The classic LEGO minifigure is getting an artisan reinvention that celebrates a heritage of which many current builders may not be aware.
When master carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen started making toys in 1932, the first offerings from LEGO were handcrafted from wood. It wasn’t until wood became scarce in the aftermath of World War II that Kristiansen turned his attention to plastics, eventually birthing the famous bricks that spawned an empire.
Tapping into a lineage that includes both wood and plastic toys, the LEGO Group and Room Copenhagen are introducing LEGO Originals, a new range of products “dedicated to fans who love a bit of LEGO nostalgia and playful interior design.”
Unveiled today at the LEGO Originals Pop Up Store and Gallery in Covent Garden, London, the LEGO Originals Wooden Minifigure is an upscaled 5:1 version of the classic minifigure that kids of all ages have been playing with since it first debuted in 1978. The 7-inch, handcrafted Wooden Minifigure comes in a premium gift box packed alongside a selection of LEGO bricks and a 28-page booklet that celebrates the legacy of the minifigure while showcasing the development of the wooden model.
“I have always been committed to making the nicest and most robust objects, and just like other carpenters, I believe the best type of advertising is when the product promotes itself,” Kristiansen said in 1950. “Our purpose is to produce a really good, solid and finely crafted piece of work, and ensure LEGO products always be known for their exceptional quality.”
The Wooden Minifigure is handcrafted from FSC-certified oak, with adjustable yellow plastic hands, just like today’s LEGO minifigures. Its release comes on the 60th anniversary of the last LEGO product to be manufactured using a combination of wood and plastic: the 1130 Bedford Firetruck from 1959.
The LEGO Original Wooden Minifigure is expected to be viewed as a blank canvas ripe for customization by designers and artists around the globe.
The LEGO Originals Wooden Minifigure is available to purchase this weekend at the pop-up store and will be available to LEGO VIP members via LEGO.com beginning on Nov. 3. Global orders for the general public will be accepted beginning on Nov. 8 while supplies last.
Photos: The LEGO Group