Minifig customizer and friend of the blog Catsy shared a write-up about attempting some customizations on the new LEGO Friends mini-dolls on the SEALUG mailing list, and he graciously agreed to let us share it here as well.
This is the result of about half an hour or so of experimenting with the mini-dolls from the new Lego “Friends” line, and introducing them to my good friends Hobby Knife, Razor Saw, and Pin Vise.
Some findings, in no particular order (not all of which is new information):
- The single-piece legs are not actually joined at their hinge point–instead there are two small nubs (one of which you can see on the left leg here) which fit into dimples in the waist. I am pretty sure that I can modify them to move independently, but it’ll be challenging–and given the modifications needed, only really feasible if you’re going to repaint the legs entirely to repair the damage.
- It was near-impossible to pull the legs off–I sawed through them where they join above the knees.
- The tab that connects the waist to the torso is completely incompatible with any standard System connection I’ve tried. It’s too big on the long axis to fit in a stud hole, and too big on the short axis to be gripped by a minifig hand or clip without stress. The only thing I’ve been able to make happen is fitting it diagonally into the bottom of a 1×1 brick. I may try removing it entirely and replacing the connection with a bar.
- The torso is completely hollow, with no internal reinforcement–it’s simply a receiver for the waist tab.
- The arms are easier to get in and out than minifig arms–you can see the stepped peg on the left arm above. I suspect these may get loose over time easier than minifig arms as well.
- The hands are not angled forward the way a minifig’s are–so accessories with a pronounced rake to them may not look as expected.
- The lack of wrist articulation is extremely limiting in terms of how you can pose them with accessories. The arms are only slightly bigger in diameter than the attachment posts on minifig hands, so I can’t simply cut off the hand and drill a hole for a minifig hand. I am, however, fairly certain I can graft on a hand in a way that allows full rotation.
- The stud connection point on the feet is in the front, under the doll’s center of gravity and more or less directly under the body. The feet are slightly oblong.
- The legs have a very slight backward sweep on the way down, which you can see most clearly on the right leg above. The upshot of this is that it is impossible for a mini-doll to stand on any 1×2 area that has anything immediately behind them. To test this, take a 2×2 brick or plate, and put a 1×2 plate on it. Then try to make the mini-doll stand on the 2×2 piece.
- The neck is a standard 3mm bar connection rather than stud-width like a minifig neck–the heads are incompatible with minifig torsos. You can easily get most neckwear on them, but the connection is loose and most torso armor/vests are so oversized it looks like a kid playing dress-up.
- The head is approximately the same dimensions at the top as a minifig head, but tapers towards the chin in a roughly egg-like way. The eyes have a slight hollow to them, and there is a nose that protrudes. Everything else is printing. The stud on the top is hollow, and the hole for the neck is–as mentioned above–a 3mm bar connection.
- The nose causes complications with some fully-enclosed headwear, but not most. The chin extends lower than a minifig’s chin, so that headwear with “chin straps” obscures the mouth.
- The hair is interchangeable with minifigs–and many TLC minifig hairpieces look quite good on the girls. A few are dodgy–the long blonde hair with tresses that drape over a minifig’s shoulder, for example, looks a little odd. The main difference is that it is made out of the same kind of soft plastic as the Exo-Force hair, and has tiny holes on the top and side of the hairpiece that go all the way through, allowing the attachment of hair accessories.
- Brickarms helmets work extremely well and look great. I do NOT recommend trying to use aftermarket hairpieces, however–I tried putting a third-party hairpiece on one of them and had to use pliers to get the head back out.
Thanks, Catsy! Mike Yoder has also taken a crack at customizing these new figs, with some pretty badass results.