Carrying this huge box past some colleagues and hearing their audible gasps made me smile to myself. Back in 2000, Lego released this set as an exclusive. You would be able to build a sculpture of the mini-figure 20" tall out of 1849 Lego pieces, which I did over 3 sessions over the recent Hari Raya long weekend.
It probably took me 5.5hours in total to assemble this. It was fun, although it did get a bit repetitious after awhile adding layer after layer from the foot upwards. This is a good set and you should get it should one become available. However, the stickers which go over multiple bricks as well as the loose attachments (only one peg at the wrist!) at the wrist and shoulders prevent it from being great. It should be easy to modify the attachments of the arms and hands for more stability. Overwise, it can do pretty much anything a regular mini-figure can do, except move its legs.
Mini-figures (also called minifigs)are usually sold with Lego sets, meant to populate the various Lego environments. The modular design allows all sorts of mini-figure characters to be customised and created. Wikipedia reports that by 2003, Lego had produced 3.7 billion mini-figures!
Included a Stormtrooper mini-figure for scale comparison