Like most kids, I loved playing with my Lego when I was growing up, but I still remember the excitement I had when my Dad came home from work one day with a little present for me and my sister – one of the new Lego Town kits each! In fact, the kit he brought for me is the one pictured on this post! Ah, the memories!
Prior to the arrival of the Lego Town kits, people in the Lego kits came in two kinds. One was completely static, made of three pieces where formed a very approximate silhouette of a person, angled pieces for legs and body and a yellow blob for a head, possible with an extra little hair or cap piece on top. The other was a 2×2 stud block with a big pivoted head sticking out the top, and two little lugs on the sides to which arm segments could be added.
The Lego Town kits completely changed all that, with people now having poseable arms and legs. The hands on the ends of the arms rotated and could hold tools such as pick axes, walkie talkies, spanners and the like. The legs could be put in a walking position, and the little man would still stand up, and could be folded into a sitting position which still allowed the man to be attached to other pieces of Lego. Indeed, the design has proved so effective that Lego haven’t needed to change them for nearly 30 years, as the first such sets arrived in the late 1970’s.
The new sets also introduced a wide range of new pieces which allowed models to look much more realistic. For example, wheels for cars became a flat 2×2 piece with the wheels attached, and there was a new wheel arch piece that fit neatly over the top of the wheels. Prior to this wheels had been attached to a 2×2 piece that was of the standard Lego brick height, meaning all your cars looked as if they had been jacked up in the air.
There was one big problem with the original Lego Town vehicles though, which was that the little men couldn’t actually fit inside the vehicles. The cars might have looked good, but they were made entirely out of solid pieces, so the little man could only drive his car by sitting on the roof! This probably was solved eventually with the introduction of some more new pieces, including little doors which could be opened and shut, and a strange chassis piece which had cut out areas to accomodate the wheels and a special dipped section with studs that could take a seat for the little man to sit in. They even created a special steering wheel piece to add further realism!