Ultrake

What Exactly is Minifig Scale?

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Last night I was thinking about what defines something as minifig scale, considering the proportions of a minifigure are different from a person.

So, what does define something as minifig scale? Is there an easy way to tell if something is? And what I want to know most, is there a list somewhere of what sets are minifig scale, and which ones are bigger or smaller?

If this has been mentioned elsewhere, I'm sorry.

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It is more a concept than a precise scale.

It just means it goes well with the minifig.

A 4-stud-wide stuck from the 80s or a recent 8-stud-wide truck are both minifig-scale despite being at a different scale.

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Last night I was thinking about what defines something as minifig scale, considering the proportions of a minifigure are different from a person.

So, what does define something as minifig scale? Is there an easy way to tell if something is? And what I want to know most, is there a list somewhere of what sets are minifig scale, and which ones are bigger or smaller?

If this has been mentioned elsewhere, I'm sorry.

Mini figure scale is, essentially a model that fits a mini fig. EG, a car that a figure can get into and "drive", a house which was to some extent, a mini fig can actually live in. The creator, city and modular buildings are good examples of this.

Again, it's really more of concept than a scale- if it fits a mini fig, it's mini fig scale.

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I understand. However, when you get into themes that aren't real like Star Wars, I'd like to know what SW sets are MF scale, as it's not as clear for these.

I've seen some people say that their MOC's or certain sets are minifig scale. Do they just make these statement out of nowhere or is thought out in a way?

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I've seen some people say that their MOC's or certain sets are minifig scale. Do they just make these statement out of nowhere or is thought out in a way?

BrickCurve basically has it right. If a LEGO set or MOC can fit a minifigure, it's MF scale. It's not a precise ratio, more of a scalar range. That's not to say there aren't exceptions. The SW Microfighter line, for example, can accommodate a minifigure but clearly the vehicles aren't to MF scale: Han Solo isn't almost as tall as the Millennium Falcon is wide, not even within the broad boundaries of MF scale. I would describe the Microfighters as chibi.

Among collectors of (non-LEGO) miniatures, scale is usually measured from the bottom of a miniature's feet to the height of his eyes. If you take that as 5'8", you can get a reasonable approximation of scale. I don't have a LEGO minifigure to hand to try it, but it wouldn't be very useful anyway. As already mentioned, the tolerance of the MF scale doesn't lend itself to a fixed ratio.

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I think the approach by TLG is simply: what works, works. Bikes (and not only speeder bikes) are usually clearly too oversized to be true to a fixed "scale", as are many cars and trucks today. When it comes to larger builds, the tendency is rather than the "scale" gets smaller. Houses often don't really offer much space, as do the ships and bases of the explorer-type themes. The buildings especially not when folded up, and things like a star destroyer are so clearly undersized, that I wonder if I should have mentioned it at all :classic:

So I would simply give it some good leeway and not care about scale as long it looks convincing and not grossly off the mark. Most minifigs I met don't suffer from claustrophobia :wink:

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Thank you, I think I understand now. Last question, are most sets released by TLG not MF scale? Obviously some are, but for the most part, a lot of sets would be really big if they were in scale with MFs. Is that why a lot of sets aren't? I also suppose that's what UCS sets are for, then :laugh:.

Anyway, I'm asking because I've been trying to figure out the best way to display some sets if the scales are different. Thank you if you've replied to this topic, you've all been a great help.

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I understand. However, when you get into themes that aren't real like Star Wars, I'd like to know what SW sets are MF scale, as it's not as clear for these.

Well, the same rule ought to still apply (with a caveat, noted below). Simply put, is it designed with minifigures in mind? If so, it's Minifigure scale. Therefore, for example, I consider both the UCS and Microfighter versions of the Millennium Falcon to be minifigure scale, despite the extreme difference between their sizes.

That said, it's really up to the individual; there isn't a hard & fast rule. Lots of people would disagree vehemently with my rather silly and extreme Millennium Falcon example, for instance. But it doesn't really matter in the end. The Minifigure Scale Police aren't going to come and arrest you for having crazy opinions about what Minifigure scale really is, not even if you post them on the Internet. So have fun! :grin:

Edited by Blondie-Wan

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Really, it depends on what theme the set is from. It also depends on what the vehicle/building is. So each set has it's own scale, whether it be to a minifigure or not.

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From my experience, it can also mean that the builder decides that a minifigure is a designated height and the model is made according to that scale (for example: one stud equals one foot, this makes a minifigure with hair ~5ft. 6in tall and all other measurements of the model reflect this).

Edited by RAKRONDEWL

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Only a few minifigures have scales.

A few obvious examples are the Chima Crocodile Tribe, Killer Croc, and a few Atlantis Fish People.

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I think I agree most with Blondy-Wan here: if it is designed with minifigures in mind, then it is minifig scale. I would consider this an exception to that, as the figure is clearly meant to be monster that is way to oversized for its environment (which is built in microscale). Also, there is this build of mine that is in a grey zone right now. The original was a minifig of Samukai, but due to heavy modifications, it towers over a figure now. So, if I were to build an interior around him that completely fits his body proportions, it would lean towards bigfig scale, if I would place it in a diorama among minifig samurai for example, then it would be a minifig scale diorama with a bigfig/giant in it.

Current Lego themes that are non-minifig scale: Technic, Bionicle, Mindstorms, Architecture, Classic and Duplo. Arguably Mixels and Angry Birds too. The majority of both sets and MOCs is minifig scale.

Only a few minifigures have scales.

A few obvious examples are the Chima Crocodile Tribe, Killer Croc, and a few Atlantis Fish People.

:laugh_hard: None of those have scales*, you silly!

