Micronauts

Micronauts were originally cool Japanese toys that were picked up in the USA and then in the UK too, where they were marketed by Airfix.  A fantastically designed selection of sci-fi toys in the late seventies, Micronauts were endlessly playable and very cool.

There seemed to be loads of different variations, all intriguing and very desirable.  The premise was that the toys were interchangeable; they could be built and re-built into numerous designs.  In this way Micronauts toys inspired imaginations and creativity.

The first Micronaut toy I ever had was a Time Traveller, who was the basic start off figure.  I later found out that there dozens of similar characters – such as Space Glider and Acroyear – that were also available.

At times it seems as though the Micronaut toys were infinite in number, though I don’t remember that much being available in toy stores.

As a keen Star Wars fan, my collecting was focused on the Kenner line of action figures back in those days.  However Star Wars would help consolidate my fascination with Micronauts, too.

Mobile Exploration Lab – note Time Traveller figure

Marvel comics in the US picked up the Micronauts property and started creating stories featuring characters based on the toys.

In turn, this series started to appear as a back up strip in the weekly black and white Star Wars reprint comic, published by Marvel UK.  With engaging stories by Bill Mantlo and wonderful art courtesy of Michael Golden, I was instantly smitten with these tiny heroes.  The Micronauts became an instant comic favourite, and soon I’d manage to pick up the American colour comics when and where I could.

The unique idea with Marvel’s Micronauts was that when they emerged from their home, the Microverse, onto Earth, they were still only small.  The team of heroes are, in a novel twist, the size of action figures.  They interact with numerous Marvel superhero characters in their fight against the evil Baron Karza.

Unfortunately Marvel no longer have the property rights, so we’re unlikely to see the Micronauts appear in a movie.  Which is a shame – they would be awesome as guest stars in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Maybe, with Disney’s financial backing, that could change.  Some characters were derived specifically by Marvel, rather than the toy line, so there’s some possibility there…

Enjoy my (limited) collection of Micronauts toys.  For more information on all things Micronauts, check out this site.

Superhero Action Figures

You may well be familiar with the Mego action figures of the 1970s – they made dozens of superhero dolls approximately 8 inches tall.  You can see my Batmobile and Captain Americar toys (all I have left from my Mego collection) in an earlier post.  They also made figures for Planet of the Apes and tons of other licenses.

Other than the 8″ line, there were also a series of 3.75″ superhero figures, known Comic Action Heroes.  These examples of this range of figures have been in my collection since the late 1970’s.

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Originally I bought a Spiderman figure, from the sadly long gone Toy & Hobby in Chester, but he broke.  This line of figures weren’t the most robust – a common problem was the legs breaking off.  the body below the waist was made of rubber, and likely to give way.

So Spiderman was posted back to the Customer Service department.  A few weeks later I received a parcel containing some replacement figures – these are the ones you see here.  No Spiderman unfortunately, but I got a few others as compensation.

The Dynamic Duo of Batman and Robin was pretty cool to have.  Strangely, Batman’s head was made out of soft rubber which was attached to his cape.  As a result, you could pop off Batman’s head if you so desired.  Also a bit bizarre, the Boy Wonder is actually taller than his pal!

The Joker was a nice figure, quite good facial detail.  I remember also owning Superman in this batch, but he’s long since disappeared.  And I think my sister had the Wonder Woman toy.

The final figure from this range is The Incredible Hulk.  Raging green and mean, he wears traditional purple pants and also has a good face sculpt.  However, Hulk’s left arm (not seen in the photo) fell off, and had to be reattached with glue.  Like I said, not very robust.

A couple of years later, Mego made further superhero action figures, in the Pocket Super Heroes line.  They were very similar to the earlier figures, but with straight legs rather than bent.  My only figure from this line is Lex Luthor.  Again Lex has a good (for the time) face sculpt – I’ve always thought there was a resemblance to Gene Hackman.

These Super Heroes were pretty cool figures that I loved.  A shame that they weren’t very durable, and that Spidey isn’t in my toy box any more.  Still, cool seventies toys that bring back loads of memories.

You can read more about this range of toys at Toymania here.

