Minecraft keeps getting bigger — and I’m not just talking about the game’s record-breaking sales. The original LEGO Minecraft set I helped design back in 2011 as part of LEGO’s early Ideas platform was microscale, mostly due to the steep constraints of hitting a roughly $30 MSRP target. Later, that first wildly successful set was followed by more microscale sets, and finally in 2014 the theme got upgraded to our original vision by introducing minifigure-scale sets. Recently, LEGO bumped up the scale a bit with 41612 Steve and Creeper BrickHeadz. Now LEGO Minecraft is upping its game once more with a new line called Big Figs, and we’ve got the first series comprising three sets to review: 21148 Steve with Parrot, 21149 Alex with Chicken, and 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube. Each of the sets contains a large figure paired with a small animal from the game, and will be available January 1 for $14.99 USD.
The box and contents
With each set hovering around 150 pieces (159 for Steve, 160 for Alex, and 142 for the Skeleton), it’s no surprise that the small bags in each box aren’t numbered.
The last page of the instructions notes that these three sets comprise Series 1 of the Minecraft Big Figs, though the box exteriors don’t indicate any series markings. It’s a safe bet that more characters are already in the pipeline.
For being such small sets, there’s a large diversity of colors, though Alex takes the cake for best parts, in my opinion, with an interesting smattering of orange and sand green along with six teal 1×1 tiles. Each set also includes unique printed tiles for the characters’ faces, and both the Chicken and Magma Cube feature printed tiles for faces also.
If you’ve been itching to get your hands on a few of the new bracket elements we first encountered in the latest Modular, 10264 Corner Garage, then you’ll like these sets, which each come with several. You’ll get 2x in dark grey and 1x in tan from Steve, 2x in dark grey and 1x in yellow from Alex, and 2x in white and 1x in black from the Skeleton.
The sets also feature new unique elements for the weapons, which are likely to always be exclusive to the Minecraft Big Figs due to their highly specialized nature. Steve is equipped with a pickaxe, while Alex and the Skeleton wield the sword and bow, respectively. The weapons are a single plate thick and have solid studs on one side and hollow studs on the other. They’re not quite symmetrical, with the hollow-stud side also have a few anti-studs.
Both Steven and Alex feature blocky bodies that are identical except in color. The torso hides a small lever that activates their main play feature of a moving arm.
The legs and head are attached with Mixel-ball joints, and each of the feet employs the 2×2 brackets I mentioned previously to give the feet a nice set of anti-studs to grip LEGO plates when standing.
Lacking a body, the skeleton’s interior is also its exterior, so there’s not much to cover in terms of hidden techniques. Likewise, the Chicken and Parrot are quite simple builds from the perspective of techniques. The Magma Cube is also rudimentary, but it does feature a little mechanism to let it stretch for a jump.
The finished models
If you’ve played Minecraft at all, you’ll immediately note how remarkable the resemblance and proportions of these characters are to their in-game counterparts. LEGO Minecraft minifigures may look odd with cubic heads, but these larger brick-built figures look right at home in brick form. Each character comes with a 6×6 plate to stand on, though Steve and Alex balance fairly well without them (the Skeleton is a bit more precarious).
The range of motions achievable by the characters is very, very close to that of the game, making you feel as though you’re seeing a part of the game actually brought to life.
The finger-activated lever on Steve and Alex’s back works well, with the weight of the arm naturally returning it to a resting position. The tools are molded in the color of their lowest level material: wood for the pickaxe and stone for the sword (bows are always wood). They rely on tiles to indicate their upgraded source material, with Steve carrying a stone pickaxe and Alex a diamond sword. It’s a cool feature that allows kids to swap out the source material by simply adding tiles from their own collections, but I do wish the base weapons also had upgraded colors. I’d bet that’s something we’ll see in the future as the line continues.
The accessories can be swapped between hands, requiring a 2×2 tile on the arm to be removed and replaced. One minor criticism is that LEGO didn’t bother molding the 1×2 brackets for the hands in tan, opting to use the existing dark tan element.
The skeleton is wearing an iron helmet and — somewhat surprisingly — it’s not only removable, but it fits all the characters, portending a nifty system of interchangeable armor. His bow also features a spring-loaded dart shooter with a solid brown dart (plus an extra). The dart shooter just stuck on the side of the bow and not integrated at all, so it looks a bit tacky but is also easy to remove.
The three companion animals are all excellent renditions, rivaling the larger characters for accuracy.The chicken is easily my favorite, however, with an uncanny resemblance to the squawking model in the game. These will make perfect desk companions.
The baby Magma Cube may be tiny, but he can still hurt! The little “jumping” mechanism simply splits the body by about a brick when the cube is lifted by the top half. For such a simple mechanism, it conveys the creature’s motion quite well.
Conclusion and recommendation
Let’s be honest, adult fans of LEGO don’t always love Minecraft or the LEGO Minecraft theme. And that’s OK. Not every theme needs to cater to the adults in the crowd along with its core audience of 6-12-year-olds. But we here at The Brothers Brick always advocate excellence in building, regardless of the theme. And the LEGO Minecraft Big Figs are excellent. They’re amazingly accurate models, they’re sturdy enough to withstand kid play, and they don’t rely on any specialized elements apart from the accessories. This scale fits LEGO Minecraft perfectly. Now there’s just one thing we’re missing: some scale blocks to accompany them.
21148 Steve with Parrot includes 159 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.
21149 Alex with Chicken includes 160 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.
21159 Skeleton with Magma Cube includes 142 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick early copies of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.