One of my first LEGO doors was received in the 1975 Brick Yard set containing a red 2×3 door. As a child, eager to open the unwrapped Christmas present, I was pleased as punch. “Hey, look at the little door”, I said to myself as I could not wait to attach it to the green baseplate. Unfortunately, although one could see through the clear plastic, the door had a major design flaw; it was molded shut. A few years later, LEGO would introduce a new 3×4 door contained in many Universal Building sets that allowed small fingers to open an attachable screen. Different color frames allowed mixing and matching to create interesting combinations. Red frame, yellow screen; white frame, yellow screen; red frame, blue screen were just some of the many color combinations. The only problem is that the doors were too small for the armless faceless minifigs introduced later in early LEGO town sets, and the same small hands would have to turn a minifig sideways flicking the fig through the doorway. While some children on the block got quite good at “fig flicking”, how realistic was a door that’s smaller than the average minifig? LEGO complicated the matter even more when they introduced the maxifig that was more than twice the height of the 3×4 door. A new door was certainly needed.
A few years later and throughout the 80s and 90s, LEGO produced one of the best doors ever made, the 4×5 frameless door. Many of you know this door well, and the upper four pain openings that allowed peepers to see inside Classic Town structures. The door required no additional clear plastic or a frame, and it was molded in numerous colors including black, blue, green, light grey, red, brown, white, yellow, and even navy blue and pink. Pink? (note to self: must find a MISB copy of Dolphin Point Lighthouse). The 4×5 dimension for doors was so successful, it became a standard door size and also used for train doors, the 6-pain door, as well as 4×5 clear glass doors. In addition, windows would be made in the same size. 4×5 seemed to be the perfect size for LEGO minifigs.
All things come to an end, and while LEGO city fans soon found themselves spending hours building their new modulars, their minds quickly forgot about the well-loved 4×5 door. Replacing the “perfect door” was the new 4×6 door, one stud higher contained in a frame. Cheaper, thinner plastic would replace the old 4×5, as well as the need to attach a round 1×1 plate for added door-opening ability. Clear plastic, as well as a 4-pain option is now the standard door size.
While I applaud LEGO for recovering from the demise of Classic Town, part of me can’t help to wonder, “Is bigger better”? Has the LEGO door grown bigger to meet the needs of Toy Story Woody and a possible return of Pirates 4+, or do modular City fans have a growing need to see larger creations? From the 1975 small 2×3 door that didn’t open to the new 4×6 door twice the size, what will future LEGO doors offer?
REFERENCES: Peeron, Eurobricks Town Reviews