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Transparent Minfigs


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#1 Lego_Hero

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 10:53 PM

Hey peeps,

I've tried the EB search and even Googled it... I was wondering if anyone knew of transcolored minifigs being manufactured and sold? I've seen a blue one that Brick Arms or Forge or someone like that did, but no evidence that it was mass produced for sale.

I made a transclear minifig once by hacking and gluing transclear pieces. It looks like a minifig in general, but nowhere near enough to post here. The purists would likely hunt me down just for the amount of pieces I had to cut up.

Any help would be appreciated.
Two with the lance and with the sword five of the foe he slew.
The Moors are very many. Around him close they drew,
They did not pierce his armor, though they laid on him strokes of power.
                                                                                  
-The Lay of the Cid

#2 Omicron

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:06 PM

View PostLego_Hero, on 18 October 2011 - 10:53 PM, said:

I've seen a blue one that Brick Arms or Forge or someone like that did,
It's this one and it was made by neither. Kaminoan made it, and it was a one time thing. None were made for sale, and Lego does not make their own.

However.

Arealight does make their curved torsos in Trans Clear. Their hair comes in that color as well.

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#3 davee123

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 11:14 PM

Someone I know has this minifig in clear:

Posted Image

And I've seen another in... I think trans-neon-green-- but they're prototype molds made by LEGO. Nothing that's actually been for sale.

I think some of the issue is that (according to Jamie Berard), the transparent bricks are made from polycarbonate plastic (PC) rather than ABS. And that's fine most of the time, when you've got opaque ABS and transparent PC, it works just fine. ... But when PC and PC parts get next to each other, they bond VERY TIGHTLY. So tightly that in some cases, they may break. Hence, if they make minifigs out of PC plastic, the joints may not work very well. They may bind up, break, or be very brittle.

But that's just a guess on my part-- I haven't actually heard that from anyone regarding minifigs per se-- just regarding other construction limitations regarding PC elements.

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#4 Big Cam

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:15 AM

Dang, that blue fig is awesome, I'd love an army of transparent figs.

#5 CallMePie

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:29 AM

Gah. Here I was, being told (well, seen others being told) left and right 'transparent figs aren't possible'.

Deception.   :distressed:

Those transparent figs are cool.  :thumbup:
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#6 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:22 AM

View Postdavee123, on 18 October 2011 - 11:14 PM, said:

Someone I know has this minifig in clear:

Posted Image

And I've seen another in... I think trans-neon-green-- but they're prototype molds made by LEGO. Nothing that's actually been for sale.

I think some of the issue is that (according to Jamie Berard), the transparent bricks are made from polycarbonate plastic (PC) rather than ABS. And that's fine most of the time, when you've got opaque ABS and transparent PC, it works just fine. ... But when PC and PC parts get next to each other, they bond VERY TIGHTLY. So tightly that in some cases, they may break. Hence, if they make minifigs out of PC plastic, the joints may not work very well. They may bind up, break, or be very brittle.

But that's just a guess on my part-- I haven't actually heard that from anyone regarding minifigs per se-- just regarding other construction limitations regarding PC elements.

DaveE

Oh wow. :wub: I would love to own one of those. I would probably not break it, since it would be safe in a plastic baggie. :sweet:

#7 Lyichir

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:34 AM

View PostCallMePieOrDie, on 19 October 2011 - 12:29 AM, said:

Gah. Here I was, being told (well, seen others being told) left and right 'transparent figs aren't possible'.

Deception.   :distressed:

Those transparent figs are cool.  :thumbup:
They're not practical, at least for LEGO to mass-produce. If the polycarbonate parts didn't break when fitted together (minifig arm and leg connections are a great deal tighter than other LEGO connections, which is why even normal ones can break when being changed), they would generate a great deal of friction when moved, perhaps enough to break the piece. I can't vouch for those customs, but I would suspect they were not intended for the kind of heavy play production figs are made to withstand. And even if, once fitted together, they were durable, if LEGO had to discard enough as a result of breakage during assembly, the costs would outweigh the benefits enormously. So just because some very talented customizers are able to make transparent figs, don't expect them in actual sets any time soon.

#8 splatman

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:22 AM

View Postdavee123, on 18 October 2011 - 11:14 PM, said:

I think some of the issue is that (according to Jamie Berard), the transparent bricks are made from polycarbonate plastic (PC) rather than ABS. And that's fine most of the time, when you've got opaque ABS and transparent PC, it works just fine. ... But when PC and PC parts get next to each other, they bond VERY TIGHTLY. So tightly that in some cases, they may break. Hence, if they make minifigs out of PC plastic, the joints may not work very well. They may bind up, break, or be very brittle.

If that were so, then why has been no issues with anything built of transparent bricks? The only difference is trans bricks, particularly any w/o side supports, tend to fit tighter, due to their sides curving inward, causing them to have a stronger grip. Things built of trans bricks are just a bit harder to take apart than things built of the same shape ABS bricks.
Though that does not say much about the tightness of a rod-in-tube connection, such a minifig hand in arm.

