For the past few days, I’ve been covering the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure and I’ve already talked about the patents and the designer sketches. Now that there’s an idea of what kind of minifigure LEGO has greenlighted, we turn our attention to the molds that are used to create the minifigures. LEGO has sent over some images of the different molds that are used to create the various pieces that go into a minifigure such as the head, torso, arms, hands, hips, and legs.
Stay tuned as we have a few more posts to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure.
Last week, LEGO officially announced the LEGO Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City (75222) and if you looked closely at the press release, you would have seen that the set is part of the LEGO Star Wars Master Builder Series and not the Ultimate Collectors Series. Fans have been wondering what the Master Builder Series is and will it be replacing the UCS theme and we’ve finally got an official statement from the LEGO Star Wars team which you can read below.
The Master Builder Series models are large playsets and beside being complex builds they are characterized by having many play features and functions, interior details as well as a range of minifigures. Ultimate Collectors series will remain highly detailed display models providing complex builds with a focus on authenticity and both Ultimate Collectors Series and Master Builder Series will continue as a way to highlight the unique characteristic of each style of model.
After reading the statement, are you relieved that playsets are no longer classified as UCS but will be part of the Master Builder Series? Sound off in the comments below.
Today LEGO has revealed a full-sized Bugatti Chiron that is made entirely out of LEGO Technic elements and is capable of driving. The Chiron is made from over 1 million LEGO Technic parts and is powered using LEGO Power Functions motors and can reach a top speed of 20mph. Also packed into the car are 2,304 motors along with 4,032 Technic gear wheels. What’s even more impressive is that there was no glue to hold everything together.
Thank you to Connie over at Mischief for sending over the press release and images of the life-sized LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron.
First Ever Life-Size and Drivable LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron Is a Pioneering Piece of Engineering and Design
Testament that with LEGO Technic you can build for real, this non-glued, fully-functional and self-propelled LEGO Technic model can fit two passengers inside and accelerate to over 20km/h
Perfectly recreating the organic design lines of the world’s fastest production car – the iconic Bugatti Chiron – the LEGO Technic life-size model pushes the boundaries of what LEGO builders imagined was possible to build in LEGO elements.
The model is the first large scale movable construction developed using over 1,000,000 LEGO Technic elements and powered exclusively using motors from the LEGO Power Function platform. Packed with 2,304 motors and 4,032 LEGO Technic gear wheels, the engine of this 1.5 tonnes car is generating 5.3 horse power and an estimated torque of 92 Nm.
Lena Dixen, Senior Vice President of Product and Marketing at the LEGO Group said:
“This life-size model is a first of its kind in so many ways and with it, we wanted to push the boundaries of our own imagination. For over 40 years, LEGO Technic has allowed fans of all ages to test their creativity with a building system that challenges them to go beyond just creating new designs, to also engineering new functions. Our Technic designers and the engineers from the Kladno factory in the Czech Republic, the place which also builds the impressive models for LEGO Stores and LEGOLAND parks, have done an amazing job both at recreating the Chiron’s iconic shapes and making it possible to drive this model. It’s a fascinating example of the LEGO Technic building system in action and its potential for creative reinvention.”
A fascinating feat of design and engineering
Seen from a distance side by side, the resemblance of the two cars is striking. Get closer and you will find a fascinating and complex outer ‘skin’ structure, built of interconnected triangular segments made into a LEGO Technic ‘fabric’ designed to mimic the iconic shapes of the original Chiron. Peek inside and discover that every single detail of the original car has been carefully and precisely recreated in LEGO Technic elements – from seats, to dashboard and the steering wheel.
Equipped with a rear spoiler, speedometer, front and back-lights, detachable steering wheel and brake pedal, all fully functional and built of LEGO Technic elements, the model is a dream come true for any LEGO fan. Building it required the use of 339 types of LEGO Technic elements, and over 13,000 work hours of development and construction.
A test drive like no other
Building a one of a kind LEGO Technic life-size car is one part of the task. Testing if it can drive is another. And what better location than the same place where the real Chiron was first tested – Ehra Lessien proving ground in Germany – a unique facility built to handle speed.
One weekend afternoon, the LEGO model took off and accelerated to everyone’s joy and amazement. And while it may not match the original Bugatti Chiron’s mindboggling 420 km/h speed, the LEGO Technic’s power function motors have managed the impressive performance to propel it to a little over 20km/h – ultimately making the ‘Build for Real’ idea truly complete.
