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Minifigure Printing Detail


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#1 Mariko

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:25 PM

I've been thinking lately about the level of printed detail on minifigures, and thought I'd type out my observations and thoughts here. I know this is something that's been discussed a lot before, but I was unable to find a topic devoted to it; if there is one, feel free to merge this post with it. If not, feel free to add thoughts in this topic.

First, a bit of history. Although the level of printed detail on minifigures has been slowly increasing for quite some time, it was around the year 2003 that the overall style of the printing, both of the torsos and the faces, shifted (the shift sort of began in 2001, but it was in 2003 that it became really noticeable; interestingly, this was close to the beginning of my Dark Ages). Faces before the shift were generally based on the classic smiling face). They varied in style and detail, but most (not all) still grew out of, and therefore fit in stylistically with, the classic face. After the shift, the faces were based on a "new classic" face, one with eyebrows, a subtler smile, and eyes that have a "sparkle." The eyes and eyebrows are the main uniting factor, with all new minifigures having the "sparkling" eyes and most having eyebrows. Similarly, torso prints before the shift were generally more stylized representations of clothing; after the shift, the printing tended to be more "realistic" and detailed, and the print often extends to the back of the minifigure. The two styles can sometimes be compatible, but often the level of detail on the new prints makes the old look bad (for example, prints that show the folds of clothing make unprinted torsos look out of place, as they lack clothing folds). Of course, the level of detail is hardly consistent; this torso has no back printing: Posted Image;
this one does: Posted Image;
this one has front, back, and arm printing: Posted Image

Anyway, a few months ago, I put together some similar minifigures, both from before and after the shift (for example: Posted Image compared with Posted Image,
Posted Image compared with
Posted Image, etc.). Seeing the minifigures together, I decided that I liked the newer style better. Although the nostalgic part of me wanted to prefer the earlier style, the detail of the new style appealed to me too much at the time, and I decided to use that style in my town. I dismantled the old minifigures.

It was last week, however, that my thoughts began to change. I've been thinking of making an Adventurers photo-comic in which (for reasons you may find out later) I plan to use pirates. I had previously populated my Black Seas Barracuda with minifigures from the new Pirates line, but I decided to assemble some pirates from the old line to use in the comic. It was in doing this that I saw the old minifigures in a new light.

Compare, for example these two minifigures: Posted Image Posted Image.
The newer one is much more detailed--the belts are less stylized and hang at a realistically crooked angle, the shirt is torn, the back is printed, etc. This level of detail is very cool; it is also, for me, the downfall of the new style.

If the comparison were just between one of each minifigure, the results would be the same as they were in my earlier comparison. However, I needed a pirate crew, and the new Pirates line only gave us about five pirate torsos--one of which was a captain's torso, another of which was a female torso, leaving us with three torsos to use for average crewmen. This means that, to have a full crew, torso repeats are necessary.

This is when the strength of the older style became clear to me. The Black Seas Barracuda also had only five different types of torsos (but some of those were repeated, and two of the five only differ in the color stripes they have). Since using multiples of one torso is necessary for a full crew, imagine having several of the "old-style" pirates with the same print, and several "new-style" ones.

The faces and torsos of the "old-style" minifigures are stylized and generic; by switching around the color of pants and bandannas, you get two pirates that are different enough; the faces are simple and stylized enough that they can both represent a generic mustachioed pirate. Similarly, the torso print represents a stylized version of a common pirate shirt; since it is stylized, it can also be very generic. Perhaps in one's imagination these pirates would be different--one might be taller and thinner with a hooked nose, gaunt cheeks, and an earring, while the other might be short and stocky with a broken nose and several missing teeth. In the LEGO world, they are represented almost identically; the minifigures serve more as stock character "types" than actual characters (not that older LEGO doesn't have actual characters--Captain Redbeard and the female pirate are examples. But they're meant to be characters, set apart from the average "crew"). I can suspend my disbelief and see several different characters of the same type represented by variations on this stock minifigure.

