Tapestry of Grace is a curriculum that guides homeschooling families through a whole book, hands-on exploration of the humanities. We love making history and the people who shaped it come alive.
One of the ways we have done this is by sharing a series of historically-themed minifigures that we’ve assembled. Fun, eh? It probably shouldn’t be a surprise to us that the most common question we’ve received is, “Where do you find these!?” In this post, we will share some of our favorite sources and fill you in on the process that we use to assemble these.
Step 1: Pick a figure!
Our inspiration started with our Map of the Humanities. Each of the sixteen stops on the map corresponds to a nine-week unit of Tapestry of Grace. We had a lot of fun figuring out who would properly represent each unit. (This is not an exhaustive list. We continue to add more characters as we find them!)
Here was our list:
|Year 1 Units||Minifigure(s)|
|The Books of Moses||Pharaoh, Abraham|
|All Governments Are Established by God||David and Goliath|
|Preparing the World for its Savior||Leonidas of Sparta|
|In the Fullness of Time||Cornelius, the Roman Centurion|
|Year 2 Units||Minifigure(s)|
|The Middle Ages||Erik the Red|
|Renaissance & Reformation||Martin Luther, Johannes Gutenberg|
|Of Crowns and Colonies||Peter Stuyvesant|
|Age of Revolutions||George Washington, Redcoat|
|Year 3 Units||Minifigure(s)|
|Napoleon’s World||Napoleon, Sacagawea|
|The Age of Industry & Expansion||Queen Victoria|
|Nations Uniting & Dividing||Abraham Lincoln|
|The Gilded Age||Cornelius Vanderbilt|
|Year 4 Units||Minifigure(s)|
|Casting Off the Moorings||WWI Soldier|
|Depression & Destruction||WWII American Soldier, WWII German Soldier|
|Conformity to Counterculture||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|The Postmodern World||Artist|
Step 2: Find references
Our next step is to find references for these characters. We find some picture or image that we can use to get a clear picture of what we’re trying to build. As you might expect, this is easier for some of the minifigures than for others. For example, in a lot of our Tapestry of Grace books, we have great pictures of the historical time periods. For others, we look for well-known images.
Here are two of our favorites:
Using these, we get a sense of the major colors for our characters.
Step 3: Search for pieces
Here’s where it gets fun! We have found four fantastic sources of minifigure pieces to share with you.
First, the Lego Minifigure series. Lately, Lego has been producing a wonderful line of one-off minifigures. Usually, each series will have a few characters that are inspired by history, including great finds like Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, these go in and out of stock very quickly. They are also sold in “blind bags,” so you never know which one you have (for sure). But, there is a better way to get these…
…Second, Bricklink! This is a fantastic online marketplace of second-hand bricks. Once you get to the site, use the search bar to look for parts. Usually, we start with very generic searches like “hair” or “beard” or “Egyptian” to start searching. You can use the minifigure series to guide your searches, as well. This is where you can find the minifigures that went out of stock. Once you find a brick or character that works, you can buy it through the seller. There are a wide range of sellers and prices, so shop around. Think of it as an Ebay for minifigures and bricks.
Third, BrickWarriors and BrickArms. BrickWarriors has a terrific collection of custom bricks and parts that give a terrific historical look to your characters. We have used them for many of our accessories. They are especially good for the more ancient time periods. BrickArms is similar, but seems to focus more on military weapons and guns. These are great for more modern accessories.
Fourth, our own collections! If you are like us, you probably have a few bags, boxes, or bins of bricks sitting around (or getting stepped on). Pull them out and look for pieces that can be used to bring your characters to life.
Step 4: Put them together
Here’s where it gets fun! Once you have all your bricks, assemble your characters. This step may include some trial and error, but that’s okay. As our collection has grown, we continue to have mixed and matched parts between characters. It’s a blast!
Step 5: Go crazy!
Once your family has built your collection, the adventures await! Have fun playing with your characters and acting out the great stories of history. Your characters are just the start. You can build settings and building and other props for your stories. We have had fun building the Egyptian war chariot, the printing press, and even a guillotine. What will you build?
Finally, If you catch up with us at one of the conventions we attend, we’ll have saved you some of the work by putting together some of our favorite historical accessories. Here is an example of two! (minifigure and paint not included).
What are your favorite minifigure historical characters?