The Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog review

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I've now finished my review of this important reference work for LEGO collectors. Read it to find out why you need this book, and whether I think it's worth the asking price.

Once you've done so, leave your feedback in the comments here.

Update: Christoph, the book's author, has been reading your comments, in particular in those about the price. There's not much he can do at the moment to reduce it, but he has now made the book available electronically for a fraction of the price of the printed edition. You can purchase and download it from Lulu. Now there's no excuse not to buy it...

47 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Excellent review Huw.

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By in United States,

Thank you for the review. Well done. I think you highlight the great things about the book. The mention of an iPhone app is an excellent idea. I could see myself buying the app for a few bucks.

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By in United States,

Ah, so Print-on-demand is the reason for the higher price on hardcopy version. I would love to see what the ipad version looks like, and costs. either way this is a MUST have. I have been waiting for the mini-fig head cross reference forever.

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By in Australia,

$89 for what I already have at Bricklink and Brickset together which deliver the same as this book does, online, for free. Developing a new numbering system seems like a lot of work done for little gain, will a brand new system really catch on with people that can already look up an online reference with numbering already inplace? Is it really imaginable that enough people would buy this book that all should be encouraged use a new numbering system? And will I be required to buy another book this year, we have 2011 minifigs already which the book doesn't. I guess I don't see a real need for it and that is the baseline for selling a product, isn't it?

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By in United States,

At the stage of collecting that I'm in, this book is very attractive to me. I have thirty-five years worth of LEGO bricks in my basement mostly all packed in their original boxes. I buy new sets, but very few because the new sets mostly have a "been-there-done-that" (and usually not as well) feeling. New marinas and dockyards? Another police station when I'm sure that my LEGO citizens are pretty law-abiding and already have a half dozen police stations? Sure they are nice, but do I need new versions of what I could construct with my collection? Nope. I don't think that I do.

From your review, Huw, this book seems like it will allow me to sit down and study my collection from a new angle. Align things that I've never aligned before. See things that are not a part of my collection. Appreciate the history that is the minifigure.

True that all of the information in the book is online, but the book binds it all together in one easy place to find it not that finding it online is really hard, but I think shuffling through pages of a book while reclined in my favorite reading chair would be more enjoyable than having dozens of a tabs open on my Internet browser and switching between them to see what I'm looking for.

And I like books. Being able to add a quality collector's reference book to my LEGO collection will be something new and, I think, exciting.

Yes, it is already out-of-date, but reference books usually are. It would be nice to maybe see in five or even ten years a second volume added for only those years and not have to re-purchase the original texts as a part of an up-dated version.

Yes, the price is off-putting. I really do love LEGO but have reached the point where I feel that I have enough only buying the sets that really appeal to me as adding something new to our collection (LEGO games, modular buildings, the Christmas scene...). I pull out the same sets when I want to putter around with bricks; most of the pieces I own haven't seen the light of day since we last set up every set we own (but had room for) as a Christmas display in 2008. This book and other reference books about LEGO give me that chance to look at LEGO a new way since I'm not buying the amounts that my family had bought in the 1980s. I'm willing to shell out that $90 (let's face it, the price of two "nice" LEGO sets that I would mostly likely have something very similar too in my collection already) for this book.

I just have to save that much first (My wife and I collect a good many other brands of toys ;]).

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By in United Kingdom,

^ You have hit the nail on the head. Nothing in this book, information wise, can't be found online, but websites and PCs just don't have the same tactile attraction as a real paper book. Once you buy a book, you have it, and the information in it, forever. Brickset and BrickLink may one day disappear but you'd still own the book.

Perhaps it's an age thing. Youngsters today probably have less exposure to books than we did on our youth so maybe that's why the are valued less.

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By in United States,

^I totally agree. And I'm only a TFOL!

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By in United States,

^Yeah same here. I'd rather read this book in my bed before I go to sleep then be staring at a computer screen getting a headache at 10:00. I just wish it wasn't so much! Also someone mentioned an idea that if the book was in binder form, you could simply add more pages of minifigs as they come out. Kudos to whoever came up with that idea! :)

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By in United States,

^Wow, that binder thing is a great idea! I'd totally go in for that, and it would probably be cheaper too. :D :-) :-D

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By in Australia,

Quote from the review:
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Christoph is also planning an iOS version for iPad... It does not take much imagination to see that this should be stunning and arguably more useful than the book.
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Yes, yes, yes! This would be a wonderful thing.

Some of the "coffee table books" that are appearing for the iPad are breathtaking, one example being Our Choice, which has simply stunning presentation.

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By in Singapore,

Great review Huw! Thanks! Indeed the book is monumental for an indie effort. I agree that nothing beats the tangibility of an actual book, especially a catalogue. However, the book is effectively outdated once the next new minifig is released. An iPhone/iPad version would make more sense then... but then again, not everyone owns one. So now the decision is book or wait for the iOS version?

