Okay, here’s my grudge up-front … Lego‘s splendid Series 14 of special minifigures should really have been Series 13. Because it would have been spookier. But that apart, the issue of 16 new figures based on legends and tall tales could not have been better timed. Not only are they in the shops just in time for Halloween, they also tie in (almost) perfectly with the Scooby-Doo kits on sale at the same time. Without duplication.
So, let us have a look inside the sealed bags …
A Lego Lottery
The special series of Lego minifigures are presented in a way similar to many other collectibles – you’ll find a big box of sealed (and not at all transparent) little packets, which contain a more or less random number of a range of minifigures not available through other means, swapping and online auctions excepted.
A leaflet showing all minifigures in the current series in included, to help you keep track of your growing collection. The effect is obvious: collectors will buy random packs to try and get the whole series, and thus buy more than necessary, and amass duplicates more than likely.
Unless they are very Lego-savvy and have the knack of “feeling” their way through the packets, hoping to recognize the unique features of individual figures. Which can be easy in some cases, quite hard in others, and (trust me) almost never has a success rate of 100%. But is a very good argument for buying these packets at your local shop …
At the end of the day, you’ll always have duplicates. Squirrel them away if you cannot swap them with fellow collectors. You never know, when they might come in handy (or which price they will command in future).
Series 14 – Let’s Get Spooky
The 14th series of special Lego minifigures comes in a darkish hue of packaging, and has a dark theme as well. It features 16 characrters from, loosely speaking, the horror and mystery genre, some of them based on classics. As usual, many have quite extensive printing and accessories.
Here’s the lot of them, the numbering is based on the Lego cheat sheet found in all packets, the naming is my own interpretation (just in case some trademarks and copyrights feel infringed upon).
• 1. Werewolf – in classic lumberjack couture, this very hairy fellow comes with a bone from a dinosaur dig, it seems. I christened him “Monroe” immediately, as he has a Grimm vibe.
• 2. Pirate Zombie – a classic pirate captain complete (?) with missing body parts, and a zombie-head. It would be easy to swap some parts and use him with the livelier Lego pirates.
• 3. Mad Scientist – great use of the “headpiece” to create a deranged Brainiac in old-fashioned lab clothing,though he also has a more than passing resemblance to certain Minions.
• 4. Witch – another classic, but with a green skintone that might just belong to the Oz world. I do not like the skirt (made from an ill-fitting piece of fabric), but the finely printed black cat is great.
• 5. Plant (Person?) – not quite sure, but I call this “Audrey 2”, to me it is a flesh-eating plant that has just swallowed another minifigure. Or a minifigure changing into a plant?
• 6. The Fly – as in the classic horror movie, here’s a hybrid of insect and minifigure. Nicely done with a splendid head, a favourite part of the series for many Lego-enthusiasts I spoke to.
• 7. Ghost – on a transparent base, rattling a chain (which somehow does not fit anywhere), useful in oh-so-many Lego scenarios and quite a nice minifigure on his own as well. Nice touch: the head is glowing in the dark!
• 8. Cheerleader Zombie – one of my favourites, and not just because of those really silly pom-poms. As the figure has a certain Buffy vibe to me, I’d have loved to see her in Sunnydale High colours.
• 9. Tiger Lady – dressed in an exotic catsuit and wielding a whip … maybe the Lego designers responsible had a repressed S&M fetish? The minifigure has a pulp vibe about it, similar to the old Tiger Girl.
• 10. Small Gargoyle – the smallest minifigure in the set, based on a Lego “child” (or Hobbit) body, with great accessories making it fit to sit on Notre Dame de Paris. Now we need a hunchback …
• 11. Halloween Skeleton – okay, this obviously is not a skeleton, but a Lego minifigure dressed in a skeleton suit. And the pumpkin-shaped bucket gives the game away … a Halloween reveller.
• 12. Rockin’ Frankenstein – does not work for me, sorry. The Karloff-inspired head is great, but the rock star denim outfit and the guitar are a bit bonkers.
• 13. Wall Street Zombie – great idea, a typical banker-turned-zombie with attache case and the paper. Would also make quite a credible Michael Douglas in Falling Down, just add a gun.
• 14. Banshee – I had this figure down as a mermaid orginally, which uses a similar base to the Ghost (7). Actually it is the Irish banshee, harbinger of death, I am now informed …
• 15. Bigfoot – okay,this might also be avery grumpy wookie, but the camera gives the in-joke of the cryptozoological hunt away. This minifigure could come in handy with a camping scene.
• 16. Elvira – a vampire lady all in black, neither Vampirella nor Drusilla, but very reminiscent of the Mistress of the Dark. Also called “Spider Lady” by some.
A Scooby-Doo Tie-In?
Yes, and no – releasing the spooky minifigures of Series 14 around the same time as the Scooby-Doo sets cannot have been a coincidence. And indeed, I can see many a character expanding the Scooby-universe created with those five sets.
But, and that is a thing to keep in mind if you are a concerned parent … all the spooky characters in the Scooby-Doo Lego sets are in the spirit of the cartoons. That means they are not real monsters, zombies, or other creatures of the night. And Lego always made it clear that these can be unmasked by meddling kids. In Series 14, there is no such alternative, what you see is what you get. In fact, only the skeleton is obviously “not real”.
Then again, most of the figures are still within the boundaries of what kids can cope with. Unless, of course, you build a studio for the Tiger Lady, complete with a semi-undressed male minifigure looking for a bit of a spanking.