Lego Man rig

How do I rig my lego man? I have never done it before and the more I try the more I get lost. I started to follow a tutorial on blender cookie but that didn’t get me very far…

Does my model need to be all one mesh? I have different meshes for the hands, legs, arms, head, etc. I would imagine I would have to join them all in order to rig it, but I don’t know how. If I join them all I won’t be able to use separate materials…?

I’m pretty lost

There is not a restriction between joining into one mesh and using several materials, although there is a limit I believe. You have to select faces and assign materials to them in edit mode.
Similarly you make vertex groups and assign them to bones, and if the verts are separate meshes they will be just as easy to animate without distorting as if they were separate objects. Please note that you will definitely not be assigning automatic weights!

If you are keeping all your parts rigid as in a real minifigure, the animation is mostly only complicated by the fact that the arms and legs tend to intersect the torso and hips or pull out of the sockets (if you have modeled sockets). There’s no real cure for that except very very careful positioning of the bones’ rotational axes. As in the real figure you will want to lock all but one rotational axis. Depending on how you have modeled the legs there is a flange and you will want to limit leg rotation to avoid an intersection with that area.

Interestingly as soon as you want to allow some deformation of the figure (as in the videos) the problem of animating and rigging it becomes quite more difficult than a regular organic character, so better stick with nondeforming for a start. If you look for some vidtuts on animating robots they might be helpful.

Good luck!