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By in United States,

^Actually, it's already outdated, as it only covers through 2010. So I see your point.

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By in Singapore,

^Oh yeah it's up till 2010. I missed that! It's a great reference nonetheless. I only hope that future editions will be addendums rather than a reprint with updates, like the 2nd Ed Lego Collector.

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By in United States,

LEOGlas- It wasn't my idea, it was Vamproe's. But thanks all the same! :)
Huw- Will you be putting this in the database? I think it'd be a great addition to have a 'indie' section.

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By in United States,

Okay, I am willing to say what some of us aren't. Books can accompany you in the bathroom, computers can't... There I said it.

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By in United States,

^ "Dies Laughing" True, very true. Well unless you have a laptop.

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By in United States,

I will buy it for correct price.....interesting.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the good review, Huw. The book seems great, as I just love minifigures. However, that price is incredibly high, so I doubt I'll be getting it.

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By in United States,

I am definitely looking forward to picking it up somewhere.

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By in United Kingdom,

Pity the digital download is in the PDF Digital Edition format which means it wont work on ipad. Luckily I noticed just before buying. Hopefully the seller can release a standard PDF version soon.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I would imagine that's to prevent piracy and/or image ripping, but I'm no expert.

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By in United States,

Hmmm. Now that it's 19 bucks in pdf form, I might just buy it...
And itsaturkey, I was looking through Gear a while ago, and we have the Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide, so this will probably get in too.

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By in Portugal,

My reaction to this was and can only be of asking "Can you imagine how much real bricks you can buy with $89?"

I acknowledge this is an awesome piece of work, and very interesting at that. But really, I can't stand to spend that whole much of something that's LEGO but it's not actually made of ABS.

Still, congratulations on the review Huw, very well done.

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By in United States,

Actually, my first reaction to this was "Yes! Something to make up for Standing Small!"

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By in Portugal,

Thanks an whole lot to Christoph for the cheaper digital version. I have already bought mine as a sign of recognition for not only your work but also this gesture of apretiation for all us LEGO fans.

A digital version comes in very handy for me as I have many difficulties with handling real books and depend a lot on the computer to work.

Cheers

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By in United States,

Great review, Huw! I no longer doubt the price. Thanks for compiling this masterwork, Christoph!

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By in Netherlands,

voypro, ah that brings back memories. Lego in the bathtub ;-)

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By in Canada,

The book looks awesome. (Great review, Huw. It was very explanatory.) However it is quite a bit pricey, and it all contains data that can already get off Brickset and Bricklink. (Exept for the head part. That looks cool.) But, then ericjohn said what he had to say, and that got me started thinking about the PDF version. I think it's a great idea, and I just might get it, if I can.

^^^^^Just another reason. Standing Small was terrible! It's a good thing I don't own it. :)

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By in United States,

I actually find the book every economical. It covers 35 years of minifigures. Taking the price of $89 over the 35 years it comes out to about $2.54 per year. Not bad in my opinion.

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By in France,

if i had 80 quid i would so buy this :-(. i think it would be nice to have what accesoaries came with the figure as i constantly mix mine up and for display wanna get back to the orginal ones

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By in Singapore,

^including the accessories is a darn great idea!

I'd gladly go for the book. $89 is fair I feel, the book is one of a kind. I have been waiting for something like this for a long time. And displaying the minifigs in 1:1 scale is genius. Let's hope it goes on amazon soon.

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By in New Zealand,

Loving the taxonomy, but the idea of having a taxonomy down on paper defeats me - this kind of thing is what computers are brilliant at, not as a linear PDF but as a navigable Taxonomy. The content looks great and Kudos to the author, but I'd love to see that tree and taxo as an interface to the brickset minifigs, and that, for me, would be all I'd want or need.
If that's what the me-too-phone / fondleslab app will be about then great, but I'll be waiting for the Android version.

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By in United States,

@ voypro: What century are you living in? Are you a time traveler from the past? Just kidding. I take my iPad, iPhone, or laptop in the bathroom all the time. Too much info, I know. Sorry.

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By in United States,

I just purchase this fantastic digital book. Regarding the contents re-read Huw review, I echo all his sentiments.

Regarding download. First know, your not just downloading a pdf file, instead it is a digital book; so you need something to read it on. The Lulu website has a link to a free Adobe download of a program they call Adobe Digital Editions. When you buy the book from Lulu you download what is called a .acsm file; when you have installed (and have running) Adobe Digital Editions, you click on the .acsm file and the book begins to download to your computer. The book pop-up'ed in the Adobe Digital Edition program... it was a pain free process. Looks like you can install it on 6 computers / devices. I am assuming there are other programs / apps that read digital books, other that Adobe Digital Edition.

