After 10 years and 20 numbered series and numerous special series, LEGO’s insanely popular Collectible Minifigures are changing up the formula a bit. Clad in vivid green packaging and first announced just two weeks ago, Collectible Minifigures 71029 Series 21 breaks from tradition by including just 12 unique characters, which come packed in new case sizes. The figures themselves tread the same ground as previous series we’ve enjoyed, with a wide variety of characters from different periods and walks of life, as varied as a boy with a violin and an Aztec Jaguar warrior. Officially dropping January 1, they’ll be available from LEGO for US $4.99 | CAN $4.99 | UK £3.49. Let’s take a look at what all this dynamic dozen brings us.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.
The case and packaging
As I mentioned at the outset, LEGO has shrunk the number of unique figures in Series 21. While special series like the Great Britain Olympic Team or the Harry Potter series have ranged from 12 to 22 unique figures, previous numbered series have always had 16 figures (or 17 for with bonus chase figures). Series 21 marks the first time that LEGO is departing from the formula, and while my initial reaction is to be a little disappointed that we’re getting fewer new designs, that’s not quite the whole story.
LEGO has also adjusted the case size, with just two rows of packages. Our review case contained 36 figures. We’ve also heard that some retailers may carry cases of 72, but we’ve been unable to confirm this. 36 (or 72) retail packages in a case means that LEGO can, for the first time, evenly divide a case into complete sets, and we’re pleased to report that’s exactly what they’ve done. Our review case contained precisely three complete sets, with no extra figures. (Our case also arrived with some shipping damage to the box, but thankfully the minifigures were unharmed.) Although LEGO has sold some recent series directly as cases, as yet there is no listing on their website for full cases. With three complete sets in a case, getting ahold of a case and splitting it with a few friends becomes an even easier way to ensure you get the full series.
The individual retail packs are a bold green, similar to Series 11. (I showed it with a Series 19 lime green case for scale comparison above, because my Series 11 case is now recycled.) The plastic packaging matches the slightly larger size of the last few series, and is more or less unchanged. And as usual, each minifigure contains a black 3×4 stand plate, along with a small paper insert showing a few instructions for assembling the figures and a checklist of the characters. Just two of the characters have inner bags for separating delicate elements (the Centaur and the Cabaret Singer).
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the characters themselves.
First out of the gate is a minifigure who’s packed full with accessories. The paddle surfer package literally bulges from the contents, thanks in large part to the inclusion of a sand blue dolphin. This is the same dolphin mold that was included in 2018’s Swimsuit Batman from The LEGO Batman Movie Series 2 figures. This is only the third set it’s been in, and the first time in a color other than medium blue.
The surfer also includes a paddleboard with a fancy design that matches the logo on the back of her wetsuit, as well as a white oar and a medium azure life jacket, the first new color for the life jacket since it was introduced in 2018 in orange. The surfer’s ballcap/ponytail piece shades her bright smile–and speaking of shades, she’s got an alternate expression with cool sunglasses. All told, she cuts a cool figure, and with all her accessories definitely feels like a better value than the three previous CMF surfers (from Series 2, 4, and 17).
Despite having had a violin case since the Series 5 Gangster way back in 2011, LEGO hadn’t ever produced a minifigure violin before now. However, the prospect of a brand new instrument doesn’t seem to have cheered this boy, who looks about the way I did when my parents told me to practice the piano because they were paying for lessons.
The violin is similar to the guitar element, with a grippable neck and a small rod connection on the hollow back for holding it in a playing position. The violin bow is a dark brown wand (incidentally, just the fourth time a wand has appeared in a set that’s not part of the Wizarding World). Naturally, an extra wand is included since they come attached on a sprue. Thankfully, the boy does seem to enjoy playing once he gets started, as his alternate expression portrays a peaceful bliss.
Some of you may have already spotted the shirt covered in green Bs, which are the Blacktron logo. Blacktron’s gotten a lot of cameos in recent years and while this theme doesn’t include a Blacktron logo’d spaceman (though it does include their nemesis, Space Police) it’s fun to see a nod still snuck in. Now if only we’d get more Ice Planet references, since that was always my favorite…
With long shaggy hair and a full beard, this castaway’s three-hour tour doesn’t seem to have gone quite as planned. The hair/beard combo has appeared in a few other sets since it was introduced way back with the Series 1 Caveman, including in this dark brown color, but it is nice to see it appear again since it’s been somewhat rare.
