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Is a Lego Minifigure Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts?

chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
edited July 2013 in Everything else LEGO
The issue of taking minifigures apart or keeping them whole has been brought up in another thread discussing series 11, and this is something I was thinking of starting a thread about myself so here goes...
I received a great portion of my Lego collection from my step daughter who used to play with all of the different building systems when she was a child and received many sets. Now, even though I don't have a hatred for MB, I wanted to use Lego and only Lego so I sorted EVERY BRICK to make sure I was only using Lego! I didn't even know that TYCO made bricks too, and they are pretty damn close to Lego in look and texture so sorting was time consuming but I'm literally crazy enough to take the time to do it. So what does this have to do with minifigures? I'll tell you.
As I've stated, these Legos belonged to my stepdaughter when she was a child and she used to play with her step brothers. Apparently, they had no qualms about taking the arms, legs, hands and anything else that could be broken down on a minifigure and switching them around with other figures! I was APPALLED! Why would you rip the arms off of a poor, defenseless minifigure! So of course I had to try and piece them all back together so that all of the pirates and Civil War soldiers and forestmen were EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE! I found out later that there were other Lego enthusiasts who also took apart their minifigures to make their own customs. I've tried a few times to do this but I was literally getting anxious about Jack Sparrow not having his head, even though I had four or five Jack Sparrows from other sets.
It was said by an AFOL in the other thread that it never even occurred to him to take apart his CMFs when the subject was brought up. Another AFOL said, isn't that what you're supposed to do with Lego, use your imagination to build what you want? (I'm paraphrasing a bit but that's the gist of what was said by both parties)
Neither of these people are wrong, of course, but how do you feel about it? Could you sleep at night knowing Legolas' head is on Boba Fett's body? Or are you the person that can't wait to rip the arms off of the man-bat so you can give Batman real wings?

Comments

  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    edited July 2013
    Great question- but look out. This can and probably will turn into one heck of a heated discussion.

    As you probably saw, I was very vocal in the thread you mention, but it was about the male/female printing issue, not really mixing and matching. Personally, I like to keep my minifigs "as is," my self diagnosed touch of OCD does not permit otherwise. But I say to each his own. If you want to MOC, mix and match, and be creative- run with it.

    P.S. Great thread title too!
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,248
    I like to keep my official sets together as is, but I see no issue with taking LEGO apart to mix and match to create customs or MOC. I just get LEGO specifically for that purpose and not combine my set content with the loose/mixed parts.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,314
    edited July 2013
    I mix and match, mainly for non-licensed figures but even some licensed ones look good if mixed. S3 elf with Legolas' head and hair (or Tauriel's) looks great. Within city, I mix heads, hair, etc. And for armies I always replace heads to give a variety of expressions. 50 Romans with same expression doesn't look right, with a change of heads it looks more realistic.

    Mixing across licensed and non-licensed is why I like torsos to have no skin printing if possible. The elf is a good example, he can take a fleshie head and hands (male or female) whereas the British Bobby in S11 seems to have a tiny piece of yellow at the neck, meaning he cannot crossover to a world of fleshies. To me that is unnecessary as it adds nothing to the design but limits its use.

    I will replace hands and arms too. I rarely replace legs on hips though as this weakens them.

    I see minifigs no different to bricks, but then I am a moc'er rather than a collector of sets that cannot be mixed with other sets. I prefer designing to following instructions.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,248
    ^ popping arms out of the torso will weaken that joint as well and the arms can stop staying up on their own. Hands too and they can't hold heavier accessories upright. Probably why as mentioned in the other thread LEGO doesn't recommend it. But that is part of customization so what can be done will be done.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,469
    I don't care if anyone mixes and matches the torso, head, legs and accessories. They can always be put back the way they are supposed to be. But pulling the arms out causes the torso to crack at the arm pits and that's a real bad idea. That bothers me to no end. Why take a perfectly good torso and destroy it by removing the arms? Doesn't make any sense.
    icey117
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,314
    edited July 2013
    I've never had a problem with arms or hands, if done carefully. Play weakens them just as much, if not more. Not that I swap them much though. I have a dozen of the S9 cops that are now fleshie for superheroes mocs. They got changed when I first got them and will never be changed back. I prefer them to the blue shirted official fleshie police. Same with the elves, they will be fleshie for life with LOTR/Hobbit.

