The Times They Are A-Changin’ Part Three: Minifigures

Now that both internal set designs and external packaging layouts have been discussed, it’s time to take a look at a few minifigure changes that have occurred during various production runs.

As we started to unpack at the end of the last running changes article, 2005 saw the introduction of a new type of minifigure which featured light-up functionality. Included with 7261 Clone Turbo Tank was Mace Windu with a light-up lightsaber (LULS) built into his right arm. The following year, a repackaged Clone Turbo Tank swabbed the light-up Mace with a standard minifigure version of himself. To balance the perceived value, an additional Clone Trooper was also included in the 2006 set. Although LULS had a short-lived run, these minifigures have become quite collectible to minifigure enthusiasts.

Another figure that we touched on in the last installment was Finch Dallow who, until the explosion in LEGO popularity, was an otherwise unknown Resistance Pilot. Included with the first runs of 75188 Resistance Bomber was an unnamed Resistance Bomber Pilot that did not match the actor that ended up piloting the Cobalt Hammer in The Last Jedi. To correct this, LEGO designed both a new helmet print and a new head print. This discovery turned into a whirlwind of collectors scrambling to get the new pilot with many receiving Finch for free directly from LEGO. His price on the secondary market soared and has remained there making him one of the most valuable Star Wars minifigures to date.

Finch Dallow was the result of early concept art not matching the final production character and so too was the next minifig. Kanan Jarrus was initially thought to have black hair which is how LEGO originally released him in 75053 The Ghost. Once Rebels aired, Kanan was realized to have dark brown hair instead which resulted in a mid-production switch. Both the hairpiece and the head required updating.

The next minifigure is the only lady on this list and is my personal favorite. Smooth Haired Leia, as she has since been named, represents the only molding error to have made it into a regular production set on a consistent basis. There are a variety of theories to explain her existence, but none fully make sense. Her melted chocolate buns can be found in both 6212 X-wing Fighter and 10198 Tantive IV.

Heading back to the early days of LEGO Star Wars is the original AT-AT Driver included in 4483 AT-AT. This is the only version of the minifigure to come in the old dark and light gray colors. Early runs of the set included a helmet with a full triangle print. Based on feedback from consumers, LEGO changed the design to a trapezoid shape after hearing that the full triangle looked like it had been drawn on with a marker. Very few of the full triangle helmet made it into the market which has made it a highly desirable minifig for variant collectors.

Going largely unnoticed by the minifigure collecting community for many years was a variant of Commander Fox included with 7681 Separatist Spider Droid. The later, and much more common, variant has a dark gray semi-circle printed onto the torso. A presumed very small initial print run lacked this print and left the dark red flares on his torso exposed which matches the one shown on the box artwork. The LSW Collector app was the first to officially recognize him as a variant.

In keeping with variants that have been ignored by sites such as BrickLink and Brickset is Count Dooku from 7103 Jedi Duel. The set images used for the box and instructions show him with a light gray beard which many figures can be found with. However, at some point during production, the beard print was changed to dark gray. At first this was thought to be due to the amount of print applied to the head, but there are two distinct groups when looking at examples instead of a spectrum that would be expected if this was only due to heaviness of print.

The last running change for this article are the Luke Skywalkers included in 10188 Death Star. This set had the longest production run of any LEGO Star Wars set from June 2008 to December 2015. During this time the “large eye” period of minifigures came and went. All three of the Lukes included in the set first received the small eyed version and then later were updated with large eyes. Other figures in the set have been found with the same differences including Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin. lego_sw15 on Instagram does a great job of capturing the differences in one photo.

If there were a Part Four to this series, what do you think it would cover? Are there any other aspects that have been changed during the production run of a set?

Entertainment Earth

Be the first to comment

Thoughts, comments or opinions? Share them!