A LEGO Beginner’s Guide To LEGROPING

I am a LEGO fan. I still have my old bricks dating back to the 70’s, including those funky Duplo arches that looked kind of like the old Hilton logo. Brothers Brick is part of my daily internet news routine. And I so very much want that super-awesome Architecture Studio set. I don’t rank anywhere near the hardcore folks that own massive color-coded collections and construct elaborate, ultra-detailed dioramas– but I still love a good build.

With the recent release of The LEGO Movie making eleventy-billion dollars, I have a feeling that there will be some new adult fans of LEGO (known as AFOLs) diving into toy stores to pick up a few sets, whether they’re parents or not. Now, those new fans may experience some sticker shock– Lord Business’ Evil Lair runs for 80 bucks. That’s where the nifty little blind-bagged minifigures come into play. The 12th series of LEGO Minifigures consists of all movie people, from main characters to walk-on cameos. For three bucks, you can get a surprise character from the movie, snap him/her/it together and have a little friend for your desk, dashboard or wherever. The bad thing is that you have no idea who you’re getting in a blind-bagged toy. Or… do you?

Allow me to introduce the uninitiated to an activity I call “LEGROPING.” Literally, groping a LEGO Minifigure bag to figure out who or what the hell is in it. You see, each character usually has a uniquely-shaped piece that none of the others have. That’s what you’re getting all intimate with the bag for. More challenging characters may just have common-shaped pieces– that’s when you need to find unique combinations of said plain parts. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite easy. The most difficult thing is standing in the toy section of a store while being all touchy-feely with the toys and not looking like a creepy old person. Good luck with that. To get you started, I’ve made a handy list to help you find whatever LEGO Movie character you want:
Calamity Drone
Angled “dress” AND shotgun
Gail the Construction Worker
Abraham Lincoln
Long top hat
Larry the Barista
Cylindrical “coffee to go” cup (no handle)
Panda Guy
Big panda mask AND baby panda
Velma Staplebot
Bouffant hair AND flat, square “notepad”
William Shakespeare
Frilled collar, quill and bald head piece
Taco Tuesday Man
“Where Are My Pants?” Guy
2 pairs of legs (Pants and pantsless)
Wiley Fusebot
Dynamite AND pistol
President Business
Coffee cup with handle
Wild West Wyldstyle
Angled “dress” AND flat fan piece
Hard Hat Emmet
Hard hat & flat, rectangle “instructions”
Scribble-Face Bad Cop
Helmet AND handcuffs
Mrs. Scratchen-Post
Long hair piece AND cat
Marsha, Queen of the Mermaids
Long hair piece AND mermaid tail
NOTE: Some of these can be tricky. Calamity Drone and Wyldstyle both have angled dress bricks so you have to grope for the shotgun or fan, respectively. Emmet and Bad Cop are similar as well, but Bad Cop’s handcuffs are the key to knowing who’s who.

Now if you loved the movie so much that you’ve decided to buy everything in one fell swoop, have at it, Mr. Trump. For those on a less discretionary budget, I hope my LEGROPING guide has made it easy to jump back into LEGO without having to give blood or take out a loan. The truth is, LEGO isn’t cheap… but each brick is manufactured to be mathematically perfect within 2 micrometers– that’s 2 one-millionths of a meter– so that they stick together and stay stuck but are still easy to separate.

Oh, and suck it, Mega Bloks.
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