Monday, 11 November 2013

To Complete or to not Complete: What is a Minifigures fan to do?

With images of the new series of LEGO Minifigures now released online, fans are excited as always to see what’s on the way. Apart from those who aren’t. For some collectors, The LEGO Movie theme is causing them to think twice about continuing to collect the Collectible Minifigures. But when The Simpsons series hits next year, everyone will have to have a hard think. 

Some collectors out there are concerned about the new shift to licensed themes for the Collectible Minifigures line. The theme based on The LEGO Movie has upset certain collectors who enjoy the random, whimsical and imaginative nature of each original series of Minifigures. They feel that a series based entirely on The LEGO Movie will not only look out of place alongside the rest of their Minifigures collection, but that it will also limit the scope of what the line can offer.
But many of those fans who would much prefer that Minifigures stuck to the established format will still end up picking up the new series in January. The curse of the completest is that the longer a collector buys one-of-everything, the harder it is not to keep going. After 145 Collectible Minifigures, it would seem a shame to have a gap in the collection. 

The LEGO Movie taking up a full series if Minifigures may bother a few fans, but on the whole most will see this as a perfectly acceptable extension of the line. After all, The LEGO Movie has come about from the toys in the first place. The real test for how far Minifigures completists will go will be The Simpsons series. This series will follow The LEGO Movie series, and will feature 16 characters from the long-running animated series. These mini-figures will have moulded heads, looking completely out of place alongside regular mini-figures. It will no longer be a case of a minority of Minifigures collectors doing some careful thinking about whether to continue, but a majority. Any collector who is isn’t a huge fan of The Simpsons will have to decide whether to have a complete collection and buy them anyway, or skip them because Minifigures should not be licensed.

With LEGO Minifigures still outselling any other toy by volume in the UK, it seems surprising that LEGO would have felt any need to change up the formula. Competitors to LEGO have failed miserably to introduce licensed knock off mini-figures, so why would LEO opt to emulate the licensed approach? With The LEGO Movie series it makes a lot of sense. The movie is so linked to LEGO that it’s a natural fit, and too good a cross-marketing opportunity to pass up. When it comes to The Simpsons, however, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to risk upsetting the magic formula and losing those customers who like LEGO but not The Simpsons.

Long time Minifigures collectors have until next April to make their decision, and no doubt the message boards will be lit up with discussion between now and then. Sales may increase and LEGO may have made a brilliant decision – or one of the most inspired LEGO off-shoot products of recent years may be on its last (blocky) legs. 


  1. I didn't realize The Simpsons would be a series. Though I like the Simpsons, I haven't watched in years. Do I really want those secondary characters?
    That said, I am a completist and have completed every series even though I have no use for space warriors. ;)

  2. I understand why they would do it with The Simpsons - there is a multitude of characters, and it's unrealistic to think that they would all make it into full sets. While Star Wars can have 50 sets out at a time, The Simpsons won't. If this is successful (and I can't imagine it won't be), I hope we'll see a Marvel Super-Heroes line, containing characters who are too minor to appear in sets - think Howard The Duck, Heimdall, Stan Lee etc. Of course, that doesn't change the original question of what collectors do, but with the rate the CMF ranges come out, I could see them alternating - two licensed and two unlicensed each year.