In many major Lego-related sites we can read complaints about that Lego Technic figures were discontinued by Lego since mid-90s of last century. Even reasons of discountinuation are not very clear:
- Some guys say that Technic Figure contained too many joints, and it was too expensive to manufacture compared to demand
- Others say that Technic Figures were too big, or too small, or they were not very good looking because of the nasty holes in the leg part, which were also in quite a pointless position
- In my point of view, Technic Figures were simply victims of a bureaucratic manufacturing cost cut: if figures are added to Technic sets, their scale is tied to figures' scale=1:18. Without adding figure, large Technic sets (Bulldozer, Unimog, Large rescue helicopter, Truck, Crane, etc.) can be scaled down from 1:18 to about 1:22 (1:36 is the minifig scale). At first sight, it does not seem too much, but average material reqirement of a model changes roughly with third power of linear size (to put it simply - twice as big model requires almost eight times more bricks). So it means serious brick count - and cost reduction, which can make reasonable profit even at reasonable retail prices.
But then, why fourty-some years old Adult Friends Of Lego cry after authentic technic figures like babies after their lost puppet?
1. Because in professional, high-end Lego Technic building, ergonomic placement of drivers in cocpits, and realistic working controls of a vehicle poses serious modelling challenge.
2. Some types of machines (eg. supersport cars, motorbikes) just look good with fancy girls (try to imagine a motorcycle with a minifig girl posing it... eeee... epic fail)
3. Some types of machines just does not look good with fancy girls, but with handsome guys (eg. heavy battlefield helicopters)
As there is no hope that Lego will do something in this story, I decided to design replacement of technic figures along the following lines:
GOAL1: Reasonable, payable scale: You can create mighty warriors/ robots/transformers from bionicle in scale 1:10..1:6. Thats impressive. But just imagine that once the mighty warriors get tired of walking, and you need a simple Armoured Personell Carrier (APC). In scale 1:10, that will cost you about 2200 bricks, baby... (war is an expensive thing, although). Therefore, the big challenge is to do something fancy in 1:18..1:20 scale. Technic Figure was 12 studs tall, 4 studs wide, and 1 stud tchick, forming a thin, feminine type of guy. The reason is obvious: it could fit in narrower cockpit. I keep this size at modeling women, but increase width to 5 studs at men. Tchickness will be increased also at both genders, wherewer is needed.
GOAL2: Girls and boys are quite a different type of animals: Nowadays there is a global trend of unisexization on many areas of life partly because of preventing discrimination, partly because global companies can make more profit selling mass produced stuff to uniformized masses worldwide. An excellent example is Lego, which made quite an effort of total de-sexualization of Lego figures, probably to keep Arabic and USA/Bible belt markets, where realistic modeling of human body in a toy would cause serious religious concerns. The most realistic is belleville figure, which is also well designed, but designers did take care about that it has the proportions of a small girl BEFORE sexual maturity (11-12 years old). So it looks pretty weird driving an Unimog with a hydraulic crane-arm. So I try to model different sizes and proportions of mens/womens body. Also, I did model that parts which girls and boys supposed to have, even they are covered on the picture, but you can check them out in attached LXF file...
GOAL3: If you cannot repose it, rebuild it: My figures are built from ordinary, frequent technic parts can be found in anyone's brickshelf. This affects aesthetic negatively, but it has positive effect on reusability and materials management. We also have to pay the price in limited posability compared to original Technic Figure. This is especially true to female model, but it is still suitable to sit it in a cockpit, in driver's position. BUT, anytime you cannot pose the figure, you can rebuild it a little bit to achieve correct position (eg. females shoulders are 4 studs wide, so elbow will not work correctly, but it can built with straight arm). Also, it is possible versioning mens/womens headform and haircut/beard (we show 4 examples but you can develope your own). In general, bigger sized male figures have more joints and can performe more positions (eg. open up legs to ride motorcycles). This feature is left out from female model to prevent weird guys to shoot weird Lego-movies using my work...
GOAL4: Just being handsome: Hand gauge of Technic Figure was the width of Technic connector peg (5mm). Although it fit to Technic, but it was oversized. So I opted to use the same hand gauge as minifig. This way we can use lot of minifig equipment, which are a little bit oversized at scale 1:36 but work well in 1:20. Moreover, being in 1:20 instead of 1:36, we can model some stuff more realistic: eg. see the assault rifle with removable magazine and grenade launcher or the machinegun, with moving belt-feed. In minifig scale, it would be impossible.
GOAL5: Personalization: I tried to create Gilian, Angelina, Chuck and Arnie with minor modifications of basic model.