CMF Series 19 Review

Posted: September 11, 2019 by Four Bricks Tall

The Collectible Minifigure Series 19 officially hit the shelves on September 1 and I received a fresh box from LEGO for this review about a week ago.

Since a lot of photos and reviews were posted online well before the series was officially launched, I’ll skip the parts rundown and jump right into the juicy bits.

Distribution

The lime green box has 60 blind bags in 3 columns as usual and you can expect to get 3 complete sets in each. Yay! No chase minifigs!

My tally of the characters per box matches what others have already reported but I did notice something. The first 10 minifigures in each column were the same in my box:

  1. Gardener
  2. Firefighter
  3. Mountain Biker
  4. Shower Guy
  5. Monkey King
  6. Fox Costume Girl
  7. Dog Sitter
  8. Galactic Bounty Hunter
  9. Mummy Queen
  10. Video Game Champ

So if you needed 6 piles of crap for some reason (no judgment), you might want to swipe the 7th bag in each column. YMMV though since I wasn’t able to confirm this pattern against other reviews.

The last 10 in each column were mostly a mix of the other characters: Jungle Explorer, Pizza Costume Guy, Rugby Player, Programmer, Bear Costume Guy, and Fright Knight.

The Good

I think the Monkey King is easily the standout in this series. The new hair mold, the dual-molded arms in dark red and pearl gold, the double-sided face, and the armor details show that the LEGO designers really crafted this Chinese character with care.

It’s really great to see LEGO diversifying beyond the Western world and adding more Asian flavor beyond the Ninjago theme.

Speaking of diversifying, this series has the most number of female characters compared to series past. In fact, CMF Series 19 is just one character shy of having equal gender representation. I think they could have remedied that by just renaming the Bear Costume Guy to Bear Costume Girl though.

The Programmer is another interesting character to me not only because of the binary code Easter Egg on her shirt but also because of the flannel shirt tied around her waist. Dual-molded legs have been previously used to represent boots or shorts, but I don’t think they’ve been used like this before.

To achieve the effect, the LEGO designers printed grey over the upper front part of the legs to hide the red. The red does show on the inside part though so it’s not a perfect solution.

There are a few new interesting expressions like the Firefighter’s shouting face, the Fox Costume Girl’s lip-smacking face, and the Dog Sitter’s disgusted face. These will serve storytelling LEGO photographers well.

The Bad

Despite the useful shouting face, the Firefighter is a huge disappointment for me. I don’t think a firefighter (or police, for that matter) should ever take up a precious slot in the CMF lineup. She should have appeared in a future City set, you know what I mean?

The Bear Costume Guy is also a strange choice, not just for inclusion in this series but for its very existence. When I first saw it, I immediately thought “Rave Bear” and imagined it spinning vinyl or twirling neon rods in an underground club. The facial expression underneath the mask only advances my theory.

I did see one person swap out the arms for dual-molded white and flesh to create a sigfig which was kind of cute. The hearts and the printed rainbow piece that came as accessories to the Bear Costume Guy are also nice but the character itself is pretty weak.

LEGO Photography

CMFs are great for photography, of course, since they are quite the characters. Here are all 16 minifigures, some with short descriptions of how I got the shot or idea:

Scrub-a-Dub-Dub


I was pretty pleased that I finally got to use the tub piece that I Bricklinked a few years ago. The tub is huge so the Shower Guy is actually standing in it. The floor is a matte baking sheet.

This was a 3-light setup: one lighting the brick wall background, one lighting the vines and another one in a small softbox directly overhead. I sprayed some water into the scene to simulate a shower but later realized that I didn’t add a showerhead where this water might come from so I masked away some the spray and just kept the bokeh around the minifig to represent bubbles.

Egyptian Exhibit


I re-used the wall of windows from the Scrub-a-Dub-Dub scene above and built a museum display for Mummy Queen. I added some LED bricks to the ceiling and hooked that up to a dimmer switch. The ambient light is from a large north-facing window in my apartment.

I put a few minifigs on clear rods and slowly pushed them during the long exposure to create the motion effect. In post, I knocked out the yellow cast of the warm LED lights to give it a cleaner, more sterile museum feel.

Motion Biker


Similar to the Egyptian Exhibit shot, I dragged the shutter and pushed the bike with a clear rod. There was one flash for the interior of the building on the right but the rest is natural light. This was a composite image made up of the motion blur and a shot where the biker is stationary.

