Welcome to another review of some third-party LEGO-related merchandise, and for this I have to thank Amperzand for letting me know about it.
The merchandise in question are called “mini-action legs”, and these came from what looks like a relatively new web site called Brick Fortress, based in the States. These are the only items they’re selling at the moment.
From the web site:
Are you tired of the children, dwarves, halflings, goblins, gnomes and other figures that inhabit your construction toys world and their inability to live a normal non-static life? Unable to run, sit, walk or frolic? Then look no further than the Brick Fortress’s new mini-action legs! These will mobilize those figures for your many construction toy needs.
These mini-action legs/articulated miniature legs work with many construction toy figures!!!
There are two holes on the back and bottom of each leg that allow for many positioning options: sitting, walking, running, and more.
Now that you know what they are, the question on your mind is probably, are they any good? What kind of quality are they? Do they fit? How closely do the colours match?
First of all that’s more than one question, so wait your turn. Secondly, let’s find out.
More about these “mini-action legs”
As the description above mentions, these legs were designed for people who got really frustrated with the lack of articulation in LEGO’s own short “stubby” legs (there isn’t any). While I liked the idea of having “child” figures in my scenes, it really wasn’t fun at all having them do nothing but stand around. Brick Fortress wants to put an end to that with their own solution.
The web site currently has these legs in five different colours, all intending to match LEGO’s own colours: Black, Dark Blue, Reddish Brown, Gray (Grey) and Tan. They are also taking suggestions for more colours to produce these legs in. For the sake of being thorough, and in case I liked them, I bought two of each.
The order took about a week to arrive via regular airmail, having been dispatched the day after I placed the order. I’d received two small plastic bags, each with one of each colour mini legs, as well as the invoice. Not bad at all.
There were some very visible moulding marks on each of the legs, but anyone who has a problem with these can easily reduce them with sandpaper or a craft knife or something. These are custom items and it’s to be expected, but in any case I didn’t mind. I was more curious as to how these things were made and how they work.
If we look very closely at the tops of the pins we can see some letters: one pin has a copyright symbol, and the other has the initials of the guy who runs things. What should be obvious is that the pins are very different to LEGO’s leg assemblies.
To demonstrate these mini-action legs, I’ve enlisted the help of five children from the local community. These kids all won the SilentMode.tv poem competition held last month, in which they were asked to write a 100-word poem about how great this web site is.
You’ll see that I’ve attempted to dress them up appropriately with matching or relevant torsos; this is so we can do some colour comparisons.
Attaching the legs to LEGO torsos was very simple, and the pins form a strong bond with the torso so they don’t easily come off. Taking them off takes a little bit of effort, and if you’re using these on customised figures you might want to be careful. There were no issues with small gaps between the torso and hips, as far as I could see.
Quality and colour matching
The material feels a bit lighter and perhaps more brittle than LEGO’s ABS, but it’s still very good quality plastic, holding up very well and not breaking at all during this review.
All of the colours are incredibly close to LEGO’s own colours, with only the most anal of customisers noticing any differences. The biggest difference is with the Dark Blue legs, which look like the equivalent of “Chinese plastic” LEGO legs (lighter in tone). Fortunately we haven’t gone wrong with Black, and it’s obvious that an effort was made to get the colouring right.
You’ll immediately notice that the legs are incredibly stiff, and it takes some effort to bend them to how you want them. This would make a lot of sense considering the size of the legs, and it also prevents the legs wobbling, preventing us from posing them how we want. I’d rather have stiff legs (on minifigures, thank you) than worn-out ones.
The first pose I tried was having one of the kids in a “running” position. It took a little time, but I was able to stand the figure on a flat surface to get this shot. Already these mini-action legs feel liberating.
The left (front-most) leg shows how far back the mini legs can bend.
Here we have one of the kids sitting down. Naturally it looks like a regular figure with no legs, but that’s to be expected – this shot is only here to show that the legs can be bended forward.
Here’s another child posing on a (decommissioned, thank you) Stephmobile from Stephanie’s Pet Patrol.
While it is possible for the child to sit right at the front of the Stephmobile, it’s made difficult because of the very tight grip of the holes in the legs. There may also be a tiny bit of overlap, as the front of the vehicle usually came off as well. Of course, the child is able to stand upright on the vehicle, much like Stephanie did.
Oh look, he’s obtained a passenger!
If you ever wanted to pose a child running, here’s an example of how you can do so. Both legs are touching the Blue brick.
Similarly here’s the same child getting hit with a snowball or something. This is as far back as the mini legs will bend, but the tight grip of the legs on the stud means the figure won’t fall over easily.
The kids have no issues with sitting on any part of the Blue brick. Naturally you won’t be able to have them sitting over the edge, facing forwards.
Of course, here’s a comparison of the mini-action legs (left) with LEGO’s “stubby” legs (centre) and regular minifigure legs (so not on the right). The mini-action legs are ever-so-slightly taller than LEGO’s stubby legs, but you probably wouldn’t notice.
I like these. This is one of those custom items that one may not have necessarily thought about, but would find very useful in their own MOCs.
As most people would be, I was sceptical of how good these would be when I first had a look at the site. I couldn’t imagine something delicate like a pair of mini-legs that could positioned lasting very long, not unless both legs were joined together. But you know what, it works. I was relieved to find that both legs could be rotated independently, and probably more so that they could be bent backwards.
Of course, I’ve used these legs for the best part of five minutes, so I can’t comment on longevity yet: it’s something that may come up in the hindsight review. One thing I was particularly impressed with was the amount of grip these legs offered, which in some cases is even better than LEGO’s parts. It proved to be a bit of an issue when seating a figure with these legs at the front of the Stephmobile, but the alternative would be to use something other than legs in that case.
What may be off-putting to some is that there are only five colours at the moment, and perhaps that there isn’t anything else to buy from Brick Fortress. I don’t know if there will be other items from them, but the colour issue can be at least addressed by sending them your suggestions. It will be interesting to see if and what other colours will be introduced over time.
It’s score-out-of-thin-air time again, and I have no shame in giving these 8/10. If you have child figures in your scenes, and you’re not a complete purist, these will surely come in handy.
One thing I would have liked to do was test these legs with Arealight’s curved torsos, but unfortunately I don’t have them to hand.