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Lego Minifigure turns 40: See how the little figures have evolved

Lego's little human-like figures are celebrating a big birthday.

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Lego's Minifigure line turns 40 this week.

Thomas Baunsgaard

The Lego Minifigure comes in all shapes, sizes and characters. Disney, Star Wars, DC, Harry Potter -- all of these movie worlds have had their characters appear as figures.

The Minifigure itself is turning 40 on Wednesday, and to start celebrating early, Lego has released a timeline Tuesday featuring the history of the Minifigure (click to enlarge from a desktop browser for a closer look).

The 40-year history of Lego's Minifigure.

Lego

The Minifigure itself debuted in 1978, which unlike previous attempts had both movable arms as well as legs. Previous to this, Lego's buildable characters were made up of square Lego bricks with only moveable arms, or were more statuesque figures that couldn't be posed.

At its debut, there were 20 different types of Minifigures, such as a police officer, doctor and astronaut. There are now more than 8,000 Minifigures, many of which now include Luke Skywalker, witches and wizards from Harry Potter's world and all kinds of superheroes.

And for those that enjoy seeing how a toy gets made, Lego released a video (which we embedded below from the DirksBrickLand YouTube channel) showing the production of the Minifigure line, including heads and bodies going through the assembly line as they become united into the toy.

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