I found this interesting comment by J on a blog post about LEGO female oriented sets.
I did a count of male and female mini-figures by theme in the 2011
releases for which we have visual evidence. The modular house line
always tends to be more balanced so there’s still potential there but
the City theme is particularly bad this year. Here’s the ...
The part in question shows up as a "Minifig Gravity Stunt Handle" (part number x817) on Peeron and a "Turntable Spinning with Sports Trick Handle" (item number bb128) on BrickLink. Looks like it appears in two sets:
Snowboard Super Pipe:
Skateboard Vert Park Challenge:
All new magnet sets introduced by LEGO will have the figures glued, as will any re-makes of existing sets.
In 2009 LEGO started producing sets of minifigures standing on magnetic bricks. At that time, the figures were removable, although some felt that they were of lower quality than the figs in regular LEGO sets.
In early 2011, however, LEGO ...
It seems like you understand why there are unique minifigs, but I'll point it out explicitly anyway. Unique minifigs add character to sets, and add to playability. For example, I always wanted this guy as a kid:
Without him, my pirates were just a leaderless band, but once they have a fearless leader with a peg leg and hook, things become a lot more ...
You can use some sugar liquid to use as temporary glue to make the head stuck to the torso. Then wait till the sugar is sticky and then try to remove the helmet. Once the helmet is loose you can put the head and torso in warm water to loosen the sugar glue and take it off. Then wash thoroughly to remove remaining sugar.
It can be done, but you need to be able to handle the packages. Different minifigure series may require different approaches, from barcodes to patterns of dots or dimples to feeling for certain characteristic parts in the bags. Those approaches have been documented in a number of places:
Series 6 (feel + dots)
Series 5 (feel)
Series 4 (bumps)
Series 3 (...
The minifigure is so-called because the original LEGO "Family" figures that were released in 1974 where somewhat larger, with bodies made from 2x2 Bricks, and arms made from hinged tubes.
There's a bit more of a condensed history in the minifigure tag wiki, and there is a bit more information about the minifigure as we know it today in the Company Profile
There are a few on Bricklink, if you search by part colour:
And the standard smiley is also available.
If you search for the older Brown colour (instead of the current Reddish Brown) you find that there are basically ...
The smallest area you can enclose a standing minifig in is just about 4x4x4 2/3 with the roof on:
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.
To enclose a seated minifig in the smallest space, you will need to ensure that you've ...
They are referred to as "Minifig Hips" almost everywhere: [partlink:970:4].
The LEGO Pick-a-brick service doesn't sell them without legs, and just refers to the whole construction as "Mini Figure Mini Lower Part":
There are already quite a few multi-armed minifigures. I usually won't count Doctor Octopus as one, though. But I'll count it this time.
The very first minifigure to be able to hold more than 2 tools is Doctor Octopus, from the "Spider-Man" theme from 2003. This was achieved by building a harness that goes on the neck. This version appeared in 3 sets, all ...
Your second guess was correct. It's not just a wrench. It's listed as a Screwdriver/spanner on Lego.com:
This part was also included in several sets in the Games line as a human tool to remove tiles from the dice. It's unclear (at least to me) whether this part was intended to be used for tile removal when it was introduced in 1979. Here's an example from ...
Hand colors other than yellow are generally used to either match skin tone in licensed themes, or to represent some sort of gloves. The police officer you mentioned is probably "wearing" some sort of motorcycle or driving glove:
When minifigs were first introduced in the late 70s, the only ones to have non-yellow hands were the space minifigs:
The way that Lego does it is with whats called a "pad printer". Brickprinter.com also uses a pad printer. It takes a lot of skill to get the printing to work correctly. You have to have the proper amount of solvent in the ink to get it to adhere to the part and not smudge. The solvent also softens the ABS plastic so that the ink actually embeds into the ...
Here is another way to consider it:
Make a fist, and don't bend your wrist. 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. Also notice that the curve of your fingers tapers toward the pinky finger.
Now compare to the minifigure ...
A number of the minifigs from the Adventures theme would fit the bill in terms of round glasses and facial hair, especially the Dr Kilroy character:
They also have versions with suits, etc.
There's also a "Detective" figure in the Minifigures Series 5 with the classic Deer Stalker hat that resembles the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
There are also ...
Within the shoulder socket, a minifigure's arm has full 360° rotation, however the hand needs to positioned correctly to allow it pass the head, and it puts some strain on the joint:
Note that most accessories will block this rotation.
As the arms are made of the same ABS as standard LEGO bricks they aren't flexible, and so without heating (and ...
LEGO will replace a part for free on their website, providing it was missing from purchase. Sadly replacement parts aren't available for Collectible Minifigures, but you can contact them to let them know.
Ensure the Minifigure packet has been fully emptied, it's quite easy to lose parts when you open the packet.
I can not give you an answer on behalf of TLG, but I can give you some good reasons as to why Minifigures do not have ears.
Authenticity: Lego figures have never had ears. In fact, the first figures did not even have faces, or articulating limbs. They were very basic. Here is a photo showing the basic evolution of minifigures over the years. The first '...
As a conservative approach I would suggest the LEGO Juniors series which has cars and other sets and that are easy to build.
However, from first hand experience I can tell that kids learn quickly. Even if reading instructions is too difficult, playing with regular LEGO parts will soon be a lot of fun.
Besides : Losing small parts will be an issue with ...
They made them solid black so there are no alignment issues when veiwing the masked minifigures. By leaving them blank LEGO ensured the eye slots always appear black. Side note: The only Stormtroopers seen without helmets in the StarWars Movies were Han and Luke in disguise, therefore Stormtroopers are faceless.
A trick that's worked for me in the past, is to use a 1x1 cone with a Technic axle in it (it needs to be the cone without the top groove, unlike the example below) - this will allow you to force the tapered end of the cone into the hole on the bottom of the head, and by fastening a Technic gearwheel, brick or larger cylinder to the Technic axle, you'll be ...
The Cult Of Lego book (ISBN: 978-1-59327-391-0) had an a whole page about the change in minifigure skin colour:
Page 59, sentence 2:
Originally, the LEGO Group sought to leave racial and gender
differences to the imagination of builders by using a stylised,
generic face with outfits to differentiate roles.
Page 59, sentence 4: The most ...
The minifigs are what is known in the retail trade as 'blind-packed collectables'.
They're sold at 'pocket money' prices in newsagents and bookshops at aisle ends or counter-tops. The idea is to encourage people (mainly children but adults too) to try and 'collect' a complete set. The opaque bags encourage this by making this goal harder to reach, and ...
Here are three options that have what you are looking for:
1) Brickset has the highest quality and best organized photographs of minifigs, but they are far from complete. For example, as of this writing, the gallery does not have any of the City theme figures. The collection is growing all the time. For example, here is their collection of Batman figures:
So far, the best I can think of is the red classic space guy which appeared in 46 sets.
Considering minifigs were less specialized back then, I bet the winner is in that time period anyway, and the fact that spacemen wore an uniform makes me think there is no other minifig apperaing in 46 sets. Even the basic city worker only reaches a pale 21 sets.