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The Lego Minifigure Is Older Than You Think

Older than most new dads? Probably.

Take from great8/Flickr

Legos make it possible for kids and adults to bring the best imaginary worlds to life. It could be a replica of Jurassic World, a model of the Batcave, or a scene cut straight out of Hogwarts, there’s no universe that can’t be given the Lego treatment.  And behind all those great lego sets are the Lego minifigures that populate them. Today, those minifigures celebrate their birthday, which, makes them likely older than a lot of new dads.

To celebrate the minifigure’s 40th birthday, Lego released a timeline that shows the changes the toy has gone through. Today, the minifigures are instantly recognizable, they stand at around an inch in height, have yellow skin and cupped U-shaped hands that are compatible with the small toy vehicles and tools a large portion of Lego sets come with. They also feature easy-to-move arms and legs. But this was not always the case. Before the minifigure debuted in 1978, Lego figures were much blockier and had limited moveability, which the timeline makes easy to see.

To further celebrate the toy’s introduction to the world, Lego released an 8-minute long video on the YouTube channel ‘DirksBrickLand’ which walks viewers through the minifigure manufacturing process. The video shows how thousands of figure parts are painted and eventually assembled together to create the iconic toys that have become the objects of our obsession. And there’s so many of them.

When they were first released on the market, there were only 20 lego figurines available, and they were mostly models of everyday people like police officers and mailmen. Now there are over 8,000 minifigures as diverse as characters from the Star Wars universe to the world of Marvel superheroes. And all of that within the span of 4 decades, what the next 40 years will hold is anyone’s guess but we’re totally excited to see.