Sci-Fi Action Figures

Science fiction action figures are the basis for any good toy collection.  My collection of Star Wars toys goes right back to the late 1970’s, and I’ll get round to posting some pictures of those in the future.  Oh yes, it shall happen.  Any requests, let me know.

In the meantime, I thought I’d showcase some alternative items that have been lurking around for over thirty years.  These figures aren’t always mint condition, and rarely have all the accessories they came boxed with.  And there are certainly no boxes (or cards) now, as they were all actually played with…

Battlestar Galatica figures

These 3 3/4″ action figures were produced by Mattel in the late 1970’s, to coincide with the release of the television show.  They were obviously aiming to emulate the phenomenal success of Kenner’s Star Wars figures.

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Battlestar Galactica figures

On the left of the photo is the Imperious Leader figure, all in good condition – but then other than the cloak, he didn’t have any accessories.  In the middle is Commander Adama, who bears a slight resemblance to Lorne Greene.  Unfortunately Adama’s cloak and gun are long gone.  The Cylon Centurion is the coolest figure here, though mine has lost a lot of his silver finish.  The laser gun is around however, though I didn’t use it for the picture.  The Cylon was my first Battlestar Galactica toy, a present from my Dad.

There were some other cool figures produced in this line, in particular the Ovion and Daggit were great.  Unfortunately I never owned either.  I would’ve also loved a Lt. Starbuck, but I never saw one.  Ever.

Great show, Battlestar Galactica – I love the original and the rebooted, recent version.

The Black Hole figures

Disney’s The Black Hole, however, was not that great a movie.  At least not when I saw it on TV as a kid.  Maybe I should try it again, to see if I was just too young to dig it.

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The Black Hole figures

The action figures for this film, again 3 3/4″ like Star Wars figures – were multi jointed.  As a result, the human figures were rather frail.  I had a few of them, now reduced to limbless torsos.

No matter – the stars of the show were the robots, and here we have two of the best.  The Sentry Robot (left) was particularly cool, with a holster to hold his pistol.  I have the gun safe, so this one’s probably worth a load on ebay.  Note the joints which are clearly visible.

Also, we have V.I.N.CENT – a cool design for a robot.  Laser guns and big, cute eyes.

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Blake’s 7 Liberator

Blake’s 7 

Not an action figure – this is a Corgi toy of the Liberator spaceship from BBC sci-fi serial, Blake’s 7.  You can see the Corgi stamp on the photo.  Quite a cool design for a TV spaceship.  I quite liked Blake’s 7 when I was a kid, and remember being surprised at the end…

I have lots of fond memories of finding and playing with these toys when I was young.  They’re  great souvenirs of old films, and fun times – and imagination.

Bat Mobile and Captain Americar

As promised, I am introducing some new topics tot the Virtual Hot Tub for 2014.  To begin, an excursion into the world of toys is presented here for you.

For this very first Toy based post, here are some pictures of the Bat Mobile and Captain Americar.  These were produced by Mego in the 1970’s.  Both are from my collection and have been in my possession since the early 80’s.

Mego were one of the leading toy companies of the 1970’s.  Amongst their most popular lines were the World’s Greatest Super Heroes: 8 inch action figures of popular comic book heroes with cloth costumes.  They produced lines of both DC and Marvel characters, meaning you could create epic adventures spanning the properties – such as Thor versus Green Arrow.  Or Hulk versus Batman.  Or anything else you could imagine.

Alas, my Mego super heroes are lost to the mists of time, scattered into broken fragments.  All I have left are these two vehicles, and some great memories.

Bat Mobile

Modelled after the Bat Mobile in the classic Adam West sixties television show, this vehicle can carry both Batman and Robin into action. IMG_2497

Captain Americar

Captain America’s car.  See what they did there?  The cool feature on this vehicle is that Cap’s shield on the front of the car is thrust forward with the flick of the switch, to knock bad guys off their feet.  Or your sister’s Barbie dolls, whatever. IMG_2066

As I no longer have the heroes to go with these vehicles, they may well find their way onto Ebay in the future.  We shall see.

Check out the Mego Museum here.