Hands-on: Are LEGO’s new personalized Minifigure Factory figs worth the $12 cost?

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At the end of last month, the LEGO Group revealed a new online experience for customizing your own minifigs. Since the debut nearly two weeks ago, I’ve since had my very own brick-built rendition show up in the mail and today we’re taking a hands-on look at what spending $12 for the online LEGO Minifigure Factory experience gets you.

LEGO Minifigure Factory hands-on

Some of the more flagship-status LEGO retail stores have long had a way for guests, often times tourists exploring big cities and the like, to walk out of the brick and mortar location with their very own personalized minifig. The physical displays would allow builders to customize their own minifigure and have it printed moments later.

That whole experience has now been given the online treatment, with the launch of the LEGO Minifigure Factory. Debuting back at the end of July, our original coverage offers a more in-depth look at the actual virtual customization experience. Today though we’re taking a hands-on look at the finished product and what actually will show up to your door. So if you’ve been on the fence about whether spending $12 on a single minifigure is worth it, the answers await below.

Unboxing the custom minifigure

Right out of the box, or in this the case bubble mailer, the LEGO Minifigure Factory package is a pretty basic paper bag with some fitting branding for the experience. Breaking the seal on the back lets you pour out the contents, which includes five different essential pieces to any minifig, an and extra brick that we’ll circle back on in a second.

Each of the personalized figures starts with a head piece which is naturally paired with a hair style of your choice. From there, you’ll select a base design for with plenty of iconic LEGO wardrobes making the cut including the Classic Space logo and more. Then you just pick out which pair of legs you want to complete the figure. You’re also getting a printed LEGO brick that has a QR code on it, though there isn’t a use as of now. Scanning the code will likely have some kind of tie-in to the experience once it leaves beta and I suspect this will let you share links to custom designs in the future. But as of now it’s just an extra inclusion in the set.

By far the best part about LEGO Minifigure Factory has to be the printed elements. Earlier in the year, the LEGO Group launched a Build a Minifigure service online that let builders use existing bricks to assemble their likeness in LEGO. Now for the new and improved experience, you can actually go in and design an entirely-new torso print for your sigfig or whatever character you’re looking to bring into LEGO form.

The actual online editor is hardly the easiest tool to work with, but the possibilities really are endless. You can stack graphics in order to create highly-detailed designs, add in text that can say almost anything, and much more. In my case, I opted to pick a LEGO hoodie design as a base and then put a crab with some flames behind it. Around back, there are a pair of skulls with the text You can’t kill me in a way that matters. So as long as you’re not trying to use some of the limited words that the LEGO Group forbids, you can pretty much customize the figure however you want.

Clearly still in beta, in some regards

As happy as I am with the final product, mainly with just how crisp the printing actually is, there are some adjustments that would go a long way towards improving the experience. As of now, the online version of LEGO Minifigure Factory is in beta as noted by the company, and that shows most of all in the limited nature of the customization options.

Faces and hair styles are the two largest offenders, with a pretty limited selection of options to choose from compared to the wide range of elements out there. I tried my best to create a Rikka minifigure as close to the real life me as possible, but there just weren’t all too many options that seemed to really fit with the real life me. LEGO does make options that would be a better representation of myself, and many other builders out there for that matter, they just aren’t available on the personalized minifigures.

On that same note, the LEGO Group should really open up some other customization options. I won’t even get into what having the ability to apply the same personalized designs to a figure’s legs could do, but being able to at least change the color of your character’s arms would be huge.

And finally, removing the one per household limit that is currently in place for LEGO Minifigure Factory is going to be crucial for families looking to recreate the whole group. This shouldn’t be sticking around forever, and will likely be removed once the service exits beta. Hopefully it won’t be long until you can order as many custom figures as one’s LEGO collection can handle, but for the time being having a limited does make the experience a bit less compelling.

9to5Toys’ Take

At $12, this is easily one experience that every LEGO builder should take a crack at. It’s honestly so fun to be able to design your very own minifig and then receive it a week later in the mail. The printing is right on par with what you’d expect from mass-produced characters from the LEGO Group, even if the personalization options could use some work.

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