Minifigs haven’t always looked the way we are used to them today. They have followed an evolutional process which started back in 1974 with the introduction of the LEGO family.
They looked a little different to todays figures. The head was much larger and had studs for ears. they had no body or legs, these you built yourself. But they did have arms. Posable arms, jointed at the elbow, and a hand that is almost looks similar to the modern day version. Rather than being ‘C’ shaped they were a complete circle with a hollowed nobble part.
I still have a body part, head, hair and a hat for this original LEGO figure, known as Maxifigs these days., sadly they do not have hands. But I know that a grandmother that came in the LEGO family set is lurking at the in laws house.
In 1975, LEGO made a precursor to the minifig. These newer version people were the same size/scale as a standard minifig is today, but they had solid torsos and leg pieces. In fact they didn’t even have faces!
They had hair and hats, but were still pretty basic. They had no hands or arms. And in our house they generally graced the stations and drove the trains on the good old ‘blue’ LEGO railway track we had.
The first modern Minifig was released in 1978, introducing new characters for the Castle, Space and Town sets. They were produced with a simple printed face, just 2 eyes and a smile. And this was they way they pretty much stayed for the next decade. When LEGO introduced the LEGO Pirates in 1989, they introduced different facial expressions and things like eye patches, hooks for hands and the odd peg leg. However the minifig still remained with the classic yellow head that we all associate with minifigs, and they stayed this way until 2003, when skin tones were brought in for various sets.
Although the 1975 version by todays standard are pretty naff in terms of what you can do with them, for me they still remind me of childhood days, but I do enjoy the endless possibilites that can be made with the modern version. I wonder if LEGO would ever make the current minifig with an articulated arm joint like the original ones of 1974. Would be fairly tricky I guess as the arms are a lot smaller, but just think what cool positions you could get the minifigs to do