#9 Brickdoctor

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:39 AM

View Postsplatman, on 19 October 2011 - 02:22 AM, said:

If that were so, then why has been no issues with anything built of transparent bricks? The only difference is trans bricks, particularly any w/o side supports, tend to fit tighter, due to their sides curving inward, causing them to have a stronger grip. Things built of trans bricks are just a bit harder to take apart than things built of the same shape ABS bricks.
Though that does not say much about the tightness of a rod-in-tube connection, such a minifig hand in arm.
The insertion of the arm into the torso requires that a part of the arm, composed of two thin bits, be compressed and then allowed to expand back to its original shape.

#10 davee123

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 03:34 AM

View Postsplatman, on 19 October 2011 - 02:22 AM, said:

If that were so, then why has been no issues with anything built of transparent bricks?

Because not every element made of PC plastic when attached to any other element made of PC plastic is so tight that it's unusable? But certain combinations are more likely to be a problem, in particular where there's full contact on all sides of a circle, like a 1x1 round with a hollow stud placed over an antenna. I would guess that the arm-to-body, arm-to-hand, body-to-head, and hip-to-leg connections are the ones that would be problematic if made with PC plastic in minifigs.

DaveE

#11 Aanchir

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:11 PM

View Postsplatman, on 19 October 2011 - 02:22 AM, said:

If that were so, then why has been no issues with anything built of transparent bricks? The only difference is trans bricks, particularly any w/o side supports, tend to fit tighter, due to their sides curving inward, causing them to have a stronger grip. Things built of trans bricks are just a bit harder to take apart than things built of the same shape ABS bricks.
Though that does not say much about the tightness of a rod-in-tube connection, such a minifig hand in arm.
Stud-to-stud connections are not as tight as a lot of other connections in LEGO. It's discussed on pages 19 and 20 of this PDF.

Incidentally, the confirmation that transparent minifigures are not possible for TLG to produce comes from Brickfair 2011. I specifically asked Jim Foulds about transparent minifigures during a Q&A session because I was curious if they were possible-- they are a popular request in this site's "What Minifigs Are We Missing?" topic. He stated that no, they're not possible at this time (although LEGO has tried in the past to make them) because the tolerances of the parts are too low to meet quality control standards when cast in PC.

I would assume the "test minifigures" mentioned would be from a small batch created for those quality control tests. I've never seen them before, and it's very interesting to know that some fans have gotten their hands on them! I'm sure they're quite valuable!

Of course, information from the Q&A sessions at Brickfair has been wrong, or in the very least, misleading, in the past. That's where we got the "confirmation" that purple would be discontinued a few years back, and yet purple colors are still in production today. At the next year's Brickfair, Steve Witt mentioned there had been a miscommunication, and the truth was that sets with primarily purple parts would no longer be produced. However, I would assume the recent Knight Bus means LEGO has gone back on that word as well, not that we AFOLs are going to be mad at them for it when it means more purple parts for us.

But anyway, I think the fact that transparent minifigures haven't been produced by TLG speaks louder than any particular reasons they give us for why that won't happen. Perhaps someday new minifigure parts will be designed that allow for transparent minifigs, but as it currently stands TLG hasn't arrived at a solution so far.

#12 Lego_Hero

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:24 PM

Thanks for all the feedback so far. I knew Lego didn't sell their own transparent minifigs, but like I said, I saw one so I was hoping someone did somewhere.

As for the rigidity and tightness of PC plastic, I would be content with the arm and hand being one piece, but the rest would need to be movable to be worth owning.

There was a seller in Taiwan that has/had accessories (mostly armor, weapons, hair) in several trans colors. I forgot about him until just now. No minifigs, but it's got me in the mood for trans swords!

Why can't you have clear ABS like you can have clear plastic PC? What does ABS look like before you add the color?
Two with the lance and with the sword five of the foe he slew.
The Moors are very many. Around him close they drew,
They did not pierce his armor, though they laid on him strokes of power.
                                                                                  
-The Lay of the Cid

#13 Aanchir

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:55 PM

View PostLego_Hero, on 20 October 2011 - 10:24 PM, said:

Thanks for all the feedback so far. I knew Lego didn't sell their own transparent minifigs, but like I said, I saw one so I was hoping someone did somewhere.

As for the rigidity and tightness of PC plastic, I would be content with the arm and hand being one piece, but the rest would need to be movable to be worth owning.

There was a seller in Taiwan that has/had accessories (mostly armor, weapons, hair) in several trans colors. I forgot about him until just now. No minifigs, but it's got me in the mood for trans swords!

Why can't you have clear ABS like you can have clear plastic PC? What does ABS look like before you add the color?
I believe uncolored ABS granulate is milky white. This probably has something to do with why the official name for the color of milky white LEGO parts is "Nature"-- that is what ABS parts would look like without any type of dye added.




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