    Clicking bricks together weakens them, as does leaving something assembled. Displaying something in daylight also eventually fades it. There is no alternative for me, I'm not one to leave bricks in a box.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    I've had to pull the arms off of figures I've acquired in order to put the right ones back together. I once intentionally pulled off one of Indiana Jone's arms and replaced it with one of Marion's nude arms to make a custom of him from Temple of Doom, so that was 2 NEW figures that I pulled the arms off of! It was like I was walking on eggshells as I kept applying pressure little by little until the arm popped off. I'm always afraid I'm going to break the figure somehow. I don't know how people can do this regularly. :} (I just recently put those two Indy figures back together the right way. It's torture, I tell you!)
  • murphquakemurphquake Member Posts: 651
    Even with a special figure, like my shiny new Jek-14, i couldn't help pop that awesome trans light blue arm out and put it on my sig fig
    image
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,314
    Once you know how to do it it is easy. Angle the arms backwards and apply hardly any pressure, the easily pop off.

    Never use pliers, I've seen people doing that to remove hands. That scared even me, the minifig molester.
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    When I first saw that the hands had been changed on the minifigures I'd gotten from my step daughter I thought to myself, "Who would even think to do this?" I've always been a collector though and try to keep things in good condition. There are many things about Lego I have learned that I would never have dreamed of.
    I pulled the hands off of a minifigure that I don't think had any legs or something in order to replace the hands on my Chewbacca keychain. I couldn't find any brown hands so I used black. Eventually those broke too so I gave up trying to use my Chewbacca keychain. So I have delved into minifigure Frankensteining a few times.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    I've tried a few times to do this but I was literally getting anxious about Jack Sparrow not having his head, even though I had four or five Jack Sparrows from other sets.

    I can understand being anxious about removing arms, because they're not meant to be removed. But a minifigure comprises multiple parts because those parts are meant to be interchanged. I've never been anxious about using LEGO the way it's intended to be used.

    Could you sleep at night knowing Legolas' head is on Boba Fett's body?

    Sure. Why not? They can easily be swapped back to their original configurations.

    My Sam has Frodo's head from #9469 because I think the expression better suits the character. I've also got a generic Stormtrooper head on Darth Vader because I don't want to spoil my son about what is under the mask.
    andhe
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375
    Freedom

    #2 Operator

    Freedom...let's mix things up a bit. I believe control is holding us back. Make sense?
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    I'm one of those people who has to keep my Lego sets together after building them the way it says in the Lego instructions. Every once in awhile I come up with the crazy idea of breaking down all of my sets and separating all of the elements to do MOCs. I'm telling you, I was literally getting incredibly anxious just standing in my Lego room thinking about tearing apart my POTC sets! Couldn't do it!
    I wanted to make a custom figure of Edgar Allan Poe, so I took a Lucious Malfoy body and put Jack Sparrow's head on it with Harry Potter's hair. Now, the Lucious and Harry figures came from an extra Freeing of Dobby set I had. The Jack Sparrow head, however, came from one of the sets I only had one of. Now, like I said, I had four other Jack Sparrows from other sets, and I'm pretty sure they're all the same, but it bothered me that that Jack Sparrow didn't have his head anymore, thereby making the set incomplete! It's just something I'm trying to overcome because I have seen a lot of cool customs.
  • skeet318skeet318 Banned Posts: 375
    Can't we pocess and live but not control? Minifigures would probably have an easier time with all things then....
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,314
    ^^ this us where BL comes in handy. If you cannot face breaking sets down into parts, buy parts instead. It gets you over the first hurdle. The next hurdle is putting bricks together without instructions. Try it, it's fun!
    jasor
  • icey117icey117 DenmarkMember Posts: 506
    My absolute favorite figures (and sets) stay assembled as they were designed for display. The rest is for play... So I prefer both!
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    as far as switching out arms, hands, and the legs(the individual legs, not lego assembly) I haven't done it. I have bought separate elments(just torso, arm, and hands) from bricklink along with a 13 Nexus torso lot from ebay and put them together.