I originally intended to have my camera on a dolly with an extension pole connected to it where I would put the minifig. Then I could move both the camera and minifig together, blurring the background instead. But my minimum focusing distance was too long (or my pole too short) and I couldn’t achieve focus without using extension tubes or macro filters. I didn’t want to have a hairline depth of field so I switched gears and pushed the bike instead.

Robot Wars


This was another 3-light setup: background light, rim light camera right, and the softbox overhead. To give it a more tech arena feel, I dragged a blue gradient over the top and drew a few streaks with increased exposure in post to create the spotlight effects.

The Sims


I recently got my kid The Sims 4 and his favorite minifig is the Video Game Champ so I shot this for him. It was in the arcade MOC I built which features the Defender game from the LEGO Dimensions Midway Arcade Level Pack.

I had one of those green jewel pieces lightly connected to a clear rod and held that over the minifig’s head. Then I took another picture without that assembly so I could easily mask it out in Photoshop.

1st Alarm Fire


I said I was disappointed that the Firefighter was even a CMF but I really enjoyed shooting her for this review regardless. I used Alan Rappaport’s fake fire tip for this scene: one flash with an orange gel pointing at torn bubble wrap and a softbox to the side. I used a fine mist spray to create the smoke.

Hero Shot


I researched the Monkey King and saw an image of him standing on a peak that looked pretty cool so I tried to recreate that. I took the Monkey King and a backflow incense burner to the rooftop of my apartment building near the golden hour to get this shot. I underexposed the background and used an external flash to light the minifig from the same direction the sun was in.

Bring Me My Sword


I had a hard time coming up with a scene for the Fright Knight until I saw the blacksmith build on the mantle. Just like for that photo, I put a flash outside the window and misted the area with a fine spray of water to create an atmosphere. I also went into Photoshop and added a soft glow on the Fright Knight’s face, hands, and plume.

Dog Walker


I live in Brooklyn where you always see these cheery dog walkers with several dogs so I wanted to have a scene like that. I set up the dogs and the Dog Sitter on the edge of my dining room table and added the Corner Deli behind them for some depth. Then I put a flash behind the deli to illuminate the windows and doors and shot from a low angle.

Coming Out of Retirement


Still thinking about Brooklyn, I wanted to show how neighborhoods have been changing here but in an unusual way: retirees from Florida moving into rowhouses. I wondered what a sight it would be to see pink plastic flamingos on my neighbor’s patch of grass. This was shot indoors in the morning light.

No Swiping Chickens


The cool thing about having a box of CMF to review is that I could use the extra accessories from the other bags to help build scenes. I set the Fox Costume Girl and one of the chickens on wires and shot this on my mossy brick patio in the morning light. My dark brown patio storage unit made for an uninteresting background so I pulled up some weeds and tossed them against it. It looked a lot better but lacked some sparkle so I lit the weeds with a small flash.

Abandoned Shed


When I saw this minifig, I knew he had to be in lighting that was dappled or streaked. I built a wooden shed with huge gaps in the roof so I could light from above and also sprayed a fine mist to give the scene a denser atmosphere.

Darkness


The Galactic Bounty Hunter isn’t a remarkable minifig to me but he is mysterious. I decided to re-use a background of Technic bricks and light it from behind to create some dramatic lighting. Again, I used a fine mist to help the light show up more.

Nice Teeth


I didn’t have a background for this so I shot from overhead instead. Even though I consider this a lazy cheat, it makes me shoot from an angle I normally don’t.

Freezieland


I wasn’t really inspired to create a photo for this strange minifig so instead, I entertained myself with using garbage as a creative element. I had a bunch of freeze pops lying around with the idea that one day I would stick a flash behind it and create a fun background. So there it is.

Spidey-Endorsed NYC Pizza


This was another minifig I felt uninspired to shoot so I just gave him the obvious job of being a pizza mascot for a pizza place. It’s Pepe’s Pizza from the Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown set so I threw in a Spider-man from the Far From Home minifig pack. I had a flash lying on the table face up to light the interior of the restaurant and one up and to the right for the main light.

3 Comments

  • FreeTheGeekMan
    FreeTheGeekMan September 11, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Nice review and some really good pics. I love the Egyptian Exhibit one, I really want to try and achieve that motion effect now! Oh and thanks for the tips on box placement. I’m after a Monkey King and Dog Walker. Now if I can just find a box that hasn’t been ransacked!

    Reply
    • Four Bricks Tall
      Four Bricks Tall September 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks! I hope you find a freshly opened box! The last time I went into a local toy store, I saw that they were low on packets and asked if they would mind bringing up a new box. They did and I scored!

      Reply
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