Minimates are a block-styled miniature action figure originally created by Art Asylum in 2002 and now released by Diamond Select Toys. The basic Minimate figure design has a 2" tall body that resembles an extremely simplified human form with 14 points of articulation, higher than average for block figures, and are primarily released to specialty retailers and aimed at adult collectors. The best-known and longest-running series of Minimates is based on Marvel Comics, with over 40 waves of figures in existence, but lines of Minimates have been released for numerous other comic books, TV series, movies and video games.
Designed and produced by New York City-based sculpting and design house Art Asylum, the Minimates began in 2002 with multiple lines of 3" Minimates based on several different licenses. These included Dark Angel, Star Trek, Kung Faux, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the films of Bruce Lee, along with a Rock line featuring KISS, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper. The 3" Minimate Line also included several blank or promotional Minimates—these usually bore the logo of a specific company and were used as giveaways.
Minimates came of age in 2003 when, following a partnership with Diamond Select Toys, a range of 2" Minimates based upon the Marvel Comics Universe was launched. The 2" Minimate body type began to be used for the promotional Minimates in place of the 3" body type, and it was announced that the 3" range would be discontinued. However, a Lord of the Rings line produced by Art Asylum in 2004 added a third body type, which stood 2.5" tall, to further illustrate the size differences of the various races of Middle-Earth.
In 2004, Art Asylum and Play-Along launched their Minimate-based C3 ("Create Construct Customize") construction sets, which could be used to build vehicles and playsets from the DC Comics universe. Focusing mainly on Batman and the Justice League, the Lego-esque line was moderately successful, but the license terms limited the selling of the 2" DC Minimates to the construction sets, and the line failed to gain a foothold in the market. C3 was discontinued, and in 2006 DC Direct announced that they had picked up the DC Minimates line and would put out their own figures (in 2" and 2.5" scales) in partnership with Art Asylum. That same year, non-construction-set vehicles were introduced to the brand, in lines based on the Speed Racer cartoon (from Art Asylum) as well as both the classic and modern Battlestar Galactica TV series (from Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys).
In 2007, Art Asylum became a division of Diamond Select Toys, and the Minimates body type has since been applied to dozens of licenses from TV (24, The Real Ghostbusters, Star Trek again), movies (Ghostbusters, Platoon, Universal Monsters) and video games (Halo, Marvel vs. Capcom 3). DST has also developed Minimates based on its own concepts, under the brands Calico Jack's Pirate Raiders and Minimates M.A.X., and are developing a line based on the name "Battle Beasts" for an as-yet-unannounced date.
Minimate Product Types 
Today, most of the 2-inch Minimate lines are sold as two-packs in Toys "R" Us, and as four-packs (with the occasional single-packed army-builder assortment) on the specialty market, including comic book shops and the Disney Store. Retailer-exclusive four-packs are common, and those are often timed to the major pop culture conventions.
Due to license restrictions limiting all Marvel Minimates to the 2" scale, a range of four 8" unarticulated resin statues under the "Minimates Max" banner were announced for 2006, to represent larger-scale characters in the Minimate style. Unfortunately, because of the cost and unarticulated nature of the statues, the line was not well received and eventually cancelled, with only two of the four announced statues released, Galactus and the Sentinel. (Wolverine and Spider-Man were unproduced.)
The Minimates Vehicles line features original ships and jets from DST's Pirate Raiders and M.A.X brands, alongside licensed vehicles from Terminator 2, Back to the Future and Knight Rider, each in their own individually branded packaging. DST also offers a variety of Minimate-scale Halo Warthog vehicles in both markets, but those are packaged and released under the greater Halo umbrella line. A Scorpion Tank has been announced as forthcoming.
Diamond Select Toys has also produced a carrying case that holds up to 72 Minimates, and comes with an exclusive figure. The first edition came with a Battle Beast, and the second edition will come with a Pirate Raider.
Minimates Media 
In 2005, animation students at the DAVE School produced Batman: New Times, featuring computer-generated Minimate characters, as a class project. New Times features Batman, Catwoman and the Joker, and is notable for its all-star cast, including Adam West and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as the Batman and the Joker. Never intended for commercial release, New Times was released as a download on the DAVE School website and was available as a free DVD from DAVE School itself. As a promotional item, the Batman minimate from the Mini-Batmobile set was released separately in a Batman: New Time bag.
In 2006, an animated X-Men movie in the same style as Batman: New Times was produced under the name X-Men: Darktide. Released on DVD as part of a box set containing Minimates of Magneto, New X-Men Cyclops, New X-Men Wolverine and Juggernaut, the movie features those characters, as well as the debuts of Minimate versions of New X-Men Storm, Beast and Archangel.
Currently, Diamond Select Toys is producing stop-motion animation for its MAX and Pirate Raiders brands using actual Minimates, and posting it for free online.
Current Minimates Lines 
Past Minimates Licenses 
- Minimates Home Page
- Art Asylum Home Page
- Diamond Select Toys Home Page
- Minimate Database comprehensive reference site
- Minimate Headquarters fan news site
- Minimates Central fan review site
- Minimate Multiverse fan forum community
- Minimate Factory customization reference site
- Cappy Space Block Figure Line-up Interactive Block Figure Reference Guide