Everything you wanted to know about minifigs but were afraid to ask

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As you may recall, Dorling Kindersley is publishing a book about minfigs, LEGO Minifigure Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle, later this year.

The authors have asked for your input:

"As one of the book's features, we are hoping to create a themed spread which features interesting questions to LEGO about their minifigures, and it would be brilliant if you could help us with any questions that you might have!

"Questions could be about something that you've always been wondering about minifigures, such as how they are made, their history or any quirky facts you would like to know. If you have any ideas it would be great if you could get back to me by Wednesday [6 March] if possible. Please note that we can't guarantee that LEGO will answer all the questions, but we hope it will make a nice feature in the book. "

You can contact Ruth Amos (ruth.amos [at] uk.dk.com) directly with your questions, or leave a comment here and I'll collate them.

53 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I've always wanted to know if they're come across a real person who looks like the standard minifig. Who's the most minifig-looking person ever? :)

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By in Denmark,

Of all minifigs ever produced and how many work in the police force, and how how many are firefighters?

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By in Denmark,

What is the "one" most produced minifig?

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By in Denmark,

And... why are LEGO ladies taler than LEGO men?

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By in Germany,

I've always wanted to know how they are made and what machine attaches the arms to the torso and the legs to the hips, but i would guess these are guarded manufacturing secrets, as would be how the heads are printed so uncannily accurately.

I noticed last year that the 'breather hole' on the head has disappeared, and is now a hollowed out stud without a hole. Why the change of design?

Also, how are the different ideas for the collectable minifigs decided? eg. cowboy, sparten, chicken suit guy!

Looking foward to the book.

With Regards

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By in United Kingdom,

"Why are all the all the hook hand or peg-legged figures, left hook handed and right peg-legged?" (Even Mad-eye Moody, who I think is left peg-legged in the films).

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By in Canada,

Are any of the minifigures based on the designers or their friends and family?

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By in Canada,

Maybe they could give us the definitive answer to the debate about what real-life actor/person has the most representations in minifig form?

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By in United Kingdom,

Why the first minifigs had so yellowish face?

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By in United States,

@Andhe: That's because switching the peg leg and hook to the other arm/leg would probably require introducing entirely new machines to assemble them.

I can't think of any questions of my own right now, but I'll keep brainstorming!

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By in United States,

@tedward...
I was just compiling a list the other day of that.
Harrison Ford: 2 (Han Solo, Indiana Jones)
Orlando Bloom: 2 (Legolas, Will Turner)
Johnny Depp: 2 (Tonto, Jack Sparrow)
Samuel Jackson: 2 (Nick Fury, Mace Windu)
Ian McKellen: 2 (Magneto, Gandalf)
Alfred Molina: 3 (Satipo, Doc Ock, Sheik Amar)
Warwick Davis: 4 (Wicket, Wald, Flitwick, Griphook)

This does not include variations of the same minifigure.

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By in United States,

Who is the rarest minifigure to ever appear in a common circulated set?

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By in United States,

^^that warwick davis...he's everywhere.

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By in United States,

The national geographic documentary on mega factories has some info and footage about how minifigures are made. It came out in 2010 and can be viewed on You Tube. 45 minutes well spent IMO

Heres a cool fact, there are 27 variations of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and 26 variations of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Not sure if there are any other movie/tv characters with more variations

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By in United States,

@Andhe: while not a traditional pirate hook, per se, the Space Villain collectible minifig has a right-handed spanner/wrench arm as a hook.

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By in Canada,

Why are the hands of new minifigs upside down?

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By in Ireland,

I'd like to echo @tedward - I'd love if they could address the issue of which actor has had the most minifigure representations in licensed themes.

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By in Netherlands,

What has been the most expensive/cheapest minifig to produce, including need of new molds for hairpieces, designertime for torso-print etc.

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By in United States,

And who does LEGO’s Minifigures get their fashion sense from? Dolce & Gabbana? Versace? Valentino? Vivienne Westwood? I just never knew “Overalls” are the perfect choice for all venues and always en vogue. We certainly have had more than our share in the LEGO towns and LEGO cities through the ages….. Tell me – can someone tell me? ;)

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By in United States,

@ninjavader999 - You forgot the 'Leprechaun' CMF for Warwick Davis "I'm thee Le-prechaun!" :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

My question - how many different colours of hands have been created for minifigs over the years?

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By in New Zealand,

@multiplex: Yes, I did watch that episode of Mega Factories (I just turned on the TV and was browsing channels when it came on, so I watched it). Very interesting program. :) I recommend every LEGO fan should see it. As you said, it's probably on YouTube and, if it's not, it'll be somewhere on the net. :D And that's an interesting fact about Mark Hamill and Daniel....there might be other licensed minifigures that have lots of variations too....they should put that as a question in the book. ;) As soon as that book comes out, I'm gonna ask my library to purchase it and then I'll read it (so then I don't have to pay money for it). Sounds very interesting. :)

Hopefully, I'll be able to think up some more questions.... :D

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By in Germany,

Not sure if you are aware, but the exclusive minifigure coming with this book will be the toy soldier previously rumoured to be in series 10.

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By in Germany,

@ninjavader999
you are missing:
Christopher Lee (Saruman, Count Dooku)
Kenny Baker (R2D2, Paploo)
Ben Kingsley (Mandarin, Nizam)
Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange, Red)
Gary Oldman (Comissioner Gordon, Sirius Black)

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By in United States,

Why did it take 5 years for Lego Star Wars minifigures to adopt the modern face style in 2009-10 instead of the classic look (i.e basic black beedy eyes). Other licensed themes adopted skin tone colors and stylized eyes and expressions in 2004, but Star Wars minifigures resisted.

