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Very old Minifig identification needed
I've been collecting legos since the late '70s and I have a question regarding some of the minifigs I own from back then from the Classic Space line. Some minifigs I own have ridges in their torsos that make the legs fit in tighter. Some don't.
Do we know when Lego started using ridges (or bumps) inside the torso section of the minifigs? The ones without the ridges seem older. Like '70s to early '80s. They seem to go with the Alpha-1 Rocket base, which is the oldest set my brother and I had.
Is there a way to tell which set had which type of minifig?
The reason I ask is because I recently decided to rebuild some old lego sets to show my nephew as he's been liking the Star Wars legos and I wanted to show him some of the cool lego sets I grew up with. So, I dug out my old lego bin, found instructions and started building. The minifigs of course were scattered and some were in disrepair (Cracked armor and of course faded logos.)
I decided to rebuild the Cosmic Cruiser (6890) and found that the guy I picked for it has no ridges inside the torso. But, a set I remade after this one was released, the Uranium Search vehicle (6928) the minifigs had the ridges as it came with an astronaut with a black suit. It was the only lego space guy in a black suit I had. Pretty sure they all had ridges.
I know it probably shouldn't matter in the long run because a minifig is a minifig. I was just wondering when Lego started to use ridges in the minifig. If anyone knows, that'd be great.
Thanks in advance!
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Generally, I would say pictures would also help greatly to explain what you are referring to. Though I am fairly certain Black suit space guys were later releases than the original classic space, same with the blue guys. I think the first sets were Yellow Red White space guys.
The one on the right is a red space guy torso without ridges. The one on the right is a red space torso with ridges. The one on the left, I took out from the Cosmic Cruiser. The other one was a random one I had. Not sure what set he belongs to. He's got a loose head but so do a lot of old legos.
Black space guys came out in the mid 80s. I took a pic of two red space guys. Red and White were the first. Then came yellow.
I put my collection up here on Brickset. Not sure how I'd be able to link and show all of what I have/had.
As TigerMoth said there is overlap between stuff so don't get too hung up about having an exact type with an exact set. These sets would have been in production for several years. A general rule of thumb would be the older the set, the more likely it would have a hollow torso. The newer the set, the more likely it would be an H type. If we're talking classic space and it's an X type, than that minifigure is a modern re-release.
I think I see what you are saying. There may be some overlap as you guys suggest. My parents tended to give my brother and I legos around Christmas and birthdays. It was almost always space. One old picture we had us playing with the Alpha-1 rocket base. We had just put it together and it was under the Christmas tree around 1982 or 1983. That set, if I am not mistaken, was one of the first Classic Space sets and originally came out in 1978. I was born in that year and my brother was born in '76. In the picture, I had to have been at least four. The Rocket base set and other old legos may have still been in stores then and had the O type chest as you guys suggested.
By a couple Christmases later, I got the Uranium Search Vehicle and that came out in 1984. I lost the black astronaut for years and years. I recently found him and saw that he had the ribbed chest.
From that point on, they all seemed to have them even up to the early Star Wars sets I got and the Life on Mars sets.
Cool piece of trivia. Thanks, guys! I'm not really hung up on which torso goes with which set. That's a little too OCD for me. Hahaha. I was just curious as to when the change occurred because I was never able to tell growing up.
They still made for good sets and I seriously have been thinking of buying parts to build some sets I missed growing up that seemed cool. We'll see.
Thanks for the help!
The H vs X transition seems to be pretty close to 1997/1998. I was able to find Fright Knight torsos in both patterns (1997-1999) and Adventurers torsos (1998-2000) that were in both varieties, but I was unable to find any Ninja (1998-1999) or Rock Raiders (1999) torsos that had the H variety. So, I would guess the X torsos were introduced in 1997 or 1998, and a few holdovers of H types were still around here and there.
Better picture for comparison's sake:
EDIT: It seems like 83 was a transition year because the set I have comes with 2 yellow space men and 2 red. Both of the reds have "O" types and both of the yellows have "H" types.
Otherwise you could be looking at pieces of both designs that had been produced earlier but then stored for a long time before finally being printed and included in a set.
There has got to be some overlap like you guys said. Here is what I have from classic Space. This site has an awesome catalog, by the way. It also helped me to figure out what all I had thanks to looking up various pieces:
Alpha-1 Rocket Base
Mobile Ground Tracking Station
X-1 Patrol Craft
Small Space Shuttle Craft
Space Probe Launcher
Space Minifig pack
Space Dart 1
Lunar Rocket Launcher
Uranium Search Vehicle
XT-5 and Droid
The rest in my collection are various M-Tron, Blacktron, Unitron, Space Police, Spyrius, Ice Planet and Aquazone sets. All have H torsos. I have some Star Wars and Life on Mars but those were from the early 2000s.
