LEGO Minifigure Year by Year
The much anticipated book: LEGO Minifigure Year by Year A Visual History from Dorling Kindersley has just been published in the USA and will be available in the UK from next week.
The book covers the history of minifigures from 1978 to 2013 in 256-pages. It features information and pictures of several thousand of them laid out in typical DK style. It doesn't set out to include every minifig ever made, but it does include every significant and important minifig ever made, with some exceptions, which I'll come onto later.
It comes with not one but three minifigs mounted in the thick front cover: a town person (plain red torso and legs, classic smiley and brown male hair), a Stormtrooper that looks to be pretty standard, and a robber, who is probably similar to those found in recent City sets. To be honest, they are a bit boring and actually I think I'd rather have a copy of the book without the thick front cover because it does make it more difficult to browse. I believe DK make 'library editions' so it might be worth looking out for that instead of the retail version.
After a few introductory pages about 'what is a minifigure?', 'how minifigures are made' and a time-line, the main body of the book starts on page 19 with 1978, pictured right. The 70s and 80s are covered in the next 25-pages. The 1990s take 40-pages, the 2000s take 100 pages and the last 60 pages cover years 2010 - 2013. I think these numbers illustrate very well the rapid expansion in minifigs we've seen since the turn of the century!
The photography is generally of a high quality and consists of several types of images: those that have appeared in other DK books, including some I took for the HP and SW character encyclopedias; those that have been taken especially for this book; and for minifigs made in recent years, those provided by LEGO from their image library.
You will recall that earlier in the year we put out a request here at Brickset to source minifigs to photograph and around twenty or so of us loaned them to DK, so consequently the acknowledgements page at the back reads like a Brickset roll-call. Thank you to all those that helped!
Personally I felt some of the pictures taken for the book lacked 'punch' due to flat lighting, and consequently don't 'leap off the page'. I thought some of those on a 1998 page, right, were not particularly good.
So, what's in the book, and what isn't? Our very own kempo81, Giles Kemp, was the lead consultant and tasked with deciding what should be included. We can be confident therefore that every significant figure has been included.
However, there are some gaps: there are no Toy Story, no Pirates of the Caribbean, no Prince of Persia and no Lone Ranger figures included. Are you seeing a pattern emerge? I couldn't possibly comment on why that is, but I suspect you can draw your own conclusions. It's a shame, but it's not a show-stopper.
Like all DK books, it's fantastic and worthy of a place on every LEGO fan's bookshelf. It's not quite the definitive book that it should have been but it comes close, and there's no other book like it.
It's available from Amazon: