Tuesday Top 10: Favorite Lego Minifigures

Although I think some Lego fans bristled at first at the idea of their collectible Minifigures Line (the folks who are brick purists and kind of resent the entire idea of the minifigs in the first place, and from what little I've dabbled in the AFOL world in the past few years, I can assure you they're out there), there's no denying that the line has been a success from the start (it was at least Series 3 or 4 before I could ever count on seeing these in stores with any regularity... they'd sell out too quickly!). The tenth series was just released a few months ago and series 11 on the way.

These have been really fun to collect, both solo and with the kiddo.  For one thing, there's thrill of the blind-packaged hunt, and I don't care how silly I look standing in Target or wherever going through the display and trying to feel for specific pieces inside the little foil bag (much easier than trying to decipher the "bump codes").  And then there's the fact that although the various Lego product lines have had their fair share of astronauts, cops, and knights (not to mention Star Warriors, super heroes, and boy wizards since they started making licensed sets), there haven't been a whole lot of, say, Elizabethan-era playwrights, rock stars, or ape men.  The Minifigures line has been an adaptable, Danish godsend for people who wanted super-specific character types but used to have to either a.) hope and pray someone at Lego got a particularly oddball product line approved; or b.) make their own.  And since this is Lego, the creativity of the latter group hasn't been hampered, but instead increased by factors of ten thanks to all of these new pieces.  It's a great time to be a Lego fan, kid or adult.

All of this is to say that the line has put a lot of great new minifigs into the world, but if I had to pick a top 10 (with a little bit of cheating) based on what has come out so far, this would be mine:

10. (Tie) Baseball Fielder (Series 10) - There was another baseball player released earlier in the line, a batter, whom I also liked a lot, but I like the fielder just a bit more because a.) he's on a different team, so the batter actually has someone to play against; and b.) the glove is a specialty hand, not just an accessory. It's unique, and it makes the fielder easier to find by giving you something specific to feel around for in the sealed bag.

10. (Tie) Battle Mech (Series 9) - The look of this character is instantly evocative of Ultraman, the Shaw Brothers' Super Infra Man, the Power Rangers, or a number of other Asian-import monster fighters you can name, but it's unique enough to stand on its own and inspire kids' (or AFOLs') own adventures.  He/She/It also fits in well with the old Exo-Force or current Galaxy Squad themes.

10 (Tie) Musketeer (Series 4) - Simple design, but evocative of the many, many Three Musketeers adaptations and similar films I loved as a kid.  I also appreciate that they went the extra mile with the floppy hat and cavalier-style dueling sword (and if you wanted something a little more accurate, you could always supplement it with something from BrickForge).

9. Forestman (Series 1) - They've done several Robin Hood-styled sets and minifigures in the Castle line since the 80s, but those were all pretty bland and featured the basic "smiley face" head, or maybe the "smiley face with triangular mustache" head if you were lucky.  Those were generic forest robbers, but one look at the costume and face on this one, and there's no doubt this is your top-of-the-line Errol Flynn-model Robin Hood.  Been seeking out this one for a while and will finally be getting it in the next few days.  Thanks, eBay!

8. Bagpiper (Series 7) - I always describe my ancestry as "British Isles mutt" (Irish/Scottish/English), and Lego has done pretty well by all my peoples in this line (well, maybe not the leprechaun), but the Bagpiper is my favorite.  Not only does it capture a stereotype without being, well, ugly and stereotypical, but the three unique additions here (bagpipes, tam, and a kilt as a separate object rather than just being painted on the legs) make this one really stand out.

7. Crazy Scientist (Series 4) - The wild hair, the goggles, the mad grin, the spattered labcoat... yup, this guy's aptly named, and just really, really cool looking.  Like many of the classic movie monster trope figures this line has produced, Crazy here was later ported over (with a few cosmetic changes) to the Monster Fighters theme.  The MF crazy scientist has a bit more detailing to him, particularly in the form of a dual-expressioned head, but I think I like the simpler, original version just a bit more.

6. Medusa (Series 10) - They've dropped at least one monster into every wave so far, but the current wave's Medusa is the best, and certainly the scariest-looking.  Having access to the pieces (like the snake body) created for the likes of the Ninjago theme serves this line well.  I can't wait to see if/how they adapt Chima pieces in the future.  Also, although she looks great fighting my Wonder Woman minifigure right now, I hope we get a Perseus somewhere down the line to go with her.

5. Skater Girl (Series 6) - There have been a few skateboarders produced in this line, but Series 6's Skater Girl is by far my favorite.  Cool design (love the skull & hair bow logo on the torso and board), unique color scheme, the flair of the colored streak in the hairpiece, and the smirk.  So much of Skater Girl's awesomeness is right there in that smirk.

4. Lizard Man (Series 5) - As much as I've always wanted a Lego Godzilla, I think I appreciate having a Lego "guy in a Godzilla suit" that much more.  One of the great joys of watching any Kaiju movie is knowing that there's a guy in the monster suit sweating his ass off as he stomps model buildings to entertain me, and I appreciate that that's been captured here.  One of these days I'm going to build a micro-scale cityscape for him (and Series 3's Gorilla Suit Guy) to stomp around in.

3. Super Wrestler (Series 1) - This luchador is hands down the figure I wanted most from the first series - very basic design, no accessories other than the cape, but so easy to depict in Lego minifigure form that I don't know why no one thought of it (officially) sooner.  However, I missed out completely the first time around and was put off by his initial aftermarket eBay price.  So I was pretty excited when we discovered his individual pieces scattered among the selections at the Create-A-Minifigure bins at the Lego Store.  When my son found all of the individual bits, put them together, and said "Dad, you need to get this," I knew I was raising an awesome kid (well, I've had other indications, but you know what I mean).

2. Librarian (Series 10) - Yes, I have an admitted occupational bias here.  Yes, this plays into a stereotype.  Yes, she looks more like Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory than any actual librarian I've ever worked with or met.  Don't care, she's awesome, and like the Nancy Pearl "Shushing Librarian" action figure, she plays with the stereotype more than she embodies it.  And the book title is a fun poke at a familiar library school story... someone involved in the line either has an MLIS or is close with someone who does.  She's so "inside baseball," what's not to love?  Also, to date she is the only figure I've actively sought out doubles of - one for home and one for my desk at the library.

1. Detective (Series 5) - Alongside Superman, Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite fictional characters of all; certainly my favorite prose character.  And although easy to portray (as evidenced by the fairly basic character/hat/accessory treatment seen below), Holmes (or the Detective, but, come on) was still no one I would have expected to see given the Lego treatment, even in a product line such as this, so this particular minifigure was really a dream come true.

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