    As far as the head, torso assembly, and leg assembly it's mostly mix and match if I buy the individual parts but there are exceptions.

    With the post xmas sale with CMF 7 and 8 for a buck a pack, I got them mostly for part packs.

    CMF police officer I got 4 of. 1 was left orginal, 1 was made with a female face replacement, and 2 had generic smiley faces.

    When I do another lego shop order down the line(I'm getting back into some retro handheld games so my hobby budget is tight) to use my $5 VIP i'm planning on stocking up on female heads and hairs since I need more females in my town.

    I got the lego hot dog stand but the figures are destined for the parts bin. I HATE the female torso but love the head, hair, and legs and I love the male hair and legs but i'm not wild about the pot belly torso print or the face.

    I've got various assembled figures in my room in a rolling cart but I am thinking about raiding a few of the figures for the pirate moc i'm working on and I will need to dig in my CMF 7 & 8 stash for parts also.

  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Depends where the figs are from - if its a set I want kept together then I wouldn't dream of mixing the figs. If its a set that is destined for the 'general population' boxes of lego for mocs (and whatever kids imaginative building is called - mocs sounds too organised!) then its fair game. Can't think I've ever removed arms, but hands are certainly up for grabs, and obviously legs, heads, hair/hats.

    I remember coming home when my kids had had friends over to find that every 1 of my CMF collection had been mixed up - legs and torsos all over the place. Took a whole evening to match them back up and longer for my wife to understand why I wasn't completely ok with this. No lost parts, no damage done but i was worried for a while there.
    icey117
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,235
    oldtodd33 said:

    I don't care if anyone mixes and matches the torso, head, legs and accessories. They can always be put back the way they are supposed to be. But pulling the arms out causes the torso to crack at the arm pits and that's a real bad idea. That bothers me to no end. Why take a perfectly good torso and destroy it by removing the arms? Doesn't make any sense.

    This!

    When I was a child, I mixed and matched everything, but when it came time to put things away, I re-matched the figs and whatnot together. Last Christmas, I went to my boyfriend's parent's place for the holidays and we actually pulled out his old LEGO and had a solid three days of putting together old sets (from one gigantic bin). But it was CRAZY when it came time to do the minifigs - there were arms pulled off and hands pulled out of arms, and legs out of their sockets... found tiny, tiny pieces everywhere! And tonnes of cracking (granted the LEGO was fairly old, early 90's).

    Although the saddest part was that after all our hard work putting together the sets, my boyfriend's mother gave all the LEGO away. We thought we (well, we thought I) would have LEGO to use whenever we went to the 'rents!
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    My dream would be to one day have every early western, pirate and forestman minifigure. I still had some of the figures from the Fort Legorado set I used to have and I found some in my stepdaughters collection, along with some pirates and one forestman (of course there was only one of him because I like them the most!) I was able to put all of the western figures back together EXACTLY like they are assembled in the instructions because I actually had the instructions (I'm not sure what happened to the fort. It got scattered to the four winds somehow. That was before I really decided to collect Lego).
    I literally had said to my wife, "I wish there was some type of guide or site where you could see all of the old Lego figures the way they originally were because I want to put the pirates I have together EXACTLY the way the instructions showed them." Then, somehow, I found BRICKSET! The clouds parted and a great beam of light shone down from the heavens and I heard the Hallelujah Chorus!
    I am wondering though how exact are the pictures that Brickset has of the old minifigures? The reason that I ask is because I have a white epaulet for a soldier but the only colors I see are blue, red, and gold. I'm pretty certain it is a Lego element. As an aside: I think it's funny that some of the soldiers have an unshaven face with a big "Frito Bandito" mustache! I would have thought that that head went to a western villian or pirate.
  • jasorjasor United StatesMember Posts: 839

    but hands are certainly up for grabs,


    May be the most brilliant comment of the day! :D
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 563
    CCC said:

    ^^ this us where BL comes in handy. If you cannot face breaking sets down into parts, buy parts instead. It gets you over the first hurdle. The next hurdle is putting bricks together without instructions. Try it, it's fun!

