“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Hunting for the Lego Simpsons!

Note 15/05/2015 - my feel guide for Lego Simpsons Series 2 can be found here

In a slight departure from "random encounters with the unusual" I want to post some advice for those Lego fans out there who are about to commence their hunt for the Lego Simpsons minifigures, which have just been released.

To assist fellow hunters I will give you an overview of:

1) the chances for finding a particular character in a box of 60 minifigures;
2) a guide for what to feel for when trying to identify each character in the blind bags;
3) a guide to the bump / dot codes that can be found on the packets.

So here we go...

Lego Simpsons Character Distribution in a box a 60. 

From a single box of 60 minifigures (yes I know this is only a sample size of 1) the character distribution that I achieved is shown below. I understand that in previous series of Lego minifigures that the distribution of characters per box was fixed and not random, so on this basis I believe that the distribution below will be common across all boxes.

1) 5 x Homer Simpson
2) 5 x Bart Simpson
3) 5 x Marge Simpson
4) 4 x Lisa Simpson
5) 4 x Maggie Simpson
6) 3 x Abe Simpson
7) 4 x Ned Flanders
8) 4 x Krusty the Clown
9) 3 x Milhouse Van Houten
10) 3 x Ralph Wiggum
11) 3 x Apu
12) 3 x Nelson Muntz
13) 4 x Itchy
14) 4 x Scratchy
15) 3 x Chief Wiggum
16) 3 x Mr Burns

In previous minifigure series, in a single box of 60 you would only expect to get two complete sets of minifigures as some of the characters were rather rare (with only 2 occurrences in a box of 60) and some of the characters were rather common (with 6 occurrences in a box of 60). So in comparison to these, the Lego Simpsons character distribution seems more even that previous series, making it easier to find the character you want. In this box of 60 I was pleasantly surprised to achieve 3 full sets of characters, based on previous experience I was only expecting to achieve 2 full sets!

A feeling guide for Lego Simpsons minifigures.

When hunting for Lego minifigures in blind bags, the best method for confidently identifying the character you want is by feeling the components in the packet and targeting the distinguishing components for that character.

To start off, once you grab a blind bag, shake it. Shaking the packet well helps to ensure that all of the small loose components drop down to the bottom of the bag. Once you have done this, you need to feel the packet for the components that will help you to identify the character you want. Here is a quick look at what key components make specific characters easy to identify.

1) Homer Simpson

Homer can easily be identified by feeling for his small round doughnut or his TV remote control (a 1x2 tile). He is the only character with either of these components, which makes him easy to identify.

2) Bart Simpson

With Bart the easiest thing to spot is his skateboard, which is large and hard to miss. The two studs on the topside of the skateboard also make it easy to confirm what it is. It is worth noting that sometimes the wheels of the skateboard will be attached to the skateboard and sometimes they will be loose. So if you find a dumbbell shaped object, you may well have a loose skateboard wheel.

3) Marge Simpson

Marge can be easily identified by her hair, which is a large cylinder and can be quickly located in the blind bag.

4) Lisa Simpson

Lisa's key identifying feature is her saxophone, which is long and thin with a distinctive bend that means it can be easily distinguished from Nelsons baseball bat or Mr. Burns' green rod. If in doubt, check for Lisa's legs, which unlike Mr. Burns', do not bend. It is worth noting that Scratchy has a long thin bendy tail which could be confused with the saxophone, so it is worth while checking for Lisa's short legs, just to be sure.

5) Maggie Simpson

Maggie has two distinguishing features to enable her to be identified. Firstly feel for her teddy bear, which can be identified by its arms. Maggie is also distinctive as her torso and legs are a single piece, unlike all of the other characters who have separate torso and leg sections.

6) Abe Simpson

Abe is one of the harder characters to identify as his only accessory is a 2x2 tile, which 3 other characters also have. So if you find his 2x2 tile (his newspaper), then feel for his legs (which bend unlike Ralph's and Milhouse's, so they can be eliminated). So now you need to work out if it is Abe of Marge. Marge's long cylindrical hair is easy to identify, so if this is not present you have Abe! Abe's head is cone shaped, so you can also try to feel for this just to be sure.

7) Ned Flanders

Ned can be found rather quickly by feeling for his tool box, which is essentially a 1x3 brick with the handle on the top. His cup is also distinctive, which has a handle, unlike Apu's cup.

8) Krusty the Clown

When looking for Krusty, the best tactic is to feel for his head. His head is a relatively large piece and his pointy hair that sticks out at the sides makes it easy to identify. Krusty's round custard pie is also a useful piece to help you confirm his identity.