The survivor’s got a scruffy, single-sided face with a mustache and goatee beneath the beard and wears a shell necklace and tattered shorts. The shorts have some of the best color-matched printing I’ve seen on a figure yet; they’re dual-molded in blue and yellow, with the blue tatters printed on, and even in person it’s virtually impossible to tell where the blue plastic ends and the printing starts. The survivor carries a message in a bottle (printed on), and is accompanied by a small hermit crab.
The hermit crab is absolutely adorable and may be my favorite new animal in quite some time. Orange with printed eyes, the hermit crab carries his home with him in the form of a 1×1 hollow stud and a 1×1 swirl (an extra of each is included). Interestingly, they attach to the crab via a rod connection, not a stud. The crab does, of course, have an anti-stud on the bottom. He joins a lineup of other sea creatures (only a few pictured here) to really make LEGO’s ocean-dwelling wildlife selection robust. About the only thing that would make the Shipwreck Survivor better is if it also included a soccer ball.
Costumed figures are a longstanding staple of the CMF line, and animal costumes among the most popular. We’ve gotten bumblebees, pigs, chickens, and more, but Series 21 brings us a ladybug. The iconically black and red dotted insect translates well to this simple costume, which consists of a printed torso, legs, helmet, and wings. The torso is printed only on the front, while the legs are dual molded in red and black, with the upper parts of the legs printed over in black except for the V in the middle for her red leotard.
The helmet is the same rubber cap design from the Bumblebee Girl in 2013’s Series 10. Her wings, however, are a brand new element that mimics the distinctive hemisphere of a ladybug’s wings. She’s also got alternate expressions of delight and a sweet smile, both punctuated with rosy dots on her cheeks and red lipstick. She carries a 1×1 round tile printed with a cute ladybug design, and a leaf for it to sit on (an extra ladybug tile is included).
Pug Costume Guy
The ladybug isn’t the only animal suit in this series, as the lovable pug joins the lineup of costume critters. LEGO calls this suited figure a guy, but clearly it’s a young kid in the pug suit, as evidenced the short bendy legs and childish expression. The head is a great new addition to the ever-widening range of faces available, adding two different faces with the tongue sticking out. Up top the helmet is a new mold with a pug face enveloping the minifigure’s head. It’s a dual-molded element so the black ears and nose are black plastic, leaving only the eyes and grey nose printed. The torso is a simple tan affair with only a red paisley bandana around the neck on the front, and the back continuing the bandana and also adding the pug’s most important detail: a curly tail. The legs are unprinted except for three black toes on each foot. The pug costume guy’s only accessory is a teal bone chewtoy, of which there’s an extra in the package. The lack of accessories feels like a bit of a letdown, especially compared to the overflowing bags from characters like the Paddle Surfer. This character really needed something else to make it feel complete; perhaps a dog bowl.
Pulling from mythology, the Centaur represents the “fantasy” checkbox on the CMF lineup, and is a splendid addition to previous figures like the Series 6 Minotaur. The Centaur’s dark green torso bears a design that would blend right in with the Series 3 Elf, and her printed arms feature leather and gold bracers. The torso is printed on both sides with a detailed design, just like the head, which features a neutral smile and a joyous grin on opposite sides. Her reddish-brown hair has come in quite a few sets before, but only once before in this color, with 2018’s Harry Potter CMF Hermione. The Centaur carries an apple and a bow, and has a quiver strapped to her horse-body.
For those of you looking forward to our Feel Guide, rest assured that this series will be an easy one, thanks in part to the huge elements like the dolphin and Centaur body. The Centaur body was first released earlier this year with the Harry Potter line, but this is only its second appearance, and it’s in a new color here: dark orange with a dark brown tail.
One of my favorite figures from this series is the Beekeeper. Not only are beekeepers awesome people who are doing inestimable good for the world by caring for bee populations, but this figure’s bee suit would also make a perfect HAZMAT suit (or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest like I am, a murder hornet-disposal suit). The beekeeper’s white suit primarily consists of a new helmet that’s dual molded with trans-black and white, creating a huge wraparound window that makes a good scale facsimile of a beekeeper’s suit’s mesh. The rest of the suit is a white torso and legs, both of which are printed lots of light grey seams that give it a nicely detailed look. The torso also bears a small honeycomb logo and some spilled honey.
