Tag Archives: customize

LEGO Custom Minifig Project Planning

Building custom minifigures isn’t difficult however you need to do a little planning before hand especially if it is a big project and you want to get quality results. True, you can customize a minifig with a felt tip pen, but if you’re like me and a bit of a perfectionist you will probably want to get really high quality professional results, and that will cost you a bit of money and take a bit of time, hence you will need to do some planning to make sure you minimize any mistakes.

Step 1

The first thing to do when starting a custom minifig project is to decide what you want, whats your custom minifig idea? You want spend a little time to basically try and describe what you want to achieve, there are several different styles of minifig customization, usually determined by the ‘time period’, eg modern, western, town, military, mech, and so forth, each kind of minifig customization has a different style and a method of customization so its worth considering which your custom minifig will fall into.

Photo courtesy of HighonBricks

Step 2

Design, just because its a custom minifig doesn’t mean it is not worth doing a few sketches over, its often worth just getting the initial concept down on paper get a feel for the colours you are going to use, if you are going to make custom decals to go on the minifig you will want to draw those out as well, if you have some building tools (there are several programs on the web which are free) you may want to get those out so you’ve got a clear plan of action and know exactly how your custom minifigs are going to look before you have spent your well earned cash.

LEGO Minifigure Parts

Step 3

Finding the right LEGO pieces and identifying what you need to get/do, this is probably the most important part of making a custom minifig. This is where you need trawl the web to find the pieces to make your custom minifig, you might find a minifig body that means you don’t need to create a custom minifig decal, or you might find that you’ll need to build a custom part of some sort, it will also give you a chance to refine your custom minifig design.

In terms of where to look for custom minifig pieces, check out our guide for the best retailers of custom minifig pieces. When looking for custom minifig pieces make sure you shop around for a good price and make sure you know what you are looking for before committing to getting anything custom made for your custom minifig, often you might be able to get away with a standard minifig torso, rather than shelling out on a custom minifig decal.

Spare LEGO Pieces

Step 4

The Build, this is obviously very important to how your custom minifig will look, as such you need to take your time putting together your custom minifig, make sure you get it right and minimize mistakes, work in an area with good ventilation and light and make sure you keep your area tidy, only work on one part at a time, many minifig customizers tend to have a bits box where they keep left over pieces from other custom minifig projects, you can use these to help with your build and naturally if you have any left over custom minifig bits just stick them in your bits box. It’s often worth taking a few photos of your custom minifig as a work in progress as this helps others see how you put the custom minifig together and can offer plenty of feed back, this is particularly useful if the custom minifig you’re working on is a bit of a master piece.

LEGO Star Wars Bastila Shan Custom Minifigure

Step 5

Finishing touches, if you are anything like me you won’t stop working on a minifig even when its done, but essentially this stage is where you finish working on all the details and check your custom minifig. Then make sure you take photos and stick them up all over the web for other custom minifig fans to comment, this feed back from other minifig fans can be very useful for your next project but do take it with a pinch of salt. Flickr has a great LEGO community.

Posted in Minifig Guides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

30 Years of Lego Mini Figures

Lego time Line

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 distinguishable  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.

Posted in Custom MiniFigs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments