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I remember more than one argument with a friend over which way LEGO minifigures' hands should be oriented to be correct (with the thumb pointed upward/inward, like a human hand's neutral position).

Minifigure with left hand rounded-side down, and right hand rounded-side up

This gentleman is holding his left hand so the rounded side faces down, and his right hand so the rounded side faces up. Is there an officially correct orientation? The peg connecting the hand angles slightly, so I've used both orientations in different situations to keep hands on steering wheels and control panels. Did I risk aggravating any minifigure's carpal tunnel syndrome in doing so?

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That's the kind of question I would expect from FreeLUG members when they're bored during an event. –  Joubarc Oct 26 '11 at 13:32
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On the other hand, are we actually discussing anatomical correctness of minifigures? –  Joubarc Dec 11 '13 at 15:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 23 down vote accepted

I personally consider the left one as up-right ever since I was a kid and that's how Lego place all their hands in their promotional pictures:

enter image description here

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I've become more pragmatic as I've grown up: as a kid, there was a definite "right way up", but as a grown up I've come to realise that some poses are only possible if you turn a hand upside down (for example, getting the binoculars to a Mini Figures face correctly). –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Oct 26 '11 at 15:00
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There's also a special position in which you can align both hands to grip the same utensil which requires the lower hand to be "upside-down". –  Joubarc Oct 27 '11 at 7:38
    
@Zhaph, Joubarc: Yep, those poses are the reason I've never been 100% sure. –  user23 Oct 27 '11 at 9:05
    
I have always done it the left-hand way except for those few exceptions. –  J. Walker Jan 26 '13 at 19:11
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I think the most recent Hagrid minifigure also supports this point of view, since he clearly has thumbs, and when these are oriented correctly, the flat side of his hand is upwards. –  Joubarc Dec 11 '13 at 15:22

Here is another way to consider it:

Make a fist, and don't bend your wrists. The pinky's side of your hand is mostly aligned with the rest of your wrist and forearm. The thumb's side of your hand is not so much aligned with your wrist and forearm.

Now compare to the minifigure hand. Notice that the wrist is closer to one side of the hand than the other.

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I would generally agree with pcantin's answer, but there are some "official" cases where the right side is correct. Iron Man typically is in the "right hand" configuration, because it attaches translucent light blue circular 1x1 blocks to the bottom for repulsor beams. Also, the Frodo and Bilbo magnets both hold Sting pointed straight up, and do so using the "right hand" configuration, so their hands aren't high up in the air.

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The left one is more natural, because the shortest fingers are on the down side.

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