For the first time, it's happening - the best-selling LEGO line, Minifigures, will be getting the licensed treatment. A range of nine Team GB Minifigures will be released exclusively in the UK to celebrate the Olympic Games being held in the country. Arriving at the eleventh hour on July 1st, fans are likely to be excited or frustrated depending if they live in the UK.
We first heard about the Team GB Minifigures just a month ago, meaning that LEGO kept these well under-wraps or they were a last minute addition to the Minifigures family. Especially surprising since other Olympic merchandise has been available for some time now, yet these Minifigures will be popping up just weeks ahead of the games beginning. Due to the moulds for the pieces already existing, this series just needed some new designs so that pieces could be re-coloured.
This would also have saved money and helped to justify a series of Minifigures only to be released in one country, therefore in much smaller numbers than a regular series. This has caused frustration among some collectors, who will not be able to purchase the Minifigures in their home country. Whilst this is a shame for collectors outside of the UK, if there is any product that it’s best to have to import it’s Minifigures. They are low cost to start with, so the mark up won’t make them unaffordable, and they are cheap to have shipped. Plus there’s no worry about the box being crushed as they don’t come in one!
The Minifigures themselves look great, each with the confident (or smug!) look that makes for a stereotypical athlete. The costumes are great, as they are inspired by the Team GB logo but don’t stick to the actual Team GB kit. This makes sense, as the actual kit isn’t as fun or colourful as the Minifigures versions, and this allows them to fit in better with the general vibrancy of LEGO Minifigures.
The one thing that the Team GB outfits limit is the re-usability of the pieces. Like many, I tend to buy multiples of certain Minifigures in order to create different characters for my LEGO set ups. In this case, some of the heads, torsos and those medals would come in handy – but not so much the torsos and legs. Another point of praise to be thrown out here is that we have our first set of licensed Minifigures and they are all yellow! It seems much more appropriate that these characters fit in with other Minifigures (especially due to all of the sporty ones released already) rather than be flesh tone and homeless.
A question this brings up for the future is, should LEGO ever throw out a series of Star Wars or Super Heroes or whoever Minifigures, would they bravely/recklessly (delete as applicable) make them yellow to fit in with the other Minifigures or have them flesh-tone to fit in with their respective theme. Surely the latter, but this does make one wonder. It’s also unlikely that with the incredible success of Minifigures so far that there will be any change in direction, and licensed series will be the exception for a special occasion such as the Olympic games.
N.B. – The Toy News article that reported first implies that these will only be available at selected chains, they will be available everywhere so where possible please support your local independent toy shop.
So what’s the buzz with regards to Team GB Minifigures? Will everyone be collecting all nine? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.