You've always been able to build whatever you want out of Legos, but when it came to the minifigures, there was only so much you could accomplish by swapping around heads, torsos, and legs. Now, the advent of affordable 3D design programs and home printing have created a lot of opportunities for creative minds to expand their minifig worlds. In fact, it's getting to the point where some folks are even beginning to release real toys, like Crazy Bricks' Dino Dudes.
Having already made a lot of fancy accessories, Crazy Bricks turned to Kickstarter for their most advanced project yet. Sure, it's basically just "dinosaur costumes for minifigs," but there's a difference between designing something a hand can hold and designing something
that will fit perfectly around a body.
Crazy Bricks does not create its own minifigures: when they offer a body, it's one they had to go out and buy themselves on the secondary market, customizing it with any paint as needed - in fact, the options in this Kickstarter were limited by what colors they could find for sale! They had planned to do a set in Barney the Dinosaur colors, but there were only 20 "Light Purple" (as Lego calls it) bodies on the market, and those at an exorbident price, so they had to buy "Dark Purple" instead and the kits had to follow suit. Personally, I went for the "Fossil Edition," all painted up with white bones on a black body. And you could pledge for either just the costumes or a complete set including bodies, so now I have five little skeleton minifiges ready to play dress-up.
Note: while the Fossil minifigs have solid black heads, as seen in the image above, the full costume photos will substitute a normal head with a face, so you can better understand how the suits look if you just get those to put on your own minis. All the photos are shown actual size - click them to embiggen.
The first Dino Dude is a brachiosaurus, because apparently they didn't want to go with paleontology's greatest comeback story, the brontosaurus? That means there's an extra bump on top of the head (where its nose-holes were) and a long, long neck that's worn like a hat on the minifig head. The brachiosaurus costume is a bit more complex than the rest, extending far enough off the back to require a second set of legs by the tail - so if you want to provide your own figs to fill the suits, you'll need to source two legs and one torso for this one.
Next up is the king of all dinosaurs, the T rex. This works much better, considering T rexes were bipedal, so the Dino Dude costume doesn't have to work as hard at creating the look. Which is not to say it doesn't
go hard in the paint; in fact, the paint is the entire draw of these fossils, so it really needs to be good. Plus, the T rex has quite possibly the most famous skull in all of dino-dom (thanks to the Jurassic Park logo), so we'd know if that was wrong. This body part of this set is held on at the minifigure's waist, rather than the neck: to do Rexxy's distinctive legs, the mold has extra wide hips, so more plastic at the waist makes the piece sturdier. Because of the way the hips hug the angled minifig torso, you can only get it in or out by going straight from the front, rather than vertically - you might get frustrated at first if you don't realize that.
The third and final Dino Dude ready to go at the start of the Kickstarter campaign was the stegosaurus, which is probably the "plainest" in the series: no extra legs, no big sexy hips, just a "backpack"
piece that hangs around the figure's neck to do the body and tail, and a head worn like a hat. Since the bones on the bodies are tampographed, there's a limit to how solid the paint coverage can be, meaning those end up more of a light gray than actual white, meaning they aren't as bright as the figures' hands and the larger areas on the skeleton (such as the skull and, in the case of the steggy, the back-plates and thagomizer). The plates on this one are appropriately staggered, alternately leaning to the left or right from a central line where they're all attached.
And then came the unlockable stretch goals. When the campaign reached $25,000, in trundled the triceratops, best dinosaur waifu. This set
is similar to the stegosaurus, in that it's just a backpack and hat, but since trikes don't have long necks like stegosauruseseseses do, the body mold here includes the skull's lower jaw as part of the neck ring, and the paint apps include a few back teeth. Thanks to the vast size of the crest and the fact so much of it is white, this is one of the few places where you can see the sculptural detailing that went into the heads. All the Dino Dudes have had various hills and valleys suggesting their anatomy, but the bony paint apps disguise them unless you're actually touching the heads.
After a few other unlocks, $40k brought us the fifth Dino Dude in Series 1, a Pterodactyl. (Yes, we know pterosaurs aren't "technically" dinosaurs, but even the Your Dinosaurs Are Wrong guy concedes that it makes sense to lump them together, so let this one go, dinonerds). The head is long and pointy, and the backpack piece has the wings fully extended.
It's not an articulated piece, so they'll always be held wide, and there are handles on them so the minifigure can use them like a hang glider. That also requires a different Crazy Bricks product, "Crazy Arms": originally created so Lego archers could accurately arch, each set of Crazy Arms includes one arm held out to the side, and one bent across the chest. You have to take the regular minifig arms out of the torso, obviously. Did you know that was a thing you could do? Take out Lego arms? Because I sure as heck didn't! Lego minifigures come apart at the neck and waist, that's it. Shoulders and wrists are permanent things. But apparentloy not! Each pterodactyl set comes with one set of Crazy Arms, but you'll need two if you want the fig to hold both handles.
The Dino Dudes are cool designs and can blend in with real Legos incredibly well. Whether you want to buy a full Minifigure or just get the costume part and provide your own, these are nifty little figs, and Crazy Bricks is already working on Series 2.