    Amen! I cringe at the thought of pulling apart one of my modulars for parts, but BL does a good job of supplying the identical pieces, sans the guilt. I can even look them up based on the set in which they currently reside!

    Craigslist also has been a great supply of parts for me. A 20 gallon bin of mixed pieces is much easier to MOC from (once they are cleaned) than the lovely sets in my bookcase. This has also supplied a nice quantity of not-as-originally-designed minifigs and minifig parts. I have no problem with the shuffled townspeople and knights, but I struggle with sorting out all the SW trooper varieties so that I can try to resell them.
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    edited July 2013


    I am wondering though how exact are the pictures that Brickset has of the old minifigures? The reason that I ask is because I have a white epaulet for a soldier but the only colors I see are blue, red, and gold.

    They are quite exact, but not complete - and sometimes you get surprised as to where a part has been used. The white epaulet are really only used for one minifigure, baron von Barron, but he shows up in 11 different sets.

    I had to use bricklink.com to search for the part - Brickset is still in its infancy regarding parts for older sets - but came back for set and minifig info of course ;)
    chuxtoybox
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711


    They are quite exact, but not complete - and sometimes you get surprised as to where a part has been used. The white epaulet are really only used for one minifigure, baron von Barron, but he shows up in 11 different sets
    Thanx for the response! I would never have guessed that a minifigure besides a soldier would have epaulets! :}
  • trickydicky0880trickydicky0880 Member Posts: 134
    This is probably not the right place to put this but I have a question that needs answering. Do some sorts of minifigure parts crack or get scratched easier?

    I just got a new Nightwing minifig from Amazon and his hairpiece came mutilated! I'm for sure contacting the seller about this but I'm curious if anybody else has had this problem and if the chances of getting a Nightwing hair piece in good condition are slim.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,852

    This is probably not the right place to put this but I have a question that needs answering. Do some sorts of minifigure parts crack or get scratched easier?

    I just got a new Nightwing minifig from Amazon and his hairpiece came mutilated! I'm for sure contacting the seller about this but I'm curious if anybody else has had this problem and if the chances of getting a Nightwing hair piece in good condition are slim.

    Hmmm, mutilated how? Like some person or animal had been chewing on it, or just warped/misshapen?

    I've had rubbery parts and accessories become damaged in the past, but not usually through ordinary use. Sometimes minifigure accessories made of softer plastic can get scratched up when minfigures hold them (the tridents from the first run of Atlantis sets had this issue to a severe extent), but generally TLG avoids molding parts in materials that are likely to be damaged through ordinary use. In fact, the whole reason for molding many thinner parts in softer materials is to make thin sections less likely to snap off (as was an issue with, for example, the original Classic Space helmets and certain Castle helmets).
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,956
    Of course the minifigs are taken apart! ;-)
    The kids do not remove the arms. They have removed hands. One of the reason to do this is to give a character 'gloves'. Put white hands on a fleshie, and instant gloves.

    With two girls, one of the only ways they can end up with a plethora of characters for play is by rearranging CMFs. With our HP sets, the girls many times created new Hogwart characters from CMFs and HP minifigs.

    One of the minifigs they created was from series 9. I don't remember the exact combo, but it was the gypsy hair, a different female face, good/evil torso with 2 flesh hands, and some sort of pants. The female fig looked great!

    My son will mix and match as well.
  • trickydicky0880trickydicky0880 Member Posts: 134
    @Aanchir

    Thanks for letting me know. It wasn't exactly mutilated but scratched brutally with holes in it. I'm just trying to understand why I would get something damaged so bad. Thankfully, the problem is getting fixed and they're sending me a new one.

    I've noticed that same problem with other weapons like the bow and arrow Legolas uses.
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