9) Milhouse Van Houten & 10) Ralph Wiggum

Milhouse and Ralph can be rather tricky to distinguish from each other. Both of these characters have a 2x2 tile and both have children’s (inflexible) legs. So once you find a 2x2 tile and then find legs that do not bend (so you are sure that you have a child and not Abe or Marge), you are left having to feel the head to work out if you have Milhouse or Ralph. Ralph's head is rather round with a flat top, as opposed to Milhouse's, which is more elongated and has some bumps (his quiff). So careful feeling of the heads is the only way forward! Good Luck!

11) Apu

Apu is nice and easy to find, just feel for his cup. Just be careful to ensure it has no handle however, else you have Ned!

12) Nelson Muntz

The key to finding Nelson is looking for his long thin baseball bat, just ensure it has no head, otherwise you may have Scratchy's axe. Once you have this, just checking for his short legs will ensure that you have the right guy.

13) Itchy

Itchy's bulbous club which has a thin handle is a good way to identify him. His large round ears are also relatively easy to locate, making him fairly simple to identify.

14) Scratchy

Scratchy's main feature is his axe, which has a long thin handle and a flat head. If you find this and want further confirmation, then check for his head, which has sharp pointed ears. Scratchy also has a thin bendy tail, which can sometimes be confused with Lisa's saxophone.

15) Chief Wiggum

The Chief's night stick and his loud hailer are a dead give away. His night stick is short and stubby and the handle can be easily felt. Further to this, his cylindrical loud hailer with its 90 degree handle is also easy to locate.

16) Mr. Burns

Monty has a fish bowl which is the same size and shape as a regular Lego minifigure head, so this is simple to identify. To confirm you have the right character it is also worthwhile looking for his nuclear rod, which is a long thin cylinder (the same piece as the “blade” on a Lego Star Wars light sabre).

Lego Simpson Bump / Dot Codes

The below pictures show the bumps codes on the reverse of each minifigure packet, which may also help Lego hunters identify which minifigure is which. The bump codes have been enhanced with black marker pen to make sure that they stand out in the pictures. These pictures come with a disclaimer however. Firstly these bump codes are for minifigures bought in the UK, I understand that the codes may vary from country to country. Secondly the bump codes for some of the figures (particularly Ralph) are faint and hard to spot. So whilst I have taken care to identify the codes, and have cross checked the bumps across multiple packets, there may remain the odd mistake!

01 - Bump Code for Homer Simpson

02 - Bump Code for Bart Simpson

03 - Bump Code for Marge Simpson

04 - Bump Code for Lisa Simpson

05 - Bump Code for Maggie Simpson

06 - Bump Code for Abe Simpson

07 - Bump Code for Ned Flanders

08 - Bump Code for Krusty the Clown

09 - Bump Code for Milhouse Van Houten

10 - Bump Code for Ralph Wiggum

11 - Bump Codes for Apu

12 - Bump Code for Nelson Muntz

13 - Bump Code for Itchy

14 - Bump Code for Scratchy

15 - Bump Code for Chief Wiggum

16 - Bump Code for Mr Burns

I hope this guide will help some fellow Lego hunters find the characters they want with ease and help to remove the curse of getting duplicates of characters by buying the minifigures totally blind!

Happy hunting!

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  1. Nice guide. Definitely could have used this 2 weeks ago, but I figured it out on my own when the local Targets here put out the large end cap display cases that are 3 wide and 6 tall on the display. I was curious as to if your numbers were based on a 60 counter display as I have found it that Ralph and Lisa are harder to find based on what I have went through thus far.

  2. Danny, my numbers are based solely on a single display box of 60 that I purchased. I may have been lucky with the distribution in the box.

    In the UK these were only on sale (as far as I can tell) on the 25th April. It sounds like Target in the US may have had them on sale before the UK.


  3. I think the bump codes vary for more than by country. I have bought sets from two different sources in the UK and the bumps are different from each other, and also different from what you have listed. Duplicates within the same batch are the same however.

    Perhaps it varies according to the serial number that's imprinted in the same area.

    Choosing by touch is the only reliable way to go. Bumps could be handy for within the same box if you can't tell if you have a duplicate Milhouse or a Ralph for example.

    Thanks for the feeling guide. It's been invaluable.

  4. Travis, thanks for the insight, I do not know that there was so much variability in the bump codes. I guess Lego's aim is to prevent easy identification of the characters so that you have to buy more. Glad to know the guide was a help. Thanks.

  5. I bought a box and had the exact same distribution. Thanks for the guide. It was very helpful.

  6. Liam, thanks for the feedback. It seems Lego may have decided to be more generous with their character distribution in this series. Let's hope they keep it up in future series.

  7. Thank you so much for this guide. I completed my set today with no problems!

  8. Scored a Nelson and a Scratchy thanks to the above - cheers!

  9. For anyone who is about to start looking for the new minifigures (series 12, some times called series 14) check out my feel guide here: http://unusual-encounters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/feeling-for-lego-minifigure-series-12.html

    I have not bothered with bump codes this time as they are unreliable.



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