I noticed that all my yellow, black and blue space guys had H-Torsos. The blues, it seems, came from like 1984 on. I have a few red and whites with H torsos. The rest are Os.
Like @davee123 said, I was only able to find those o torsos in those really old sets. Know that cop, chef and other random town minifigs I mentioned? Those are all 0s except for one minifig that had a red bar on the chest with blue/black stripes on the side. It's hard to tell as the paint is faded. So, perhaps there was some mixing and matching in that set.
That set, the 6302 minifig set, came out in 1982. So, perhaps that was a transition year like @bobabricks said.
I noticed I have a minifig that is a 0 blue torso with no print at all in it. I figure that one is VERY old. Probably from one of the universal sets. I don't know.
Perhaps it's just like what @TigerMoth said. They just mixed and matched whatever lego torso they had and tossed them into the sets.
I think they did the same thing with heads. In the early '90s minifig heads were starting to get holes on the stud to prevent kids from choking. I have a couple generic smiley face legos from that era. They look like the old classic space heads except for the little holes. I THINK they were Blacktron II guys that came with the Space Police II sets and they were prisoners. I say "Think" because my other blacktron II guys had solid studs."
So, 1992 was probably another transition year. It may be a ten year interval.
Heh. Maybe we're thinking too much about it. =) Thanks again, everyone!
I think the key might be to see if we can find out when H types were first introduced. Clearly it's 1983 or earlier. And there are a few key torsos to look for-- if we CAN'T find any "type O" versions of them, it should show with relative certainty that H was introduced AFTER whatever year the torso came out. Of course, I have very few of most of these, and it's hard to say when we've found enough with NO "O types" to be sure:
Now I'll have to go through the list when I go home and verify (I don't have too many of these torsos, being a space/castle guy mostly).
I think you pick up a few hints from the way they number parts. There are basically two sets of numbers - the shorter Design ID, which basically determines the shape, and the longer Part ID which is unique for a particular colour. A slight change in design may result in one or both numbers changing.
Now, I can't imagine that there's a third series. So all those skips in their cathedrals are labelled, electronially, with the Part ID. There's probably batch information too so that they can chase production problems, but the key is that Part ID. If a part is required, then that's what is used. What is telling is that the number often doesn't change when the design does. I suggest this means that they are unconcerned as to which variant is used. If one of the robots has a bad hair day and the aisle is inaccessible, but a later version is available elsewhere, then it will be used. And "tossed" into the set.
It may be that you don't even need a malfunction - there's probably no particular reason why parts have to be used in the chronological order of production.
But beyond that, there's also a new type of minifig head, introduced... relatively recently. Not sure exactly when-- my guess would be 2011 or so, based on what I'm seeing on BrickLink, but it's not exactly clear. I know I remember seeing them online from other fans a year or so before I saw them in sets that I bought (and the transition seemed to take a while).
I can't seem to find any transparent gold canopys, either. But, that's another issue. I'd just have to dig more in Bricklink, I think.
@davee123 I saw my nephew's new legos after a long time of not getting any legos and they had new heads and some of them have flesh tones now. Interesting.
As an aside, good thing we have Bricklink. Got some old pieces for the Uranium Search vehicle that were missing from my collection. Everything is all set. Though, I bet those rubber wheels from the old sets are VERY hard to come by.
Still, I wouldn't mind taking the extra parts I had and build one of the classic first space ship. If I could just find the transparent yellow ramp windshield.
It's the Galaxy explorer one, yeah. I'm not really up on all the piece numbers. I try to find them and I haven't been able to locate the piece. I might have to look harder as there are a TON of bricklink stores out there.
Basically, I was thinking about building one of the 928 spaceships. I have the gold bricks from the Alpha-1 Rocket base. Just need the stuff for the canopy. Although, that Galaxy explorer was pretty cool....Hmmmm....
Might have to see if I can find both at some point through serious digging. Thanks!
That's a safe bet! I also have the surface explorer and the yellow guy has the H torso. Like I said before, all of my yellow, black and blue space guys have the H torso. So, maybe in 1983 they were alternating os and hs for sets like the surface explorer. And then 1984 hit and we got Hs from that point on. It would make sense given that year was the release of the Uranium search vehicle and those two guys have the H torso. (Set also has my only black space guy.)
Now things are making sense. Thanks, Dave!
Granted, that means that O-types might still have been around and leaking into sets in 1983-1985, but they probably stopped minting NEW O-types in 1982 or 1983.