Research Institute: the next LEGO Ideas set

Coming across the wire on Twitter just a couple of hours ago, courtesy of Brick Fanatics, was some very bad news indeed: that the Female Minifigures Set – which has been renamed Research Institute – is to become the eighth CUUSOO/LEGO Ideas set, and the second non-IP project to make the cut.

In an unsurprising turn of events, the reserve project from the previous review managed to take out the entire line-up in the Winter review.

As you’d expect, feminists all over the web and other people with no imagination whatsoever have been celebrating, with some even suggesting that “one set won’t be enough”. Personally, I haven’t been this disappointed in an official announcement since the Minecr..aft set.

Actually, I’m not as upset as it might sound.

If we’re absolutely honest, it was the only logical decision LEGO could have made, given the shortcomings of the other projects: many of them were just too large for the CUUSOO/LEGO Ideas price point, or violated the no new parts restriction. As well as appealing to feminists and those with no imagination with its all-female cast, the Female Minfiigures Set – in its submitted form – was the most feasible.
If that set had been excluded from this review, LEGO would have had a very tough time picking a winner from the others – I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to do it.

With regards to letters from seven-year olds: there may be a case for introducing more official female LEGO minifigures in sets, and therefore more female minifgures to collect, because even now they tend to be restricted to sets at higher price points. Immediate examples include Fabu-Fan from The LEGO Movie, the news reporter and the female ADU person from Alien Conquest, and probably the sole female hero[ine] from Dino. Outside of Friends sets they don’t appear very often in polybags.

However, I will reiterate that it’s easier than ever to create female minifigures, given the number of hairpieces, heads and torsos available, IMO. Build-A-Mini stations in LEGO stores usually have several female heads, and at least two or three female hairpieces. You could also enlist the services of places like minifigs.me if you’re after something specific.

If you’re one of those people celebrating who believes a minifigure can’t be female without eyelashes, lipstick and breast markings, then not only do you have no imagination whatsoever, but ironically you’re also stereotyping females.

If you’re a feminist, then no matter how good LEGO ends up making it – as someone pointed out over on Brickset – you’re probably going to complain anyway, if for no other reason than demanding more female-only sets down the road.

With all that said: even though I’ve disagreed with the premise of the set from the beginning, I’ll still congratulate Alatariel (the project owner) for managing to reach both milestones, and – unless the proceeds will go to Save The Women (okay I’ll stop now) – I will be picking one up, because at the end of the day I like minifigures, regardless of their sex.

The release date for Research Institute is said to be August 2014, and rumour has it that it will retail at USD 19.95.