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Very old Minifig identification needed

CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
edited October 2015 in Collecting
Hail!

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!

Comments

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,525
    edited October 2015
    Cue @Istokg maybe:-)

    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.
    Cferra
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    edited October 2015
    Cue @Istokg maybe:-)

    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.
    Sorry. I'm not familiar with this board style so I wasn't sure how to get a pic up. Here you go:

    http://i1036.photobucket.com/albums/a443/cferra1227/S1700001_zpsnbmtd17l.jpg

    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.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    The torso with no ridges is late 70's from the first sets and is harder to find. Since he is red he will have red hands but the city people could have the pale yellow hands if you have them. 
    Pitfall69
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    oldtodd33 said:
    The torso with no ridges is late 70's from the first sets and is harder to find. Since he is red he will have red hands but the city people could have the pale yellow hands if you have them. 
    Huh. I didn't know they were that hard to find. I recently cleaned all of my lego minifigs as I had markings on them and I noticed I had like one other red guy with no ridges, some white ones and a bunch of old town minifigs, too.All without ridges. The rest of the classic Space had them. I never really got many town legos. Good tip about the hands, by the way. Some of them are in yellow minifigs and I'll have to swap them out. I always wondered about that.

    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.

    Thanks again!


  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Don't try doing this too accurately. A part design may change and be included in a set. A later set (even by a couple of years) may still have the earlier design. Also, a single copy of one set may have both designs, as may two, thoretically identical sets.
    Cferra
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    TigerMoth said:
    Don't try doing this too accurately. A part design may change and be included in a set. A later set (even by a couple of years) may still have the earlier design. Also, a single copy of one set may have both designs, as may two, thoretically identical sets.
    Right. I learned that the Classic Space lego guys helmet straps were a lot thicker near the end of classic space. It's a shame I never got a couple of the sets. Ah well. I was probably too into another toyline like Transformers or something. =)
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 555
    So there are three main types of torsos.  O type or hollow torso, H type or short ribs and X type or long ribs.  O type are the earliest and were primarily available in 78 and 79. H type was the primary 80s to mid-90s variant.  Beginning in the late 90s the X type took over and is today's version.

    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.
    CferrachuckpPitfall69natro220
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    So there are three main types of torsos.  O type or hollow torso, H type or short ribs and X type or long ribs.  O type are the earliest and were primarily available in 78 and 79. H type was the primary 80s to mid-90s variant.  Beginning in the late 90s the X type took over and is today's version.

    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.
    Hmm....

    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!
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    I love this board. Always learning something new.
    RonyarGoldchainschuckpkhmellymelCferraSumoLegomadforLEGOBumblepantskiki180703
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    edited October 2015
    @davee123 I have a sealed set with a clear front so you can see inside and all the torsos are "O" type. Set's from '83.

    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.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    You might be right, but you really need one design in two colours, or two designs in one colour.

    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.
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    Last night, I checked and I have two red guys with the O torso. I have several white torsos, too. But, I can't tell if one of them is from this town minifig set I got that had a cop, a chef and some guy with a hardhat. (Was that like the Lego Village People?) 

    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:

    1978:

    Alpha-1 Rocket Base

    1979:

    Space Shuttle
    Mobile Ground Tracking Station

    1980:

    X-1 Patrol Craft

    1981:

    Moon Buggy
    Space Digger
    Small Space Shuttle Craft
    Space Probe Launcher

    1982:

    Surface Explorer
    Cosmic Cruiser

    1983:

    Space Minifig pack

    1984:

    Space Dart 1
    Tri-Star Voyager
    Lunar Rocket Launcher
    Uranium Search Vehicle

    1985:

    Crater Crawler

    1987:

    XT-5 and Droid

    1987:

    Satellite Patroller

    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!
    bobabricks
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 833
    @davee123 I have a sealed set with a clear front so you can see inside and all the torsos are "O" type. Set's from '83.

    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.
    Hmmm... The tricky part is that LEGO would often mold elements, and then not use them for years afterwards (which is why we see them show up later) But it does show that O types were used at least as far forward as 1983!

    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:

    From 1980:
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *

    From 1981:
    (zilch!)

    From 1982:
    *
    *
    *
    *

    From 1983:
    *

    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).

