See the Fascinating Evolution of LEGO Minifigures Through Time

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See the Fascinating Evolution of LEGO Minifigures Through Time

Key Points

  • Lego mini-figures have undergone significant changes over time, with more detailed hair sculpts, skin tone heads, and prints on limbs.
  • The evolution of Lego mini-figures is driven by the company’s desire to improve the quality and meet the demand for collector’s items.
  • Older mini-figures are worth collecting for their sentimental value, but newer ones are more detailed and readily available.
  • The history and motivations behind Lego’s decisions regarding mini-figures are worth exploring beyond the overview provided in TD Bricks’ video.

Have you ever wondered about the evolution of LEGO minifigures? Few elements of the LEGO line are as iconic as the LEGO minifigures. These cheery little people aren’t usually the star of playsets but are certainly worth collecting.

YouTuber TD Bricks recently did a retrospective covering the differences between minifigures. The roughly eight-minute run time covers the somewhat drastic changes in the minifigures. Popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter have seen quite significant changes.

Now, you can view the video below. It is highly informative and well worth a watch if you’ve got even a passing interest in LEGO.

TD Bricks provides a wonderful retrospective on a variety of minifigures from various Lego lines.

What Marks the Evolution of LEGO Minifigures?

When watching TD Bricks’ video, there is a striking contrast between all of the older minifigures when compared to their newer counterparts.

One such difference is in the line of Star Wars minifigures. You’ll notice throughout the video that beloved series characters like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo got more detailed hair sculpts, skin tone heads, and prints on their limbs. Compared to the older ones that date back to 1999 and 2001 respectively, you can see a huge change.

This also extends to the Harry Potter line of minifigures from 2001. You can see the older minifigures have a passing resemblance to characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. What changes with the passage of time is like the Star Wars line.

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Clothing prints get more detail, the hair has better texture on the molding, and the heads are actually toned like the characters’ skin.

Clearly, the passage of time has led to LEGO as a company taking more care with the hair, facial features, and clothing prints on the minifigures themselves.

This is especially noticeable with older figures like the Pirate Captain and Johnny Thunder. Both figures originally date from the 1980s. The more recent reimaginings have more detail, subtle color changes, and a better overall look.

What Motivated the Evolution of LEGO Minifigures?

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Companies have to undergo quite a bit of change and improvement in their products to stay relevant. This is even true for companies as entrenched in the cultural Zeitgeist as LEGO. LEGO is a worldwide brand, but improving the quality of the minifigures has a huge impact.

While the overall design of sets might not change, after all, they’re still using the same core bricks and plates as when LEGO debuted. Minifigures are highly desirable and have become collector’s items since the 1970s.

When comparing a generic minifigure from 1974 to 2023, there are massive changes. Instead of just being bricks shaped like people, minifigures actually have arms and legs. When you consider the demand and love for minifigures, it makes sense to capitalize on it.

TD Bricks doesn’t spend any time in the video musing over what drives the evolution of LEGO minifigures. However, a retrospective on the history of LEGO minifigures over at Toys2Remember posits that it may have been driven by the NBA sets from 2003.

These minifigures were depicting real people, so plain yellow-tone skin wasn’t going to cut it. After all, the NBA is a diverse organization filled with people of many ethnic backgrounds. This change and addition of skin tone for real-world people extended to the licensed sets before long.

Are the Older Minifigures Worth Collecting?

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If you’re a fan of the older minifigures, they are absolutely worth collecting. In some cases, they might even be quite valuable when it comes down to it. More common mini-figures are obviously not going to fetch top dollar at auction, however.

If you’re just after visual aesthetics, you might as well stick with the newer minifigures. They very clearly show the evolution of LEGO minifigures and are often more detailed.

Now, if you have a load of older minifigures that come with sets from your childhood, those are still worth keeping. They likely still hold sentimental value, and are still perfectly ready for play.

If you’re just getting started in the world of collecting minifigures, however, it might be worth it to stick with the newer stuff. It has the added bonus of being readily available at retailers now. That certainly beats going out on auction sites hoping you find a deal.

Wrapping Up

The evolution of LEGO minifigures is a subject very much worth exploring, beyond the overview TD Bricks provided. While his video is an informative glance at the differences, there isn’t much exploring the history behind LEGO’s decisions.

You can find numerous articles and opinions online on how LEGO minifigures have turned out. If you’re looking to collect, you can certainly start taking a look for sets that appeal to you.

Summary Table

Key PointsDetails
Evolution of Lego Mini-FiguresOver time, Lego mini-figures have seen significant changes, especially in popular franchises like Star Wars and Harry Potter. The changes include more detailed hair sculpts, skin tone heads, and prints on their limbs.
Motivation for EvolutionLego has improved the quality of the mini-figures to stay relevant and meet the demand of collectors. The evolution may have been driven by the NBA sets from 2003, which depicted real people and required diverse skin tones.
Collecting Older Mini-FiguresOlder mini-figures can be valuable and are worth collecting for fans. However, for visual aesthetics and availability, newer mini-figures might be a better choice.
ConclusionThe evolution of Lego mini-figures is an interesting subject to explore. While the newer figures show the evolution and are more detailed, older figures hold sentimental value and can be valuable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did the original minifigures have faces?

No, just blank heads with hats usually.

Do the Star Wars minifigures have yellow skin now?

Now, the skin tone for the new Star Wars minifigures resembles the skin of the actor now.

Which sets are most popular for the mini-figures?

The most popular sets for minifigures are Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Can the older minifigures swap parts with the newer ones?

Yes, they still use the same connection points.

Is collecting minifigures lucrative?

If you can get a hold of super rare ones like the Stranger Things sets, then yes. If you’re just collecting common sets, it might be a gamble to try and sell them for profit.

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