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I see many of the LEGO boardgames come with mini figures which are armless and have no holes for arms. While I think it is kind of ridiculous to not simply provide a full figure, I understand it's probably primarily for usability purposes.

What are these smaller minifigs called?

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When looking at the inventory of one of the LEGO games (as if you were missing a part), you can see these are clearly labelled "MICRO FIGURE"

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On Bricklink they are known as 'Microfig', Lego Digital Designer refers to them as 'Micro Figure.

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Anything to corroborate that? –  JoshDM Jul 27 '13 at 0:52
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When looking at the inventory of one of the LEGO games (as if you were missing a part), you can see these are clearly labeled "MICRO FIGURE" –  Joubarc Jul 27 '13 at 6:35
    
@Joubarc - I wouldn't know; I don't own one. I've only seen them on the covers, like on Minotaurus. –  JoshDM Jul 27 '13 at 6:41
    
I don't mean the inventory in the instructions (they don't name parts anyway, just part IDs); but the online inventory which has part names as known by LEGO. Unfortunately my link doesn't work directly, you'll still need to enter your age and country, then "my set is missing a piece", then a set number (3874 for example), then when you click on on of the microfigs you'll see their name. Interestingly, the red one is named "BABY", though. –  Joubarc Jul 27 '13 at 13:45
    
@Joubarc All the microfigures in #3838 are listed as BABY, but Microfigure seems to be the most commonly used word to refer to this piece. –  Ambo100 Jul 27 '13 at 18:41
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Microfigures. Described by LEGO as "Microfigures...The Minifigures for Minifigures!" As far as useability go, it is true that within the Games theme they are only used as pawns/game pieces. However, in recent years, they've seen larger use. for example, in the 2012 Star Wars set "Palpatine's Arrest", it is used unprinted in pearl gold to represent a statue/trophy. As far as the community go, they've been pretty popular with fans to create micro-sized builds, and perhaps even more so as pilots for micro-sized robots.

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+1 Good answer on usability. Was going to ask about utility in a separate question. –  JoshDM Jul 27 '13 at 6:42
    
Yep, they are cropping up more and more as statues as well - even within the Games theme, the Heroica sets have featured a few plain grey ones as statues. –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jul 29 '13 at 10:16
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