Thursday, 28 January 2016

Disability and LEGO: Five Minifigures with Disabilities

Image: Promobricks on Facebook
Fans have greeted the news that LEGO are to include a wheelchair as part of an upcoming LEGO City minifigures pack, Park Life (60134), positively. It sometimes takes a while for LEGO to get representation right, and now it seems that the scope is broadening further to be more inclusive of disabled people. Of course, this wheelchair user does not mark the first appearance of a disabled minifigure in LEGO – although previously the representations have been from more fantastic realms…

During an experiment involving a portal to another dimension, Victor Stones is attacked by a creature and significantly injured. His scientist father saves him from death by using experimental prosthetics all over his body. After an initial reaction of shock and horror, he becomes Cyborg and learns to utilise what the prosthetics give him. LEGO first introduced Cyborg in Darkseid Invasion (76028) in 2015.

Jack McHammer
An encounter with the Crazy Scientist led to this minifigure being left without an arm, which led to his steam-powered replacement. He dedicated himself to stopping the Crazy Scientist as part of the Monster Fighters team. The character appeared in The Zombies (9465) and Vampyre Castle (9468).

Darth Vader
Like the DC character Cyborg, Darth Vader became more machine than man. After succumbing to the dark side, he battled his former Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on the lava plenty Mustafar. When the pre-mechanical Vader attempts to end the duel with an ambitious leap, Obi-Wan leaves him fewer limbs on the bank of a lava river. Darth Vader was first introduced in TIE Fighter and Y-Wing (7150) in 1999, his rather disturbing creation was immortalised as a set in Darth Vader Transformation (7251) in 2005.

The old sage’s eyesight is taken at the beginning of The LEGO Movie during a confrontation with Lord Business. “Hold onto your butts” indeed. The character goes on to mentor Emmet throughout their adventures until he reveals that despite not being able to see he can still kick ass. Despite being killed by Lord Business, the ghost of Vitruvius returns to celebrate during the finale. Vitruvius first appeared in Lord Business’ Evil Lair (70809) in 2014.

Captain Redbeard
Perhaps the most afflicted minifigure when it comes to disability, Captain Redbeard (known as Captain Roger in the UK)  sailed the seas before Brickbeard. He commanded the Black Seas Barracuda (6285) and Skull’s Eye Schooner (6286). With the various rifles, cannons and sharks to contend with it is no wonder that this archetypal Pirate had acquired a peg leg, hook and eye patch. Captain Redbeard was included in several of the first Pirates sets released in 1989.

Although this has been a light-hearted look at LEGO minifigures with disabilities, there is a more serious link in LEGO being used as a springboard to help people. Blocks magazine Issue 15 explored the work being done by Carlos Arturo Torres, which you can learn more about here.

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