By contrast, the "new-style" prints represent very specific characters, even among lowly crew members. While there is a great enough variety in face prints to avoid having a crew of smirking pirates with stubble, bored eyes, and one raised eyebrow (as common as this face is, it's hard to imagine several people having it), there are, as mentioned before, only a few torso varieties. With such detail, however, it is harder to suspend disbelief. Cool details like the torn shirt, the uneven angle of the belt, the curve of the stripes, and the fact that the belts are tightened on the second and fourth holes now become odd. It is easier to imagine that two "old-style" torsos, with their lack of precise detail, represent two different characters wearing similar clothing. It is harder to imagine that with the detail of the new torsos. Would everyone's belt hang that exact way, or be tightened that much? Would every pirate have an identical tear in their shirt?

The same problem, interestingly, manifests itself with the faces in the City theme. Although there are lots of face prints that can be used in City, the theme itself is very limited; if one collected only City, one would be left with lots of minifigures with chiseled faces, smirks and stubble, or half-smiles. Again, the level of detail in differentiating minifigures also means that, to be convincing, each minifigure should have a different face. And this, in my opinion, is the problem of the new style, and the reason that I have decided to switch back to the old one.

Edited by Mariko, 14 November 2011 - 10:50 PM.


#2 CallMePie

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:24 PM

Honestly, I kind of prefer the new pirates torsos, on that little point. Abuot 70% of Classic Pirates have striped torsos. The exact same print, minus colors. Yes, there was Redbeard and his captain torso, and Ironhook's one, but the others I saw were being used as Imperial sailors.

As for the plaid torsos, the first and second can be used in conjunction without much issue. The third, however, is from the Collectible Minifigures, which are revered for their level of detail. I would still them use alongside with eachother.

As for heads, as long as they're the same color and with the same style of eyes, I'm fine. There are 5 groupings of heads in my mind - pre-2000s black eyed (including the Insectoids/UFO heads, they fit in the best here), the uncommon pre-2005 black eyed fleshies, pupil-eyed yellow, pupil-eyed fleshie, and Exo-Force. That's how I divy them.

You're completely right, some don't fit together. I think the main dividing factor is fleshie and yellow, but since this isn't quite about that, eyes are a big difference too. The only thing I'll make an exception in is Exo-Force, which I use with pupil-eyed fleshies, mostly because the Exo-Force girl's head is, like, 1 out of 3 female heads I have for that category.

Edited by CallMePieOrDie, 14 November 2011 - 11:24 PM.

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#3 Zeon

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:04 AM

I can see your point, since with a town from the 80's, you could swap a a figure's legs and there you got a new unique minifig (striped shirt/red legs omg, new combo). However, if you look at the common blue workshirted figures with the only difference being the hat and here you go: serviceman, helicopter operator on the top of the police, crane operator, truck driver etc. (You can get a town swarming of blue but001-but027, not that I mind it.)

However, you have to see TLC's point of view:
- For one, they have to evolve and show new and different molds/prints so people can keep buying figures (and considering the set/figure ratio nowdays that leads to lots of sets).
- Secondly, they have to have a lead on the clone brands. (I don't realy keep track of them, but I guess they are making more and more sophisticated figures too)
- And last time, there's something with the world nowdays that tries to make the children lose their imagination. Look at the super-detailed electronic toys and compare them to the simple (yet, of course awesome) tin/wood toys of old days. One could (and should) play with those toys for years. And this goes for everything, LEGO sets, the old TV vs bedtime stories rant etc.

#4 wokajablocka

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:43 AM

What worries me about the new more detailed prints is that they are driving up the price of sets. Look at the Star Wars line, more and more figs are comming out as a remake or becoming very sofisticated with the new molds and prints. Sure they look great and detailed but I worry that we are going away from the traditional minifig style. The minifig has evolved a lot over the years but I want the Star Wars minifigs to go back more simple cheaper style.

Im sure a new moled Tuscan Raider head would look good but the old printed standard round head looks great. With the new Jabbas palace comming in 2012 we could have heeps of aliens with printed standard heads instead of creating 10 new molds for that set alone and pushing the price sky rocketing.

