LEGO Minifigures Series 26 designer secrets: Alien Beetlezoid and Imposter

Our LEGO Minifigures Series 26 designer walkthrough continues with the Imposter and Alien Beetlezoid, revealing plenty of intriguing insights into how these two characters came to life.

From the specific inspiration behind the Alien Beetlezoid to the way the Imposter could completely change other LEGO themes, LEGO Minifigures Creative Lead Esa Petteri Nousiainen and LEGO graphic designer Tore Magelund Harmark-Alexandersen had plenty to say about these two characters when we caught up with them for 71046 Series 26 Space.

If you haven’t seen it already, don’t forget to check out our deep dive into the Alien Tourist and Blacktron Mutant, and keep an eye on Brick Fanatics for the secrets behind the rest…

Alien Beetlezoid

While some corners of the community have theorised that the Alien Beetlezoid is an indirect reference to the Insectoids theme, Esa and Tore have now confirmed that it’s actually a direct sequel to 2013’s Galaxy Squad and its bug-like aliens.

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“We named him Beetlezoid after the Mosquitoid and Buggoid,” Esa says. “The idea started from the fact that we wanted to have an alien who is kind of a scary-looking creature, so we don’t just get 12 different types of astronauts in space suits. That gave us the platform to play with, and then [we thought]: ‘Which one didn’t we do back in the day?’ And it was the beetle with a big jaw and elongated head.”

This minifigure moves beyond its Galaxy Squad predecessors in a number of different ways, thanks not only to improved technology in the past decade-and-change but also the increased budget afforded to individual characters in the Collectible Minifigures series.

“I wanted to do something that we don’t often do: a co-injection moulded piece that’s opaque in the front but transparent in the back,” Esa adds. “When you get this in your hands, you’ll see the ribbing inside the head, which creates a mysterious bug-like feature. We [also] wanted to use a metallic ink print to get that sheen that you would see in bugs.”

“On the back under the wings, there’s no metal sheen because that [represents] softer parts,” Tore chimes in.

“We were really trying to think about that,” Esa elaborates. “That’s part of our discussions. We really massaged the story in this character so that they would be as deliberate and thought through as possible, even down to the smallest details. That’s needed because we don’t have any kind of vessel to really tell the stories, so it’s that one figure that needs to be spot on.”

One narrative element the team hoped to convey is that the Beetlezoid is actually a vegetarian – a theme consistent with the series’ overall focus on positivity and friendliness, which we’ve also seen with the Alien Tourist. That was primarily through the minifigure’s accessory, though it quickly transpired that even that deliberate detail was open to interpretation.

“You [Esa] had the idea of adding some fruit, which is really nice because it underlines that it isn’t eating [anyone],” Tore says. “But when my then-10-year-old son saw it, he said, ‘Oh, it’s cool. He laid eggs on the leaf.’ I was like, that’s dark, but it’s nice.”

Imposter

The Imposter is emblematic of 71046 Series 26 Space’s approach to these characters, which is to say that they’re first and foremost designed to be fun. The concept of a robot human piloted by aliens is one of the simpler minifigures in the range, requiring only one new part which has also shown up in May’s Despicable Me 4 sets, but Tore was prepared for working within those relatively limited constraints.

“I have a little page of concepts where I will try and have as much fun as possible just printing a standard minifigure to make it look like something else,” he says. “It’s a really fun exercise for me as a graphic designer, but [the minifigures] often need a bit more in order to be desirable. So that’s where this antenna came in.”

“Obviously I like all of the new elements, but one of my favourites has to be this antenna,” Esa adds. “It’s so versatile and fun – if you have any other elements or wigs with a 1.5 connector, you can add an antenna.”

Friends becomes so different,” Tore chuckles.

The Minifigures team initially approached this series with a list of sci-fi tropes and archetypes around which they moulded the entire range – Blacktron was the perfect fit for a mutant, for example – and the Imposter checks off a lot of those in one go.

“What is so fun about this is that it ticks another box, which is a minifigure as a vessel, so it becomes a machine – and having these little accessories as characters changes the scale of the minifigure,” Tore continues. “It’s one of the ones that my heart is closest to, because I have many ideas but not all actually work in the final product. This one had also ticked off the [concept of] little green men.”

“It’s super cool that Tore has these ideas that don’t need any new elements, because obviously we can’t do all the elements,” Esa adds. “But it also ticked this box of an archetype where aliens are pretending to be human. And here we wanted to go down the robot route, so it’s basically a robot mothership to these little aliens, and then they are infiltrating into the human life trying to pry and learn.”

The minifigure’s double-sided head swivels around to hide the robot’s pilots, masked behind a face that somehow successfully conveys the vaguely creepy smile of an alien pretending to be a human within a very confined area.

“Tore is a wizard with this,” Esa enthuses. “It’s such a small space where you can print the minifigure face, and because it’s just the eyes and mouth, you lack certain features. But [within] these tiny little decisions you get these very lively characters and recognisable impressions.

“We wanted to include that play feature so they are fully open about what they are. They release the antenna and open the flap in the front. But then when they are being the imposter you see the creepy face and the antenna is withdrawn. So that’s why the antenna is also removable.”

“We thought it was really funny that if they want to communicate to their home planet, it’s so far away that they need those 30 centimetres of extra antenna,” Tore laughs.

71046 Series 26 Space launches at LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores on May 1, and is already starting to show up in stores around the world. You can pick out our favourite characters – or guarantee yourself a full set – using Brick Search’s minifigure scanner.

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Author Profile

Chris Wharfe
I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then.

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