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Categorising CMFs: A Bricklist Project

Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Member Posts: 995
The short version: I've created several bricklists that group CMF minifigures into related themes (links below).

Longer version 

I collected CMF series sight-unseen up to around Series 10, at which point I started to feel 1) burnout from regular releases, and the effort of feeling through bags, and 2) 'duplicate fatigue' - rehashes of previous minifigs bugged me, and 3) that if the series kept going, there would be no way I could ever display them all. Since then, I've been a bit more picky about which minifigs I buy when a series is released, but I haven't really had much of an approach - I just pick up the ones I like.

Recently I've started thinking more about the types of minifigs that would be useful to me and fit in with my larger collecting habits. I've always loved the 'trade' type minifigs, for example (janitor, welder, etc.) and I could see myself having a framed display of these one day. I'm a huge horror fan, so 'spooky' minifigs have always had an attraction to me. I've started collecting 'citizens' because my modular town is growing to an unwieldy size and it will need a bigger population. And so on.

That has led me to this categorisation project, as a way to help me to prioritise which minifigs I want, and which I can lose (a related marketplace thread will probably follow, though I traded a lot of my CMFs some years ago when I did something similar, but less structured). 

The Bricklists

In total there are 10 bricklists containing 258 minifigures - the breakdown is 16 series x 16 minifigures + 2 promotional (Mr. Gold and Toy Soldier). The only 'themed' CMF line that is included is Series 14; none of the IP-related CMF lines (TLM, Simpsons, etc.) are included. 

One problem with this kind of project is that there will always be overlap between categories - any 'sport' minifig could also be an 'occupation' minifig; the 'mythology' minifigs would fit quite nicely into the 'history' minifigs, as would the 'warrior' category I've come up with. Some of the longer lists could be broken into multiple lists. Obviously the calls made here are going to be subjective.

What's the point in posting this? Well, I figure someone might find it helpful, or at the very least it might be an interesting topic for discussion. If there is consensus around certain categorisations I can make edits accordingly, perhaps with a view to making this a collaborative effort. 

Anyway, here are the lists:

  1. Anthropomorphic:
  2. Citizens:
  3. Fantasy, Mythology, and Fairytale:
  4. History:
  5. Sci-Fi
  6. Suit Guys:
  7. Spooky Minifigs:
  8. Sports & Outdoor Pursuits:
  9. Trades & Occupations:
  10. Warriors:



  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,088
    edited October 2016
    Wow- those are very useful and interesting, thanks for compiling them!

    Back in the day when we used to have a gallery of CMFs on Brickset we categorised them as follows:

    1. Arts/Entertainment
    2. City
    3. Historical
    4. Fantasy
    5. Horror
    6. Sci-Fi
    7. Individual Sports
    8. Team Sports
    9. Extreme sports

    I think you've covered them all albeit with slightly different names/groupings.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Member Posts: 1,894
    This is fantastic! I gravitate towards historical, fantasy and spooky figures, so these lists will be particularly handy for me. 
  • HugeYellowBrickHugeYellowBrick Member Posts: 496
    Oh, wow, great job. Now I may have to start collecting them by list, instead of ignoring them in series.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,088
    edited October 2016
    I am so impressed  that I've included them in the featured BrickList list and will think about turning them into tags automatically.
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Member Posts: 995
    Thanks @Huw, flattered! Your link appears to be broken, but I found the page here.

    Glad people like them. I'll update the lists as new series come out. Hopefully there won't be any outliers that upset the neat categorisation :) 
  • thebeermonkeythebeermonkey Member Posts: 390
    Great idea and great work @Steve_J_OM
  • OnebricktoomanyOnebricktoomany Member Posts: 434
    Really like these lists!  Thought I might find Abe Lincoln from series 12 in historical category.  Or in suits. Or possibly citizens.  Am I missing him or did he not qualify for some reason ? 
  • vwong19vwong19 Member Posts: 1,191
    Would you consider including the The Lego Movie series? There is the panda suit, Lincoln, and Shakespeare.
  • OnebricktoomanyOnebricktoomany Member Posts: 434
    Ugh!  RIF!!!  Reading really is fundamental!!  Please accept my apology.  Right at the beginning you stated TLM was not included.  My bad.
  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,638
    I would be for the Lego Movie figures included. Yes they are technically a license but it is still a Lego property unlike the Simpsons or Disney figs. Panda guy ought to show up on a list designed to inform of every suited minifigure etc.
  • JudgeChuckJudgeChuck Member Posts: 1,583
    This is excellent and a very useful resource, thanks!

    I would agree with adding TLM, as there are quite a number of useful figures in that series that can be used generically.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    edited October 2016
    I have always stored my minifigs in pretty much the same way (I tend not to display them as a collection) with the following alterations:

    Citizens and Trades and Occupations go together - these are all "City" figures to me and get used in that style of build. There is too much overlap for me to keep them separate - for example out of citizens, many of them could just as well be occupations: Disco Dude, Kimono girl, Lederhosen guy*, Business man (by definition an occupation?), Dog show man, Babysitter - all could be occupations. *Pretzel girl is classed as an occupation.

    Suit Guys are separate, but in with City. Same for Sports.

    Anthropomorphic - I don't store these together. Gingerbreadman goes in fantasy and fairytale, Liberty in historical, etc.

    Fantasy, Mythology and Fairytale - I split these: Mythology goes in with historical, fantasy and fairytale go in with 'Castle' as that is where I normally use them.

    History and Warriors get combined.

    Spooky all stay together, with MF.

    Sci-fi all together.

    I never really sorted them by series as I never displayed them that way. I was nearly always using them for MOCs, so it made sense to keep them with similar figures. I have owned all figures up to the TLM set. I realised I wasn't using some of them so it wasn't worth keeping them all. I think I have owned all figures (except Mr Gold) at some time or other. But keeping them sorted by type also allows me to prioritise and get rid of what I don't use, or get rid of where there are too many. Eg. I sold my S1 Zombie as there are plenty of other zombies and the price to sell was just too good. I also sold off a lot of my Roman soldiers, as I was only really using 30 at most at any one time. There was too much money sitting unused when the price rocketed.

    There are still conflicts - where should S3 elves go? Fantasy or warriors? Simple, pull off the heads and hands, replace them with fleshies, and they go in the LOTR box.

  • josekaleljosekalel Member Posts: 683
    Excellent work! 

    This makes me realize how many CMFs I have missed (S1-S15)...all of them...
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