The anatomy of a BrickHeadz

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View image at flickr

Before CapnRex101 gets stuck in with reviews of the series one Super Heroes BrickHeadz later today I thought it would be interesting to dissect one and determine what features and dimensions are common to them all, something we could perhaps term the 'BrickHeadz specification v1.0'.

Even before their general release people have been designing their own to this specification so I'll take a look at a few of them, too.


Let's start at the bottom:

Legs

View image at flickr

Legs are 4 plates high and are usually constructed from four 1x2 plates.

Variations: 41590 Iron Man has Earling/headlight bricks at the front to allow 1x1 plates to be affixed for extra depth and colour contrast, and 41591 Black Widow has 1x2 brackets to provide fixing points on the side. Obviously 41595 Belle is completely different but the overall height of her dress is the same.


Torso

View image at flickr

The torso is usually constructed on a 4x4 plate, and is two bricks and one plate high. Two 22885 Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs are used to mount the arms.

The front and back of the torso are usually constructed using bricks, often printed at the front, but bricks with studs on the sides or brackets such as 99781 Angular Plate 1,5 Top 1X2 1/2 can be used to provide fixing points on the front or back, if required by the character's design.

For example, 41591 Black Widow and 41585 Batman use brackets at the front for belts; 41596 Beast has a 1x4 brick with 4 studs on the side for affixing the coat tails at the back.


Arms

View image at flickr

The arms are usually formed around a 2x2 plate and a 11476 Plate 1X2 W. 1 Horizontal Snap for the hand.

Variations: Beast uses 99206 Plate 2X2X2/3 W. 2. Hor. Knob which allows for a tile to be attached to the top thus filling in the gap between the arm and the hair, and 41592 The Hulk features a far more muscular design.


Head

View image at flickr

The head is the most distinctive part but the core of it is the simplest and common to all models. Twelve 22885 Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs are mounted on a 4x4 plate or equivalent. This plate usually forms part of the torso's design, or in the case of 41595 Belle, is her neck.

The official models have 2x2 bricks and plates inside, with a pink brick at the top, presumably representing the brain :)

The eyes are positioned on the second row of studs up, on a 1x4 tile with two studs. However, rather than directly on the bricks, the tile is mounted on a 4x4 plate (omitted here for clarity) which helps give the face some additional depth relative to the body.


Finishing it off

View image at flickr

Once the core has been built it can be clad to suit whatever character you're building. I suspect that in the majority of cases the most time, effort and parts will go into perfecting the character's head.

Armed with the specification you can now go ahead and have a go at building your own. Maybe we should have a BrickHeadz building competition sometime soon!


Example: 41591 Black Widow

Here's an 'exploded view' of one of the better Super Heroes BrickHeadz, 41591 Black Widow. Her hair is particularly impressive: from the images below you can see how the five sides of her head have been designed to form the contours and curves.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Her 'big hair' helps separate the eyes from the side of her face which corrects one of the major cosmetic anomalies of the core design, in my view, and once the five veneers have been attached it looks seamless.View image at flickr

Note the belt front and back, and tiles on the sides of her legs: boots, presumably. She's also been fitted with cuffs -- printed 1x2 tiles.View image at flickr

View image at flickr


MOC examples

Our very own CM4Sci has been particularly prolific at churning out digital designs which all look to be compliant with the specification. You'll find a gallery featuring dozens of them on flickr. Here are a few of my favourites:

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

Will Kirkby has also been very productive. Here are a few that caught my eye in his flickr album:

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

View image at flickr


Check out the BrickHeadz group on flickr for even more superb examples.

Ten of the series one BrickHeadz can now be ordered from shop.LEGO.com:
USA | Canada | UK | Germany | FranceView image at flickr

43 comments on this article

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By in Brazil,

Very interesting article! I already made some BrickHeadz MOCs but based on the reviews photos, so the anatomy of my models is slightly different. Time to make some changes to them...

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By in United States,

. I think custom brickheads would make for a good contest idea.

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By in Italy,

part typo: 22855 should be 22885

i love this theme and those bricks looks ultra-useful, and there are plenty of em!

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By in United States,

I am so saving this page, thanks for the tutorial.

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By in Sweden,

I think the pink brink representing a brain is my favourite part of these Brickheadz. Not terribly interested in them on the whole, but a few of them might be worthy of a purchase.

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By in United States,

Even though I'm not crazy about the look of Brickheadz I'd buy that Greedo in a heartbeat. And a Brickheadz building competition would be fun for a look as well.

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By in United States,

I really want to make some custom Star Wars Brickheadz now...

So YES, Brickheadz competition PLEASE!

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By in United States,

One of the best articles! Thanks for the exploded view!!!

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By in United States,

The greedo custom looks so well made. Good work Will!

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By in United Kingdom,

The greedo one looks amazing! In my opinion it looks better than any of the official sets. The Simpsons ones look superb as well!
I've been attempting to make the Stig for a while but all my prototypes have quite a different structure (and his visor is hard to replicate)

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By in Sweden,

Mixels was a more creative concept. The Brickheadz are essentially all the same. Boring.

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By in United States,

That Greedo is fantastic, making great use of studs to represent his knobby texture. That ought to be an official release.

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By in United States,

I made Rey and Star Lord when they first announced the line; I think Ill pick up a couple of these now.

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By in Netherlands,

Great article, thanks!

Maybe we might get seasonal brickheadz in 2018? 2015 vignettes, 2016 buildable figures, 2017 vignettes (sort of) so who knows...

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By in United Kingdom,

Definitely count me in for a brickheadz building competition ;)

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By in United States,

You guys do realize that, objectively speaking, Lego is just shamelessly ripping off Funko's POP! figurines, right? and besides, someone else beat'em to it! (Mega Bloks i believe...)

