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LEGO minifigure variants, versions & misprints

(Written by Tobymacboy)

On my last post, LEGO Misprints – Annoying or Unique?, someone made a comment mentioning that the LEGO Star Wars Boba Fett minifigures were being misprinted. I thought maybe the reader saw pictures of the old Boba Fett minifig and thought it was a misprint. I then explained the difference between misprints and variants, and Admin suggested that this would make a good post. So, here it is! First off…


Please note that LEGO minifigure “versions” and “variants” are in fact official terms used by LEGO in books like the LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. Here is a quote from the Star Wars Encyclopedia:

The book distinguishes between “versions” of minifigures and “variants”. Versions are separate minifigures in their own right – so each version has its own page. Variants are the same version of the minifigure but with modifications. For example, there are ten versions of Luke Skywalker in this book; one of those is X-wing pilot Luke, and that minifigure has been released in five different variations or variants. Like Luke, some minifigures have lots of variants, though, sadly, not all of them can fit in this book. 

So as you can see a variant is the same minifigure but with a slight change, such as a minifigure with yellow skin or with a more detailed torso. See below two variants of the LEGO Star Wars Episode III Obi-Wan Kenobi.

LEGO Minifigure Variants - LEGO Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi

Some minifigure variants are easy to spot, while others are very hard to notice; like a small change to the facial features or a lighter colored hip-joint. Some variants are made to make minifigures more detailed (like in a later release of the same minifigure), and others are exclusives to a particular LEGO set. Take a look at the picture below: the LEGO Star Wars Rebel on the left comes in a battle-pack, while the other one is exclusive to the AT-AT.

LEGO Minifigure Variants - LEGO Star Wars Rebels

Some variants could easily be mistaken for a misprint, like the difference between the old and new Stormtrooper torso-designs. The original torso compared to the new 2012 design can look somewhat “blurry” or “fuzzy”, even though, in my opinion, the old design is more accurate than the new one. Still these could easily be thought of as a misprint.

LEGO Minifigure Variants - LEGO Star Wars Stormtroopers

Some variants cannot be noticed unless the LEGO minifigure’s helmet is removed; such as the LEGO Star Wars Scout-Troopers and Tie Pilots.

LEGO Minifigure Variants - LEGO Star Wars Pilots

Now that we have discussed LEGO minifigure variants, let’s discuss…


A version is the same person in minifigure form but in a different outfit, or different age (young vs. older). Below we have two versions of Anakin: Jedi Knight, and Podracer. Since one is Anakin as a Jedi Knight and one is Anakin as a Podracer, these are both versions, not variants of Anakin.

LEGO Minifigure Versions - LEGO Star Wars Anakin

And now the epic conclusion; something entirely different than LEGO minifigure versions and variants, something that not suppose to exist…


Below we have the LEGO Star Wars R2-D2 2008 design on the left, 1999-2007 variant in the middle, and a misprint on the right. A variant or a version is a documented minifigure while a misprint is not. It simply means that the printer was not properly aligned, creating an off-printed minifigure.

LEGO Minifigure Misprints vs. Variants - LEGO Star Wars R2-D2

So to conclude; LEGO minifigure misprints are the same shape as the printing on the correctly printed minifigure (with possible deformation), but looks out of place. If the print looks uniform it is most likely a variant. I hope I made clear the differences between LEGO variants, versions and misprints. Let me know what you think and if you have any comments or questions. 🙂

Also, just wanted to let you know that with this last article, I have become an official TFOL (Teen-Fan-of-LEGO) contributor at TBB and got my own Contributors Page. Yay! If you would like to know more about me or just say “Hi”, please visit my page. You can also read my previous articles listed below, and I will post more when I get some new ideas. 😉

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • NINJA...GO May 24, 2012, 11:54 AM

    Awsome post

  • Jacob May 24, 2012, 12:26 PM

    Agreed, very well done post. The only “issue” I have is that the Hoth rebels shown may represent completely individuals, and therefore I don’t know if they count as true variants (like how City police officers may have different faces, even if every thing else about them is the same.) Still, it is nice to have a “solid” definition of version and variant.

