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A Guide To Lego Figurines And Display Cases

lego minifigures

Lego minifigures are an integral part of the Lego building experience. These small plastic figures are components of most Lego sets and let builders add personality to their creations. With an ever-increasing range of themes and designs, these tiny collectibles are loved by Lego enthusiasts worldwide.

This article shall dive into the wonderful world of Lego figurines. We shall look closer at these famous plastic characters’ history, type, and popularity.

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What are Lego figures?

Lego figurines, also known as Lego minifigures or minifigs, are small plastic figures designed to be compatible with Lego building sets. These figurines are typically 1.5 inches (4 cm) tall and possess movable arms, legs, and heads. Figurines are available in a wide range of designs and can be customized with different clothing, accessories, and facial expressions.

Figurines are key components of the Lego building block experience and are an essential part of the Lego culture. Like Lego sets, figurines are collected and traded by Lego enthusiasts worldwide.

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History of Lego Figures

Early figurines: 1974 – 1977

Danish toy manufacturer, The Lego Group began producing Lego bricks in 1950. However, there were no figures for the first two decades of Lego’s existence. During this time, children used Lego bricks to “build” figures.

As expected, these figures didn’t have human shapes or facial expressions. The Lego Group recognized the demand for figures that complement Lego sets and introduced the first Lego figures in 1974 – Lego Maxfigures.

These aptly named figures were three times the size of current minifigures and made from bricks with a movable head and hinged arms. Lego’s second attempt at creating figurines was in 1975, leading to the predecessor of the modern minifigures.

These figures were about the same size as the current minifigures. However, that’s where the similarity to the existing minifigures ends. They were solid plastic blocks without moveable arms and heads without features. However, they did come with a variety of headpieces such as a helmet, a police cap, pigtail hair or cowboy hats.

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The first modern figurines – 1978

The first modern Lego Minifigures were released in 1978 as part of the Castle, Space and Town sets. They were designed by the Lego design legend Jens Nygaard Knudsen. Nygaard made the arms, legs, and torso pieces interchangeable. The Lego Group gave these mini figures simple facial expressions.

They had two black dots for eyes and a black curved line for a smile. They lacked any gender or racial component as the Lego group believed the child could make the figurine be whatever they wanted it to be. Lastly, these figures came with a helmet and visor for their accessory, and they could sit or stand on a Lego brick.

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Lego produced twenty different minifigure characters as part of this first set. The lineup included a firefighter, a knight, a doctor, a police officer and an astronaut.

Evolution of Lego Minifigures: 1979 – 1998

Once Lego decided on the base of the Lego minifigures, they began refining the design of these minifigures. From 1979 until 1999, Lego made various changes to the Lego minifigures.

The Lego Group introduced the first men’s hairpiece in 1979. Before then, all male minifigures just wore hats. Lego Group launched its Lego Pirate theme in 1989, and minifigures from the set included hooks for hands and pegs for legs. This was the first time Lego departed from the traditional body parts.

The 1989 Lego Pirate was also the first time minifigures were produced with different facial expressions. However, these early expressions centered around two eyes and a smile. Lego changed this with its Lego Willa the Witch of the Fright Knights set. Minifigures had more complex facial expressions, such as an open mouth and detailed eyes.

Lego Group introduced dresses on minifigures in 1990 (Willa the Witch) and its first minifigure with its own specialized moulid (Black Monarch’s Ghost).

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As the years went by, the Lego Group continued to redefine the design of its minifigures. They were given more detailed facial features and came with a wide range of accessories, such as weapons, musical instruments and other tools.

The Lego Group also introduced figures with different skin tones. By 1999, dozens of minifigure designs were available, ranging from knights and pirates to astronauts and racecar drivers.

Modern Minifigures: 1999 – Present

The Lego Group continued expanding its range of minifigures from 1999. The figurines became more detailed and elaborate, with unique facial expressions, hair pieces, and designs on their torso and legs. Lego also introduced figures based on popular movie franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.

The first licensed minifigures were produced in 1999 – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Lego introduced the first minifigures with naturalistic skin tones in 2003 (as opposed to yellow). Lego created these minifigures in the likeness of living people and expanded them to all their licensed products in 2004.

Today, Lego minifigures come with over 650 facial expressions and are amazingly detailed. Minifigures are an important part of the Lego building experience, with hundreds of designs and themes.