Of course, I want to view it on only one device... My Ipad. So now I begin the process to see it that is possible. Apple and Adobe lost that "lovin feeling" for each other years ago (hence no Flash on apple devices), so we'll see.

One thing I am not thrilled with is the concept that I fear there won't be a way to update this book without buying a new copy (which greatly differs it from the easily update-able app). Hopefully the author finds away around that, as with most all books inevitable errors are discovered. Updated more accurate books are great for new buyer...no so much for the faithful first edition buyers. Of course, with my luck the Ipad app will be soon announce, which would stink for us Ipad-ers that bought a digital book with the hope to use it on our Ipads.

(PS @sharky I am from Kentucky, I get a poor wireless signal from my outhouse.)

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By in United States,

I'm not a "hard-core minifigure collector" as described. However, with all the tools seemingly at hand with this book, I'd get a lot of use out of it in selling. That is my assumption. Or should I think otherwise?

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By in United States,

In regard to the lack of completeness (needing to be updated) and the fact that updates seem to be needed and necessary so often, wouldn't it be easier to have an online version to purchase that can be accessed by subscription?

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By in Australia,

From what I have seen elsewhere, the book does not include rare minifigures, such as the Nesquick Bunny ?. Not sure if this is the case, but for me a Minifigure collector, if these are missing then it mutes the book.

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By in New Zealand,

@Gladiatoring: The Bunny is in :-)

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By in United States,

For those of you that want to download the digital copy of this minifigure masterpiece and enjoy it on your ipad...forget it. Spent the better part of the day trying to do it. (and forget the app "txtr" the book is too large) the War of Adobe vs Apple is in full swing and there is a huge amount of upset Ipads owner which have paid for ebook digital downloads and can not access them.

So for now, if you download this book expect it to play only on Sony digital readers models PRS-505 (or 700, 600BC, 300SC) which...wait for it.... have Black & White displays! So it seems the digital download is only viewable, in Color that is, on your computer (mac or Windows), which brings up the now very valid point if you need a computer to view it, why not just go online for mini-figure reference. Ironically, I can use my Ipad/android phone to view those free Lego websites when I am out and about, but not the ebook I just paid $19 for???

My review is: Contents-GREAT , its digital option (at least for me) -stinks.

Photos are great, Carl Linnaeus would be proud of the taxonomical nomenclature, but not making a digital copy view-able on the ipad (or any color e reader) is poor marketing that would make Billy Mays and P.T. Barnum cry out from their graves. It is like have releasing the collected works of Elvis, but the songs can't be played or converted to be played on an ipod... but hey it will work on your Sony Discman!

But if you are satisfied with using the book only on your computer then download it ASAP.

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By in Australia,

Yeah I'm with voypro regarding uselessness of Adobe Digital Editions. I can't even get the thing to download.
There is supposedly an app (free) called Bluefire which can read these things on the iPad though.

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By in New Zealand,

Please note that the eBook is not a replacement for our upcoming iOS App. I have much more functionality in mind than the current eBook offers. Developing the software does take some time. I agree to your point about that Digital Edition has a limited reach, but that was the only way I could quickly offer a more affordable version of the book. We will work out an iOS and probably also Android version. Please be patient with us.

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By in Netherlands,

Just bought the eBook.
Tonight gonna install the ADE..... can't wait!

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By in Australia,

For those who can't wait for the dedicated iPad app, here is how to get the ADE PDF to work on the iPad:
First download the poxridden software that is ADE.
Now create an Adobe Account on the Adobe website.
Authorise ADE using your acct details.
Now download the Bluefire Reader for iPad from the app store.
Also authorise Bluefire with your Adobe acct details.
Now you can download the ebook from Lulu.
You need to transfer the ebook onto the iPad now. Open the apps tab in iTunes when the iPad is connected, and select Bluefire and 'add'. You will find the actual file in MacintoshHD/Users/"Your user acct"/Documents/Digital Editions/The_Unofficial_LEGO_Minifigure_Catalog.pdf

When you open Bluefire on your iPad you should be able to read it! :)

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By in United States,

@ palais

Have you done this? Or has anyone. There was others who were raving about being able to do this with the txtr app but the size of the pdf file on the minifig book was too large.

Anyone done this yet.

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By in United States,

Yes the book is pricey and I could buy real Lego with that money but the thing that caught my eye was 'extensive metadata.' I love the cataloguing system. I'm more of a Dewey gal myself but the new catalogue numbers look like the library of congress system. I might get it cause I would like it as well as my boys who like to look at Lego as much as playing with them.

Does the author have plans for a bionicle/hero factory catalogue?

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By in New Zealand,

I am planning to work on the non-standard-scale figures, such as Duplo, Bionicle and Technic, towards the end of the year. It will be another big project....

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