Social media is abuzz! LEGO has introduced the first in a new line of products called LEGO Originals. LEGO Originals are to “give you a blank canvas to express yourself using LEGO bricks, paint, fabric or other materials to create a work of art.” I couldn’t be more excited to see the first product in this theme to hit my feeds!
The initial offering is a giant LEGO minifigure. But this “mini”figure is truly unique. Crafted from oak (with plastic hands), this minifigure stands 7 inches or 20 centimeters tall. At that size it is a 5 to 1 replica of the minifigure all LEGO fans know and love as introduced in 1978. This wood minifigure is crafted from 100% FSC-certified oak. This means the wood comes from sustainably managed forests. Sustainability is a continuation of LEGO’s promise to be environmentally wise.
Beyond that, hints exist that the LEGO Originals theme will not be limited to just a single oak minifigure. For instance, some of the VIP redeemable items are labeled as LEGO Originals. What else could LEGO have on the drawing board or in production that could complement this figure? I wonder.
Wood? ABS? What gives?
Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded LEGO in excellence in craftsmanship and with a dedication to producing the best toys possible. Kristiansen wanted toys that were “only the best” and started by crafting his toy offerings out of wood. Later in LEGO’s history, with the advent of the interlocking brick and the LEGO System, Kristiansen made the switch to ABS plastic. This wood crafted minifigure is a return to form for LEGO.
Partnering with LEGO in this endeavor is Room Copenhagen, a company that specializes in interior design and has partnerships with LEGO and Crayola (according to their website). Room Copenhagen already makes giant LEGO storage bins that resemble minifigure heads, enlarged stud wall hangers, and LEGO ice cube trays, not to mention the large LEGO brick storage containers. To produce this oversized LEGO minifigure fits right in with their design aesthetic.
This wooden figure debuts to LEGO VIPs on November 3rd for $119.99 (USD) and will be widely available on the 8th. It is already for sale in a pop up store in London, but for those of us not in the UK, we will have to wait to order from the LEGO online store or find one in our nearest LEGO store.
The oak figure ships in a collectors edition box with 29 LEGO elements. The included 28-page booklet tells a little of the history of LEGO in addition to providing instructions for building five models to go with your oak figure. It seems safe to bet that the LEGO camera and guitar seen in the promo pics are among the sets that the booklet details.
LEGO is offering three custom bundles at launch, in addition to the figure itself. For $194.99, you could purchase the oak figure, a Series 19 collectible minifigure (blind pack), and a minifigure display case. For $149.99, you could purchase the oak figure, a minifigure ceramic mug, the stud wallhanger set, and an 8-stud red storage brick. Or, for $149.99 you could purchase an oak figure and a set of 1500 classic bricks. The bundles are at least a savings of $30 over purchasing the items separately. All bundles are VIP exclusives at launch on the 3rd and available to everyone on the 8th.
LEGO is encouraging fans and collectors to not only display, but to customize their wood figures. Share your creation with the hashtag #LEGOOriginals and LEGO may feature your oak minifigure! I think I want two of them, one to display in original wooden form (gosh! the pictures look so gorgeous!) and one for customizing.
LEGO showcases on the shop splash page for the figure a wide variety of already customized versions (not for sale) built by LEGO fans and artisans. A short video enhances this idea. From paint to sculpture to LEGO built accessories, the sky is the limit for how you wish to create your own unique oak minifigure. Indeed, the plastic hands enable the figure to interact with and hold anything built from LEGO elements (of sufficient size).
It should be noted that in all the pictures I see, the oak minifigure seems rigid. The copy on LEGO’s shop page says that the figure “has adjustable plastic hands”. I do not think that the arms and legs move or articulate on the figure. Until it is “in the wild” though we may not know for sure. If it does not articulate like a regular minifigure, I will be slightly disappointed. The ability to pose a LEGO minifigure is part of what makes it fun. The hands may be removable, as at least one of the customized figures even has a squid tentacle instead of a right hand!
Despite the limitations, I love this idea, and I love the look of the oak minifigure. The wood grain will necessarily be unique to each figure made, meaning that no two are alike from the manufacturer. Beyond that, however each collector chooses to customize will create an even more unique piece. Speaking of pieces, the plastic hands are LEGO compatible (which may be why they are plastic on a wooden figure). Any existing LEGO brick can be added to this wood minifigure to make…well, anything. Even if you move beyond LEGO to use crochet, or paint, or molding clay, or wood, or metal (or whatever you can think of) that will only add to the uniqueness of your figure.
What would you build with yours? I would make a diorama of the wood minifigure. I envision it as a giant statue surrounded by ordinary size LEGO minifigures. Or, perhaps a scene out of Gulliver’s Travels? The giant figure could be in the process of being tied down by regular sized minifigures! Perhaps the large figure could be a Godzilla, destroying a smaller LEGO city-scape? Maybe the LEGO constraction figures will finally have someone their own size to interact with. No matter what, I am very excited about the possibilities!
Would you keep your oak minifigure pristine, or would you dive in to the creative sandbox to make it truly unique? At the very least, whatever you decide, it will be something only you can create! After all, creative play is the mission of LEGO and the reason we love LEGO as a system.
I look forward to see what we can build together. I also look forward to how you customize your oak minifigure!
Do share in the comments, or tag Minifigures.com in your social media post so we can all see what you have built and created!