No, Lego didn’t make figurines that look like the Ukrainian Azov regime
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Has the Lego toy company really been manufacturing figurines that look like the Ukrainian Azov regiment, a controversial paramilitary group? That’s what social media accounts on both side of the Russian war on Ukraine have claimed. But, turns out, these figurines aren’t official— they were created by an artist who is a Lego fan (and apparently a fan of the Azov regiment, as well).
If you only have a minute:
Certain Twitter accounts claimed that Lego has manufactured figurines made to look like fighters from the Azov regiment, a nationalist regiment that is integrated in the Ukrainian Army.
In reality, the figurines were created by Andrew Becraft, the founder of Brothers Brick, a site for Lego fans.
Lego confirmed that these figurines are not official.
The fact check in detail:
Social media users shared four photos of Lego figurines wearing military uniforms with yellow armbands and badges with the Ukrainian flag on their arms.
The Azov regiment was created in May 2014 to fight pro-Russian groups attempting to take over the Ukrainian regime of Donbass. The all-volunteer infantry unit is controversial— not least for its far right views. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin even referenced the integration of groups like Azov, who he calls “Nazis” into the Ukrainian military, as a key reason for the invasion of Ukraine, which he calls a “special military operation … to de-militarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”. Others, however, see them as freedom fighters.
Some people were horrified to see Lego toys made to look like Azov fighters, like this tweet from July 23 in Spanish that says: “Lego" has announced Nazi "Azov" figurines [...] It’s strange that there still aren’t Al-Qaida or ISIS toys”.
These photos were shared along with captions in English on July 21 (here) and then captions in French on July 22 (example here).
Figurines made by a Lego fan
If you run a Twitter search using the key words “Azov” and “Lego”, then you can find the original tweet from the maker of these figurines, Andrew Becraft, from July 21. He says that these are "custom #LEGO mini-figs - not official products”. Mini-figs stands for mini figurines.
The @DefenceU Marines, @ng_ukraine guards, @TDF_UA volunteers, and other #AzovstalDefenders who held out in Mariupol for nearly 3 months, bogging down the 🇷🇺 army and allowing 🇺🇦 to win the Battle of Kyiv.— Andrew Becraft 🇯🇵🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@AndrewBecraft) July 20, 2022
(Custom #LEGO minifigs - not official products.) pic.twitter.com/YlVPX1HfrJ
Andrew Becraft is the founder of The Brothers Brick, a website where Lego fans share their creations.
Becraft said on Twitter that he made these figurines by “combining regular LEGO parts, custom-printed LEGO parts, and custom gear like the realistic weapons from BrickArms.”
BrickArms is part of Brickmania, a company that makes personalised military figurines. Their products are not official Lego products.
Yes, that’s right. I created these by combining regular LEGO parts, custom-printed LEGO parts, and custom gear like the realistic weapons from BrickArms.— Andrew Becraft 🇯🇵🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@AndrewBecraft) July 15, 2022
On his blog, Andrew Becraft regularly posts about his passion for Legos. One example is this article from 2017 where he says that he published a book about Lego creations inspired by Star Wars.
The France 24 Observers team contacted Lego, who said: “These products are not official Lego products and are in no way associated with the LEGO group”.
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