Its good that we are getting new prints but I think sometimes they are too detailed for a Lego minifig and look out of place next too classic minifigs.
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#5 Lyichir

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 02:29 PM

View Postwokajablocka, on 15 November 2011 - 12:43 AM, said:

What worries me about the new more detailed prints is that they are driving up the price of sets. Look at the Star Wars line, more and more figs are comming out as a remake or becoming very sofisticated with the new molds and prints. Sure they look great and detailed but I worry that we are going away from the traditional minifig style. The minifig has evolved a lot over the years but I want the Star Wars minifigs to go back more simple cheaper style.

Im sure a new moled Tuscan Raider head would look good but the old printed standard round head looks great. With the new Jabbas palace comming in 2012 we could have heeps of aliens with printed standard heads instead of creating 10 new molds for that set alone and pushing the price sky rocketing.

Its good that we are getting new prints but I think sometimes they are too detailed for a Lego minifig and look out of place next too classic minifigs.

I doubt the more detailed prints are driving up the cost of sets. Technology is constantly improving so that machines which once cost double the amount of their lower-grade counterparts can be bought for close to the same price as the more basic technology once cost. And the only way some of these contribute to the cost of sets is by LEGO needing to reimburse the cost of newer, more detailed printing equipment; and for things like back-printing, they've long since paid off the cost of the equipment. They probably have less capacity for printing minifig torsos with arm printing, but this probably contributes less to the cost of these figs than to the relative scarcity of minifigs with this sort of printing.

So one can argue that minifigs have been losing their signature style (I personally don't think they have), but cost is most likely not a factor for more detailed figs.

#6 Mariko

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 07:52 PM

I agree that LEGO has a good reason for changing things; indeed, I really enjoy a lot of the newer prints. I'll probably go back and forth on this issue, particularly for town, where I don't necessarily need a lot of repeat minifigs (and I'm definitely keeping the new print styles for my winter village). My wife disagrees with me on the pirates, too. I admit, some of it may be nostalgia--the pirates sets were some of my earliest (although my very first LEGO System set was a classic space one, and the first sets I put together without my dad's help were two small Aquazone sets), and I can remember spending hours creating adventure-filled stories with the old pirate crew, so it's a little tough to replace them. My observations may simply be rationalizing my nostalgia (as Benjamin Franklin said, "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do")--but I still think that the reasons are valid for me. I don't think that LEGO should go back entirely to this older style; they have moved forward quite a bit, and I think it would be a misstep to return. But I do miss some of the old style, and feel like there have been losses along with the great gains.

#7 CP5670

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:30 PM

I generally like the new figures better. I think the old and new styles aren't that far apart though (unlike flesh or Exo-force) and go fine together. My layouts are filled with both types of minifigs.

I can see your point that the genericity of the old minifigs is a good thing when you have large groups of them. This doesn't matter so much in space, police or fire themes, where it makes sense for everyone to be wearing the same uniforms, but becomes an issue in other situations. It's more noticeable on head prints in any theme. There have often been slight variations in the minifig head prints, which is actually a good thing since they give a bit of variety to otherwise identical minifigs.

#8 Mariko

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:45 PM

I forgot one other point--the inclusion of printed "curves" to indicate hips and breasts on female minifigs does make things difficult; there aren't very many torsos that have this kind of printing, and it makes older-style female minifigs (including ones using blank torsos) look odd.

#9 Blondie-Wan

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 03:37 AM

While I'm certainly aware of the evolving minifigure design aesthetic over the years, it doesn't bother me for the most part; I have no issue mixing Citifolk of different eras. The one area in which I do find the design changes problematic is any sort of uniformed characters produced over a long period - principally certain Star Wars troops, but I think the redcoated soldiers of the Pirate themes would also be an issue for me if I had any of them from the older Pirate sets.

