The announcement of series 23 of the collectable minifigures at LEGO CON in June surprised me a little. Since 2017, we have been presented with a set of ‘in-house’ figures, a Warner Bros licenced series (DC Super Heroes, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, LEGO Movie/TLM2/TLMBM/TLNM) and a Disney licenced series (Disney, Marvel, Muppets). And the in-house series number has been the same as the year number. Now my ordinal sensibilities have been challenged, and I am not sure I like it.
That said, when we look at the figures presented in Series 23, it is appropriately timed, with many figures appropriate for the holiday season, including a Turkey costume, along with a snowman, reindeer costume, elf, nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy (or is it just the most generic toddler girl ever?).
At the time of announcement I found the selection to be a little underwhelming, personally: I can be a bit of a grinch, so the holiday figures were not make-or-break for me, but there are a few figures that hold appeal for me. I had been hoping for a ‘90years of play’ commemorative series, where we had multiple figures calling back to themes of the past. We have a couple, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Anyway, lets take a look. I am grateful that the LEGO Group’s AFOL Engagement team sent me a sealed box of figures, so we can take a look at the box/ figure location, as well as look at the distinguishing features of what will probably be the last series that you will be able to use ‘feeling the bag’ as an identification technique.
Similar to the Muppets Collectable Minifigures released earlier this year, the display box is incorporated in the shipping package: the upper cardboard box is easily released, and lifts off, revealing the figures inside. There are 36 figures in the box… spoiler alert: I found 3 complete sets in the box. We previously discussed the relative weight saving, compared to shipping each box of figures in an ecompassing shipping carton, which was hinted at previous with regard to the company’s efforts to become more sustainable and reduce waste.
As I said, there are 36 blind bags in a box – and 12 figures in the set. On the reverse of the bag is a four digit code, which relates to the week of the year, the year and the factory in which the bag was packed.
As we go though the series, I will list where I found the figures in the box. I shall use the nomenclature L/R (left/right) n, where n=the relative position from the front of the box, from 1 to 18.
Locations: L7, L8, L9
This traditional soldier coincides with the design traditionally associated with Tchaikowsky’s Ballet. Multiple versions of the nutcracker have appeared in LEGO form over the year, but this is the first time in minifigure form.
This moustachioed figure has a dual printed head (as virtually all figures in this series do. I love the toothy grin on one side. His white hair is incorporated into the hat mold.
Accessories include a pearl gold sabre as well as a 1×1 round tile, featuring a walnut print.
The Hat is the exclusive part to feel for.
Locations: R7, R8, R9
The Sugar plum fairy is another character from the Nutcracker, although you could be forgiven for thinking that this figure represents every enthusiastic young girl wearing her fairy wings (with elegant printing), tutu and tiara, while running around the house on Christmas morning on a sugar high brought on by sucking on too many candy canes!
She also has dual face prints, including coloured sparkles on each cheek. Her cool yellow hair piece has pigtails, as well as a hole for hair accessories. The tutu piece is printed pink on top. Her torso print features a metallic silver motif, matching the style of the print on the wings.
She also comes with a white cane element, with a red spiral print along its length, making it appear to be a truly glorious candy cane.
Feeling? Look for the cane or fairy wings. I found the small flat tiara was also palpable i the bag.
Locations: L10, L11, L12
Truly a traditional snowman, he comes with a broom, top hat and scarf. The carrot is a new mould, i think, with a 2.8mm connection at the wide end, to be plugged into the middle of the face (he has the traditional coal lump smile, as well as coal buttons on his torso. The headpiece is a new round element, and removing it reveals a printed, sweating face, effectively wearing a balaclava. This is a lovely touch: a plain head element could have been used here (in any colour) but this looks great, and will have uses in various MOCs in years to come. He carries a reddish brown broom.
Feel for the round head cover, as well as a head.
Locations: R10, R11, R12
The reindeer costume includes a printed countershading as well as a fluffy tail There is also a red ribbon with a round bell, printed on the medium nougat torso, which looks quite effective when the costume’s head is in place. There are toes printed on the legs. The reindeer head element is quite effective, and the antlers are attached using a hair accessories connection.
The minifigure head has female characteristics, but features slightly buck teeth, with a grin, and open smile.
The figure comes with a light azure gift box, featuring stars and a ribbon print, and contains a heart shaped biscuit. It is shortbread or gingerbread? I am unsure, but the printed icing sure makes it look delicious!
The heart shaped tiles are probably best to feel for here, as the box could be confused with the cardboard robot, along with the 2×2 tile.
Locations L1, L3, L5
This set young elf has a child like face, with a conical green hat, elf ears and orange braids. She is wearing fairly traditional elf garb, with a green torso, bright yellowish green arms, and triple molded short legs: green which and green, although the front of the lower segment of the legs are printed with a shoe print.
Our young elf also carries a small 2×2 snow dome, containing a gingerbread cottage, made using a 1×1 plate with a print on one side, as well as a 1×1 2×45º slope element.
With regards to the legs, there was a palpable join where the colours changed here, which is not something I have typically been able to detect with multiple mold elements. The legs appear to be made using a different dye to the hat and torso, as the legs fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
The elf’s headpiece is the most distinctive element here
Locations: L13 L16 R14
Everyone loves to dress up, and dressing up as a robot is especially fun. So imagine that bit of robot cosplay you did back in grade 2, with cardboard boxes brightly painted, and holes cut in the side.
Our figure has (another) dual head print, and she comes with a pair of scissors and a cardboard panel to attach somewhere.
I appreciate the medium azure/bright orange two-tone molded arms and legs, with the additional silver printing on the arms – some repair tape on the right arm, and an on/off switch on the right.
The large costume element, over 2 studs wide, almost 2 studs deep is the only one of its kind in this series.
