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Inside Lego Minifigures with CT scans

Edited by
December 14, 2022

Kids aren’t the only ones obsessed with Lego. A subset of enthusiasts known as AFOLs (adult fans of Lego) have latched onto collecting minifigures, but these aren’t the basic smiley yellow faces you remember from childhood. As of December 2022, there are 24 groups of strangely specific characters; the latest series includes Rococo Aristocrat, Newspaper Kid, and Carrot Mascot—just to name a few.

Every series is made up of 12 minifigures, and each comes in a “blind bag” of its own, intended to make a guessing game out of collecting. But superfans have discovered a workaround to ensure they can complete a series without any duplicates. They feel the blind bags to figure which minifigure is inside; some even go so far as to publish “feel guides” online with instructions for determining the identity of the enclosed character based on the shape of their component parts.

Less tactile but 100% accurate, CT scanning can’t be beat for minifigure identification. We scanned a box from Series 23 containing six of the 12 total figures.

Following the lead of the feel guides, we investigate the 3D rendering of the Legos on our Voyager software, looking for the most distinctive and unusually-shaped pieces of the minifigures. From there, we cross-reference the image on the box to make the final identification.

The first bag we see in the scan holds a majorette hat and sword, signature elements of the Nutcracker minifigure. The Sugar Fairy’s tutu and wings could only belong to her. Popcorn Costume’s cloud-like headpiece made him an easy ID. Floating above the lower row of blind bags, the helmet and stick horse were dead giveaways for the Knight of the Yellow Castle. Just underneath her, you’ll find the Reindeer with characteristic antlers and a cube-shaped gift accessory. Last but not least, the Wolf Costume betrays itself with the unmistakable mask, shaggy tail, and burlap sack.

In an effort to achieve full sustainability in its packaging, Lego has slated the single-use plastic blind bags for elimination. Superfans were devastated when they learned that the thrill of the feel would soon be replaced by impenetrable—but recyclable—cardboard boxes. Starting in 2023, CT will be the only way to figure out which minifigures are hiding inside the box.

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

We featured Lego Minifigures in our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide. Check out CT scans of the other gifts here!

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