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A gap in my history of the minifig...

KragleKragle UKMember Posts: 3
Hello Fellow Lego lovers

I recently got back into this amazing world after many decades away, and noticed quite a few changes while I was away. This has lead me to do some research, and one subject I'm interested in is the advent of minifigures - I had no idea for instance that the sets I played with as a child were some of the first to contain minifigures!

But there’s one particular change I haven’t been able to trace and I was hoping at least one of you might know the answer:

when did LEGO start putting little white dots on their minifigures’ eyes, and which set contained the first minifigs with those modifications?

Thanks for your help!

The Kragle


  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca H-Town, USAMember Posts: 523
    It was a rather universal change. I believe it was 2010 or shortly afterwards (2011?), and all sets with minifigures (aside from those in The Clone Wars and modular building themes) suddenly gained what I termed the "cutesy eyes". I don't care much for it. The minifigures already looked "cute" enough to appeal to kids. Now they look downright cartoonish. Easy to ignore, though, but I wish Lego could still appeal to kids without so overtly changing up their style.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 809
    edited August 2015
    It's been a gradual increase in the number of figs with pupils since 1996.  Here are the first ones that use pupils (one of which has white pupils, the others have black with white eyeballs):

    Pupil-heads have been gradually taking over, until around 2010 or so, when no new solid-black-eye heads were introduced.  Solid-black-eye minifig heads are still around in a few places like Modular Town buildings (which use classic smiley heads), but I don't think any new ones are coming out (last new one I see is from 2009).

    As I recall, 1996 was also when minifigs started taking on "more realistic" traits, like wrinkles in their clothing.  Up through 1995, all minifig torsos were idealized designs of perfect, iconicized shirts-- until Wild West introduced some with wrinkles:

  • KragleKragle UKMember Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info. Yes, I did notice a degree of experimentation with the faces for a few years. I personally quite like that they settled on the simplistic white dots and not try to make the faces too realistic or too cartoony.

    it feels like a good compromise between the original faces and the mad experimental years :)

    but it would be good to know when the decision was made, which seems to have happened prior to the release of the first series of special minifigs... Or could that have been an incentive for the change?
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 809
    The initial impetus for pupil eyes probably came as a result of LEGO's grasping for a new spin on their products, following the plateauing of sales in the early 1990s.  Supposedly, that started internally in 1993, and given that the design lifecycle was around 3 years at the time, 1996 makes sense that it'd be when we'd first start seeing signs of new directions for LEGO, like the pupil-eyes.

    The interesting part (I didn't realize this until just now) is that from 2003 - 2009, the only heads with solid black pupils have been in Star Wars sets.  Other themes seem to vary between 1996-2002, but starting in 2003, everything else other than Star Wars seems to be uniform (again, excepting things like Modular Town where older head designs were used).

    So it would seem that there must have been some decision around 2002 for all heads to start using the pupils, but for some reason Star Wars was the exception to the rule, and lingered on for another 7 years.

    Good question to ask someone at LEGO!

  • KragleKragle UKMember Posts: 3
    I already have :)
    hopefully my question will reach someone who has the answer.
    the information on this thread has been very interesting too btw!
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