Harry Potter and the Minifigure Innovations

With new Harry Potter LEGO Sets and Collectable Minifigures occupying the Zeitgeist, I look back on ways in which our minifigures have been innovated through their use in this theme over the years.title

When we recently looked at the new Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures, we had a look at the new leg elements – the ‘miniskirt’ and mid length legs. These new elements are a great inclusion during this, the fortieth anniversary of LEGO Minifigures.  I found myself wondering ‘What other innovations in figure design have we first seen in Harry Potter?’  We have seen so many different characters and creatures since the series first appeared in 2001: house elf, giants, goblins and trolls, as well as humans. To adequately depict these characters as minifigures form, a number of modifications to the standard form were introduced. Some of these we now take for granted.

The First (Second and Third) Double Sided Head Print

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Figures

 

Harry Potter Minifigures are out in the wild. Once again, new legs are released in the Harry Potter theme.  Here are some scattered thoughts and pictures. 

When I first heard about the Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures, I was not feeling too excited. We had already been delivered the second series of The LEGO Batman Movie collectable minifigures, as well as the brilliant series 18 – celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the LEGO Minigfigure. I really loved that set, but my taste for it was somewhat soured by the presence of the chase figure: the Policeman.  While I loved the idea of this reimagining of the 1978 classic ( I mean, there were no stickers!), the presence of only one figure in a box pushed up the price on the secondary market. The fact that the ‘chase’ figure could be found in the same place in every box meant they were rapidly identifiable by enthusiastic collectors, and people looking to flip them on the secondary market.

Now the inclusion of chase figures in collectable minifigures is not new – There was Mister Gold, back in series 10: but that was SO rare that most people considered it a special surprise, rather than an integral part of the set.  Having a rare figure in every box makes it feel like a necessary part of the set. Especially when the package insert lists it as an integral part of the set. So I let the Policeman pass.  I purchased an ‘incomplete set’, and occasionally had a look at the well rummaged boxes that I came across on random. Around two months after its release, a friend gave me a call as asked if I was still interested? He had come across a couple of extra policemen in his travels, and we organised a simple trade.

IMG_9980And now we have the 71022 Harry Potter Collectable Minifigures Series.  With twenty two figures, it is the largest collection of minifigures to date. Early rumours suggested that there would be twenty four characters, and this is indeed the case, as we discover that two figures in fact have dual identities.  We have sixteen figures related to the Harry Potter Series, some represented for the first time; and six from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them.

IMG_9986There are also a number of special features introduced in this series:

Forty years of minifigures continues: Changes a foot.

As we have already considered this year,  we are now celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the arrival of LEGO Minifigures. In this series, we see the continuing development of minifigures with the arrival of a brand new minifigure element: the mid-height legs. One plate shorter than the standard minifigure legs, these are perfect for ‘not quite adult teens’, they are seen with seven of the twenty two figures present.  Initially I was concerned that these elements were isolated to a licensed, collectable minifigure series. However, this is not the first time that Harry Potter has been used to introduce new minifigure leg elements…The mini leg (design ID 41879), frequently used for children, Ewoks, Yoda and dwarves, was first introduced in 2002, as part of Gringotts Bank 4714, and Dobby’s release 4731, in tan, black and brown. These legs also featured in Star Wars, and train sets in the first year. Now, they are everywhere.

It is a shame that four of the seven figures that use the mid length legs have the markings associated with the gowns and uniform of Gryffindor students, and have limited reuse potential.  Fortunately, three figures have plain leg markings: Cho Chan and Neville Longbottom both have black legs, while Luna Lovegood has blue legs.

Here are the legs of all sizes in action:

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The other change that we have seen this year in in the use of the a new 2x2x1 2/3  curved slope (Miniskirt No.6 39139) : In this series of minifigures, we have three different colours and prints of the new part. It has also recently arrived in the Star Wars theme, worn by the Pretorian guards in 75216  Snoke’s Throne Room (Another August 2018 release). This element now means that figures wearing gowns or dresses are the same height as regular minifigures. Of interest, it is slightly tapered across the studs, and is slightly narrower than the bottom of the minifigure torso.  This has been the case with legs for years, but a point of difference with skirt wearing minifigures”

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Otherwise, what does the series have to offer?

22 minifigures, 24 characters, 27 faces,7 sets of the new ‘teen legs’, wands in 6 colours, 5 items of food, 2 suitcases ,5 animal familiars and a mandragora plant, dark green broom and a Golden Snitch!

So Much Pottery Goodness! Let’s cut to the chase and look at the Figures. Continue reading