The Lego Minifig Turns 40

Today marks the 40th birthday of the Lego minifigure. The little plastic individuals from Billund, Denmark first walked off the meeting line and onto the carpet below our naked toes in August of 1978.

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The Lego minifigure—colloquially generally known as the minifig—has loved an extended life thus far. But it additionally endured its personal years-long journey to retail cabinets.

Lego dabbled in humanoids of various designs earlier than selecting the fashionable minifig. The first plastic individuals, now recognized to Lego followers as 1974’s “maxifigs,” had enjoyable hairstyles, endearing smiles, and arms that bent and swiveled. The legs—nicely, there weren’t any on the maxifigs. You simply clicked the torso right into a stack of ordinary Lego bricks till your character was as tall as you needed it to be.

The following 12 months, Lego launched new figures that had been smaller than the maxifigs however stood on the similar peak as at the moment’s minifigs. The 1975 variations had legs that did not transfer, heads with no options or facial expressions, and arms that had been molded into their tiny torsos, giving the collectible figurines a stiff look devoid of character.

They did not final lengthy. An enormous replace in 1978 gave us the minifig design that also guidelines at the moment: arms that transfer on the shoulder, capped with swiveling fingers that may grasp equipment; an enormous foolish grin beneath strong black eyes; legs that bend, although simply on the waist, however that is all you could get them to take a seat—a design change that matched with Lego’s new autos and playsets launched that 12 months. Among the primary minifigs had been a physician, a firefighter, a police officer, varied knights with corresponding livery, and everybody’s favourite, the Lego astronaut, bravely exploring the vacuum of area with a helmet cracked on the chin.

Now there are millions of minifigs, together with specialty characters from licensed story manufacturers like Star Wars, Batman, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, and Spider-Man. There are monsters like werewolves and zombies. There are pizza supply guys, janitors, and cowgirls. You desire a Left Shark? You can have a Left Shark.

At 40, the minifig might be greying on the temples and fascinated with a house fairness line of credit score to get the children by faculty. But it is nonetheless a rockin’ little slice of world toy tradition. The minifig is a timeless image of our collective youth—and for some, a lifetime obsession. The minifig is journey. The minifig is innocence. The minifig is us.

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