After the LEGO brick itself, the LEGO minifigure is the most recognisable product the LEGO Group has produced. Since they first arrived on shelves in 1978, more than four billion minifigures have been produced.
Minifigures have also proven highly collectible in their own right, and in 2010 the LEGO Group decided to capitalise on this fact with its blind-bagged Collectible Minifigures. The randomised characters are now a regular release in the LEGO Group’s broader product line, with a mix of licensed and non-licensed minifigures in rotation. They’re an excellent way to augment an existing collection, or start an entirely new one.
LEGO Collectible Minifigures history
The first series of Collectible Minifigures appeared in 2010, and set the tone for many of the series that would follow it. Sixteen characters appeared in this initial wave, each with a new stand element to make displaying them easier. Many also came with accessories such as swords, skateboards and even magic wands.
These early Collectible Minifigures portrayed subject matter that had been absent from LEGO for some time, or couldn’t exist within a conventional model. A ninja appeared in this first series, for example – NINJAGO, the seminal LEGO theme, wouldn’t launch until the year after. Other characters such as the Caveman and Demolition Dummy were new arrivals in LEGO form, allowing for unusual new play opportunities.
Later series would release steadily over the next few years, introducing many desirable new face and body prints. The diverse subject matter of the theme also necessitated exciting new elements, some of which would see little use outside the minifigure in question. Series 2 (which also launched in 2010) featured a Spartan Warrior, with a new helmet to ensure historical accuracy. The Weightlifter, which launched in the same series, received a pair of new barbell weights to give him more of a workout.
The steady stream of Collectible Minifigures would touch on a variety of different cultures and subject matter. Characters inspired by Japan, Egypt, Scotland, Mexico and more have popped up over the years. The theme has also dipped into fantasy on several occasions; dwarves, aliens, mermaids and yetis have all enjoyed multiple appearances in Collectible Minifigure form.
In 2014, the Collectible Minifigures theme would move in a radically different direction. The LEGO Movie inspired several different LEGO products, including a new line of Collectible Minifigures inspired by the film’s characters. Highlights of this collection include Western-inspired characters like Wiley Fusebot and Calamity Drone. A pair of historical figures also popped up in this collection, in the form of William Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln.
Several other licensed Collectible Minifigures would follow this initial series. A collection inspired by The Simpsons came out the same year; in addition to characters such as Homer and Bart, fan favourites like Milhouse, Ralph Wiggum and even Itchy and Scratchy got LEGO versions. Generic minifigures would continue to be released (Series 13 came out in 2015, for example) but another Simpsons collection swiftly followed, along with Disney minifigures and even German footballers.
The LEGO Batman Movie inspired two waves, with a number of rare and obscure characters receiving minifigures – if you wanted a LEGO Clock King, March Harriet or Wonder Twins, your prayers had finally been answered. A dedicated DC theme with the likes of Mister Miracle, Stargirl and Sinestro followed it. More recently, Looney Tunes minifigures have been released for fans to collect. Now LEGO fans can enjoy Bugs Bunny, the Tasmanian Devil, Marvin the Martian and several other classic cartoon characters.
The core Collectible Minifigures theme is still going strong, meanwhile: a total of 22 original series have been released outside of licensed collections. Expect many more minifigures (licensed or otherwise) to pop up going forward.
LEGO Collectible Minifigures series
Most Collectible Minifigures series avoid an overarching theme in favour of really cool standalone ideas. Even so, we tend to see some repetition from series to series. The Spaceman from Series 1 received a female counterpart in Series 6’s Intergalactic Girl, just as Series 1’s Skater received a Skater Girl companion in Series 6. Series 7’s Galaxy Patrol features an identical form factor to Series 9’s Alien Avenger, with Series 13’s Galaxy Trooper approaching the ‘space marine’ idea from a slightly different angle.
A few series have taken a firmer step away from their predecessors, even if some repetition still tends to crop up here and there. Series 14 (released in 2015) featured several creepy creatures including a Fly Monster, Gargoyle and the elusive Square Foot. Series 18 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure, and featured several minifigures in costumes. The Classic Police Officer of this series recreated one of the earliest visual styles for the character. It was also rather rare compared to its fellows, and now commands a high price in secondary markets.
The holy grail of Collectible Minifigures is Mr. Gold. This character appeared in Series 10, but only 5,000 were produced across the entire product run. As such, finding this character today may mean spending a pretty penny.
LEGO Collectible Minifigures sets
Although the emphasis is obviously on individual characters, Collectible Minifigures (or similar characters) have occasionally been packed into larger sets, with relevant accessories included. An early example of this is 850449 Minifigure Accessory Pack. Released in 2012, this model includes both male and female surfers as well as a Hula Girl with maracas. The minifigures also come with surfboards, a barbecue and some foliage to better envision a summer outing.
2012 saw other accessory kits launch with different subject matter. 850486 Rock Band Minifigure Accessory Set includes a trio of musicians, as well as a brick-built guitar, drums and stage equipment. 850847 Halloween Accessory Set, meanwhile, went in a rather spookier direction. It features a witch, zombie and glow-in-the-dark ghost, complete with overgrown grave and various creepy-crawlies.
Certain Collectible Minifigures have also been reimagined as promotional items. 5005156 Gingerbread Man features a richer colour scheme than the original. The latter was released in 2013, while the former was bundled with qualifying purchases in 2016. A caveman and cavewoman also appears in 5004936 Iconic Cave, with slight tweaks to their outfits’ colour scheme.
