There’s been quite a lot of discussion on how to make bullpup designed rifles for custom Lego minifigs. Essentially a bull pup designed rifle have the magazine behind the shooters firing hand rather than at the from, and example with be the FAMAS or SA80A2. Now the problem with this weapon design as opposed to, lets say the M16 for example, is when converted to Lego form, the arms of a Lego Minifig mean that there is an innate difficultly presented by the bull pup design, cheifly because the Lego minifig arm simply wouldn’t allow for a weapon butt.
Now the thing is for my custom minifig project, I want a bullpup weapon, so I’ve thought a (at the moment) theoretical way to get around this. rather than having a formal handle the custom Lego weapon will have a clip of some sort that goes round what would essentially be the Lego minifigs thumb. this would shift a large part of the bullpup weapon to one side which would then allow for a better positioning to allow for the larger butt of the weapon, if more space were needed, then one could carve out part of the minifig weapon so that it fit snugly to accommodate the thickness of the minifigs arm.
There are some short comings to this custom minifig weapon design however, for one, the Lego minifigs arm wouldn’t be able to move, it would have to be straight out in front of the minifig when holding the weapon, so not very good for vignettes. The other glaring challenge is that the custom minifig bull pup weapon will not be a totally genuine replica, for one there wouldn’t be a handle, but a hand-clip, for another there would be a part carved out to accommodate the mini fig arm. But overall, I suspect this is about as close as we can get to a custom minifig Bullpup weapon variant.
Here is a rough computer sketch of how it might work, notice the hand clip
BrickArms are one of the most popular online custom minifig accessory manufacturers online, they specialize in producing (relatively) realistic looking military weapons for Lego minifigs and are a pride of place for many minifig collectors due, not least to their high quality finish and strong sense of design. They partnered up with Minifigforlife who are responsible for their UK distribution and marketing.
BrickArms was the brain child of Will Chapman from Richmond WA, and since 2006 has produced a range of over 31 highly collectible weapons, made from ABS plastic, the same type of plastic Lego use. More recently BrickArms caught the attention of the UK media when one of the (small collection of) complete Lego Mini Figures they produced was ‘picked on’ by a reporter from The Sun who clamed the offending Lego minifig named BrickArms Bandit – Mr. White was ‘Osama Bin Lego’, if anything however, the press who clearly didn’t have much to write about that day, actually boosted the sales for BrickArms as their forum suggest, and since the release of this press BrickArms have been so inundated with orders that they had to close shop early for christmas just so they could catch up on orders of various minifigs and minifig weapons.
Customizing Mini figures doesn’t need to be complex, it can be as simple and changing the head of a Lego minifig, however to create some of the real master pieces, you’ll want to get properly tooled up.
The basics are-
smooth grade sand paper
sharp scalpel and cutting mat
plastic cement glue
spare Lego Bits
spare loose wire
small hand drill (micro drills)
acrylic or oil based model paints
super thin paint brushes
super small rubber bands
Kneadatite -epoxy putty
As you can see making more complex mini figures is no small feat it takes a lot more effort and is akin to building full blown models, there are elements of sculpting and painting that are involved and you’ll need a lot of patience, but if you’ve got the mind to persevere, you can create such wonders and these Gears of war Lego minifigs created by Hong Kong Based Hazel, one of the top Lego minifig customizers.
Lego Minifigs are made of 6 parts, the head, arms, hands, torso, hips and legs, allowing for several points of movement, the head, arms, hands and feet all move. The Arms and legs are further divided into right and left sides.
Since the inception of Lego Minifigs, there have been some further variations to this basic Lego minifig design. Most notably in the legs and hips, you can find variations with springs in the feet (from the basket ball series) and ones with magnets (from the movie series). Additionally women with skirts were commonly illustrated in mini fig for by using a 3x1x4 vertical column with an angled side. Additionally a pair of squat legs was designed for shorter Lego minifigs such as yoda, these however don’t allow for any leg movement at all.
