30

I can get the arms off my LEGO minifigs, however, will doing so repeatedly wear them out?

32

No, they are not meant to come off (and neither are their hands) and I imagine that doing so repeatedly will cause them to become loose, as is the case with hands.

I have noticed that the hands come off a lot easier nowadays compared to 1970s/1980s vintage Lego, but I'm rarely sadistic enough to rip their arms off :)

  • "and neither are their hands" - wait, are you sure about that? Ever since the 1990s, I used to regularly exchange hands (think pirate hooks, differently coloured gloves, etc.) between minifigs the same way I'd switch around legs (not individual legs, I mean the hip + legs part) or heads. Never seemed to loosen anything about the hands, and didn't require an amount of force that would have made me worry about breaking anything. – O. R. Mapper Oct 5 at 12:06
10

I did it regularly as a kid and, while it takes some effort, it had to be done a considerable amount of times for any damage to appear.

Removing arms allows for more variety in your minifigs, but also to use these elements separately for other purposes (never underestimate the usefullness of a single hand, or the architectural value of a torso).

Also, note that other arms have been produced (mechanical arm in the Agents theme, rock arms in Power Miners), so you can have interesting minifigs by using these. Same for boxing gloves recently released in the collectible minifigs serie.

One last thing - some minifigs are produced in China (for magnets, for example, or minifig collections) and there are some concerns about their quality, so you may want to be careful with these. Note that while the fact that they are produced in China (you can recognize them at the rectangle engraved in the arms) is a certainty, the fact that the quality is less good is subject for debate.

  • I can't add much more in the answer without really going off the topic of the question; I guess this topic should be a question fo its own. That said, LEGO has its own quality standards to maintain and they will sure want them enforced by all their partners. I think the main issue with these minifigs was that some were slightly translucent, but LEGO has had the exact same problem with regular bricks (when they started mixing the ABS and color themselves instead of buying colored ABS), so maybe the Chinese aren't to blame if they followed the LEGO recipe to the letter. – Joubarc Nov 8 '11 at 18:33
8

From my experience: Normally No! But you can yank them out softly. If you do it to often they'll become loose.

6

The only arms you can legally take off are found on Mos Eisley cantina aliens. Use the blue light saber to take them off cleanly.

By the same logic, you can only swap hands on certain Luke Skywalker minifigs. Or pirates. This is also true now for certain Anakin Skywalker minifigs.

  • The arms of skeletons also come off easily. – Philippe Nov 9 '11 at 12:08
3

In my case, it depends. On older minifigures from the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's it's okay. (I'm not saying it's a good thing) Sure, doing it too many times will gradually wear them down, but not enough to the point where the torso or arms break. New minifigures from 2012 and onwards though, NEVER TAKE THEIR ARMS OUT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Newer minifigures tend to crack and wear out more often. I don't know why this is, but it could be a decrease in the plastic's quality over the years. (LEGO seems to be running cheap) Taking out the arms can (and will) cause massive cracks down the side of the torso piece. Just recently I got new Luke Skywalker and tusken raider minifigures from set number 75173, and BOTH of the minifigure's torsos ended up with giant crack from the bottom of the torso upwards towards the arm holes within 1 week of each-other. This crack causes the arm to loose support and come loose. I was enraged by this, and had to re-order the torso pieces. In conclusion, I wouldn't take out a minifigure's arms unless they are from older sets.

  • 1
    Thanks for sharing, and welcome to Bricks.SE! If you aren't aware, LEGO customer service will replace broken elements (including cracked minifig torsos) at no cost to you. – jncraton Oct 5 at 18:58
2

Also, I have received several minifigures from various boxes that had no hands mounted to their arms from the factory, which indicate it is a "legal operation".

I don't think they aren't ment to be ripped off often, but if doing so gently, they shouldn't break.

  • 1
    Question was about arms. What factory set specifically are you thinking of? Also, insertion once had to happen at birth, removal is the point. – Erik Olson Nov 8 '11 at 17:52
  • I don't recall the exact product number of the boxes. But my point is, if you get to assemble it, I guess it is meant to be disassembled too. – Tagger Nov 11 '11 at 9:36
1

They are not designed to be removed and doing so can make it hard to replace.

It is not a very good idea to remove Lego arms except on the minifigures listed above.

1

I've found that when a hand is pulled out it often (but not always) creates a crack in the arm, so that when the hand (or another different-colored one) is replaced it'll be a bit loose. It could certainly depend on the age of the minifig tho'.

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