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Popular Lego figure themes

Lego themes are groups of similar sets centered around a particular topic, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and many others. While Lego minifigures would probably still be successful as random figures, licensing has made it a tremendous success.

By partnering with popular franchises, Lego has created themed minifigures to extend its product line and reach a wider audience. This strategy has led to Lego figurines becoming a popular collectible among fans of both Lego and the franchises they license. The Lego group produced minifigures from 42 themes in 2022.

Lego Star Wars Minifigures

Lego Star Wars minifigures are some of the most popular and iconic figures in the entire Lego lineup. They were also the first licensed Lego minifigures released in 1999. Since then, Lego has produced many minifigures based on the beloved characters from Star Wars films.

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Some of the most popular Lego Star Wars minifigures include:

Darth Vader: The iconic villain from the original Star Wars trilogy is one of the most recognizable minifigures in the entire Lego line.

Luke Skywalker: The hero of the original Star Wars trilogy has been recreated in minifigure form many times over the years. Whether he’s in his X-Wing pilot outfit or his Jedi robes, the Luke Skywalker minifigure is a fan favourite.

Stormtrooper: The white-armoured soldiers of the Galactic Empire are a key part of the Star Wars universe. The Lego Stormtrooper minifigure is essential to any Star Wars Lego collection.

Boba Fett: The bounty hunter with a cult following has been recreated in minifigure form several times. With his iconic green and red armour, the Boba Fett minifigure is a favourite among Star Wars fans.

Yoda: The wise Jedi Master may be small in stature, but the Lego Yoda minifigure is big on personality. With his pointy ears and wrinkled face, the Yoda minifigure is a must-have for any Star Wars fan.

These are just a few examples of the many Lego Star Wars minifigures Lego has produced over the years.

Lego Batman minfigures

Lego released the first Batman minifigure in 2008 in the 7884 Batman’s Buggy The Escape of Mr Freeze set. The Lego Batman figurines have been a popular part of the Lego product line since then.

The Lego Batman minifigures have evolved over the years, with each new release offering new and unique versions of the iconic character. One of the reasons that Lego Batman figurines have been so popular is the wide variety of Batman costumes that have been released.

From the classic blue and grey costume to the black and yellow outfit from the 1960s TV show, Lego has recreated many of the most iconic Batman looks in minifigure form.

Lego has also produced minifigures of many of Batman’s allies and enemies, including Robin, Batgirl, The Joker, Catwoman, and The Penguin. This has allowed fans to recreate their favourite Batman stories and battles in Lego form. The Lego Batman figurines are a popular part of the Lego product line and a must-have for any Batman collector.

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Lego Marvel minifigures

These minifigures have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the immense popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lego has released an impressive variety of Marvel-themed minifigures, allowing fans to recreate their favourite Marvel battles in Lego form.

One of the most popular Lego Marvel figurines is Iron Man. Lego has released multiple versions of the iconic character, including his classic red and gold suit and his newer suits from the more recent Marvel films. The Iron Man minifigures often come with various accessories, such as blast effects or interchangeable helmets, allowing fans to customize their figures.

Lego has also produced minifigures of many other popular Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.

One of the unique features of Lego Marvel figurines is how collectors can combine them to create larger sets and scenes. For example, you can use multiple minifigures to recreate iconic moments from Marvel films.

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Lego Disney figures

Disney minifigures are another popular part of Lego’s lineup. Over the years, Lego has released various Disney-themed minifigures from popular Disney films.

One such famous Lego Disney figurine is Mickey Mouse. Lego has released multiple versions of the iconic character, including his classic black and white design and newer colourized versions.

Lego has also produced minifigures of many other famous Disney characters, including Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Elsa, and Anna. In addition to the standard Disney minifigures, Lego has also released special edition sets featuring characters from Disney movies and theme park attractions.

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Lego Ninjago figures

Lego Ninjago figurines are based on the popular animated TV series Ninjago: Masters of the Spinjitzu. They’re a trendy part of the Lego product lineup. Lego has released numerous Ninjago-themed minifigures over the years.

One of the most popular Lego Ninjago figurines is Kai, the red ninja. The Lego minifigure version of Kai comes with various weapons and accessories, including his signature red katana. It can be posed in a variety of different ways to recreate his ninja moves.