Accessories, decals and head gear are also additional elements which make up the standard Lego minifig. Accessories can take the form of objects that fit into the mini figs hand, as well as items that sit on the head plug (such as back packs or capes), or fabric items such as gun holsters and robes. decals are the design element and one of the key ways to distinguish the sex of the Lego minifig, typically decals are found on the front and back of the torso, this along with the decals that go on the face form the basic ways in which a Lego minifigs personality and uniqueness come out. within Custom mini fig circles there have even been decals that go on the hands and arms that have been created.
In addition to these foundations Lego have also produced additional role specific Lego elements such as the ghost and skeleton as well as various other alien elements, and whilst these can be considered minifigs in the broadest sense their use within mini fig customization, at least for the moment seems limited.
Essentially by using these elements you can create totally customized minifigs that reflect a whole range of personalities. Below is a montage of some great examples of customized minifigs.
2008 marks 30 years of Minifig fun, it was in August 1978 that Lego produced the first Lego Minifig, and no surprise to the fans of the MiniFig, Minifig customization happened not long after that. The Lego MiniFigs we are referring to here are the minifigs that have movable arms and legs in 1975 the precursor to the Minifig was launched, it was a simplistic variant with no arms and looked similar to an mannequin.
Since the first Lego minifig was created by Jens Nygaard Knudsen a Lego employee since 1968 who came up with the minifigs after over 50 prototypes the very first mini figure, a police man was created, the Lego Police man mini figure is still one of the most popular MiniFigs created by Lego, with over 41 versions appearing in over 104 different Lego sets in the last 30 years, several variations on the basic Lego minifig have developed over the years, covering a wide variety of popular themes. Some of the most ground breaking were the creation of Lego Ghosts, Lego women, Lego characters based on films, Race illustrating minifigs, and anime influence minifigs. To date there are over 4,000 official unique designs of minifigs all based around the 1979 US patented design, as Lego Mini Figs are design with 7 different interchangeable elements it’s estimated that there are over 8 Quadrillion combination’s.
Through this massive success of the Lego mini fig, which literally turned around the company’s prospects, Lego has since launch collectable mini figs, the most notable being 10,000 Lego mini fig versions of C3PO cast in 14K gold, to mark the Star Wars 30th anniversary in 2007, amazingly these are billed to be worth over USD$200 each!
The popularity of the Lego minifig has meant that the minifig population has grown to around 4 billion! Thats 3 times the population of China, good thing they don’t eat! There are literally enough minifigs to surround the world over 4 times, and the population is growing with 4 minifigs being sold every second around the world, a growth rate of over 122 million a year.
In 1989 the Pirates series show wooden legs and hand hooks as well as the first distinguishableÂ facial characteristics marking a shift and keener commitment to making Lego minifigs more unique. Between 1989 and 1997 female characters as well as role specific minifigs (such as the ghost) were created, In 1997 the first racial minority was produced by Lego – the Indians for the western series, this change was marked by the costumes and face prints, 1999 showed the success and endorsement by the Star Wars empire which saw the launch of one of the most successful lines of Lego created. The Significance of this for the Lego minifig was in the creation of minifigs that represented actual characters this lead to innovations in minifig design that cumulated in 2003 with the creation of real people depicted as Lego mini figs, notably NBA legos based on real life basketball players including Kobe Bryant. As a result of the popularity of Film based lego such as Star Wars, Batman and Spider Man, many actors have also be ‘minifiged’, however only two have been enshrined in minifig-dom twice – Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones & Han Solo) and Alfred Molina (Satiop & Doc Octopus), additionally Manga saw a raise in popularity which resulted in rubberized hair created for minifigs and more animated mang-esq expressions.
In 2008, just in time for the 30 year anniversary of the Lego minifig, a single custom minifig redefined the world perception of Lego and exposed the customization of Lego as a legitimate and publicly recognized part of the Lego minifig’s history, the controversy that revolved around this particular Minifig was two fold, first it was the first individual mini fig to hit international new press and second it was a minifig with recognizable weapons, including an AK47 produced by Brick Arms, a small company that formed part of the minifig customization community. Lego were quick to point out its Politically correct stance and distance itself from the Mr White Bandit creation, however the effect of this press was a massive increase in mini fig customization and ultimately the creation of Customminifig.co.uk.
See the current range of minifigures at the Lego Shop now.