Andy Wallace – the driver behind the LEGO Technic Chiron – former racing driver with multiple wins of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona, as well as many other races, and today official Bugatti pilot, said:
“When I first saw the LEGO Chiron, I was immediately impressed by the accuracy of the model and the minute attention to detail. In fact from about 20 metres away it’s not obvious that you are looking at a LEGO car. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into making this model.”
“Driving the LEGO Chiron was a great experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. All those years ago I could never have imagined that one day I would actually drive a LEGO car!”
The Chiron is the ultimate super sports car and the latest interpretation of Bugatti’s brand values ‚Art Forme Technique‘. With a power output of 1,500 HP, unprecedented for production vehicles, an exceptionally high torque value of 1,600 Nm between 2,000 and 6,000 rpm and a wide variety of technical innovations, the Chiron sets new standards in every respect. The Chiron is not only designed for maximum speed, but also meets the highest possible demands in terms of luxury, comfort, everyday drivability and durability. The Chiron combines the best in all these areas which makes it the world’s most complete super sports car.
The model is a first of its kind in many ways: • first fully-functional self-propelled life-size LEGO TECHNIC car • first non-glued LEGO TECHNIC model of such complexity • first large model powered using LEGO TECHNIC power function motors • first large-scale moving model using LEGO TECHNIC bricks & elements • first time to create new types of transparent LEGO TECHNIC bricks • first time to create load bearing parts build purely out of LEGO TECHNIC bricks & elements. …using 58 types of TECHNIC custom-made elements
Facts and numbers: • Over 1,000,000 LEGO elements in total • 339 types of LEGO TECHNIC elements used • No glue used in the assembly • Total weight: 1500 kg • Engine contains: • 2,304 LEGO Power Function Motors • 4,032 LEGO TECHNIC gear wheels • 2,016 LEGO TECHNIC cross axles • Theoretical performance of 5.3 HP • Estimated Torque of 92 Nm • Functional rear spoiler (using both LEGO Power Functions and Pneumatics) • Functional speedometer built entirely from LEGO TECHNIC elements • 13,438-man hours used on development and construction • The model comes with real Bugatti Chiron wheels and emblem
About Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. is the manufacturer of the ultimate production super sports car. Since it was established in 1909, the French luxury brand has had its headquarters at Molsheim, Alsace, where 450 Veyrons were produced from 2005 to 2015 and where the new Chiron, which is limited to 500 cars, is being hand-crafted today.
The brand, which has been part of the Volkswagen Group since 1998, has 34 dealers and service partners in 17 countries in Europe, North America, the Arabian Peninsula and Asia/Pacific. www.bugatti.com
The Central Perk Coffee of Friends by Mric76 is the latest project to achieve 10,000 supporters on LEGO Ideas. The set recreates the coffee house that the six main characters of the show meet throughout the series. Consisting of 1,719 pieces, the project has lots of the details that is seen at Central Perk and it also proposes 7 minifigures.
Continuing with my coverage of the LEGO minifigure’s 40th birthday, we’ve already taken a look at some of the patents that have been granted and after that, we go to the design process of some minifigures that have been produced already. Below are some hand sketches from various LEGO designers to show some of the details and thought processes of how they came up with the particular characters. Again, we as fans don’t usually see this kind of stuff so we definitely appreciate that LEGO sent over some assets for us to share to the community.
On this day in Denmark back in 1977, the first patent for the LEGO Minifigure was handed in but there are also other patents for many other countries as well granted on different dates. As you can see below, some of these countries include the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and China. LEGO chose August 29 to celebrate the birthday of the LEGO minifigure and the date seems random but there’s an explanation.
August 29th has been chosen as this was the original date that the first patent was filed in Denmark, in 1977. The first minifigures were not launched until 1978, hence we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first launched minifigures and not when the first patent was filed.
In Denmark, it is August 29 and this was the original date that the first patent of the LEGO minifigure was handed in back in 1977. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LEGO minifigure, LEGO has sent over a ton of assets for us to use and to show you some of the behind the scene stuff of how the minifigure went from an idea to what we have now. Note that the first minifigures were not launched until 1978, and hence LEGO is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first launched minifigures and not when the first patent was handed in, which is opposite to the 60th celebration of the LEGO brick.
Some of the images that were sent to us include design sketches of the Collectible Minifigures line and some of the design process of some of the characters from the past few years.