*These :tongue:

Edited by Exetrius

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Posted (edited)

There was actually a very easy to overlook statement made in the 2009 version of "The LEGO Book" which states that Minifigure Scale is 1:50 Scale. It says this about a stadium built for a Miniland in one of the LEGOLAND Parks, this stadium used normal Minifigures instead of the Brick Built Miniland Figures which is why they mentioned it. Other then that however there is no one exactly perfect universal "Minifigure Scale" to go by other than the fact that the build fits a Minifigure and has an environment that can accommodate them well based on the size of selves and furniture in a house or the controls and windows in the cockpit of a spaceship.

Edited by hotdogonthebbq

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Minifigures are 4cm tall, so the average person in LEGO City is 2m high at 1:50! It should really be about 1:43.75 if based on the average male height of 1.75m reported in many European and North American countries. It could well just be rounded to make the maths easier.

But of course, problems arise in the other two dimensions due to minifigure shape.

 

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16 hours ago, MAB said:

Minifigures are 4cm tall, so the average person in LEGO City is 2m high at 1:50! It should really be about 1:43.75 if based on the average male height of 1.75m reported in many European and North American countries. It could well just be rounded to make the maths easier.

But of course, problems arise in the other two dimensions due to minifigure shape.

Minifigures are horizontally challenged in that case...

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Posted (edited)

To me, minifig scale can mean from as high as 1:25 to as low as 1:50, which means that a model could be twice the size of another and you could argue that both are "minifig scaled".

But the common 1:43 means you're judging according to minifig height, which is very wrong IMHO. Take any model kit around 1:45 and put a minifig around it, it just doesn't match.
I think the best is to judge according to the head size, it's the head that gives the sense of scale. And yes, that makes minifig midgets, which is fine. So the best match in my book is around 1:30.

And if we have to judge minifig scale according to Lego's own sets & minifig accessories, then it can vary even more..

Minifigs are almost chibi, short with chubby limbs & head. And thus you can't assume the scale by the height.
To prove it further, there are numerous examples of MOCs using minifig helmets on much taller bodies, and they do fit, and IMHO the scale of those bodies is the true "minifig scale".
Or you could also view it as a style, the scale alone not being enough to make something match minifigs. But then anything made for minifigs has to be designed as a caricature.

 

Edited by anothergol

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As I said, 1:43.75 is based on height alone. Anything will be in scale only in the vertical axis. It is a common problem when putting minifigures in cars, or fitting them through doors - anything in the other two dimensions.

But then take any LEGO train, it is tiny. You can fit maybe 6-8 people in a carriage. However, we still think of it as minifigure scale. LEGO world is very different to ours. To me, anything is minfiigure scale if minifigures can interact with what you have built in a sensible way.

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Like everyone suggests, it's broad.

I had a Lego set up that was (for decades) in a 80s/main street 'minifigure scale'.

Then after I started seeing a lot of (what became) the modular scale on several blogs, I made a second set up that was a modular scale. I would also consider this to be 'minifigure scale'.

 

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Posted (edited)

As people have said it's vague. However I think a general rule of thumb is you should go by the width of the minifigures more often than the height. Otherwise it just doesn't work with vehicles. 

What does this mean? Well, if the minifigure had an offical lifesize height I think the minifigure would be incredibly short and fat. I'm talking shorter and wider than the international treasure that is Danny DeVito. 

A minifigure is 4cm by 1.6cm (at the feet, not the arms). If we simply convert that to feet we get 4 feet by 1.6 feet. 1.6 feet is kind of wide but it'll still fit in your average office chair with arms. But obviously 4 feet is quite short.... However, at least you can make a car that all minifigures can sit in and I think that's the more important thing. If you made a minifigure sized car that was scaled compared to their height they couldn't fit in it!

 

So in my mind minifigures are shorties 4 feet tall by 1.6 feet wide, also with unusually wide shoulders and arms :).

 

 

 

 

Edited by BrickG

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Try making a car where you have two minifigures sitting together and see how wide it is and make it a real life ratio long. Even worse, have three kids sit in the back.

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22 hours ago, BrickG said:

As people have said it's vague. However I think a general rule of thumb is you should go by the width of the minifigures more often than the height. Otherwise it just doesn't work with vehicles. 

What does this mean? Well, if the minifigure had an offical lifesize height I think the minifigure would be incredibly short and fat. I'm talking shorter and wider than the international treasure that is Danny DeVito. 

A minifigure is 4cm by 1.6cm (at the feet, not the arms). If we simply convert that to feet we get 4 feet by 1.6 feet. 1.6 feet is kind of wide but it'll still fit in your average office chair with arms. But obviously 4 feet is quite short.... However, at least you can make a car that all minifigures can sit in and I think that's the more important thing. If you made a minifigure sized car that was scaled compared to their height they couldn't fit in it!

 

So in my mind minifigures are shorties 4 feet tall by 1.6 feet wide, also with unusually wide shoulders and arms :).

 

 

 

 

Id suggest the opposite

Using the width as a rule of thumb leads you to having oversized cars and motorbikes, in a way what TLG is doing with the SC line right now.

Better use the height, it varies less irl than human width (90% of population 175cm +/- 10cm). That gives you a scale of 1/43 as others also stated earlier.

Actually it comes down to a choice:

Do i oversize everything so it also look realistic length wise and height wise again, just to fit in a few figs some people might not even see in a convention layout from 2 meters away?

Or, being an AFOL, focusing less on playability, do i just not care about them fat figs inside cars or trains, but instead have cars, trains, motorbikes, planes and buildings harmonize in the same scale together with more detail? (Thats what i chose btw)

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