Beneath the helmet, the beekeeper has a kindly expression and an Einstein mustache, while the reverse side has a tongue lick from tasting the honey (though I kind of wish it were a recreation of that famous Einstein picture. You know the one). The beekeeper carries a dark tan 2×2 tile printed with honeycomb and bees, along with a bee smoker, which is the other reason I love this figure. When I glanced at LEGO’s initial images I thought the smoker was a new element, but instead it’s made from two existing ones: an upside-down cup in flat silver, and a light grey angled stand, the first appearance of that part in a color other than clear. An extra of the stands is included.
One of the best aspects of the Minifigures theme isn’t that it brings new instruments or funny costumes (though those are fun) but that it expands the variety of cultures and periods represented with LEGO characters. The official title of this character is appallingly generic, however, as the minifigure clearly represents an Aztec Jaguar Warrior, and even more insulting because we got a Conquistador way back in Series 8. The term “ancient” isn’t even appropriate, as the Aztec empire flourished in the 14th-16th centuries. And all that notwithstanding, what kid doesn’t think “Jaguar Warrior” sounds cooler than “Ancient Warrior”? Nevertheless, this is an incredibly awesome minifigure that represents a specific class of warrior from a particular culture, in a way that LEGO minifigures have generally only done for old-world cultures. The Jaguar Warrior is bare-chested with a jaguar skin motif covering his arms, chest, back, and lower legs. He has a detailed necklace in dark red and medium azure, which matches his belt and skirt, both printed on.
The warrior’s headdress is a new element in pearl gold that’s a relatively accurate recreation of the jaguar design decorated with feathers that the real warriors wore, according to the depictions we have of them. The headdress is printed in with lots of highlights from the jaguar’s face to the tips of the feathers, as well as a large bit of medium-azure ornamentation below the ears. The warrior’s painted face is double-sided, with smiling and fearsome expressions. He carries a sword and shield. The shield is the standard smooth round shield in pearl gold, printed over with a beautifully detailed jaguar design. The Jaguar Warrior’s sword is a new element. Called a macuahuitl, it was a flat wooden club with sharpened obsidian blades embedded all along the edges. The real ones were also ornamented in their wooden portions, but this version looks great (and is surprisingly double-molded in medium nougat and black). The sword has a plume-sized hole in the bottom of the hilt, but it has no clutch to attach a plume, which is especially unfortunate because macuahuitls were sometimes decorated with feathers.
Here we have the third and final costumed minifigure for Series 21, a little girl dressed up as an adorable pilot wearing a miniature airplane. Her dark blue jumpsuit is spiffy and straight out of the golden age of flight, with a little nametag reading “JP” and a set of gold wings pinned on.
Around back, there’s a classy three-bladed propeller logo. The girl has dark blue short legs that are unprinted. Her double-sided head bears alternate expressions with a smile and a grin of delight, both with a small nick or patch of dirt on the cheek. Her medium nougat ponytail hairpiece is a common one in a common color. She also gets a leather pilot’s cap and goggles (along with a spare pair of goggles) for when she’s flying. The airplane itself is, of course, a new element that’s reminiscent of the Series 18 Racecar Guy’s car suit. It fits around the hip pegs and has only a few System connection points; for the plane, that’s three studs, with the one on the engine being hollow. There are no connections on the bottom except for the hollow stud. There’s also a plume-sized hole on the front, where the tiny propeller slots in (and an extra is included). I’m always disappointed in these elements, which could have been much more useful with the addition of more connections. The underside of the wings, for instance, could have had anti-studs. Or better yet, this airplane could have been a few elements, perhaps with separate wings. As it is, it’s a cheap-feeling piece that feels closer to a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy than to an expensive LEGO element.
