Last updated on May 6th, 2023
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Last updated on May 6th, 2023
Lego bricks did not actually get smaller over the years. The 2 x 4 and 4 x 4 sized bricks from the first few decades of Lego are still produced today. However, now the bricks come in many different shapes and fairly odd sizes and some of those will naturally be smaller than the original bricks.
Did you ever feel that your favorite childhood toy, the humble yet captivating Lego brick, has somehow changed over the years? You’re not alone in feeling that way.
We all get a pang of nostalgia when we come across an old Lego set, and it’s natural to wonder, “Did Legos get smaller, or have I just grown up?”
Lego bricks are still the same sizes that they used to be and they have not changed over the years. However, there are many Lego bricks that come in many different shapes and fairly odd sizes and some of those will naturally be smaller than the original bricks.
In the rest of this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of Legos and explore how they have evolved over time. So buckle up, my friends, as we embark on an enchanting journey filled with delightful twists and turns!
If you’re a Lego aficionado, this article is going to be a real treat for you.
Changes in Lego Brick Size
Ah, the humble Lego brick. A marvel of engineering, these little plastic wonders have ignited the imagination of kids and adults alike for generations.
But has the size of these bricks really changed over time? Let’s take a closer look at how Lego bricks have evolved.
Original Lego brick dimensions
Believe it or not, the very first Lego bricks were wooden! In 1949, the company introduced the Automatic Binding Brick, a precursor to the modern-day Lego brick.
These early bricks were bigger, measuring 2 x 4 studs, and were made of cellulose acetate. In 1958, Lego switched to ABS plastic, which is still in use today. The dimensions of a classic 2 x 4 Lego brick have remained unchanged, with a length of 31.8mm, a width of 15.8mm, and a height of 9.6mm.
Introduction of smaller pieces
As Lego grew in popularity, the company began to introduce smaller and more specialized bricks. They wanted to provide builders with more options, allowing for increased complexity in their creations.
This trend started with the 1 x 1 brick and continued with the introduction of the 1 x 1 round brick and the 1 x 1 tile. Some of the tiniest Lego elements available today include the 1 x 1 plate with a vertical tooth, the Technic pin, and the Minifigure accessory “bar” piece.
Comparison of old and new brick sizes
While the dimensions of the original 2 x 4 brick have remained constant, the overall Lego brick size range has expanded significantly. The smallest Lego elements now measure as little as 3.2mm in length, while the largest ones can be up to 480mm in length, like the gigantic baseplates used for large-scale building projects.
This expansion in size variety has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for Lego enthusiasts.
Technological advancements in manufacturing
Lego has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in plastic manufacturing. As a result, they have been able to produce smaller and more intricate pieces with incredible precision.
This has led to the development of parts like the Minifigure hands, which are only 3.2mm in diameter, and the 1 x 1 x 1.667 “headlight” brick, which features a tiny hole for attaching other elements.
Impact on set complexity and design
The introduction of smaller and more specialized Lego bricks has allowed for greater complexity and detail in set designs. This is evident in sets like the 10255 Assembly Square, which boasts intricate details like a working elevator, a detailed facade, and even a tiny baby Minifigure.
As a result, Lego sets have become more engaging and challenging for builders, inspiring them to create masterpieces that would have been impossible with only the original brick sizes.
Expansion of Lego Themes and Categories
Who would have thought that a little plastic brick could evolve into such a diverse and captivating universe? Lego has expanded its themes and categories over the years, making it nearly impossible for anyone to resist the charm of these delightful sets.
Hold on to your bricks, folks, because we’re about to dive into the wonderful world of Lego themes!
Classic Lego sets and themes
In the beginning, Lego sets were all about simplicity and pure creativity. The classic themes included:
- Town: All about everyday life, featuring fire stations, hospitals, and gas stations. It’s where our Lego minifigures went about their mundane yet oddly fascinating lives.
- Space: A whole new frontier, with astronauts exploring the galaxy in funky-looking spaceships. Talk about a childhood fantasy come true!
- Castle: For those with a taste for medieval adventure, complete with knights, kings, and dragons. Watch out for that treacherous moat!
Introduction of licensed themes
As Lego evolved, they began partnering with popular franchises to create truly out-of-this-world sets:
- Star Wars: The force is definitely strong with these sets, taking us to a galaxy far, far away.
- Harry Potter: Accio Lego! Recreate iconic scenes from the wizarding world, and maybe even cast a spell or two.
- Superheroes: From Marvel to DC, these sets allow you to assemble your favorite crime-fighting squads.
Creation of new, original themes
Lego didn’t stop at licensing, though. They’ve also cooked up some wildly imaginative original themes:
- Ninjago: High-flying ninja action with a side of ancient wisdom. What’s not to love?
- Friends: Lego’s answer to girl power, featuring strong, independent minidolls and their fabulous adventures.
- Hidden Side: A ghostly twist on traditional sets, combining physical building with an interactive app. Spooky yet thrilling!
Role of popular culture in Lego expansion
Pop culture has played a significant role in Lego’s expansion, with sets featuring iconic moments, characters, and vehicles from our favorite movies and TV shows. This has not only broadened Lego’s appeal but also provided us with the perfect opportunity to geek out over our favorite franchises.
Thank you, Lego, for enabling our fandoms!
Increase in targeted age range
Lego sets have expanded their age range over the years, catering to everyone from toddlers to grown-up fans:
- Duplo: The perfect introduction to Lego for the littlest builders, with larger, easy-to-handle bricks.
