LEGO Minifigure Year by Year

Posted by ,

The much anticipated book: LEGO Minifigure Year by Year A Visual History from Dorling Kindersley has just been published in the USA and will be available in the UK from next week.

The book covers the history of minifigures from 1978 to 2013 in 256-pages. It features information and pictures of several thousand of them laid out in typical DK style. It doesn't set out to include every minifig ever made, but it does include every significant and important minifig ever made, with some exceptions, which I'll come onto later.

It comes with not one but three minifigs mounted in the thick front cover: a town person (plain red torso and legs, classic smiley and brown male hair), a Stormtrooper that looks to be pretty standard, and a robber, who is probably similar to those found in recent City sets. To be honest, they are a bit boring and actually I think I'd rather have a copy of the book without the thick front cover because it does make it more difficult to browse. I believe DK make 'library editions' so it might be worth looking out for that instead of the retail version.

DK LEGO Minifigure Year By YearAfter a few introductory pages about 'what is a minifigure?', 'how minifigures are made' and a time-line, the main body of the book starts on page 19 with 1978, pictured right. The 70s and 80s are covered in the next 25-pages. The 1990s take 40-pages, the 2000s take 100 pages and the last 60 pages cover years 2010 - 2013. I think these numbers illustrate very well the rapid expansion in minifigs we've seen since the turn of the century!

 

DK LEGO Minifigure Year By YearThe photography is generally of a high quality and consists of several types of images: those that have appeared in other DK books, including some I took for the HP and SW character encyclopedias; those that have been taken especially for this book; and for minifigs made in recent years, those provided by LEGO from their image library.

You will recall that earlier in the year we put out a request here at Brickset to source minifigs to photograph and around twenty or so of us loaned them to DK, so consequently the acknowledgements page at the back reads like a Brickset roll-call. Thank you to all those that helped!

 

DK LEGO Minifigure Year By YearPersonally I felt some of the pictures taken for the book lacked 'punch' due to flat lighting, and consequently don't 'leap off the page'. I thought some of those on a 1998 page, right, were not particularly good.

So, what's in the book, and what isn't? Our very own kempo81, Giles Kemp, was the lead consultant and tasked with deciding what should be included. We can be confident therefore that every significant figure has been included.

However, there are some gaps: there are no Toy Story, no Pirates of the Caribbean, no Prince of Persia and no Lone Ranger figures included. Are you seeing a pattern emerge? I couldn't possibly comment on why that is, but I suspect you can draw your own conclusions. It's a shame, but it's not a show-stopper.

Like all DK books, it's fantastic and worthy of a place on every LEGO fan's bookshelf. It's not quite the definitive book that it should have been but it comes close, and there's no other book like it.

It's available from Amazon:

36 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks like a really good book. Can't wait to get it!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I will be picking up a copy as soon as it comes out. Thanks for the review Huw and well done kempo81!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks great.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I ended up submitting nearly 60 minifigs. I was happy to help! Brickset Rules!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks like a nice addition for the collection.
Are there any others coming out soon with better exclusive figures does anybody know?

Gravatar
By in United States,

I just bought this a week ago!

Gravatar
By in United States,

After seeing how incredibly error-ridden Standing Small was (here's a list of problems I counted, plus other people posted more I had missed in the comments: http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog%3AJamesster.LEGO/Standing_Small_screw-ups), I was bracing myself for more of the same when I clicked on the sample images of this book - but in the images you've got here, they've actually gotten all the character names and images correct! Let's hope the rest of the book is this way too.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@ChicoCheco, I think there is some reuse of content, particularly images, but the actual 'copy' is all new.

@jamesster, we have @kempo81 to thank for that, one of his tasks for checking for accuracy.

Gravatar
By in Denmark,

Stating the obvious: Disney rights are too rigid? They should have earned a few extra dollars on PoP and LoneRanger. Those budgets could need all the extra income possible in order to balance a bit up the loss. Strange that Starwars are in since Disney got those rights too.

Are all the LOTR and HOBBIT figs there?

Gravatar
By in United States,

@Huw, excellent! Looks like he's done a great job so far. I'll be getting this book for sure.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Looks like a great book, however looking at the UK cover on Amazon (for some reason this appears to be different from USA and Canada) I couldn't help noticing that Agent Trace from the 2008/9 Agents theme is captionioned Aquanaut Commander which is a bit unfortunate, but I will almost certainly get it anyway - just hope there aren't any other errors

Gravatar
By in United States,

Looks like an excellent book! I look into getting it... :-)

Gravatar
By in United States,

I saw it at target a week ago, i want to get it quick before someone steals the minifigures, but its $40 ):

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@rose the cover amazon UK have used I believe is incorrect. There is no difference in cover to my knowledge and can only assume it was an early place holder cover used in development? There were a number of different ones I saw.... The information in the book for Agent Trace is correct and she is not mentioned as an aquanaut commander.

