Due to reader requests and comments in response to the Glued Magnet Minifig Removal tutorial, I created this guide to LEGO magnets. This is especially relevant because you can still find both glued and- no-glued versions at LEGO’s Online Shop, LEGO stores and other retail outlets. I hope this will help you selecting the magnets that you want without disappointing surprises.
LEGO started releasing magnets in the early 2000s. These were regular LEGO bricks with a magnet inside. They came in various sizes, with 2x4s being the most common.
In 2005 LEGO added packets with 3 special LEGO minifigs with little magnets inside both legs to stick to metal surfaces. The parts of the minifigs are glued together so they can function as refrigerator magnets and such, without falling apart. You may be able to find these first-edition magnet minifigs on eBay or Bricklink.
In 2009 LEGO switched over to different type of minifigure magnet-sets; these were regular minifigures in every way, but standing on a special magnetized brick-base. The minifigs themselves are not magnetized, nor are their parts glued together.
LEGO collectors rejoiced as magnet-sets became a cheap way to get otherwise rare and unique minifigures. 😀
Although these minifigures are perfectly normal, there have been reports of the earliest versions being lesser quality due to being produced in China. (Here is a detailed comparison from Chris “wunztwice” – the minifig on the left is from a magnet-set, the minifig on the right is from a regular LEGO set. Click on the picture for more details.)
LEGO has responded to customer complaints and by 2010 the magnet minifigs had the same high quality as regular minifigures. LEGO-fans were happy, but unfortunately not too long. 🙁
Due to licensing issues (read more here) LEGO started gluing the minifigures to the magnet bases in early 2011. In addition the torsos and legs of the minifigures are now glued together – although heads, head-gear and accessories remain removable.
This has been the most confusing time-period for LEGO-fans as the packaging and general look of glued magnet-sets is almost identical to the earlier non-glued version. To add to the confusion, currently LEGO’s online shop, LEGO stores and retail outlets carry both versions! And to make matters worse the item number on the glued re-release of earlier non-glued sets is the same as before! Many shoppers have been greatly disappointed by this experience.
As a response I have tested numerous methods to remove glued minifigs from their magnet bases and came up with a workable solution. (Read here: Glued Magnet Minifig Removal)
Also, please note that although the 2011 minifig-magnet packages are very similiar to earlier releases, the package does state on the back that “LEGO elements are glued together”. (Please see picture below – you may click on the image for a larger view.) Therefore the best solution is to ALWAYS CHECK THE BACK OF THE PACKAGING! ❗
You check the packaging at retail outlets, however if you are shopping online you won’t know which version online shops have in stock. So to help shoppers identify what they are buying I have put together the following list of 2009-2011 LEGO minifigure magnet sets currently available.
➡ NON-GLUED MINIFIGURE MAGNET SETS (2009 releases):
These sets were all released two years ago and there is no evidence of them having a glued re-release. They are most likely no longer available at retail stores, but you should be able to find them on eBay or Bricklink. If you do find them they should be non-glued.
➡ GLUED MINIFIGURE MAGNET SETS (2009 re-releases):
Although you may find non-glued versions of these sets on sites like eBay and Bricklink, if you currently see them at a retail store they are most likely the re-released glued version. Pay special attention to the information on the back of the packaging!
➡ NON-GLUED MINIFIGURE MAGNET SETS (2010 releases):
These minifigures are perfectly normal in every way. They are removable from the magnetized base, and the minifigure parts are not glued to each other. These sets are currently available at LEGO stores, LEGO’s online shop, and many retail outlets. There is no current evidence of these sets having a glued version, but always check the packaging!
➡ GLUED MINIFIGURE MAGNET SETS (2010 re-releases):
These magnets sets have both glued and non-glued versions as they have been re-released in 2011. You may find either or both versions at retail stores. Pay special attention to the information on the back of the packaging!
➡ GLUED MINIFIGURE MAGNET SETS (2011 releases):
These minifigures are always glued to their magnet base. In addition their torsos and legs are glued together. Heads, headgear and accessories are removable. These sets have no non-glued versions. See Glued Magnet Minifig Removal for solution.
❗ FYI: As far as I know this list is up-to-date and correct. There is risk however that LEGO will re-release more of the earlier magnet sets. In this case the newly released sets will be glued. Use the above list as a guide and TO BE SURE ALWAYS CHECK THE BACK OF THE PACKAGING!
And if you find that a magnet set I have listed in the non-glued section comes in a glued variety please let me know as soon as possible so I can warn other shoppers as well. I need you guys to help me keep this list updated. Thanks! To minifig freedom! 😉
Interesting article (as always). I had no idea about magnet minifigs. I have to get at least one of them.
THANKS FOR THIS! You have done it again! 😉
Would it be possible to have a printable version of the list section? Just wondering. 😉
Great read, even if you know nearly all already, it’s still fun:)
About the quality of the “China” figs:
No lesser quality was noticed, only the colors were less dense.
But LEGO made up for this by providing many more parts with less dye….
Right now they are doing the same by coloring their own pellets )c:
Great summary! Thanks! I will use this next time I shop for magnet figs!