    • admin May 24, 2012, 3:38 PM

      Jacob, that’s a good point about the rebels. Maybe Tobymacboy can clarify that when he comes online. 🙂

    • Tobymacboy May 25, 2012, 12:10 PM

      Heres the thing: on the box for the rebel battle pack (one that has minifigure on the left) the figure is labeled as “rebel trooper”. In the at-at , (figure on the right) it is also labled as “rebel trooper” If it were a different person , it would have a different name.

      • Jacob May 25, 2012, 11:29 PM

        On many of the battle packs, it will say a “this figure x2 (or more)” but they may have differing facial prints. It is hard to believe they are actually representing the same individual. The only difference in this case would be they are not in the same set. However, I guess even if they do have a variety of different facial prints (even of differing genders), if they are all exactly the same save for the face, then I guess they could still be called variants of one another.

        • Tobymacboy May 26, 2012, 9:44 AM

          Sometimes 2 variants of one figure come in the same set , so someone wouldnt have 2 of the same figures. The new “droid escape” has 2 variants of the sandtrooper (IDK why but the commander sandtrooper counts as a variant , not version.) but the online description says “two imperial sandtroopers” and the box just labled box of them as a “sandtrooper”.

        • Tobymacboy May 26, 2012, 9:50 AM

          ALSO most people in battle packs are random clones or troopers. So facial features don’t have to be something specific.

  • Tydroid Ninja of NINJAGONESS May 24, 2012, 2:34 PM

    I agree with all of those EXCEPT for one. Some times there are color misprints too. The Hazmat guy from the minifigure line is supposed to be orange, but some were yellow! 😮

    • Jacob May 24, 2012, 3:37 PM

      I never knew there were two different colors for the Hazmat suit guys. All the ones I saw were the “Keetongu” yellow (more orange than standard brick yellow).

      • NRG PYTHOR [ now i like pizza thanks to cole zx] May 24, 2012, 11:56 PM

        OMG i remember keetonhu, bionicle RIP 😥 🙁

    • admin May 24, 2012, 3:45 PM

      The Hazmat guys are actually a lighter orange (called bright-light-orange on BrickLink) and is quite close to yellow. I haven’t heard of any true yellow versions, but if there are they would be worth quite a bit! So if you have one, hold on to it as an investment! 😉

      • NRG PYTHOR [ now i like pizza thanks to cole zx] May 24, 2012, 11:58 PM

        i have NEVER had a misprinted piece

    • Tobymacboy May 25, 2012, 12:16 PM

      Any printing that is not correctly printed qualifies as a misprint. there isnt realy a list of things that have to be messed up for it to qualify.

  • Tydroid Ninja of NINJAGONESS May 25, 2012, 6:07 PM

    Oh. I dont have one, I just saw an regular brick orange one and then saw a wird yellow- orange one!

    • admin May 25, 2012, 7:59 PM

      I would say then that it is the regular orange one that is rare, as it supposed to be a light yellowish orange. 😉

  • Tydroid Ninja of NINJAGONESS May 26, 2012, 10:09 AM

    Ok! Thanks for letting me know! 😉

  • nace10 May 29, 2012, 9:35 PM

    Cool post!!!

    • Tobymacboy June 3, 2012, 8:30 PM

      Thank you!

  • Patjoller August 26, 2023, 8:39 AM

    Quick question. I have a torso that is an official one, from the studio sets. It has the director’s print on the front but on the back, instead of a clapboard with “director” written on it I have a clapboard with “Cameraman” written on it.
    Is there any value for a misprint torso like that ?

    • Thita (admin) August 27, 2023, 11:53 PM

      Yes, a misprint like that could be worth something, if you find an interested party. I would try in the various LEGO Facebook groups and also on the Bricklink forum (and Facebook group) to gauge interest. My previous experience tells me you might be able to get $5-$20 for it. But it really depends on rarity and interest.

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