With Star Wars, I naturally want to make the most of my element inventory and include all of my stormtroopers, say, in large Death Star MOCs and so on, but the various design changes to all the "generic troops" figures over the years have begun to vex me. I have dozens of the older Rebel pilot torsos, for example, and now they've been obviated by the newer, double-printed ones introduced last year. These actually aren't as problematic as some other groups from that longago faraway galaxy; I was always a bit limited in how many of them I could use anyway, since there are only so many helmet designs to go with them - half my Rebels' entire fighter pilot force is made up of Luke Skywalker, over and over again. I think I'll just continue to acquire the newer torsos in new sets, and mix and match heads and helmets with ones from older sets to create as large and varied a pilot force as I can, with as many different helmet designs as possible. Not a huge issue, even though I do find myself left with a bunch of torsos of the older design that I won't use in Star Wars creations much anymore (fortunately, I do have something else in mind for them). Since the range of helmet designs already imposes a certain limit on how many Rebel pilot minifigures I'm happy using together (I don't mind some repetition, particularly for the more "generic" designs such as the simple blue insignias on Dack's helmet, but I don't really want dozens of pilots with Luke's helmet, say), the existence of different torso designs doesn't concern me as much as it does with some others - I'll simply get as many of the new torso as I need to until I have all the unique, named pilots officially represented in sets, plus a judicious selection of repeated helmet designs (and redesigns, in the case of Luke's more detailed helmet with the current AT-AT; I can happily use that for him and a couple of the older version of his helmet for other pilots).

The headgear redesigns for Hoth Rebel troopers and Imperial pilots (TIE Fighter pilots) are more troubling. I have a bunch of Hoth Rebels from various sets produced since the early 2000s, and while I guess I can go with mixing the old and new torso designs for, say, officers and non-officers (since TLG itself did in the battlepack that introduced the new ones), I'd really like to use the new headgear for all of them, but of course there's no way to get it except accompanying another whole trooper figure in a set, and of course I want to use all of these troops I can. One thing I've contemplated is doling out the newer headgear to either just old torsos or just new ones, and using other headgear (such as the previous white aviator helmets) for the rest, but it's kind of tough balancing out the numbers, and I'd really rather just have everyone in the new headgear, but as a licensed element it's not the sort of thing likely to show up in Pick-a-Brick, and I'm kind of leery of Bricklink. The alternative is to just not use the older figures, but I don't want them to go to waste while I'm trying to amass as large a Hoth Rebel force as I can. TIE Pilots are kind of the same - I have nine of them with the older helmets (just stormtrooper helmets in black, with different printing), and I'd love for them all to have the newer, more accurate helmets, but there's not really a way to get them on their own.

Next year will bring us a totally unnecessary redesign of the stormtrooper torso and new printed legs for the same (I am aware of the Imperial Inspection ones, but of course they were never abundant). I have lots of older stormtroopers, but not as many as I'd like for some of those huge layouts I've been dreaming of, and I was planning on continuing to get more in new sets and so on, but with the redesign I don't know. Should I ignore the differences and just mix old and new? This might actually work for me; I don't know since I haven't seen them together yet (the previous refinements to the helmet printing is a similar situation I haven't quite decided upon, but I think I've been leaning in the direction of that particular difference not being significant enough to bother me, and I was thinking I'd just go ahead and use them together in order to make the most out of my total inventory of stormtroopers). Or should I commit to using only the older torso design? If so, how will I get enough additional ones to satisfy me without resorting to Bricklink and the like? Or should I commit to the new version, in which case all my old ones go to waste, and I have to begin building my entire stormtrooper force again from the ground up?

I'd be interested in hearing how other "army builder" types resolve such issues - not just the Star Warriors here, but also the Pirates fans with their redcoats and so on, for example. With some lines (and even with some factions within lines), I don't consider it a problem - to my eyes, all the different knights and soldiers and so on from different Castle eras are clearly just different factions from different kingdoms, for example - but I do want all my uniformed troops from that longago, faraway galaxy to look more, well, uniform, while at the same time not wanting to let all the forces I've amassed over the last decade go unused.