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By in United States,

I second a discussion about the minifig head and why some have the holes in the stud and why some do not. I cannot find the rhyme or reason to it (for my superheroes Captain America and my small-version Hulk has holes, and the rest do not). My EN engineer does, but many other figs do not. Maybe where they are produced?

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By in United States,

@ emilewski: There are two possible reasons for minifigure heads now having holes on the top:

1. Save Plastic. Even the tiniest bit multiplied over millions of heads saves a lot of plastic. This can be seen in the bottom of the tubes of new, regular, lego beams.

2. Choking Hazard. If a child gets a head stuck in their throat, they will be able to breath a little better because air can get through the hole. (See page 69 of 'A Million Little Bricks' by Sarah Herman)

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By in United States,

Is there a minifigure limit for sets in the designing stage?

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By in Canada,

Question:

why are so many of my older lego mini fig torsos and arms cracking?

is it a temperature thing, poor plastic, or just wear and tare.

As a collector with so many precious and expensive figures I worry about the future. Hoping that by not "playing" with them they will be fine for years to come.

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By in Canada,

how many different kinds of double faced heads have been produced?

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By in United States,

Why don't minifigures have noses?

Regarding minifigs from licensed themes, where does the balance lie between maintaining the traditional simple Lego look and making minifigs look as close to their licensed counterparts as possible? For example, Lego Star Wars minifigs have progressively added more detail over the years... but is there a point where they say stop? And is it a conscious decision to move in this direction, or a request from fans, or a request from the licensor, or something else entirely?

In the evolution of minifig design, why hasn't the idea of legs that bend at the knees ever been brought up?

How much harder is it to print on legs and arms compared to torsos and heads?

The standard minifig includes at least 9 distinct elements. Which produced minifig features the most elements ever?

Where do you think Lego's popularity would be today if minifigures were never introduced?

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By in United States,

How many different minifigures with the non-traditional heads have been made(ie: Yoda head, Atlantis monsters' heads, etc)
Where do you get inspiration to create a non-licensed minifigure, like how do you come up with the design for a City minifigure, or a Castle minifigure, or whatever theme?

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By in United States,

/\/\ *cough* Native American from Western *cough* And in the star-wars minifigure book or one of those they mention why.

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By in United States,

re: transparent minifigs: heads have been around for a while, but trans on trans pieces is a no-no for lego (check the "stressing the elements" powerpoint) however we will be getting a trans light blue *printed!* left arm on the JEK-14 minifigure this spring/summer...

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By in New Zealand,

"How many people working at LEGO have those business-card minifigs"

- and more importantly how can I get one? ;-)

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By in Germany,

how much more effort and time goes into the creation of minifigures of licensed themes than the regular ones (e.g. city) - not considering part reuse?

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By in Canada,

- A variation on the classic "if you stacked all the minifigures ever produced/produced in a year from head to foot, you could go around the earth XX times/to the moon and back XX times"

- number of different facial expressions produced by year (to show the increasing expressiveness of the minifig face over time)

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By in Indonesia,

My own question- Which official minifigure is most intricately printed?

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By in United States,

My question is, how many different heads (including all licensed themes) have been produced? Would be a cool looking inside cover pages to show all of them

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By in United Kingdom,

Which minifig has been produced in the highest volume ? ie: Different sets multiplied by sales volume.

Which 'regular' minifig has been produced in the lowest volume ? 'Regular' being any minifig in a boxed set which could be bought in any store.

I'd also love to see design sketchs, un-used minifigs / protoypes, etc.

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By in Canada,

How rare will the new 'Golden Minifigure' from series 10 be?

Has there ever been any talk of a part that would effectively change a minifigures hand from grip to stud clutching? (putting a small handle or bar on top of part 4073 in place of a stud or something)

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By in United Kingdom,

Question - Do you ever intend to create a new type of minifigure; such as one with bendable knees and elbows? Is it possible given the size constraints assumed by the name 'Minifigure'?

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Why are the minifigures mostly so unhappy looking?

There are so many angry/scared/surprised/determined/etc facial expressions but even with the double sided heads, there are few that actually look "happy".

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By in Denmark,

i would like to know what minifigure in the world is the rarest

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By in Denmark,

QUESTION:
What does it take for a LEGO to define a figure as a minifigure? (or: how brought is their definition?) Legs, torsos, head are often molded with great variation... but sometimes they are al so changed from a "standard" minifig, that some AFOL's don't count them as minifigs... So is there some kind of definition of what a minifig is?

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By in Denmark,

QUESTION:
Does LEGO have any plans about establishing a "Make yourself" minifigure service?

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By in Canada,

With Lego so expensive and profit margin so high, why does lego continue to push so many stickers rather then true prints.

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By in Taiwan,

LEGO MiniFigures can provide a mechanism of exchange all over the world?

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By in France,

Two production style questions for me ...

Why can they not make short regular (swiveling) minifig legs for children or short people like the Penguin? Is there any reason that short legs have to be fixed position (standing) rather than being able to swivel?

Why can they not make longer pins on the female skirts (the slope pieces), that is, the same length as the ones on regular legs? That way, they might stand a chance of remaining in place.

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By in United States,

What is the one minifigure you really want to make, yet never have gotten to?

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