LEGO 40649 Up-Scaled LEGO Minifigure – Magnifying an icon [Review]

More than the 2×4 brick, since their introduction, LEGO minifigures have always been the embodiment of the company. And in recent history, LEGO has realized there is a major fascination with, and demand for, giant replicas of the little characters that have made them famous. Come along as we meet the latest of these maxi-figs, the 654-piece LEGO Iconic 40649 Up-Scaled LEGO Minifigure. This set is available starting today, June 1st, and retails for US $49.99 | CAN $64.99 | UK £44.99.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Unboxing the parts and instructions

The portrait-oriented box features something that we don’t see very often anymore, a giant hinged lid.

Inside it’s a nice black color. The instructions are standard fare and there are 8 bags numbered 1-5 plus a loose hinged dome element.

The build

We kick off the build with the torso, where we begin with the outer shell.

A pair of matching sub-assemblies compose the sides of the torso. Within them are three gears on each side, two of which are mounted using friction axle pins. This ultimately prevents the arms from being too loose.

With the “guts” of the torso complete, the whole thing sits snuggly in the torso shell we built previously.

Once that is capped off, we have that very characteristic minifig torso shape. One thing to note here is that there is a teeny tiny gap where the side panels rest on “cheese grater” slopes. It’s not really noticeable, but if you try to push it tightly closed, other seems will separate slightly.

Next up is the leg assembly, which, of course, start with the hips. There’s nothing particularly exciting here. It’s mostly just stacking and locking with plates and brackets. However, the use of Technic joints and balls to create structure and stability between the axles is interesting.

With the hips attached to the torso, it’s already very reminiscent of a LEGO minifigure.

The construction of the legs is very simple. They are a column of brick with a hollow core. Within that core a plate assembly is attached that locks things together. One thing that I do like about the hips and legs is that a red 2×2 plate indicates the front of the hips and a blue indicates the back. The red plate is seen in each of the legs as well, so you know the reds line up.

With both legs on, it’s really coming together! One thing that I didn’t mention about the torso before is that the neck post is a turntable.  Within the 4×4 round brick that comprises the neck post is a hole, and in that hole sits an axle. The axle is loose and only held in by a 2×2 tile. What’s interesting about this is that, without the axle, it’s quite easy to pop off the entire turntable assembly. But with the axle, it’s much more difficult. Clever!

Next in the build process are the hands and arms. The angled elbow of the arms is made possible by a hinge plate. Meanwhile, the hands are affixed to friction axle pins.

With those on the body, we are almost done!

The head (which is pictured upside down below) consists of a handful of stacked bricks and plates, locked in via brackets. The rounded outer part includes a few slopes, but most notably, 4×6 curved double slopes. This piece has only been in a couple other sets, namely the LEGO House exclusive 40504 A Minifigure Tribute.

The top of the head (pictured facing the camera) is inlaid with a pair of 2×4 jumpers in reddish brown. These studs will receive the hat.

As previously mentioned, the head slopes are new and rare, but the face in particular is a brand new print. With that on, we’re ready to affix the head to the body.

The head looks a little funny chopped off like this, but it makes me think of all the possibilities of where you could take this. With these simple base instructions, you could create all sorts of hat/hair pieces.

The face isn’t the only printed part in the set. There are three 1×2 cheese slopes, each with their own unique decals. They aren’t new, but they’re a welcome addition!

These slopes sit inside a little control cab of sorts, where the actual minifigure can drive his upscaled counterpart. This assembly features some gears as part of a moving component, which we’ll revisit shortly.

The bill of the hat is flat like a pancake. It makes sense that it’s like this, but it would’ve been really cool if they tried to give it some shape like the curved bill of the actual fig. Covering the driver’s seat is the blue dome that was floating around freely when we opened the box. Normally a windscreen, this element has never been seen in opaque blue before now.

I’m not 100% sold on the hat off the fig. Yes, it looks like a hat, but the back end is a little odd. Nevertheless, it looks good on the fig, which is where we’re going next.

The completed model

This kit includes a regular minifigure to act as a driver for this big guy. He looks identical (other than the fact that his hat curves at the bill). Below, you can see the difference in side between the two.

Now for the fun stuff! Let’s see how he moves. The legs have a wide range of motion. They have a little bit of friction to them, so they aren’t floppy, but I do wish there was a bit more stiffness there.

While he is quite posable, having him hold a pose can be tough. I tried to have him positioned in a running pose, but he kept sliding into the splits. You have to really work at it to get an active pose to stay.

The arms have much more friction and consequently, stay in place a lot easier. They can’t hold a lot of weight, but they could easily hold something small and lightweight.

The hands also have plenty of friction and aren’t all loosey-goosey.

The turntable in the head has a tiny bit of ratchet to it, which gives it a nice feel. I would say that it’s a bit looser than the arms, but not as loose as the legs.

The top of the hat is a ratchet hinge, so it’s a jerky open-close, but you’re not going to have to worry about it staying open/closed.

As previously I mentioned, there is a mechanism inside the hat. It’s cute, however it doesn’t do anything except look cute. The minifigure also has to be leaning forward in the cockpit to clear the swinging arms. (By the way, while sitting, the minifigure cannot grasp the controls, but this is pretty typical of cockpits in LEGO sets.)

Conclusions and recommendations

Overall this was a quick, fun little build. I have to say that the end result is quite a bit smaller than what’s displayed on the box, so that’s a little disappointing. It’s about the same size as the wooden LEGO minifigure that came out several years ago. Actually, it might also be comparable to the Harry and Hermione LEGO maxi-figs, but those feel larger because there is more to them.

Even though it was a quick and fun build, I’m hesitant to recommend it. At 654 pieces, most of which are very common, I don’t see the value being there in terms of price-per-piece. I certainly wouldn’t buy it to part out. And if you really want a maxi-fig, and have the parts available, you can simply get these instructions online from LEGO, for free, and customize to your heart’s desire.

While you’re here, stick around for more of our recent LEGO reviews.

LEGO 40649 Scaled-Up LEGO Minifigure is available starting today, and retailed for US $49.99 | CAN $64.99 | UK £44.99. It may also be available from third-party sellers on Amazon and eBay.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.


4 comments on “LEGO 40649 Up-Scaled LEGO Minifigure – Magnifying an icon [Review]

  1. John Johnson

    I realize that all of the other maxifigs have shared this attribute, but it feels like a glaring misstep for the feet to not have the same gap between them that the legs have (And also have studs on top of their toes). I don’t love the “palms” of the hands looking like they’re missing pieces, but that’s easier to resolve.

    Perhaps they should’ve chosen a hat that’s easier to replicate at a larger scale than this one. The back of this baseball cap is atrocious, and making the entire base (And bill) so thick is pretty weird.

  2. MagnusK

    John, I really thought it was the firefighter’s helmet pointing backwards at first glance. This sure ain’t no cap hat.

  3. Sh.Red

    This has serious potential to begin the steps towards a red or blue Classic Space maxi-fig.

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