Saturday, 14 April 2012

Team GB to join the Collectible Minifigures


I have been wondering since the inception of the Collectible Minifigures when an exclusive, special edition or limited Collectible Minifigure would be released in-between regular series. We now have the answer, as Brickset are reporting that a special series of Olympic Team GB Minifigures will be released. There’s only one low-res image so far, and many fans are suspicious of whether it’s legit. 




The image above, courtesy of Brickset.com, was sent from LEGO to retailers to advertise this new product they will be offering. The following text reportedly accompanied the image:
I am very pleased to announce that with the much anticipated arrival of the 2012 Olympics to the UK, LEGO is now able to add to this experience with it its very own series of Limited Edition Minifigures.
A special edition licensed LEGO Minifigures Olympic edition
9 characters representing athletes in Team GB colours
Developed for the UK market and exclusively available in the UK
The first issue I wish to deal with is whether these are legitimate or not. The reasons being cited for these not being legitimate range from those that make sense (the image quality is poor and the official stands are not being used) to those that make less sense (there are usually 16 to collect and here there are only 9). I’ll throw in the biggest question mark over these as to whether they are real, which is why are they only being offered to retailers now? LEGO encourages its customers to place their orders around five or six months in advance as standard, yet the Olympics begins at the end of July. That means these would need to hit shelves around the end of June, which only gives retailers two months to get their orders in.


I would suggest that this could very much be, and I suspect is, a legitimate product. The first, obvious reason for it being real is that Huw at Brickset knows his stuff, and would be unlikely to post this news without some confidence in it. Secondly, I think the reasons for doubt are actually more likely the reason for a hastily cobbled together mock-up image of a last-minute product. It’s common knowledge within LEGO that when the very first series of Collectible Minifigures was launched, hundreds of designs already existed for future series. The runaway of success of the line was also a surprise, even those who expected it to do well had no clue that this would become so successful so quickly. 


In all likelihood the opportunity to create this product came up late in the day, and the extra series has been fast tracked for production. This would be why it is essentially made up of re-coloured parts and accessories. This would also explain why it is being offered to retailers at the last minute. It would also explain that this image is probably a mock-up of the sort of thing to expect, but the final mini-figures will look very different. Even the packaging will probably be improved and look sharper than what we are seeing here. The layout of the image does match the slides that LEGO use when presenting to clients.


What is neat about this series of Collectible Minifigures is that unlike other licensed products, the mini-figures are yellow. Hopefully the costumes (as in the mock up) will not be exact replicas of those worn by Team GB at the Olympics, as it allows these mini-figures to be ‘Olympic flavoured’ rather than strictly Olympic competitors who would be less compatible with other themes/Collectible Minifigures. 
The UK exclusivity will no doubt disappoint other collectors around the world, but here in the UK collectors have missed out on the entire Brickmaster product line that collectors in the USA get to enjoy. 


So what are everyone’s thoughts? Love the concept? Or should special series of Collectible Minifigures not be thrown in?

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