Today, spiritual successors to accessory kits can be found across multiple themes. 40373 Fairground Accessory Set is a non-licensed example, featuring four fairground attendees and a shooting range. 40511 Minions Kung Fu Training, meanwhile, draws inspiration from animated movie Minions: The Rise of Gru. In addition to the young supervillain and two Minions it includes an exclusive minifigure of Belle Bottom, leader of the Vicious 6 villain collective. These sets (and ones like them) use a bespoke blister pack, and offer various builds and desirable minifigures to collect.
LEGO Marvel Collectible Minifigures
LEGO sets inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been available since 2012. However, a Marvel Collectible Minifigures range has been conspicuously absent. That changed in 2021 with a set of 12 minifigures drawn from recent MCU releases.
Specifically, these minifigures take their cues from series on the Disney+ streaming service. While most of these characters have appeared in LEGO form before now, a number of tweaks makes them very interesting to Marvel fans.
Scarlet Witch, Vision and Monica Rambeau (who first appeared in Captain Marvel) are drawn from WandaVision, a sci-fi pastiche of various American sitcoms. The Scarlet Witch minifigure shows Wanda Maximoff in her traditional superhero costume for the very first time. The Vision appears in his white incarnation, inspired by similar events in the original comics.
Loki has popped up from time to time in LEGO Marvel models, but his Collectible Minifigure lends him a bit more humility. He’s wearing his uniform from the mysterious Time Variance Authority, and is accompanied by Throg – an amphibious variant of the God of Thunder. His alternate timeline doppelganger Sylvie also appears, with a crocodilian element representing Alligator Loki. Sadly, the reptile’s distinctive horned helmet is absent.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier offers a more grounded superhero story, and sees Sam Wilson finally embrace the mantle of Captain America. His new minifigure is suitably splendid, with intricate printing and an articulated wing assembly. His comrade Bucky Barnes is more soberly dressed, but both come with the famous shield as an accessory.
What If…? takes a broader look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe, exploring alternate dimensions and realities, with five characters from the series receiving LEGO minifigures. Captain Carter’s full-colour uniform pops up in this collection, along with a spacefaring T’Challa and a triumphant Gamora. A zombified Captain America offers a fresh take (ironically) on the superhero, although a zombie-hunting variant of Spider-Man is on hand to contain him.
The characters in this collection benefit from bespoke hair pieces, detailed printing and even completely new character moulds. Sadly, the collection also appears to be on its way out, making the secondary market your best bet for acquiring them.
However, given the continued success of the MCU, it’s likely most of these characters will appear in LEGO form again. 76201 Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper is currently available, and features Captain Carter in her stealth suit. This version appeared in the finale of What If…?, making it a worthy choice for fans of the character.
LEGO Star Wars Collectible Minifigures
The massive success of LEGO Star Wars (and contractual issues) means a dedicated Collectible Minifigures range is still missing in action. That said, there have been a number of other ways for LEGO fans to collect Star Wars minifigures.
Since 2015, the LEGO Star Wars magazine has provided many different LEGO products. Many of these are micro-scale recreations of Star Wars vehicles, droids and alien creatures. However, from time to time a rare minifigure makes an appearance.
A recent example of this was 912065 Luke Skywalker. Featuring Luke in his dark tan shirt from The Empire Strikes Back, this desirable minifigure is otherwise confined to rare and expensive models. 912169 Emperor Palpatine was released in 2021, and in addition to an updated hood piece, this foil-bagged freebie also includes his pearl gold lightsaber from Revenge of the Sith.
A number of rare minifigures have also been released as promotional items. Admiral Yularen was a prominent figure in the Clone Wars TV show, and also made a brief appearance in A New Hope. A minifigure counterpart, 5002947 Admiral Yularen, appeared in 2015 as a May the Fourth promo. DJ – the mysterious slicer from The Last Jedi – also received a standalone polybag in 2017, while American LEGO fans received 40299 Kessel Mine Worker a year later.
The Star Wars battle packs have also given us a path to building our own armies, and recreating the galaxy’s never-ending conflicts. Many of these sets feature generic minifigures, encouraging multiple purchases in the process.
Early entries in the Star Wars battle pack collection include 7655 Clone Troopers Battle Pack. This 2007 set features four Clone Troopers from the prequel trilogy, as well as a speeder bike and blaster turret. 7654 Droids Battle Pack, released the same year, offered stiff competition with an assortment of seven battle droids.
The battle packs’ mix of minifigures and vehicles (some of which have been invented wholesale) have proven very popular, and over three dozen have been released over the years. A few have reached into more obscure regions of the Star Wars universe, like 75001 Republic Troopers vs. Sith Troopers, which includes four characters from the Old Republic online game, or 75079 Shadow Troopers, which nods to characters from elsewhere in the Expanded Universe.
The movies and games of recent years have also proved fertile ground for LEGO Star Wars minifigures. 75164 Rebel Trooper Battle Pack includes four characters from the Rebel Alliance, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story serving as inspiration. Elsewhere, 75226 Inferno Squad Battle Pack features Iden Versio, an Imperial pilot from Star Wars: Battlefront II.
2022 has brought us three new Star Wars battle packs. 75320 Snowtrooper Battle Pack draws inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back, and seems designed to accompany 75313 AT-AT. In a similar vein, 40557 Defence of Hoth offers three Rebel troopers and various weapons to fight with.
Elsewhere, 40558 Clone Trooper Command Station returns us to the prequel trilogy. This blister pack brings us a trio of Clone Troopers, offering fans of the Clone Wars era an easy army-building option.