- 4+ (formerly Juniors): Slightly more complex sets designed for kids transitioning from Duplo to regular-sized bricks.
- Expert and 18+ sets: For the seasoned builder with an eye for detail and a taste for a challenge, featuring intricate designs and thousands of pieces.
Rise of Minifigures
Behold, the mighty Minifigure! These tiny plastic people have become an essential part of the Lego experience, and boy, have they come a long way!
Early Minifigure designs
In the beginning, Minifigures were a blank canvas, sporting simple faces and blocky bodies. They looked like they were auditioning for a Kraftwerk tribute band, but we loved them all the same.
Evolution of Minifigure detail and articulation
As time went on, Minifigures became more detailed and expressive. They now boast:
- Variety of facial expressions: From the classic smiley to intricate face prints that showcase emotions and features.
- Customized headgear: Hats, helmets, and hairpieces, oh my! Minifigures now have more hairstyle options than a high-end salon.
- Detailed body printing: No longer just a single color, Minifigures now sport intricate prints and patterns on their torsos and legs.
Introduction of minidolls and big figures
Lego didn’t stop with the traditional Minifigure. They went on to introduce even more variety in their character lineup:
- Minidolls: Found in themes like Friends and Elves, these taller, more slender figures are designed to appeal to a wider audience.
- Big figures: Hulk smash! These larger-than-life characters like Groot and the Hulk add an extra layer of excitement to your Lego sets.
Collectible Minifigure Series
Lego hit the jackpot with their Collectible Minifigure Series, turning minifigures into highly sought-after collectibles. Each series features a unique assortment of characters, some with hilarious and unexpected themes.
Let’s take a look at some fan-favorite series and their characters:
|Lego Series||Release Year||Notable Characters|
|7||2012||Bunny Suit Guy|
|17||2017||Corn Cob Guy|
Collaboration with famous IPs for exclusive Minifigures
Lego has teamed up with some of the most beloved IPs to create exclusive minifigures that fans go gaga over:
- San Diego Comic-Con exclusives: Limited edition minifigures that are only available at the event, like the ultra-rare Marvel’s Spider-Woman or DC’s Shazam.
- Promotional polybags: These small, affordable sets often contain unique and exclusive minifigures, like the Star Wars Han Solo in Carbonite or the Batman Classic TV Series Mr. Freeze.
Lego Community and Fan Creations
The Lego community is filled with talented and passionate fans who’ve taken their love for the brick to new heights. Let’s marvel at some of the incredible ways they’ve pushed the limits of Lego creativity.
Lego Ideas is a platform where fans can submit their own set designs, and if they gather enough support, Lego might just turn them into actual sets! Some of the most popular Ideas sets include:
- 21309 NASA Apollo Saturn V: A massive 1:110 scale model of the iconic rocket, complete with lunar lander and splashdown capsule.
- 21318 Tree House: A jaw-droppingly detailed tree house with interchangeable leaves for different seasons. Talk about tree-mendous!
Adult Fans of Lego (AFOLs)
AFOLs are a dedicated group of adult enthusiasts who create jaw-dropping custom creations, known as MOCs (My Own Creations).
They often share their masterpieces on social media and at Lego conventions, inspiring other fans with their ingenuity and skill.
Lego conventions and events
Lego conventions are where fans gather to showcase their creations, participate in building competitions, and attend workshops led by fellow enthusiasts. Some popular events include:
- Brickworld: A series of conventions held across the US, featuring incredible displays, games, and presentations.
- BrickCon: An annual event in Seattle that brings together Lego fans for four days of brick-building bliss.
- LEGO World: The largest official Lego event in the world, held annually in Denmark, the birthplace of Lego. It features incredible fan creations, hands-on building activities, and even appearances by Lego designers.
The Lego community thrives online, with fans sharing their creations, tips, and tricks on various platforms. Some popular online Lego hubs include:
- Eurobricks: A fan-run forum where builders can share their MOCs, discuss set reviews, and participate in building challenges.
- The Brothers Brick: A blog that showcases the best fan creations from around the world, as well as news and reviews.
- r/lego: A subreddit dedicated to all things Lego, with a lively community of over 600,000 fans.
Fan-created tools and resources
Lego fans are a resourceful bunch, and they’ve created some fantastic tools to help fellow builders:
- Bricklink: A massive online marketplace for buying and selling individual Lego parts, as well as a hub for digital building instructions.
- Brickset: A comprehensive database of Lego sets, minifigures, and fan reviews.
- Stud.io: A fan-made digital building software that lets you design custom models with a virtual library of Lego bricks.
In conclusion, while it may seem like Legos have gotten smaller, the truth is that they’ve simply grown more diverse and complex. The introduction of smaller pieces, an expansion of themes and categories, the rise of Minifigures, and the incredible creativity of the Lego community have all contributed to the evolution of this beloved toy.
So, the next time you find yourself reminiscing about the “good old days” of Lego, take a moment to appreciate just how far our favorite plastic bricks have come!
|Changes in Brick Size||Smaller, more specialized pieces; increased complexity in set designs|
|Expansion of Themes & Categories||Classic, licensed, and original themes; wider age range|
|Rise of Minifigures||Improved detail and articulation; introduction of minidolls and big figures; collectible series|
|Lego Community & Fan Creations||Lego Ideas; AFOLs; conventions and events; online communities; fan-created tools and resources|
Now, it’s time for you to click those bricks together and let your imagination soar. Happy building!
Last updated on May 6th, 2023