Find out how Collectible Minifigures came about and learn about the evolution of this unique LEGO theme.
Back in 2011 came a new LEGO product that would both delight and frustrate fans. Something that collectors would pour hours into finding at supermarkets or toy stores, and which even put a new word, feebling, into the LEGO dictionary. Collectible Minifigures; ever since the blind bags were introduced they’ve had something of a cult following with fans, and there have now been 37 series in total, comprising 601 unique characters.
It all began relatively simply with Collectible Minifigures Series 1. The product was testing the waters of blind bags, which is why this first series suffered supply issues as demand was far greater than expected. There were 16 characters, most of which used pretty standard elements, although the printing detail was greater than most regular minifigures. Out of all the characters from this initial series, the Zombie is still one of the most sought after.
One thing that is quite noticeable about these earlier series, aside from the lack of unique elements, is the unbalanced representation. They only had about three female characters per series and this was only addressed much later. Modern day series are usually an equal split with fewer characters in stereotypical roles.
Collectible Minifigures were a success from the get-go and they only improved every year. The next milestone is Series 4, which was the first to include a ‘suit’ character. These are characters wearing an all-encompassing costume, such as Banana Guy or Penguin Girl, but the debut was Lizard Man in a T-Rex costume – that misclassification will rankle palaeontologists.
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Let’s fast forward to Series 10 from 2013. Collectible Minifigures had a double-digit birthday and to celebrate included the first real chase character. A minifigure that is so rare and collectible he comes with a certificate and goes for several thousand dollars on eBay – Mr Gold. Only 5,000 of the character were produced and though no series since has gone for the same kind of rarity, he was the chase minifigure to birth all chase minifigures.
Up until 2014, Collectible Minifigures had come only as a numbered series, yet they had a divergence event with the release of The LEGO Movie. Technically the first side-series was for the 2012 Olympics, but The LEGO Movie Collectible Minifigures were the first to be available globally. Just like a normal series there was 16 characters, all based on the main cast and some zany extras.
This was just the beginning of ‘other’ series though. Each LEGO movie has had at least one tie-in series, and the theme broadened yet again to include licensed minifigures. First came The Simpsons, with a plethora of unique head-moulds, then the magic of Disney and Harry Potter, and some super hero power with DC that introduced new minifigure stands that are perfect for action-poses. Most recently a blast from the past joined the line-up in the form of Looney Tunes, bringing iconic characters like Bugs Bunny to life in a way that would not be possible outside of Collectible Minifigures.
That’s the main focus of the Collectible Minifigures – to be able to bring fans characters that couldn’t come in sets. The new Marvel series is a perfect example of this, taking inspiration from the Disney+ shows. To make the designs higher quality – and fans might infer due to declining sales – prices have gone up and series sizes down, however the minifigures look better than ever before. There is a series for almost every fan, and with the portfolio ever expanding, there’s always plenty more feebling to look forward to.