    DaveE
    Cferra
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    With regard to tossing...

    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.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    Yeah, I wouldn't get caught up in exactly what minifigures were in each set. I have been trying to do this with my older sets and I have done tons of reseach. As long as you are in the correct era, you should be ok. You shouldn't have any "X" type torsos in any of your 70's, 80's and early 90's sets. Torso's are just a drop in the bucket, as you have the heads, hands and leg assembly to deal with as well. I have spent many long nights pulling my hair out over this. 
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 833
    Cferra said:
    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.
    Yep! The heads started changing right around 1992.  LEGO started printing different face patterns on heads in 1989 (pirates), which is just in time for us to get some pretty good data suggesting that 1992 is when they started introducing hollow-studded heads.  All the head patterns that have solid studs are listed as available in sets between 1978-1992 (even though the BrickLink inventories are incorrect by stating that hollow-stud heads appeared earlier).  Anything that makes an appearance in 1993 onward is always only available in hollow-stud form, but 1992 is variable.  In theory, hollow studded heads could have come out earlier in 1991, but most likely 1992.

    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).

    DaveE
    Cferra
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    Pitfall69 said:
    Yeah, I wouldn't get caught up in exactly what minifigures were in each set. I have been trying to do this with my older sets and I have done tons of reseach. As long as you are in the correct era, you should be ok. You shouldn't have any "X" type torsos in any of your 70's, 80's and early 90's sets. Torso's are just a drop in the bucket, as you have the heads, hands and leg assembly to deal with as well. I have spent many long nights pulling my hair out over this. 
    LOL. Yeah. That's just crazy and probably a little OCD. Scratch that. A LOT OCD. I have a hollow chested guy with my Cosmic cruiser mainly because the other guy's head kept popping off. That's always an issue I had with the lego minifigs. Especially the old ones. Several heads were loose and several of the faces were worn off.  I'd have to get untouched ones from bricklink or ebay. Even then, I bet they'd be very rare.

    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.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,764
    Cferra said:
    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.
    I can't tell if you can't find them in your collection or on BL. If the latter, this is from e.g. Galaxy Explorer and this is from e.g. Uranium Search Vehicle.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,060
    I think I have a hollow head, and I was produced before 1992.
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    binaryeye said:
    Cferra said:
    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.
    I can't tell if you can't find them in your collection or on BL. If the latter, this is from e.g. Galaxy Explorer and this is from e.g. Uranium Search Vehicle.
    @binaryeye

    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!
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    SumoLego said:
    I think I have a hollow head, and I was produced before 1992.
    Hollow stud, not head. And that's a stud ON your head, not that you are one.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,060
    Hollow studded head.  Fair enough!
    bobabricks
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 833
    So, after looking through my collection, I found ONE yellow classic space torso (out of 27 total) that's a Type O, which proves that they were still manufacturing Type O's in 1982.  Interestingly, of all my classic space sets with yellow figs, only ONE of them was from 1982, and that was #6880.  So... thanks to that and @bobabricks 's evidence of a 1983 set with both, I'll bet the transition was indeed closer to 1983.

    DaveE
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,631
    Here's one I have. All of his parts are from the same lot.
  • CferraCferra NHMember Posts: 15
    edited October 2015
    davee123 said:
    So, after looking through my collection, I found ONE yellow classic space torso (out of 27 total) that's a Type O, which proves that they were still manufacturing Type O's in 1982.  Interestingly, of all my classic space sets with yellow figs, only ONE of them was from 1982, and that was #6880.  So... thanks to that and @bobabricks 's evidence of a 1983 set with both, I'll bet the transition was indeed closer to 1983.

    DaveE
    @davee123

    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!
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 833
    Yeah, it's definitely looking more like 1983 to me.  There are a lot of new torso designs introduced in 1984 (about 16 of them, many castle) which seem to be 100% H type.  So as of 1984, O's were seemingly extinct (or, no longer being made).  And as of 1982, we know they were alive and kicking.  And the MISB set that bobabricks has shows evidence of BOTH in the same set from 1983.  So I'm betting 1983 (maybe 1982) is when they introduced the new mold design.

    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.

    DaveE
    Cferra
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