This is great! Thanks! I’m wondering about a printable version too! 😉
I hear ya, guys! I will see what I can do. 😉
hey the magnet set that has Han Solo and the scout trooper is glued
Kevin, thanks for reporting that! I guess this set was re-released as well. I will move it over to the re-released 2010 sets section. Thanks again! 🙂
UPDATE: Set #852845 (Han Solo, Ewok, Scout Trooper) has been moved over to the re-released section. Kevin has reported that this set has been re-released and now comes glued. Thanks, Kevin! 😉
❗ Because this set was released in 2010, and was previously non-glued, you may be able to find either or both versions at retailers. Pay special attention to the information at the back of the packaging!
Super terrific results. Tried to loosen up a keychain to avoid damaging it during extraction, and I think the hot bath was beneficial! The long screw came out with less effort.
Dan, that is very interesting! Someone else mentioned similar good results by using the hot-bath technique on keychains.
I guess if LEGO uses the same solvent on the keychains as on the magnets, it makes sense that the hot-water would loosen up the keychain-pin as well. 😉
Thanks for reporting your results! 😛
I managed to get a Boba Fett/Leia/Imperial Guard set that wasn’t glued together. I was in a Lego store, though, and could double-check before I purchased.
Hm, interesting…thanks for reporting that! So they are still selling both versions. Poor customers! 😕
Last time I was in a Lego store, the guy who worked there told me that the Star Wars magnets with white packaging were the non-glued kind. The re-released ones have blue packaging. This doesn’t really help for online purchasing, but I thought I’d mention it.
Jane, that is a really good point! I have noticed that too about the packaging! As you said; it may not always help when someone shops online, but sometimes it is possible to ask the seller to check the packaging (at places like BrickLink, eBay, or other reseller sites). Thanks for confirming the package color! 🙂
I should mention, I was able to purchase the Boba Fett, Imperial Guard and Leah as non-glued in the store. They were in white packaging. I didn’t see the Kit Fisto, Bariss and Jag magnets listed on your list. Was wondering if you knew about whether they might be glued or not. Thanks.
Oops, Jane, thanks for pointing out that the post was missing the set with Kit Fisto, Bariss and Jag! I just added it! 😉
Hi! Thanks for the tutorial on how to release the figs from magnets, I’m gonna try it out. Bad news on the Kit Fisto set, I’m afraid… It comes in a white package, but it’s glued 🙁 hope the bath will do the trick though! Greetings from Sweden!
Al, thanks for sharing that! I really appreciate you letting our readers know that not all glued minifigs come in a blue package! 🙁
Thanks for the heads up I just ordered some of these for my boy for christmas. No wonder they were on sale at such a cheap price at the lego.com. I look forward to giving them a nice warm bath on Christmas morning. Nice post 🙂
Good luck! 🙂
I added a similar “Bricklist” over on Brickset and have referrenced back to your guide. Thanks for compliling it, as it has been very helpful!
I notice you are missing a set though, 853191 Pirates of the Caribbean Magnet Set
Keep up the good work!
Hey, Legogeek! Excellent list! Nicely done! 🙂
I have been going back and forth if I should add the obviously 2011 magnet sets like the POTC magnets. I guess I’m just lazy! 😕
For other readers, here is the list Legogeek has created at Brickset, check it out!: https://brickset.com/sets/list-6234
I’m glad that I didn’t buy a magnet set when I was in Downtown Disney, I almost bought the Pirates of the Carribean one for the cutlasses… swords have always been my weakness… 😀
I found that the magnet set with cap. Jag, Kit fisto and offee have been glued 🙁
Rob, oh really??? Thanks for reporting that! I will make a note in the post about that! 👿
I can confirm that the Kit Fisto set is glued now – I have recently bought one in the Lego.com UK shop. This is a re-released set because it is now in blue packaging whereas before the identical figures were in a white pack. Boo hiss.
Kev, thanks for confirming that! I guess it was inavitable that all the evergreen Star Wars magnets will be re-released… now glued. 🙁
Hi there, I wondering if the 2005 type mini figures come apart for general play. The ones with small magnets inside rather than the base block?
Jen, the old magnet minifigs are like regular minifigures, but there is a little magnet inside their legs. I have not tried to remove these as I haven’t found it necessary. The minifigs work just fine and the magnets can be just ignored. However the figs are glued together, so you can’t take them apart like a regular minifig; changing their legs, etc. Hope this helps some! 😉
I’m working on freeing our Ninjago set, just purchased, it’s not on your list here but has the same problem a commenter reported,a 1×2 stuck to the back of the legs. The set contains Sensei Wu, Ninja Jay, and two-headed FangDam. Which is, come to think of it, kinda what I’ve been saying as I keep giving him a bath in hotter and hotter water with no luck…
Janny, you may want to check out the comment from Darkdragon on November 5th for an excellent solution for removing the extra plate:
“Here’s what I did to liberate a more difficult minifig from his bonds. For instance Barbossa and other figs with a 1×2 plate on the back of the legs. Had to do a second hot water bath, then VERY CAREFULLY I used a razer blade to cut the plate in half between the legs (so the legs can move independently again). Second step was to VERY CAREFULLY cut the plate off each leg. This leaves a little bit of stud still inside the leg, but it was easy to stick a flag pole into the foot at an angle and pop the stud out the back. The key here is this has to be done while the plastic is still warm and of course it has to be done carefully or you will cut the minifig (or yourself, but you will heal).”
