Lego Minifigures

What is a Minifigure?

A Lego Minifigure, or “minifig,” is a small posable figure of a person, animal, or being (like an alien). Most minifigs have rotating arms, legs, hands, and feet. They can represent ordinary to famous people.

While Lego building sets often include minifigs, you can also buy individual minifigs.  Both children and adults collect Lego Minifigures.  They are customizable by taking parts from different minifigs and mixing and matching the parts with other minifigs. 

Lego Sleepyhead minifigure
My first minifig was Sleepyhead. He looks like my son when he was little.
Customized Game of Thrones minifigs
Customized Minifigures depicting characters from The Game of Thrones.

History of Lego Minifigures

Protype

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Lego Group focused on model building – houses, cars, trains.  However, the company did not have occupants or users of these models.  In 1975, Lego launched its first figurine.  It had a blank yellow heard, a torso with arm-shaped bumps, and one single solid leg. The parts  (arms, legs, and head) were not moveable.

first Lego figurine in no arms, no facial and a solid leg
This is an image of the first Lego figurine produced for its model building sets. Image from Lego Minifigure, Year by Year, A Visual History, Gregory Farshtey with Daniel Lipkowitz (2013 by DK Publishing), page 7.
First Minifigures

In 1978, Lego produced an improved figurine, called Minifigures or minifigs. Lego included these minifigs in its Castle, Space, and Town sets.  Unlike the earlier immoveable figure, the Minifigure had moving arms and legs, hands that could hold accessories, and a face with eyes and a mouth.  These minifigs also had interchangeable torsos, legs, and arm pieces. The first minifigs did not have gender or racial components.

New Minifigure Elements

In 1989, Lego offered new minifig elements by including hooks for hands and peg legs for Lego Pirates.  Thereafter, Lego began producing minifigs with different facial expressions, facial hair, eye patches, makeup, and sunglasses.  The skin tone remained yellow.  Then, in 1997 with Willa the Witch of the Fright Knights, facial expressions became more complex. The new expressions included open mouths and detailed eyes.

Willa the Witch minifigure
Willa the Witch Minifigure.
Expressions on Minifigure heads.

In 2002-2003, Lego introduced minifigs with spring-loaded legs for its basketball sets.  It also introduced different-sized legs, such as short legs for children.

Child and Mom minifigs
Notice the shorter legs on the child Minifigure.
Minifigure Skin Tones

In 2003, Lego released the first Minifigures with natural skin tones. Lego also created minifigs in the likeness of living people.  In 2004, Lego expanded natural skin tones to all its licensed products (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.).

Minifigures showing shorter legs on child
While the mother and child minifigs have yellow heads and hands, the father’s are flesh-colored.
Lego Minifigure Judge
Judge Minifigure showing interesting clothing.
Lego fast food worker with tray
Fast Food worker Minifigure
Lego dog costume minifig
Pug Suit Guy Minifigure.
Lego Oscar the Grouch
Oscar the Grouch minifig from the Sesame Street building set.
A  customized Minifigure of Trump
A customized Trump minifig.

Where to buy

As previously mentioned, minifigs are often included in Lego building sets, such as Creator Expert. However, you can buy individual Lego Minifigures on Amazon. If you want customized minifigs, like my Game of Thrones or Trump minifigs, Etsy is a great site.

View of minifig factory from above
Lego has a Minifigure factory set. I took the set and hacked it substantially.

Sources:

Book:  Lego Minifigure, Year by Year A Visual History, Gregory Farshtey with Daniel Lipkowitz (2013 by DK Publishing)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_minifigure

Ananda

My passion is small-scale stuff, from small toys to miniatures to small home decor items. If you enjoy collecting and viewing miniatures and other little things, I hope this website will provide you helpful information and useful links.

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