Other popular Lego Ninjago figurines include Jay, the blue ninja; Cole, the black ninja; Zane, the white ninja; and Lloyd, the green ninja. Each character has unique weapons and accessories that can be combined to create scenes from the show.

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Lego Friends figures

Lego Friends is a popular theme within the Lego product line targeted primarily at young girls. The theme features a group of five friends who live in the fictional Heartlake City.

The five friends in the Lego Friends theme are named Olivia, Mia, Andrea, Emma, and Stephanie. Each friend has their own set of interests and hobbies that are reflected in their minifigure designs.

In addition to the five friends, there are numerous other Lego Friends minifigures that are available in various sets. These minifigures include family members, pets, and other characters that the friends encounter in their adventures around Heartlake City.

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Lego Technic figures

Lego Technic is a line of Lego sets with more advanced and complex models than the traditional Lego sets. It focuses on creating functional, mechanical models that can be operated using gears, motors, and other technical elements.

Lego Technic minifigures are a vital part of the theme and are designed to complement the models as well as add a human element to the mechanical creations.

Lego Technic figurines are larger than the standard Lego minifigures and feature more articulation and detail. The minifigures are typically 8-9 studs tall and have movable arms, legs, and hands, allowing for a greater range of movement and posing options. The figures also have more detailed faces and bodies, with features such as realistic eyes, facial hair, and muscular arms and legs.

One unique feature of Lego Technic figurines is their ability to interact with the models themselves. Many of the sets come with Technic minifigures that can be placed inside the vehicles or machines, allowing the user to control and operate the model as if they were the driver or operator. This adds an extra layer of realism and immersion to the building experience and encourages users to engage with the models.

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Lego custom minifigures

Custom minifigures have become increasingly popular in recent years, as Lego enthusiasts have sought to create unique characters and designs that are unavailable from Lego’s official sets. To create new designs and features, customizers may use various techniques to modify the existing minifigure parts, such as painting, engraving, or 3D printing.

These custom minifigures can range from simple modifications of existing Lego pieces to highly detailed and customized designs that feature new moulds, paint, and accessories.

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Custom minifigures are often created to look like collectors, movie characters, or other cultural icons. You may also create custom minifigures to depict historical figures, political leaders, or real-life celebrities.

There are several credible websites to create custom Lego minifigures. The first is the official Lego website with their LEGO® Build A Minifigure services. Here, you can build your custom minifigures by picking a head, hairstyle, outfit and accessories.

There are thousands of options to choose from to create your custom minifigures. One gross with the official Lego custom minifigures is its limited selection of parts. Several websites offer the opportunity to create fully custom minifigs with any design. You can upload an image and have a custom minifigure made from it.

There are hundreds of other licensed Lego franchise minifigures. They include:

  • Harry Potter
  • Toy Story
  • DC
  • Minecraft
  • Disney Princess
  • Speed Champions
  • Jurassic World
  • Frozen II
  • Spider-Man
  • Overwatch
  • Stranger Things
  • Trolls World Tour
  • Minions
  • Super Mario
  • Lego Vidiyo
  • Disney & Pixar’s Lightyear
  • Avatar

Wondering why there’s no official Pokemon Lego figurine? We explained why in this article.

Lego minifigures display cases

Whether you’re a serious collector or want to safely store your Lego minifigures, a Lego display case is an excellent addition to your collection. For serious collectors, displaying their prized figurines is just as important as collecting them.

These cases are designed to protect and showcase your minifigures, allowing collectors to display their collection proudly while keeping it safe and organized. Let’s explore why these display cases are essential, the different types of display cases, and what to consider when choosing one.

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Why Lego figurine display cases are important

Here are some reasons why Lego figurines display cases are so important for collectors.

Protection from dust and damage

One of the main reasons to use a display case is to protect your figurines from dust and damage. Dust can accumulate on your figurines over time, making them look dirty and unattractive. Display cases are designed to keep dust out, ensuring your collection looks pristine.

Organized and easy to access

Another benefit of display cases is that they keep your collection organized and easy to access. Rather than having your figurines scattered around your room or in a box somewhere, a display case allows you to keep them all in one place and easily accessible.

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Showcasing your collection

Display cases are a great way to showcase your collection to others. Whether you have a few rare or highly sought-after figurines or an extensive collection of various themes, a display case allows you to show off your collection in a stylish and eye-catching way.

