21 July 2019

New versions of shield and mermaid tail

Recently, David Gregory of IndyLUG got in touch with us about a couple of interesting finds at LEGO® retail stores.

If you’re familiar with the Build-A-Minifigure bins at LEGO® retail stores, then you’ll be aware that those bins can sometimes be a source of otherwise rare minifig parts and accessories.  In June in Illinois and Indiana, USA I came across two parts that are from known molds, but have new printings – or lack thereof.

The first part is an unprinted version of the mermaid tail in Dark Green [TLG name]/ Green [BrickLink name] and the second is a new print on the large escutcheon shield.





This version of a curved mermaid tail (Design ID 95351) has appeared in a few different colors, but always with a print either on the front or on the fins.

As for the shield (Design ID 18836), at first I thought that this was an entirely new mold that’s a bigger version of the classic Castle escutcheon shield, however, I remembered that this large shield was already available in Warm Gold/ Pearl Gold and Titanium Metallic/ Pearl Dark Gray with different printings as part of the Egyptian Warrior and the Frightening Knight, from Series 13 and 15 of LEGO Minifigures respectively.  The knight holds his shield normally, while the Egyptian holds his shield in an upside down fashion with the point up.

The new print has two gold rampaging lions on blue backgrounds and two gold pairs of crossed keys on red backgrounds. As you can see, the newer shield has an elongated escutcheon style shape compared to the classic one from the 1980s and ’90s.  If the two styles of shield are held face-to-face with the bottom points aligned, the widths and side curvatures of them match perfectly, making the newer shield front the same as the old one except for the height of the upper portion.






Let’s compare this shield to other popular shapes and sizes of minifig shields.  Here you can see the new tall escutcheon shield compared to other common shield types from over the years.



A view of the backs of the same shields shows that the new one has the same horizontal bar grip as the larger rectangular and ovoid shields on the right.

Overall the mermaid tail was a so-so find, but I am very excited over the new printed shield.  Soon after discovering the shield, I asked a LEGO store employee, “Can you tell me anything about this new printed shield?”  Their reply was a sly grin and, “No, I can’t.”

The existence of this new printed shield brings up an interesting question: Does LEGO plan to release a new line of Castle themed sets in the near future?  With the end of Nexo Knights, we are due for a new Castle subtheme.  If this new shield is any indication of new Castle sets, then I think they’re going to have heavy European influence, even when compared to other Castle subthemes.



It all could be wishful thinking.  The new printed shield might just be an accessory for a new collectible minifig.  Nevertheless, I’m going to keep my eyes open for any news about upcoming Castle-themed sets.

Both parts have been added to the Bricklink catalog:





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14 comments:

  1. They actually release quite a few unique elements to Build-a-Minifig. The first was an unprinted bright-light-orange snowboard, then one of the Galaxy Quest heads with a single-sided print (which came from a double-sided head). The parts that really got some attention were the turquoise floppy hat and the blue clown hair. I've also seen a wizard hat in a different shade of blue, a single-sided vampire head printed on light-bley, an acoustic guitar in a different color, and a red Santa elf hat.

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    1. The snowboard wasn't new to build-a-mini—it was used as the spoiler for a Speed Champions set.

      What's really exciting about some of the more recent Build-a-Mini parts, though, is that we're seeing more of them that have completely original prints instead of minor variations or recolors of existing ones. For example, in addition to these two parts the recent batch has also featured a completely new design for a baseball uniform.

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    2. The snowboard was absolutely unique, because it had the snowflake print from the S3 Snowboarder. Her snowboard was dark-blue:

      https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=93218pb01

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  2. Hmm, not sure if those would be dumped tryout batches, or some way to boost the appeal of the BAM bins, or a bit of both.

    New minifig parts and accessory colors are always welcome, though.

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    1. I'm thinking it's intentional. They first started trying to entice buyers by seeding the bins with CMF parts. You'd almost never be able to build a complete CMF with accessories, but on rare occasion the only thing missing was available in other sets (like Santa Claus' bag). These special elements came later, and they've apparently been picking up one or two with every quarterly refresh.

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  3. Hmm, although I'm primarily a spacer, my favorite themes since Royal Knights have been Fantasy Era (+Medieval Market Village) and Kingdoms, so it would be nice if a new Castle theme took some inspiration from these. More Queens, maidens and peasants, as well as more dragons and fantasy creatures...

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  4. I found an exclusive colored hiking backpack once. I hope this means a new castle theme. That shield is amazing!!!

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    1. Dark Green backpack with Lime bedroll? There's a couple of them out on BrickLink now. (A few of them listed incorrectly.) Pretty useful part.

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  5. I have found alot of unofficial recolorings lately. Apparently its a thing they are trying but I dont know why. Happy to support though! :D

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    1. Same reason they tried the PaB models. To move product. PaB models was a bad idea, just on the fact that you get _less_ stuff for the same price than if you just packed the cup randomly. However, they discovered about ten years ago that minifigs sell sets, and exclusive minifigs sell even more sets. This falls right in line with that. Give us exclusive minifig elements, and people will buy packs just to siphon off the supply.

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  6. I walked past the Stockholm store today. Alas, I found no shield, but I got the 12890 Female Long Straight Hair in Orange, a "Champs" baseball torso with mitt, a Dark Green backpack and a Dark Gray cat, so there seems to be quite a bit of specialized parts in the BAM bins. (Although many of the parts might still be relatively common, though.)

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    1. Now I also see that I got a pair of legs with underwear/ shorts, similar to 970c00pb785 , but with minifig head prints instead of paw prints. It looks like they aren't listed on BrickLink, yet. (Otherwise, heart prints would have been kinda cute…)

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    2. Hmm, wonder if that underwear part possibly will appear on CMF 19 Shower Guy, when the series will be released...

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    3. It's doubtful. With rare exception, CMF deco is original to CMF. The few exceptions I can even think of are all accessories. Even previous CMF deco generally seems to be off-limits for future CMF releases. I can't see them jumping the gun by releasing upcoming CMF elements to Build-a-Minifig ahead of time. Looking at pics of the pawprint guy vs this Shower Guy, the pawprint boxers appear to come down to exactly the same height as the towel on Shower Guy, so it's hard to say what he's wearing under the towel...except that there's no way they'd release that minifig without some sort of undergarment.

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