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The story of the LEGO minifigure – Part 5

In the past few weeks, we have been looking through the various assets the LEGO Group collected and sent out to LEGO fan sites in celebration of 40th anniversary of the minifigure this year. So far, we have looked at LEGO minifigure variations and prototypes (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 1), moulds used for making LEGO minifigures (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 2, some sketches by LEGO minifig designers (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 3), and some old ads from the late ’70s early ’80s (see: The Story of the LEGO Minifigure – Part 4). Today, we will continue to look at old advertisement, but this time for various LEGO themes though the years. 🙂

LEGO ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THE 1970s: The first ad is from 1974, showing off some of the large brick-built figures and earliest LEGO vehicles. The next three ads are from 1976, featuring the earliest LEGO Western, LEGO City hospital, and LEGO City Police sets. Note that there is a mix of the large brick-built figures and the earliest minifigures with no moving arms and legs and no printed faces. In the ads of 1977 we are introduced to the first smiley-faced minifigs with movable arms and legs. This is the beginning of the golden era of classic LEGO sets, with elaborate city displays, and the introduction of LEGO Classic Space, and LEGO Classic Castle (click images for larger view).

LEGO ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THE 1980s: The 1980s continues with elaborate LEGO City sets with the addition of electric LEGO trains running on light-gray train tracks (the earliest train-tracks were blue). We also get more LEGO Space and LEGO Castle sets. There is a beautiful advertisement from 1984 with all the LEGO Fabuland characters (Fabuland was first introduced in 1979). In 1988, we see an interesting change with both LEGO Space and LEGO Castle going to the dark side with predominantly black elements with the LEGO Blacktron space sets and the LEGO Black Knights, Lion Knights, and Forestmen castle sets. And, in the advertisement of 1989, LEGO Pirates are introduced with pirates, imperials, and some beautiful ships (click images for larger view)!

LEGO ADVERTISEMENTS FROM THE 1990s: During the 1990s,. LEGO City expands with more police and fire stations, construction vehicles, airports, and trains. Besides pirates and imperial soldiers, LEGO Pirates introduces islanders. LEGO Space branches out to some interesting sub-themes like Futuron, M-Tron, Ice Planet, Exploriens, Insectoids, and Space Police. LEGO Castle keeps the darker theme with mostly black castles throughout the ’90s. In 1992, we see advertisements for LEGO Paradisa, the first girl-oriented theme with soft colors and female minifigures. In 1995, minifigs go for underwater explorations with Aqazone, and in an ad from 1997, we see the first Native American minifigure with a beautiful headdress on a painted horse for the beginning of the cowboys versus Indians conflict in the LEGO Western collection (click images for larger view).

Really sweet advertisements, aren’t they? If you grew up in the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s, these old pictures should bring back some fond memories! Please note that I only included a sample of the images LEGO sent over to fan sites, and there is a lot more. Some are regional variations of the same ads, or the same sets and layouts shown from different angles. You can browse the entire collection in the library section of Brickset.

What do you think? How do you like these early LEGO advertisements? Do you remember some of them from your childhood? Which were your favorite LEGO sets and themes growing up? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • DavidH October 4, 2018, 10:57 AM

    These pictures bring back so many wonderful memories! There used to be some lego ideas books too with similar pictures. I remember looking through the cities all the time. The houses had blue roofs just like on the pictures here. And I remember longingly looking at those space and castle sets. Thanks for sharing these!

  • Hayato October 4, 2018, 11:22 AM

    We have some of the old magazines, and the kids still love them. There is so much to look through! Then they will pick an old set and want to build it. Lego is truly timeless.

  • brickmaster October 4, 2018, 12:28 PM

    So much to look at here! I don’t remember seeing a picture of the Yellow Castle opened up like that. Very cool. And there is the monorail! 😀

  • Martin October 4, 2018, 1:57 PM

    What a wonderful collection. However, I’m having trouble to see the rest of the pictures on Brickset. The pages linked shows up as blank for me with just the dates. Any ideas why?

    • admin October 4, 2018, 2:07 PM

      Martin, if you have some kind of adblock feature on while visiting the Brickset page, the pictures in the gallery won’t show up. This is not the case for most other Brickset images and galleries, so my guess is that adblock is blocking them in this gallery because the images have “ad” in their name. Anyway, just turn adblock off on the page and all the images should show up. 😉

  • jabber-baby-wocky October 4, 2018, 2:41 PM

    Wow! Those space sets and castle sets! They still look good after so many years. Why doesn’t Lego rerelease at least the most iconic ones?

    • admin October 4, 2018, 2:50 PM

      LEGO did re-release various anniversary sets to commemorate the classics, but yeah, a full-size re-release would be sweet too! I guess they feel there is just not enough interest from kids of today. But we can always hope. 😉

      • Håkan October 4, 2018, 2:57 PM

        Yeah, re-releases would mainly just attract the nostalgic crowd, and the earlier attempts apparently failed to get enough interest.

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