As the LEGO Group has made minifigures all the more desirable, the company has also made certain figures frustratingly difficult – or expensive – to get
When I was a child, minifigures were a utility – spaceships needed pilots, sea vessels needed captains and castles needed knights. Every figure had the same face until Pirates came along, and even after that all of the faces were pretty generic. Then came Star Wars, and licensing, and minifigures becoming the entire purpose of many sets. Like any savvy company would, the LEGO Group realised that fans will often buy sets they may otherwise have skipped in order to get a desirable minifigure.
Excluding Comic Con exclusives and other limited edition sets, which are of course frustrating to another level, this list will focus on widely available models that contain absolutely vital figures.
Supreme Leader Snoke from 75190 First Order Star Destroyer
The most recent example of the appealing minifigure problem is the inclusion of the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke in 75190 First Order Star Destroyer, a £129.99 set. This is a character that every Star Wars fan wants, as he is the mysterious big bad from the sequel trilogy of films. But does everyone want a new Star Destroyer? Probably not, but those who want Snoke have only one set they can get him in.
Fans of a certain age have fond memories of this character and the campy TV show from a bygone era. There are also a lot of younger folks who have set out to collect all the Batman minifigures that have been released through the years. Placing this classic figure in a single £239.99 made acquiring it a real financial commitment.
Greedo from 4501 Mos Eisley Cantina
This figure’s value stems not so much because he was in an expensive set – the model that included him was a mere £27.99 back in 2004 when it arrived on shelves – but that the LEGO Group did not release another version for ten years. LEGO Star Wars was not the juggernaut it would become back in 2004. The set is pretty basic, so acquiring one of the few copies of this character out there was not an exciting experience for those who wanted him.
Luna Lovegood from 4841 Hogwarts Express
Luna Lovegood was the perfect storm of minifigure misery. She came in the last wave of Harry Potter sets that were released at the end of the eight film series. This meant that there were not as many children acquiring the sets as in earlier years. There was also only one version of the character was ever released and the exclusive set that included her cost £81.99. As an extremely popular character in the latter films, there were a lot of fans who wanted her, so driving up the aftermarket price up and leaving no inexpensive way of adding the minifigure to a collection.
Tinker Bell from 71040 Disney Castle
Last year’s Disney Castle was one of the best sets of the year, if not the absolute best set of 2016. Fortunately for collectors who could not afford the £299.99 price tag, the Collectible Minifigures line included versions of all of the characters that were included, albeit with different prints, with the exception of one – Tinker Bell. This highly desirable minifigure who has flown over the castle at the beginning of so many produced by the media titan for generations can still only be had in 71040.
Toryn Farr from 75098 Assault on Hoth
There were not too many LEGO Star Wars fans clamouring for Toryn Farr, the rebel who calls out ‘standby ion control’ in The Empire Strikes Back. Despite that, she was one of the only stand out aspects of 75098 Assault on Hoth. There are many collectors out there who seek to have at least one version of every named character that appears in minifigure form, making her a must have. Unfortunately, she was in a very expensive set that was also not a good candidate for aftermarket value – so not a lot of re-sellers split it up. Toryn Farr is not memorable, but that does not mean she comes cheap.
Maria Hill from 76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier
Maria Hill is a fan favourite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Unfortunately, unlike all of the other desirable characters included in 76042, she has never appeared in any other set. On top of that, The SHIELD Helicarrier is not the most beloved model due to its odd scaling. It would take a pretty devoted fan to fork out over £279.99, but if you are one of them then you should hurry. The LEGO Group has announced that this set is soon to be retired which will make Maria even harder to get.
Hondo Ohnaka from 7753 Pirate Tank
Price was not so much the problem with 7753 as it clocked in at £34.99. The problem with tracking down Hondo Ohnaka rather is the fact that such a prevalent character appeared in only a single set. Those of us who watched the entirety of The Clone Wars and now Rebels are well acquainted with Hondo as a mercenary who happily, and often entertainingly, plays both sides. His prevalence makes that fact that he has only appeared in a somewhat forgettable set back in 2009 a bit maddening.
The Dark Knight Joker from 76023 The Tumbler
Many consider Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight to be the definitive take on the Joker. Accordingly, his plastic brick incarnation is a highly sought after figure that continues to frustrate collectors due to being included in only one £159.99 discontinued set. Considering the dark nature of the film it is somewhat surprising that the LEGO Group was willing to make such a figure at all, but fans are glad that they did.
Queasy Kitty from 70180 Metalbeard’s Sea Cow
Unikitty was one of many delightful characters fans were introduced to when The LEGO Movie became a surprise blockbuster back in 2014. Many collectors sought to obtain every version of the incessantly positive character, which was a fun and achievable little collection initially. Then 70180 Metalbeard’s Sea Cow came along and proved to be a pain for those that undertook that mission. While many versions of the character could be had in relatively inexpensive sets, the flagship of the theme cost a whopping £169.99.