Space Police Guy
Space Police, along with Blacktron, Classic Space, and a few others from the 1980s, has been an enduring theme that gets frequent nods in LEGO sets wherever it can be worked in. LEGO even revived the line with Space Police 3 about a decade ago, including a revamped logo. That logo of a white star on a black shield is emblazoned on the Space Police Guy’s helmet and riot shield, along with a Classic Space logo on the armor. Another figure packed full of accessories, the Space Police Guy sports a full secondary loadout which can be attached to the clips on his armor: a pair of handcuffs and what’s either a light-up wand for traffic control or an electro-baton, depending on how dystopian your LEGO future is. True to classic Space Police form, he’s got a trans red visor on his white helmet, which is the newer style that’s dual molded with a bit of black around the back of the neck. It’s sometimes very difficult to cross-reference heads among the thousands that LEGO has released, but I believe this head (double-sided with a smile and a frown) is the only one in the series to be re-used from previous sets. If it is new, both expressions are extremely similar to existing ones.
Beneath the armor, however, is what will get old-school fans excited. The classic Space Police Futuron-style uniform has been modernized with extra details, including back printing. The black-and-white dual-molded legs have just the tiniest bit of printing too, for a gold belt buckle and kneepads that give the whole outfit a more rugged look. A variety of extra parts are included: a complete extra light baton, visor, and handcuffs.
I’m as excited as other fans to get this new minifigure, but I would be remiss not to mention that LEGO’s decision to release not just an updated Space Police figure, but one that is explicitly armed for riot control, during this time of heightened tensions with police around the world, strikes a bad tone. This is especially the case because, apart from the logos, this Space Police figure wouldn’t look terribly out of place among the militarized real-world police forces that many have seen in recent months. It would have been a far better decision to only outfit this character in the friendlier, unarmored uniform from the picture above, and include a different selection of accessories, like a walkie talkie. LEGO’s lead time on creating new sets is quite long, so I know that this figure was planned long before recent events, but LEGO also positions itself as eschewing anything that echos modern war violence. LEGO should think more carefully if its vision for the future of space ought to include riot police.
Next up we have a green alien clad in an orange jumpsuit. The story is clear: this alien has just committed a heist, stealing a giant blue crystal by prying it free, which probably explains the presence of Space Police. The alien is a new species to the LEGO universe, with a detailed bright green-and-black dual molded head that includes a breathing apparatus. The helmet’s hose extends down slightly below the neck, meaning that the alien can’t turn their head, but it’s otherwise an excellent design. LEGO’s overmolding has become quite simply astounding in recent years, and this head is a prime example. Both the tiny bumps along the ridge at the back of the alien’s head as well as their eyes are part of the black plastic that makes up the breathing apparatus, and it looks more detailed and high quality than printing alone ever could.
Although there are no sure giveaways, it seems that the alien’s suit is a spacey prison garb. The back is printed with some blue canisters that presumably feed the breathing apparatus, so it seems our new alien is of the aquatic variety. The jumpsuit is printed with seams and details all around, from the arms to the sides of the legs. The alien carries two items. First up is a crowbar in pearl dark grey, which adds a fifth color for that element. There’s also a large trans-blue crystal, which is by far the most common color for that element–a disappointing miss to introduce a new color.
Vegas, here we come! This glitzy showgirl (or drag queen, if you prefer) makes for a nice change of pace from the previous conflict-based characters. Dressed in a glittery teal and purple dress with a massive feathered headdress, the Cabaret Singer has two expressions, one of delight and one of nailing that high note mid-song. The singer’s feathered teal headdress is a new element that’s printed with purple and silver sparkles on the front. It’s a lovely design that’s let down by the lack of printing on the feathers. With a little more printing to bring out the details it could have been amazing. Her only accessory is a microphone with a stand, which consists of four elements, for which an extra of each is included except the clip.
The legs are dual-molded with purple boots. Her dress includes an ultra-flashy train that’s a cloth piece that attaches to the hip pegs and is covered in reflective silver spots on the top. It has a fold line to make it lay down, but in practice it mostly flares out wildly behind her. Her dress is spattered with tiny silver sparkles and is low-cut in the back, while the arms are unprinted yellow. Sadly, LEGO’s ability to print yellow on darker colors like teal still isn’t perfected, resulting in a muddy yellow for the singer’s exposed upper back.
If the assortment size of an even dozen holds, Series 21 marks a new era for CMFs. And with even distribution in the cases, it’s a good thing for fans, who will have an easier time finding their favorite figs or getting a complete series, since all figures will be equally available. The figures themselves don’t represent a departure from the status quo, but Series 21 is a solid entry to the CMF lineup with lots of interesting figures whether you like history, whacky costumes, sci-fi fantasy, or just getting more fun occupations.
The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.