Customizable

Lego figurines’ display cases are highly customizable, allowing you to create a display that is uniquely yours. You can choose from a variety of sizes, colours, and designs to create a display that fits your style and the theme of your collection.

Protection from pets and children

If you have pets or children in your home, you know how quickly things can get knocked over or damaged. Display cases provide extra protection, keeping your figurines safe from curious pets and little hands.

Types of Lego figure display cases

There are several types of Lego figurine display cases available in the market. Here are some of the most common types:

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Wall-mounted display cases

These are display cases that can be mounted on the wall. They are often made of glass or acrylic and come in various sizes and shapes. Wall-mounted display cases are ideal for collectors with limited floor space.

Tabletop display cases

Tabletop display cases are small and designed to sit on a table or desk. They come in various sizes and shapes and are usually made of acrylic or glass. They are ideal for collectors who want to showcase their collections in their homes or office.

Standing display cases

Standing display cases are taller and often come with legs or a base. They are designed to stand on the floor and are ideal for larger collections. Standing display cases are available in various shapes and sizes and can be made of different materials.

Stackable display cases

These are display cases that can be stacked on top of each other. They are designed to save space while allowing you to showcase your collection. Stackable display cases come in various sizes and can be made of acrylic, glass, or plastic.

Custom display cases

Custom display cases are designed to meet the specific needs of the collector. They can be made in any shape, size, or material and can be customized with features like lighting, adjustable shelves, or removable backgrounds.

Museum-grade display cases

These are high-end display cases made of the best quality materials. They are designed to provide the highest level of protection for your collection and are ideal for collectors who want to protect their investments.

What to consider when picking a display case for your Lego figuries

There are several types of Lego figurine display cases available in the market. Each type offers advantages and disadvantages, and the best type for you depends on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right display case for your Lego figurine collection.

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Size

The size of the display case is the first factor to consider. You must ensure it is big enough to hold your entire collection while fitting in your designated display area.

If you have a small collection, you may opt for a small display case, while a large collection may require a larger one. Consider the shelves’ depth and the case’s height to ensure that the display case will accommodate the sizes of your figurines.

Material

Display cases come in various materials, such as plastic, acrylic, glass, and wood. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, and you should consider the best option for your collection.

Plastic and acrylic are lightweight and affordable, making them popular for collectors. Glass offers better protection and visibility but can be heavy and expensive. Wood provides an elegant look but can be the most costly option.

Style

The style of the display case is another essential factor to consider. Consider the overall aesthetic of your collection and choose a display case that complements it. A sleek and minimalist case may be best if you have a modern collection.

A more traditional collection may require a more classic display case. Additionally, consider the shape of the case, whether it’s vertical or horizontal, and the number of shelves to determine which will best showcase your collection.

Customization

Many display cases offer customization options such as adjustable shelves, removable backgrounds, and lighting. Customization options allow you to tailor your display case to your specific needs and make it unique. Consider adding lighting to highlight particular figurines orbackgrounds that match the theme of your collection.

Budget

Display cases range in price from affordable to very expensive. Consider your budget when choosing a display case. While purchasing the most expensive display case may be tempting, it may not be necessary or practical for a cheap collection. Determine how much you are willing to spend and shop for the best display case in that price range.

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Bottomline of the Lego minifigures

Lego figurines have come a long way since their introduction in 1978. They’ve evolved from simple yellow figures with limited articulation to today’s highly detailed minifigures. Lego minifigures have become an integral part of the Lego experience and are now collectables in their own right.

People now collect Lego minifigures without collecting the accompanying set. With Lego introducing new designs and themes every year, it’s clear that Lego figurines will continue to be a beloved collectable for many years to come.

John Bassey

John Bassey

John is a freelance writer and founder of WordCraft Consult, a consultancy that provides expert writing services and enhances youth engagement in reading. With six years of writing experience and over 300 clients, He has made significant contributions as a content writer for several brands, such as Tech Triangle, KBO Bikes, Dolls Magazine, and, more recently, Cardlines.

John has a Bachelor's degree in Statistics and an enduring passion for creating content.  He is  currently dedicated to nurturing WordCraft while advancing appreciation for collectibles and literature through highly informative articles. 
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