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The History of Lego Minifigures

The earliest Lego minifigures were much more like the building bricks that Lego is famous for — they were made up of three non-articulating pieces in the shape of a person. They didn’t have facial expressions but were compatible with a few different hats. Jens Nygaard Knudsen, a designer at Lego, came up with the idea of the Lego minifigure as we know it today. His minifigure featured hands that could grasp accessories, feet that could be attached to any brick, and articulating arms and legs. In fact, he made over 50 attempts at refining the design before it debuted in 1978 as part of Lego Set 600, which included an unassuming police officer with a constant smiling face and a basic police car. When the Lego Pirates line was introduced in 1989, Lego minifigures got their first major overhaul. New face designs moved beyond the basic smiling face to include beards, eye patches, and more expressive mouths. There were also some body changes, such as hooks in place of hands and wooden pegs in place of the standard minifigure legs. In 1999, Lego produced the first licensed Lego figure, Luke Skywalker. At this point, all minifigures were still the standard yellow color. It wasn’t until 2003 that Lego introduced skin tone variations. During the ’00s, minifigures with shorter legs, sculpted heads, different parts, and even some with electrical elements were introduced in order to keep pace with the evolving children’s entertainment landscape. In 2010, the Lego Minifigures line was introduced, which allowed collectors to purchase just the minifigures instead of having to buy entire sets to get them. Today, Lego minifigures remain popular with children and adult collectors alike and are considered one of the most popular and recognizable toys in the world. Lego minifigures have even appeared in a series of films and TV shows!

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