Similarly, I do wonder about how best to make use of certain uniformed professionals in my LEGO Cities. Perhaps it's fortunate that I don't actually have a whole lot of (for example) World City cops to worry about incorporating into my current City police units, but as figure designs continue to evolve I'm not sure whether I'll want to stay with the cops, firefighters, postal carriers, etc. I have now, switch them out for new designs that come along, or use all of them from all different eras together...

Edited by Blondie-Wan, 17 November 2011 - 03:41 AM.


#10 Mariko

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

Interesting point; I think that also applies to the Town/City line (there are only so many different uniform variations the police or some other group can have, after all).

#11 Piranha

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:23 AM

yes the minifigs are getting more sophisticated and so is my computer and everything else compared to the past. :tongue:

I like both styles, older for nostalgia and newer for details.

Edited by Macoco, 23 November 2011 - 01:23 AM.

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#12 Mariko

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:52 PM

I'm aware of this; notice, however, that my topic wasn't simply stating that things are getting more sophisticated; rather, I looked at one particular aspect of the advancement.

As I had stated, I love the details of the newer things, but I think that sometimes the level of detail on things like sets, for example, actually makes the "scale" a bit more odd-looking. Classic town always had a sort of weird scale, but everything was pretty much on the same scale. The new level of detail means that things look better alone, but may not look as great all together, as they may be on slightly different scales (or some cars, for example, might have doors and no side mirrors, and others might have mirrors and no doors, etc.). I think the same could possibly be true of the printing--the more realistic clothing becomes (like with the new female "curves"), the more attention is brought to the fact that minifigures don't have human proportions.

#13 davee123

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:19 AM

View PostMariko, on 14 November 2011 - 09:25 PM, said:

[...] it was around the year 2003 that the overall style of the printing, both of the torsos and the faces, shifted (the shift sort of began in 2001, but it was in 2003 that it became really noticeable; interestingly, this was close to the beginning of my Dark Ages).

Not to nitpick, but I don't think the dates are quite accurate.  The first minifigs with pupils in the eyes appeared in 1996, and appeared here and there up until 2003 when nearly EVERY minifig had pupils in their eyes. Nearly EVERY head until 1995 could have started as a classic smiley, and then had extra printing added to it (except for a few with red lips or glasses).

The iconic look of the torsos (all imperfections and minor details glossed over) is trickier to pinpoint a beginning and end of, I think. I might name 1996 as the starting point, with the first appearance of actual imperfections printed in the implied "cloth" of the minifigs in the Wild West lineup. Hard to say when the last of the "iconic" torsos vanished, but certainly by 2001-2003 or so, nearly all the torsos produced have been more realistic.

BTW, a nice place to get a feel for the shift is BrickLink's advanced search. Just look at (for example) minifig heads in a given year (the year being the year they were released-- they may be produced for more years afterwards)

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#14 Mariko

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 09:07 PM

View Postdavee123, on 30 November 2011 - 06:19 AM, said:

Not to nitpick, but I don't think the dates are quite accurate.  The first minifigs with pupils in the eyes appeared in 1996, and appeared here and there up until 2003 when nearly EVERY minifig had pupils in their eyes. Nearly EVERY head until 1995 could have started as a classic smiley, and then had extra printing added to it (except for a few with red lips or glasses).

The iconic look of the torsos (all imperfections and minor details glossed over) is trickier to pinpoint a beginning and end of, I think. I might name 1996 as the starting point, with the first appearance of actual imperfections printed in the implied "cloth" of the minifigs in the Wild West lineup. Hard to say when the last of the "iconic" torsos vanished, but certainly by 2001-2003 or so, nearly all the torsos produced have been more realistic.

BTW, a nice place to get a feel for the shift is BrickLink's advanced search. Just look at (for example) minifig heads in a given year (the year being the year they were released-- they may be produced for more years afterwards)

DaveE

Very true; I admit, I did notice some of these as I was writing the topic (the "sparkle" eyes in the Divers theme, the cloth imperfections in the Wild West theme, etc.), but decided to overlook those, since they seemed more experimental and were not as widespread, often affecting the one- or two-wave "action themes" more than the "central" ones (again, there are exceptions). I was more concerned with the large-scale overhaul than its beginnings. Nevertheless, you make a valid point--LEGO had tested out newer-style prints before, and the shift didn't come from nowhere.