Good luck! 😉
Yup! I just re-commented (?) on the deglueing post, I did find Darkdragon and that helped me figure it out! Thanks again.
Thank you!! We bought the Ninjago set not knowing about the new glue problem. A quick Google search brought us right here for an easy solution. We were able to get the 1×2 plate off by having a lot of patience, keeping the water hot and carefully prying a very thin knife between the 1×2 and the ninja legs from the top down (making sure the ninja was nice and warm from his bath). Once the knife was between the plate and the legs I slowly pryed it away from the legs and it came away in one piece. They have a bit of residual glue but my 5 year old really won’t care. Thanks again!!
Andrea, I’m glad your little experiment was succesful! Thanks for sharing! 😀
hello. This id very useful info. thanks. I am just hoping for a clarification of the original post:
“Due to licensing issues (read more here) ”
the link takes me to the “Glued magnet minifig removal!” page….
Could you clarify what the ‘licensing issues’ are?
Is it the statement from the lego rep quoted there the explanation? it doesn’t seem to mention licensing issues.
Any clarification on this matter would be welcomed….
my prefered explanation for gluing of figures to magnets is:
They want to make more money so it is better (for profits) that people buy the actual sets (approx £50/70 average cost) with the figures in, rather than the triple figure magnet set (£10/12 average cost)
It has to do with Star Wars licensing issues. HASBRO has the license for making Star Wars action figures and LEGO has the license for Star Wars sets. HASBRO has complained that by the SW magnets LEGO has crossed the line over to their territory of action figures. This has become an issue and could have ended in costly legal battles. LEGO’s response was to glue the magnets so they are no longer could be considered action figures, but more like memorabilia. Because they went in the glued direction for the SW magnets they decided to glue all magnets so there is a consistency accross the board. LEGO would have never gone this direction without these issues. It is not about making money, it is about the brutally competative nature of the toy-market. 😐
Thanks for the explanation…
my apologies to lego – I withdraw my comment “Gold diggers!”.
Unfortunatley the brutally competative nature of the toy-market is about money 😐 but c’est la vie!
No problem, I’m sure LEGO will forgive you. 😉
A lot of people don’t realize how competative the toy-market is. The issue is market-share. Money comes later. But of course money has to be there as well. Otherwise why bother running a business? 🙂
I have written about the liscense issues Plz read and comment on https://5000bricks.shutterfly.com/whylegomagnetareglued
Well written post! Your point about HASBRO now crossing the line is particularly interesting!
As a Brick Specialist at my local LEGO Store, I’ve studied the packaging changes carefully, because I regularly have to explain the differences to customers. We used to get both glued and unglued versions of some sets in the store (mostly the Chewbacca set), but our distributors seem to have pretty much run out of all the older stock by now.
In many cases, the re-released Star Wars sets have identical packaging except for these two changes:
1. The notice on the back about elements being glued together, shown above. (This is the definitive identifier.)
2. At the bottom front of the card, “Magnets” has been translated into two other languages. (This makes it easy to tell them apart without taking every set off the hanger to check the back.)
All glued-version-only magnets sets (Pharoah’s Quest, Atlantis, PotC, Ninjago, etc.) also have both these identifiers.
Thanks, Tim! That is a good tip about the front of the cards! I never noticed that! 😀
The lego pirates of the Caribbean magnet set is glued to
I hope this help
It’s really work, thanks for this and simple tutorial made it happen……4 thumbs up
Oscar, you are welcome! 😉
The Harry Potter magnet minifigs are now glued.
Thanks for the update! 😀
The DC Comics sets are glued, and it looks like the feet are also glued…still working with them.
Jeff, in my experience it is not that the feet are separately glued, but sometimes the solvent seeps in there too. Some minifigs have more, some less of the solvent, which means that some pops off really easily, and others take more work to take off.
You could slide a very thin blade between the bottom of the feet and the magnet to separate them as there is no stud there. I would do this after warming the minifig up according to the instructions above to loosen the solvent, then give it a nudge with the blade to break the seal. 😉
a friend just bought me the toy story magnets at legoland and they were glued…
the newer sets have these backgroundsglued to them, how should i remove them? with the boiling water technique?
Yes, you can use the same technique. 😉
I purchased the star wars set from 2010 with princess leia; C3P0 and; that other alien guy (sorry can’t remember his name) and they were glued to the bases. Just thought I would let you know – you have them as non glued above.
Stephanie, thanks for sharing that. Yes, some of them have both glue and non-glue version from the period they were transitioning over.
I had no idea half of this existed. I’m in the camp that believes unless its a square or oblong brick its cheating :o)