Location: L2 L4 L6
Plain dark red legs and a simple white torso with a quizzical smile or a toothy grin are transformed with the addition of a red and white striped box, heaped with popcorn, with a hole cut out to look through. This figure did not seem to come with any additional accessories – a striped 1×1 brick, with a cool yellow ice-cream element could have looked amazing here.
This bag is relatively empty, with only the base, torso, legs and popcorn element present.
Location: R3 R4 R6
The man in the wolf costume has a medium stone grey torso, with fur printing front and back, with printed overalls, while the legs are dual molded blue and grey, with a line to dive a ‘ragged’ look.
On one side of his dual printed head, he is licking his lips, while on the other he is ready to blow your house down. I feel like hunting down some year of the pig figures, and setting up a Three little pigs pantomime.
He comes with a medium nougat sack, presumably for loading up with turkey… speaking of which…
The sack is the most distinctive element to feel for.
Locations: L14, L15, R13
The turkey is probably one of my favorite costumes in this particular series. He has both a happy and Angry/vindictive expression, a feathered reddish brown torso (with reddish brown wings. His legs are dual molded, and the bright red helmet features an orange beak, and patches of blue around the eyes. This is coupled with a fantail, which attaches between the legs and torso. He is accompanied by a pumpkin, with a green ‘floral’ stud.
Locations: R1, R2, R5
This figure is beautifully printed, with gold buttons on his blazer and silver stripes on his sleeves. There is a golden band printed around the hat, while he has a golden anchor in the front. He is an ageing sailor, with moustache and beard, and greying eyebrows. He comes with a small Ferry to wear: with a row of portals along the sides, and hold for 2.8 mm connectors
The ferry is fairly easy to feel, and is the main discriminator for this figure.
Knight of the Yellow Castle
Locations: L17, R16, R17
Cast your mind back to 1978, Tuesday, after teatime. The 375 Yellow Castle is the premiere ( and premier) LEGOLAND Castle set, with yellow crowns stuck onto on the shields and torsos, this set invites you to take your mind back and return to playing with that castle. Our knight has mid length legs (I had questioned this on the basis of original artwork)and a pink torso, with turquoise arms. We have a printed shield and breastplate, and a pearl gold sword, as well as a visor. We have a grey helmet – in the style of the motorcycle helmet, rather than the thick chin banded space helmet – which might have been considered to be more in character with the original yellow castle knights.
There is a bright light purple feather to put in the visor, as well as a hobby horse: Bringing us a red 3L bar, and a small horses head – perfect for those Mafiosa MOCs, or when you want to send someone a message.
If you thought that you had already seen this logo this year, you’d be right: check out the print on the coins gathered by the Troubadour from series 22 CMF.
Certainly, the new great plate is a step up from the original tabard, with applied stickers. (Images from Bricklink.com)
There is a lot packed with this figure! You will probably feel the visor, breastplate and shield.
If you are looking to perform some army building, you are likely to add some longer legs.
If you are not a castle fan, don’t worry: you can use the helmet included with this figure with the Rocket boy from series 17, who has the medium stone grey torso with a space logo on, underneath his rocket coated exterior – the helmet was previously limited to the grey in the heroic knight, part of series 9 CMF.
This will be a favorite figure, along with the dragon. Grab the back four figures on the right, and the back two on the left if you find an unopened box. then give one of each to that weeping person who didn’t get to the box as quickly as you did!
Green Dragon Costume
This young lady is wearing a green dragon, essentially a copy of the red dragon from series 18.The mold, the wings, the tail and the printing all match (except for the face).
This figure (along with holiday elf’s legs) are the first time that I have Seen this particular shade of green fluoresce under UV light, which has been a common property of red figures in previous series.
It is great to get another dragon in another colour.
The combination of head and wings made this relatively easy to feel. The minifigure elements (not the wings or tail) were packed in an additional plastic bag, which had a definite ‘crinkly’ feel.
When I first saw this series, I was pretty non-plussed. I don’t tend to do Christmas MOCs, but many figures in this set will be perfect for that. Worth thinking about if you are looking at @brickfambuilds holiday habitat challenge later in the year. However there are others that are great in their own right. Every parent of a daughter can probably relate to the sugar fairy – Want to wear your fairy wings? tiara? Tutu? Yes! Been their, done that, bought the t-shirt. It’s so relatable.
These figures will all appear to someone. But will they all appeal to you, if you are not a completionist? Probably not. These were the easiest for me to discriminate by feel for some time: hopefully, you will be similarly blessed.
I see the Christmas figures, and the Yellow Castle Knight being particularly possible, along with the turkey in countries where thanksgiving is celebrated.
The Wolf costume will also go well with Piggy guy from series 12, or 80102 Dragon Dance. That said, Pigsy’s head from Monkey kid could also be satisfactory. Particularly with houses of straw, sticks and bricks. I suspect I know which will be stronger, should he huff and he puff and attempt to blow your house down.
Rapid UV scan
I took out my black light and ran it over the entire series. Compared to previous series, there was relatively little fluorescence:
Compared to earlier series, there are relatively few fluorescing elements. I was surprised, especially in the context of the Dragon costume. This same shade is used in
11 double sided heads
6 female coded heads, 6 male. One younger male, 2 female.
4 animal costumes, one robot costume, one popcorn suit. How would you classify the snowman? Costume, or not?
2 short legs, 2 intermediate, 8 full length. 6 single color, 5 dual molded, one triple molded
Two with Dual molded arms.
As I said earlier, I feel that most people will find at least one figure appealing, but I feel the main group looking for all of them will be completionists. There are plenty of fans for animal costumes, food costumes, holiday figures and Castle. But how much crossover is there between these groups? I guess we shall find out when these figures go on sale in October 2022.