In addition, we also have an infographic showing some of the key milestones of the minifigure development from 1974 to today.
Since there’s so much content that LEGO has provided us with, I’ll be spreading the posts out for the next few days so stay tuned as you’ll get a look at things that you normally don’t see from LEGO. Before I leave, there’s a short story about the LEGO Minifigure.
Little Figure, Big Story Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the LEGO® minifigure
In 1978, Disco was dominating the charts, mobile phones were non-existent and the Internet was still more than a decade away. It was also the year the very first LEGO® minifigures went into production. Fast forward to today and those inaugural characters have evolved nearly as much as the world around them, offering endless roleplay possibilities. So, as one of the planet’s tiniest icons celebrates its big 4…0, here are some milestone moments from its very big story.
The evolution of the LEGO minifigure
It all started in 1974 when the LEGO building figure was launched, made mostly of large square LEGO bricks with moveable arms but immoveable legs. This was followed in 1975 by LEGO stage extra figures with solid torsos, immoveable arms and legs, and no printed features. Basically, very different to the LEGO minifigures we know and love today! Not that we had to wait too long for them to arrive, with 1978 ushering in a new era of LEGO minifigures equipped with moveable limbs and simple facial expressions comprising two solid black eye dots and black painted smile. Fast forward to 2018 and there are now more than 650 unique faces in the collection, meaning children can have fun roleplaying different characters and personalities – anytime, anywhere.
From 20 to 8,000
To begin with, there were around 20 different LEGO minifigure characters, including a police officer, doctor, firefighter, knight and astronaut. But in the four decades since, the number of minifigures available has risen to more than 8,000. To put that into context, if the global population had grown at the same rate, there would now be nearly 144 trillion of us living on Earth!
The perfect height
Take away the hair or any other headpiece and LEGO minifigures are exactly the same height as four LEGO bricks fitted together. This means they fit perfectly into the LEGO System in Play. Oh, and if you stacked them head to toe, you would need 20,750 to reach the height of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Jack of all trades
Over the years, LEGO minifigures have shown they can turn their hand to pretty much anything. From pirates to paramedics, engineers to elephant keepers, veterinarians to Vikings, there have been thousands of different minifigure characters. Three LEGO minifigures even blasted into space onboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft in 2011. But one thing has remained consistent throughout: whatever role, character or personality children fancy playing, there’s sure to be a minifigure to match.
Did you know the traditional yellow colour of the LEGO minifigure’s head was chosen based on focus group feedback in the early and mid-1970s saying this was preferable to white ones? Since then, minifigures have become increasingly diverse – from the first figures with natural skin tone in 2003 (Lando Calrissian from Star Wars and NBA basketball players) to 2016’s inaugural wheelchair. LEGO minifigures have also done their bit for unstereotyping gender roles with the likes of female firefighters and ninjas, through to fathers equipped with baby carriers. In fact, the whole point of minifigures is they let children create and be anyone they want – male or female, helmet or hair, freckles or glasses, anything. And if you’re worried about our robotic friends, don’t be. There have been plenty of C-3POs and R2D2s (not to mention other robots) too.
The LEGO minifigure has starred in a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including THE LEGO® MOVIE™, THE LEGO® BATMAN MOVIE™ and THE LEGO® NINJAGO MOVIE™. In 2007, LEGO Group even created 10,000 gold chrome C-3PO minifigures packed in random sets to mark the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.
1978-2018 precision mates
Did you know that eight different moulds are used for the production of every minifigure? Two sets of these moulds are the same in design but reversed to mould the right and left minifigure arms and legs! The precision that goes into these moulds is exceptional, and because the original moulds are almost identical to the ones we use today, minifigures from 1978 can be mixed and matched with the more modern characters from today! However, one thing that has changed is the number of elements each mould can produce and the speed scale of this – for example, the minifigure head mould construction has improved from an initial eight elements per 9,8 sec. to 128 elements per 14.7 sec. today!
More than just a figure
LEGO minifigures may be made for fun but there’s a serious side to them as well. By offering an endless choice of roleplay possibilities, they’re designed to let children play inventively, engage with different emotions and tell their own stories. First and foremost, that means a whole lot of enjoyment. But, crucially, it also allows young people to develop key life skills like emotional intelligence, creativity and communication – skills that, according to new research for the LEGO Play Well Report, parents believe will be vital to helping their children build their own bright future.