Macoco, when I speak of a shift or overhaul, I think that there's actually more to it than just an advancement in sophistication; rather, it's a pretty massive change. For example--my wife has a Honda Civic from 2002. It's more sophisticated than the Civics from 1992, and there have been various improvements, but it's still essentially an updated, more sophisticated version of the same car. I own a Honda Civic from 2007, after Honda completely changed the body of the Civic. While it shares a model name with my wife's car, it is more than just a more sophisticated version--it has been completely overhauled, redone. In the same way, this torso: Posted Image
is more "sophisticated" than this one: Posted Image,
and can be seen as sophistication growing with time. However, compare either of those torsos to this one: Posted Image
and you'll see that the style is very different.

Edited by Mariko, 30 November 2011 - 09:10 PM.


#15 Piranha

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 10:23 PM

View PostMariko, on 29 November 2011 - 07:52 PM, said:

I'm aware of this; notice, however, that my topic wasn't simply stating that things are getting more sophisticated; rather, I looked at one particular aspect of the advancement.

As I had stated, I love the details of the newer things, but I think that sometimes the level of detail on things like sets, for example, actually makes the "scale" a bit more odd-looking. Classic town always had a sort of weird scale, but everything was pretty much on the same scale. The new level of detail means that things look better alone, but may not look as great all together, as they may be on slightly different scales (or some cars, for example, might have doors and no side mirrors, and others might have mirrors and no doors, etc.). I think the same could possibly be true of the printing--the more realistic clothing becomes (like with the new female "curves"), the more attention is brought to the fact that minifigures don't have human proportions.
Yes

Well city sets have been pretty much always out of scale with each other each time a new wave is released from classic town to town jr to city. Yes that has been a main gripe for years, I have an old police car but the new one doesn't match at all 4 wide vs 6 wide and so on. I think you are getting at TLG changing the whole proportion of the figure? I don't think they would ever do something like that because that is one of the define aspects of LEGO like the 2x4 brick and the classic logo.


View PostMariko, on 30 November 2011 - 09:07 PM, said:

Very true; I admit, I did notice some of these as I was writing the topic (the "sparkle" eyes in the Divers theme, the cloth imperfections in the Wild West theme, etc.), but decided to overlook those, since they seemed more experimental and were not as widespread, often affecting the one- or two-wave "action themes" more than the "central" ones (again, there are exceptions). I was more concerned with the large-scale overhaul than its beginnings. Nevertheless, you make a valid point--LEGO had tested out newer-style prints before, and the shift didn't come from nowhere.

Macoco, when I speak of a shift or overhaul, I think that there's actually more to it than just an advancement in sophistication; rather, it's a pretty massive change. For example--my wife has a Honda Civic from 2002. It's more sophisticated than the Civics from 1992, and there have been various improvements, but it's still essentially an updated, more sophisticated version of the same car. I own a Honda Civic from 2007, after Honda completely changed the body of the Civic. While it shares a model name with my wife's car, it is more than just a more sophisticated version--it has been completely overhauled, redone. In the same way, this torso:
is more "sophisticated" than this one: ,
and can be seen as sophistication growing with time. However, compare either of those torsos to this one:
and you'll see that the style is very different.

in the original version it has a collar while the latter doesn't but returns in the new design, I would say a collar is pretty detailed for a classic fig. The print only adds safety glow markings, a radio and undershirt.

I don't see nothing more than an advancement of design not any radical changes but an improvement each generation like I mentioned earlier as with anything.

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#16 Mariko

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:29 PM

You don't think there's a difference in design aesthetic? I guess it could be just simple advancement, and I'm seeing the fact that the newer style pretty much entirely replaced the older style as indication of a large-scale shift (for example, whenever updated classic town torso & face prints were introduced, other old-style ones still coexisted; this really isn't the case with the new style).

