Hello fellow CCers! Recently, I’ve been thinking about how much minifigure design (that is, in regards to printed parts) has changed over the years.
Every year, we normally get a multitude of new faces, printed torsos, and maybe even printed legs across a variety of themes. With a quick glance across the printings of years past, it’s clear to see that minifigures look a bit different than they did in the past.
Of course, the classic smiley has retained it’s use in sets up to the present day due to its prominence, but beyond that minifigure faces look nothing like they did 10 or 20 years ago. At one point in time, all minifigures had just two eyes and a cute smile. Then with the creation of Pirates in 1989, more expressions, eyebrows and facial hair came along with them. Faces eventually started using white pupils, and the double-sided face that was once a rarity is now a commonplace feature. Beards, glasses, any number of facial details have been added over the years to give us a variety of expressions, both in the realm of yellows and fleshies. In recent years, the cheekbone line has become more common on faces of all themes. However, how detailed can LEGO make these minifigures? At what point do they begin to look less like LEGO faces, and more like action figures?
For a brief period of time, LEGO was distinguishing between races in original themes (I’m referencing the Ninja theme, the NBA theme, as well as nasally equipped Western Indians. Maybe even Exo-Force could count?) prior to the advent of fleshies in licensed themes. LEGO Star Wars sets based on the Clone Wars TV show featured some absurdly stylized faces to fit the theme of the show.
Will the minifigure be unrecognizable from its current form in, say, 10 years? Will faces become hyper realistic, rendering the expressions we currently have useless? What of torso printings? How much more detailed can they become?
I though that this could be an interesting discussion point. Going along with it all, I tend to separate the older faces from the current ones in sorting; simply because I find that pupil-less minifigures alongside ones with pupils looks a tad odd. I almost hope that the detail of LEGO faces stays relatively within the same realm it is now, because I love the current set of faces in all honesty.
Curious to hear what you guys think.