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I want to make some minifigure-scale vehicles and devices, but I am wondering what the smallest possible minifigure enclosure might be.

I know minifigures are not perfectly square. Their arms and heads keep them from fitting in a standard 4x1x5 shaped hole while standing upright(not that I would imagine that looking very good in a model). When in recline with the back of their legs connected to studs, they cannot lie totally flat and must lie at a certain angle.

What I would like to know is the practical bounds of a minifigure with NO equipment(hats, parkas, backpacks, ect.):

  1. In a fully upright position

  2. In a fully seated position.

  3. In recline.

It would also be a bonus if anyone would also give the bounds for a minifigure in these positions but with the maximum amount of equipment.

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6  
An African or an European minifigure? –  Joubarc Nov 18 '11 at 8:29
    
I assume you want the bounds for a standard minifigure without accessories and head-gear. Some items (eg. oxygen tanks, fedora hats) make quite a difference to minifig size. –  Kramii Nov 18 '11 at 12:50
    
@Kramii Yes, just the basic legs, body and head. I had forgot to mention that in the question. But if any one would like to give some bounds for a maximum amount of minifigure gear, that would improve the answer –  RedRiderX Nov 18 '11 at 14:38
    
@Ambo100 Since a minifigure can not be connected by the back of the legs and be in a fully flat position, its back has to rest on the studs at a slight angle. Like I mentioned in the question, minifigures are not exactly square :/ –  RedRiderX Nov 18 '11 at 16:11
3  
I go by the the old LEGO adage: What people don't see, they imagine. If you can't see the minifigures legs, you just need the space required to house the head & torso in the model. –  Major Stackings Nov 19 '11 at 21:43
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Standing

The smallest area you can enclose a standing minifig in is just about 4x4x4 2/3 with the roof on:

Photo of enclosure - Standing LDraw build of enclosure - Standing

To reach this limit, you need to use the panels and windows to make room for the arms and more importantly the head, which is larger than a 1x1 brick.

Seated

To enclose a seated minifig in the smallest space, you will need to ensure that you've tilted the body completely forward (i.e. over 90°), and again use panels to enclose the arms to achieve a 4x4x4 box:

Photo of enclosure - Seated LDraw build of enclosure - Seated

Note that I've had to use two plates to lift the roof above the stud on the head - you can cheat a bit and lower it one plate if you use a roof with a hole in the correct place - in the photos I'm using a 3x4 tile with 4 studs that comes with the collectable Minifigures, and the head stud fits into one of the cylinders underneath, but the edge of the 2x3 plate won't fit.

Reclined

For a reclined minifig, I used a Slope brick, 33° 3x2 to provide some support, and the smallest space I could fit that into was 4x7x2 1/3, however over the legs it's only 1 1/3 (I don't have all the parts to hand to photo this one I'm afraid, but I have proved the concept with some bricks):

LDraw build of enclosure - Reclined

With Accessories

Picking the Wizards Hat and Air Tanks, I was able to enclose the minifig within a 5x4x5 2/3 (one deeper and one one higher than the standing minifig):

LDraw build of enclosure - Standing with accessories

Again the minifig is angled to fit in this space so that the rim is horizontal, and once again there's judicious use of panels: 1x2x3, 1x2x1 and 1x1x1 Corners.

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You have a good answer, but I was looking for multiple bounds, I have changed my questions to make that more clear. –  RedRiderX Nov 22 '11 at 23:56
    
Sorry, yes I meant to come back with the response for sitting upright and reclined - will try and get that out tonight - wanted to ensure that front piece would fit across the hands without them sticking out. –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 23 '11 at 13:04
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A minifigure with legs, torso, and head would be five bricks tall standing or four bricks sitting down. It's also one stud deep and two studs wide (four studs including arms)

With the arms and hands extended parallel to the thighs, the arms take roughly two and half studs worth of space from the joint of the arm. The image below show's a diagram of a minifigure sitting down on it's side.

enter image description here

If you were to adjust both arms forward like a boxer in a defensive stance (albeit sitting down) the minifigure's arms will take the same amount of room in a different possition.

enter image description here

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Note though that the minifig head is wider than a 1x1 brick, which means a sitting minifig needs space behind it for the head - often achieved using a panel. –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Nov 18 '11 at 18:40
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