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#2338 DISCUSSION: Mini-dolls: A Love/Hate Relationship


Mini-dolls were introduced in 2012, and since then have been a heated debate in the LEGO community garnering die-hard fans and cynics alike.. Today we’re looking at a brief history of Mini-dolls and the pros and cons they come with! 

Featuring builds by @newelementary, @troublesbricking, DigiNik13 on Flickr, and

.:DarkDragon:. on Flickr

Tips and Bricks logo  #2338 DISCUSSION: Mini-dolls: A Love/Hate Relationship  Image of various Friends mini-dolls sitting and standing.  Whenever Friends sets are discussed, some AFOLs respond by liking the builds, but hating the mini-dolls.  Let's look at a variety of reasons we like and dislike mini-dolls.

Mini-dolls: a brief history  Mini-dolls were introduced in 2012 with the launch of the Friends theme!  Image of a lineup of the 2012 Original Main Characters of Friends being Olivia, Mia, Stephanie, Andrea, and Emma  There are a total of 5 different torso molds and an astonishing 20+ different leg molds!  Image of 5 different mini-doll torso molds and 5 different mini-doll legs  Micro dolls are first introduced in 2020!  Image of a Mulan mini-doll

Slide 3 Mini-doll vs minifigure An image comparing a minifigure and mini-doll showing points of articulation*  Height** Mini-doll: 4.48 cm/ 1.7 in. Minifigure: 4 cm/1.5 in.  Hair Mini-doll: Previously rubber, now hard plastic Minifigure: Hard or soft plastic  Width Mini-doll: 1.5 cm/ 0.5 in. Minifigure: 1.6 cm/ 0.6 in.  Points of articulation Mini-doll: Four Minifigure: Seven  The same hand size means that accessories work for both mini-dolls and minifigures!  Sources:

Mini-dolls look more like people  Pro: Mini-dolls approximate humans much more, which can lend a different level of realism to your MOCs!   Image showing the human traits mini-dolls have like noses, pronounced feet, larger eyes, pear shaped faces, and less blocky torsos  Con: The con is that with more realistic depictions of people comes the problem of not being able to represent ALL people.  Con: There are only five torso molds, all being leaner builds. This limits the kind of figures people can make and also presents a body specific standard.

Mini-dolls bring more diversity    “…In the LEGO Friends range, children told us that they would like even more differentiated characters…we’ve made the characters more diverse in their appearance and story…” The LEGO Group*  Pro: LEGO has made strong efforts toward more diverse representation everywhere, but mini-dolls include more female-coded options and diversity of skin tones than minifigures.  Image of Friends characters Emma and Nandi  Con: A minor downside to this is that varied skin tones along with non-removable arms makes customization more difficult.  Image of a mini-doll with pieces that have conflicting skin tones  Pro: There are now 8 different colors being used for mini-dolls, two more than minifigures! This allows for more variety and accuracy!  Image of the eight different skin tones now used for mini-dolls by @newelementary  Sources: *

Parts we owe to mini-dolls  Pro: With mini-doll themes come tons of new accessories and molds that are completely compatible with minifigs! Hair, animals, accessories, you name it!   Images of the mini-doll flower, cat ears, cast, pen, and a wing  Images of mini-doll animals like a bunny, dog with assistive wheelchair, and leopard  Images of various mini-doll hairstyles  Pro:Importantly even disability representation and accommodations!  Image of Autumn's torso, mini-doll wheelchair, and a character with vitiligo

Pants and skirts!  Pro: While we love detailed minifig prints, that minifigure shape never changes. Mini-dolls have distinctly separate legs, allowing more variety with pants, shorts, and even shoes!  Image of Mini-doll bell bottoms and baggy shorts  Pro: Unlike minifigs, mini-dolls wearing skirts and dresses can bend!  Image of four mini-dolls wearing dresses sitting in a carriage compared to a minifigure with no hip joint  Con: Mini-doll legs have no anti studs on the back meaning they can’t be secured onto studs, their extra length also requires modifications to chairs.  Image of 3 studs long chair with footplate to hold figure in place and the backside of mini-doll legs with no anti-studs

Mini-dolls are hard to pose  Con: Unlike minifigures, mini-dolls’ hands cannot rotate. This makes interaction with certain elements quite difficult!  Image of mini-doll holding accessories straight up  Poses can end up looking quite static due to this.  Meanwhile, minifigures can display a wide range of motion with small adjustments!  Image of minifigure showing wide range of motion playing violin by Diginiki13 on Flickr  Con: The distinct legs and molds are something we like, but they cannot move independently. This makes posing and play tough!  Some AFOLs have tried solutions for this!  Image of mini-doll with customized legs that now have a free range of motion by .:DarkDragon:.on Flickr

Audience thoughts  Tips & Bricks did a small survey on what the community thinks. The leading 4 likes of mini-dolls are: New hair pieces, Diversity & inclusion, Realistic proportions, and Better detailing  The leading dislikes are: Lack of articulation, Incompatibility with minifigures, Lack of anti-studs on legs, and Doesn’t look like LEGO  We had plenty of great suggestions like integrating mini-dolls into sets with minifigures. Image of Sweet Mayhem from set  #70824  Mini-dolls have more unique body styles than minifigures - why not have even more body styles to show this distinction?  Image of Sabino mini-doll from Wish next to his movie counterpart with a noticeably different body type

What does all this mean for you as an AFOL?  Rather than having a definitive stance for or against mini-dolls, try to think through the reasons we’ve presented. Do any of these change your stance?  Next time you’re tempted to comment on a post about why you dislike mini-dolls, consider the impact of your comment. Will it help LEGO make a meaningful change, or will it deflate a fan who does enjoy mini-dolls?   Try a Friends set, then play around with the dolls and see how they fit into your build. Check out review posts #2285, #2270, or #2258 for some great options! Even a polybag or small set could be a nice entry point.  We want to feature MOCs with mini-dolls! If you or other builders you know like to feature mini-dolls in your MOCs, please share them with us!  Image of MOC by@troublesbricking: Fantasy like boats on a river surrounded by purple trees with white trunks. Elves mini-dolls ride the boats.

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