently bought the Ideas Birds set for our son, and that’s a great set.

  4. Voted.

    Not sure whether the survey matters in any way. Maybe they won’t produce it if they can’t sell it at people’s expected price? (I put in $50-99, but that’s just a blind guess. I never had Lego.)

  5. Probably won’t produce it, unless it’s modified so that Darwin is a ninja riding a dragon and the Beagle is made into a spacecraft that fights zombie pirates. Lego seems to prefer that kind of stuff. One thing it has going for it is that doesn’t have women, which is another thing Lego seems to prefer, unless the women are in a house setting. I don’t mean to sound so down on Lego, I actually like them, but they really don’t like to take too many chances.

  6. Jerry,
    In case you were unaware, the Brick Testament has to be one of the strangest, yet compelling, sources of Bible stories – all done with Legos. Somehow, a lot of the creepiness of the Bible shines through.

    1. I agree. Couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it! Created by an atheist (Brendon Powell Smith) who took ten years to do it.

  7. *channeling my inner child*
    I loved LEGO as a child, building all sorts of contraptions, having hours and hours of fun.
    I really hope they make that set, I’d buy it. So of course I voted.

      1. There is /no/ plural of LEGO; it is a singular company. The pieces are LEGO bricks or LEGO elements (which better covers the pieces that don’t actually look like bricks). LEGO System elements if you want to be really pedantic.

        It’s a SPAM, Xerox, Mace thing.


  8. What with the possible loss of tax breaks over at the Ark Park project, a Lego diorama of the Noachian story may be an affordable option.

  9. Have to get my grandson to support it too. He is a Lego fanatic. HMS Beagle looks great. It is always a bit of a shock to see Darwin without the beard. I tend to forget that he was a young man on the expedition.

    One quibble. Never THE HMS…; just HMS… Spell it out to see why.

  10. Voted, commented (hint: I am from the same county as Darwin) and posted a link to here from a very popular atheist Faceache group

  11. Lovely idea AND for kiddos’ future gifting ( ! when it becomes available ! ) for folks’ celebrating Darwin Day … … upcoming this next Thursday this year !

    Voted –– and pinned “support it” linkage to my pinterest site.


      1. Dr AntAllan: Please send to Dr Coyne your email address along with your permission to him to give it to me. I shall off WEIT answer re Pinterest by private messaging you.

        That giant .LEGO. tortoise IS a hoot! I have actually had the extreme privilege to watch them, seven in their flesh at one time, inside a massive ‘salad bowl’ at their feeding hour … … inside Darwin’s playground, the Galápagan Archipelago Isles.


  12. Lego was far less complicated when I was a kid: bricks of different sizes and colours and that was about it.

    I’ve added my voice; let’s hope WEIT fans will get this project to the next stage, at least.

    1. Bricks of different sizes and colours? Luxury!

      The first Lego I had back in the dark ages – more than 50 years ago – were all two-bump white bricks, with red roofs and windows. All you could make back then were houses, y’know.

      1. I’m probably just slightly younger: we also had yellow, red and blue bricks, one, two four, six and eight bumps, and the roof bricks, of course. But no ‘fancy’ stuff like puppets and wheels.

  13. I posted a comment saying that the project had been endorsed by a professor of evolutionary biology with a link to this bl— website

    LuisPG, the designer replied: “Is the coolest thing that could happen to the project! thanks for the news.”


    PS. It has 1264 supporters now.

  14. Dear Dr. Coyne: Thanks for your fantastic review of my project. Your suggestion for a new cabin is excellent, please take a look at my last update with a new picture.
    In less than a day more than 300 people voted for the project, many of them thanks to his call to vote. If more scientist with your prestige (and followers in social networks) do the same, maybe the project could reach 10,000 votes for the Darwin’s birthday.
    Thank you very much for your support.
    Yours cordially
    Luis Pena

  15. What a wonderful design, Luis! That must have taken a very long time to design and construct. I can see from your Flickr photostream that you’re quite the Lego artist!

  16. Lego HMS Beagle (Darwin) project reaches 3,000 votes in 15 days, for ten consecutive days has been the most voted project at Lego Ideas and reached a maximum rate of support for Darwin day (580 votes in 24 hours). Much of the success of the project is due to your posts about it on the internet and twitter. Thank you very much Dr. Coyne and thanks to all who shared the idea in their blogs and social networks. Best regards

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