#17 Aanchir

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:27 PM

View PostMariko, on 06 December 2011 - 09:29 PM, said:

You don't think there's a difference in design aesthetic? I guess it could be just simple advancement, and I'm seeing the fact that the newer style pretty much entirely replaced the older style as indication of a large-scale shift (for example, whenever updated classic town torso & face prints were introduced, other old-style ones still coexisted; this really isn't the case with the new style).
The reason for this probably just has to do with TLG streamlining their production in the early 2000s. I've read that before that, parts and decorations were never taken out of production entirely. Part of the streamlining meant that parts that weren't being used in sets for a long time and weren't expected to be used again were discontinued. And I would assume that the same applies for decorations.

I'm definitely a fan of the newer, higher-detail minifigure decorations, especially now that TLG seems to have found some general rules that they can follow when it comes to minifigure faces. Some of the earliest minifigure faces to break from the "basic smile with details added over top" pattern, in the Western theme, were horrible-looking. One of the bandits and all of the Indians had sclerae and noses. :sick:

Nowadays, minifigures tend to follow the rule of two dot eyes with eye sparkles and no nose. There's still a lot of variability but nowhere near as much as when TLG first started to branch out in that regard. Torsos still have highly variable detail, but generally I don't mind, as usually IMO an older torso only becomes truly obsolete when it starts looking bad compared to newer ones, and at that point there's no reason I'd want TLG to go back to the older, worse-looking style.

Incidentally, the Ninjago characters in the TV series have about as much detail as a fig could possibly have without falling into the uncanny valley. While faces and torsos are still moderately simple, using just a few colors for any decoration, there is printing on pretty much every surface of the torsos including the top and sides. But the great thing is that this type of design still looks like LEGO. So as I see it, TLG can continue adding detail as much as they want and it won't cause problems until the figs start looking outright -bad-.

One final note is that there is a theoretical limit to how detailed figs can get, just based on budget. After all, printing on figs, no matter how detailed in terms of shape, is usually limited to five colors at the very most. The same applies for faces. In fact, pretty much any printed part or sticker sheet will have a limited color palette. I believe this is done for economic reasons and I don't see any reason that it will go away. After all, working with a limited color palette often makes the characters look better in the long run too, just like how some video game characters have limited color palettes to make the sprites less complex.

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#18 Commander Adama

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:13 PM

As much as I like the new Torsos, I feel that sometimes it's out of place, last year we had normal Stormtroopers and even this year, but next year they're changing the torsos and the printing is different, to me it seems out of place

#19 Nobleman

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 07:47 PM

New minifigure prints indeed look very good, though I only like few of new faces.
My only gripe with most them is that they are detailed to the point that now each figure [face print] has it's own character. And when those figures bring their own character into my city/pirates/castle/space, that means I can hardly set my chosen personalities to them without completely disregarding how they look. Old ones were much simpler, and of course there was more room for your imagination to run wild.

#20 Commander Adama

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 03:04 PM

Hey Legoheads.

I'm hoping you will agree with me on this, do you think we get to many detailed Lego figures nowadays?

Looking back, look at the old Boba Fett, simple yet you can see it's Bobba,the newer one om the other hand look at him
Posted Image

He's really detailed isn't he?

Every few sets, we used to get one really detailed figure, now it's  every one set we get one with printed arms and legs, don't you miss the old plain figures?

Do you agree?

#21 The Blue Brick

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

For me its all nostalgia. I like the new detailed faces and prints, but I still prefer the old ones.

For example, I love LegoStein's StarWars Mocs. They are so simple but effective.

And when it comes to my own lego town, I usually switch out the newer heads for the classic smiley.

Anyways, as Legos mini figure printers just keep better and better, I don't see no reason they will stop.

I bet many people love the detailed figures, especially kids. I think detailed figures are good for sales, but I think the are going a little too far.

Some Lego figs are really detailed which make them look good like the CMS, and some are just over the top.

Well, those are my two cents,

Blue Brick  :classic:



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