Gravatar
By in New Zealand,

Well, there are books like it. Even ones that claim to be (nearly) complete. It is even in your book shelf, Huw! ;-)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@kempo81 that's good to know, thanks for explaining

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

It's a great book and a some of my fabuland minifigs are in it and daughter so pleased to see her name in the book too :-)

Gravatar
By in United States,

Just got the book at Barnes and Noble, pretty darn good! Only actual errors I noticed were minor and few in number - "Axle" from Rock Raiders was misspelled as "Axel" (though it's not the first time that's happened, it's an easy mistake to make), the ninja princess being identified as the green female ninja instead of the white one (or was she actually identified as the princess in those character cards? I haven't seen all of those yet), and "Gabarro" from Adventurers being spelled as "Gabarros" (though nobody actually really knew how to spell his name for sure until I checked into it just a week ago - as far as I can tell his name is only mentioned in a few obscure places like a Game Boy Color game and a puzzle book, both as Gabarro, and Standing Small called him Gabarros, so all the fan sites mentioning him ended up being split between the two names... There's also the possibility that there's other places I haven't seen yet that call him Gabarros). There's also some missing names (Black Jack Hawkins is identified as a pirate captain, Sheriff Wild Wyatt West is just called "Sheriff", etc), but that's pretty inconsequential considering just how much there is packed into this book - heck, it even includes pretty obscure minifigures like Bill and Mary from the 6000 Idea Book, the whole backstory for the Insectoids, and it managed to get through the whole Sam Sinister/Slyboots confusion perfectly. Well done!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

they had the book in forbidden planet in london today (well, yesterday, now)

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Found it discounted already yesterday at the Costco in Port Coquitlam (Vancouver), Canada yesterday! Love a sale!
:)

Gravatar
By in United States,

I wish one of the 3 included figs was female.

Gravatar
By in Denmark,

@jamesster My Danish 1997 catalog identifies the sheriff as "Sheriff Skymore".

Gravatar
By in Netherlands,

@Jamesster: regarding the Castle Ninja's, only the white female ninja is regarded as being a 'princess'.
Although the Brickset link for the green female ninja (http://brickset.com/minifigs/?m=cas212) calls her a princess (and she has the same face as the white ninja: http://brickset.com/minifigs/?m=cas058), she is not titled as such on her character card.
Her full card description is: "The Green Ninja is good at climbing, laying traps and building secret hiding places. Her favorite weapon is the shiruken."

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Is there a picture in the book of the proto-minifigures consisting of static legs, single piece torso and faceless head (such as those in set 372)? It's hard to appreciate how revolutionary minifigs were for TLG and how brilliantly they are designed if you aren't aware of what preceded them.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@Zander

Yes.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

My son has been unable to put the book down for the past two weeks. He's been spotting all the figures we sent in. Very impressed.

Gravatar
By in United States,

@LEGOIndianaMogens, oh goody, more conflicting localized names... Though, do the Danish magazines give any other alternate names for Western characters? I like to keep track of these sorts of things. Any scans of those Danish magazines online?

@alldarker, thanks. I've been wondering about those character cards for a while, but never seen all of them. I wonder why Brickset identifies her as the princess...?

Edit - Doh, I just realized that images of the cards have been on Bricklink the whole time! Why on earth didn't I check sooner? http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=G&catString=380.284 Odd that they make the Emperor/Samurai Lord sound like a hero, though, in the story described in the US LEGO magazines he was a corrupt ruler, with the princess and red ninjas rebelling against him. Though I suppose those character cards have never really been very true to the magazines and video games and such - they're the only original piece of Rock Raiders media that misspells Axle's name, and their Town Jr. names conflict with the names for the characters in other places (though seeing as the Town Jr. characters are fairly generic I suppose that's not as big of a deal).

Gravatar
By in United States,

I want that book more then anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gravatar
By in United States,

I don't' need the book.

I do believe that I have the parts to the "classic" minifigure, and the others are easily attainable.

For minifig details, I've got Brickset

If this book shows up at a store, and the information sounds interesting, I'll get it, otherwise no.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Does it feature the Nesquik bunny figure?

Gravatar
By in United States,

yeah it does

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

@kempo81

Thanks!

I'm definitely interested in this book. Not sure I can trust Amazon to deliver in good condition though.

Gravatar
By in United States,

^Amazon has excellent shipping, and I can say this from experience. So I don't think that you need to worry about it. ;-)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

UK people- I picked this up in WHS Smith today (Halifax,Yorkshire) - was on a shelf behind the counter so that thieves couldnt steal the minifigs out of the book. Was on sale for £20 and WHS Smith are currently handing out '£5 off when you spend £15 or more' vouchers with most purchases so managed to get it for £15! (cheaper than current amazon price).
Great book too!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Just picked a copy up from The Book People for £8.99 delivered!.

Commenting has ended on this article.

Return to home page »