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I'm sure everyone is familiar with Lego as a brand. Most of us probably played with it as kids and it is still going strong. I always thought Lego was pretty cute but was shocked when I was working as a Christmas temp in Argos this year to see how much it cost these days! It was also when working in Argos that I first came across these little Lego minifigures. At the grand old age of 26 I should really have outgrown Lego and collecting things manufactured for children but I study Classics and love anything Roman or Greek and there was a Roman figure proudly displayed on the front of the pack was very tempting.
I picked a pack up in Argos after finishing my shift one day in the hope of getting the coveted Roman figure. These packs retail usually around £2 (WH Smith currently sells minifigures for £1.99 while Tesco sells them for £1.97). The packs are foil packs of different colours depending on the series. Series 6, as you can see from the picture above, is in a white pack with the series number clearly displayed at the top on the right hand side. The packs are sealed with no way of opening them to sneak a peak inside and have no indication on the packs of what figure is inside (previous series apparently had barcode numbers assigned to each figure or bump patterns on the pack that could be read but these have been removed due to people sharing the codes online). Therefore, there is no way of knowing what is inside unless you feel through the pack as best as you can. Obviously this means Lego can make a lot more money out of people wanting to collect every one in the series or off those looking for one specific figure. Feeling is an effective way to work out which is in the bag but as they are often placed at tills etc., I'm sure most people don't want to stand and look like lunatics groping bags of minifigures. I, however, have no shame and have done that very thing and will give you some hints about what to feel for if you happen to be the parent of a child obsessed with getting the whole series or if, like me, you happen to just need to get out more and are obsessed yourself!
It says these figures are suitable for 5+ on the packs. I'm sure younger children could enjoy them but they do have small parts and I'm sure Lego is just being very careful about the age range in case smaller children choke on a part. Each pack contains one minifigure, a small stand for the minifigure and a leaflet showing on one side each minifigure in the series and on the other side how to assemble the minifigures.
My very first minifigure was a bit of a disappointment. I opened the bag, built the small figure and thought to myself, "Is this really worth £2?". I hadn't got the figure that I wanted and went away disappointed. My boyfriend, however, spotted the figures in Tesco a few weeks later and we both decided to buy a figure each. Before we knew it an obsession had taken hold and we were frantically competing with each other to get the 'best' minifigures.
Kids will love these and as my boyfriend's mum is a teacher, she has confirmed that the kids in her class love swapping them and fighting over them. At £2 a pack the cost can quickly add up, however. With 16 in a series, it would obviously cost £32 for a whole series and that's assuming you get each figure on the first attempt without accruing any doubles of figures. However, parents could easily spend £2 on sweets or junk food and perhaps something like this is a better treat for kids than some crisps and sweets. Furthermore, if the kids hang onto them and take good care of them, there may be some value in the future. Already some of the more popular minifigures from previous releases are retailing on Ebay for a pretty penny (for example, the Spartan minifigure from Series 2 usually sells for about £10. Also, Lego ensures that some of the figures are rarer than others by putting less of them in each box which, although a pain when trying to obtain such a figure, guarantees that you should be able to sell such a figure on for more than it cost in the future.
So these little things are cute and addictive, even if perhaps a tad overpriced but just what can you get and how can you try to guess what is in each pack? Well, never fear, I don't know whether I should be proud or ashamed of this but I have managed to collect the whole series so here's the low down on each figure.
1. Flamenco Dancer: A little Spanish dancer in a red dress and carrying a fan. She is quite easy to feel for as there are only two figures wearing dresses in series 6 and she is one of them. A dress feels like a solid, almost triangular shape. If you feel that, then feel for her fan (this is a bit fiddly as it is so small).
2. Lady Liberty: A statue of liberty figure that is already very popular on Ebay. Again, this figure is in a dress, so feel for that and then feel for her large spikey head. If you don't feel spikes, but feel a dress, then you probably have the Flamenco Dancer.
3. Clockwork Robot: This is really quirky and cool figure. He stands out as he doesn't have a round head but a square one. Feel for the square head and the key that turns in his back.
4. Sleepyhead: A little boy in PJs carrying his teddy bear. This is really cute but quite hard to feel for. Feel for the teddy bear which will be an odd shape compared to other items that come with minifigures.
5. Surgeon: A lady surgeon complete with X-Ray and needle. Feel for the X-Ray which is small, thin and completely square.
6. Skater Girl: An emo kid complete with skateboard. Feel for the skateboard wheels here.
7. Mechanic: A smiling mechanic complete with spanner and toolbox. Here the spanner is the key to feel for.
8. Butcher: A butcher carrying some meat and a cleaver. He is a bit tricky to feel for but if you feel for the meat (with a bone at the end) and then feel for something cleaver shaped you should find him.
9. Intergalactic Girl: A pink clad female with long hair, helmet and ray gun. Easy to feel for as the helmet and the long hair are instantly recognisable. The ray gun feels like a long, thin object.
10. Leprechaun: A little green leprechaun with his pot of gold. This guy is slightly smaller than the other minifigures and it is probably easiest to feel for his coins which are small, round, almost flat objects.
11. Genie: A very cool figure of a Genie with his lamp! He wears a large turban which is easy to feel for but could be mistaken for a helmet. Also, instead of legs he has a strange shaped bottom half (like a genie coming out of a lamp) so feel for that.
12. Classic Alien: One of my favourites. A classic grey alien with ray gun. His head is shaped differently from the others so is easy to feel for. His ray gun is easy to feel for, too, but don't forget the Intergalactic Girl also has a ray gun.
13. Bandit: A highwayman with two pistols. Feel for the cowboy hat and pistols here.
14. Minotaur: Seems to be a common figure and easy to feel for. His head is huge and very easy to find. Feel for his curved horns and axe to ensure it is him.
15. Highland Battler: A cute little Celtic warrior, very Braveheart in style. His round shield and sword are easy to feel for.
16. Roman Soldier: My favourite, without a doubt and one of the best looking figs ever released. He has a lot of detail in his body armour and comes with a helmet, shield and spear. The spear is the easiest to feel for as it is very long with a soft, rubbery spear tip.
So, to sum up, these little guys are expensive but are very cool, super addictive and more of a long-term investment than some other kids pocket money toys would be.