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By in United Kingdom,

Look out for a worldwide shortage of 22885 Brick 1X2X1 2/3 W/4 Knobs........... ive ordered some Brickheadz already.......

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By in Netherlands,

The ears are also uniform between most of the characters with the double cheese slopes. Btw, I love the exploded view.

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By in United States,

@Spartan Ghost: "Shamelessly ripping off" is a matter of opinion. Funko Pops were not the first such standardized collectible character figurines, merely one of the most prolific in this day and age. Products that are similar in concept, like bobbleheads of TV characters or sports stars, stretch back decades—Funko has simply created a standardized vinyl version of that sort of desk accessory that can be cheaply mass produced, and turned that into a licensing juggernaut that can freely adapt pretty much any property under the sun.

Ultimately the mere fact that these are built from Lego parts makes them fundamentally a different sort of product than the pre-molded Funko Pops. And even Mega Bloks' Kubros, which did beat Lego to the punch have a dramatically different aesthetic (one that in my personal opinion is ugly and inferior to the cuter BrickHeadz) and builds that are significantly less complex (relying less on SNOT techniques). The mere fact that Lego was not the first company to jump on this bandwagon doesn't invalidate their foray into it any more than the pre-existence of Skylanders and Disney Infinity detracted from the substantial innovation and design work in Lego Dimensions.

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By in United States,

One could argue that the Lego brick itself is a "derivative" of another company's invention way back when, so if Lego determines that it can sell product that seems similar to another company's, then it's just history repeating itself...Why should Lego be different than any other company in trying to market products that people will buy?

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By in Netherlands,

Am I the only one who thinks that those tiny 'hands' look ridiculous?

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By in United States,

Love the exploded view photos!

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By in United Kingdom,

Greedo looks amazing! I'm glad he's not available as BrickHeadz are an easy pass for me right now.

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By in United States,

Those "exploded view" pics are fantastic!

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By in Australia,

Greedo is insanely well executed!
Im not commited to buying into these yet, will wait and see what local supply levels are like and if a sale comes up.

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By in Canada,

As everyone seems to agree, a competition would be very interesting! A suggestion for the competition would be: group 1: freestyle, anything goes, group 2: improving on existing Lego models. Is the Greedo actually feasible? I.e. are all the parts (mostly the head) available in those colors?

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By in United Kingdom,

@HOBBES: alas, various parts from my Greedo design don't actually exist :(

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By in Netherlands,

^^^ you have a great name! ;-)

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By in United States,

I commend Huw on a really well-done article, one of the most thorough and informative ever on this site.

It's a shame that the subject matter is LEGO's ugliest product line since Galidor.
The design is fundamentally and unfixably flawed with the decisions made about the placement and look of the eyes and hands. Yes, the hair sculpting is nice, but the total failure of the faces, the lazy reliance on printed parts to "make" the characters, and the lifeless rigor mortis posture with those absurd arm/hand monstrosities. Really it's a staggering level of failure. It's like someone said, "Let's make kawaii SD figures!" while understanding literally NOTHING about the aesthetic essence of kawaii and SD, and why people are drawn to that style.

On the plus side, I'm expecting to get a lot of parts very cheap out of this surefire-shelfwarmer line. Hello, 70% off at Target!

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks everyone for your complimentary comments...

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By in United States,

@Huw Is there a pink 2x2 in every BrickHeadz' head? From the way it looked in the exploded view, that pink 2x2 looks like a brain, in my opinion. Does that occur to anyone else in this section?

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By in United States,

Thank you for the exploded views! Brick Headz really aren't for me, but might buy a couple for the parts.

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By in United States,

Haven't decided if I'm going to get any of these or not... but kudos on the explanation of the style & techniques used in the series. I really enjoyed it. I'd love to see more exploded views of models where possible.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^ Yes I think it is in them all and yes I think it's supposed to represent the brain!

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By in United Kingdom,

Great article. I look forward more to seeing what fans do with the framework more than the official products themselves which I find a bit derivative.

Even though the studs are clearly visible it also took me a while to realise how small they are!! (having built a quick sketch model from the pictures above).

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By in United States,

Hear hear for the exploded views! Those are absolutely brilliant and what sets this site so far apart from the flock.

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By in United States,

Thanks for the mention Huw! At first I wasn't too keen on these but I really like making my own! I also gotta say the exploded views are the best photos :P

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By in United Kingdom,

Fantastic article, loving the exploded views! I've already purchased 415888 - The Joker and 41590 - Iron Man, I plan to sprinkle more of them into my collection throughout the year.

Early February I shared my LEGO BrickHeadz interpretation of Dancing Groot from Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014), it got quite the attention.

Dancing Groot (BrickHeadz) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/adeelzubair/32644969396

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By in United States,

I am liking these more and more, but if there is one complaint I had to make it would be the arms. Some of these models--BW specifically--would benefit from some stubby mixel-joint arms to pose slightly. I think it would add more charm to the already caricatured chibi look, and it wouldn't be a hard mod to make (color limitation notwithstanding). If I pick any of these up, I am definitely going that route.

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By in United States,

I absolutely HATE this theme and hope it dies this year. Ugh! It is so obviously a rip-off of those creepy, disturbing, and ugly Funko figures.

...but much like I can't understand the appeal of Funko crap, I'm sure this will be a big seller and I won't be able to avoid it.

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By in United States,

Nice use of the clear bricks in the exploded view! Love the Greedo.

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By in Germany,

Interesting. But I guess there are many ways to build your own brickhead. I built a "Mephisto" on a totally different way. But in the end it looks like a brickhead...

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