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Back to the Future Mini-mates
Back to the Future 2 and Enchantment Under the Sea sets

Diamond Select is doing all the can to keep the mini-mates style alive, and have quite a few licenses this year outside of the Marvel and DC series.  One of those odd ball offshoots is Back to the Future, and they've just released two more packs commemorating the films.

One of these is an exclusive two pack called "Enchantment Under the Sea". This set includes Marty in his prom outfit, along with his mom Lorraine, looking hot in her 50's prom dress.  This set is exclusive to the website BTTF.com, and sells four about $9.

The second set includes four figures from the second Back to the Future film, including Marty in disguise, Future Marty, Future Doc Brown, and the Future Biff.  The four pack runs around $15.

Both of these sets are available now, with a Previews exclusive also out there of Marty and George together.  If you're a big fan of the films, I recommend checking out the website BTTF.com (Back To The Future.com of course!) for plenty of info on all things Marty McFly.









Packaging - ***
The minimates come packed in a backer/bubble style package, which is compact yet attractive. The graphics help set them apart from the Star Trek or Marvel mini-mates, yet keep some of the similar elements to connect the series. There's nothing earth shattering here, but they do they job well enough.

Sculpting - Future Marty, Enchantment Marty, Disguise Marty ***1/2; Future Doc, Enchantment Lorraine ***; Future Biff **1/2
Sculpts aren't exactly the forte of mini-mates, but these do have some nice added details.

The hair styles of several of the figures, including Old Biff and Future Doc, have the right amount of detail to fit the style and yet give them some personality. Scale isn't really much of an issue, since everyone is the same size in the mini-mate world, and these stand at about 3 inches tall.

It can be quite tough with the mini-mate style to make a character recognizable, particularly if they don't have an outfit that sports a rather unique paint scheme or design. Marty has his vest, while Doc has the wacky hair and long coat. These things make them easier to pick up on, and even the Marty in disguise is a fairly recognizable character.

If you didn't know this was a Back to the Future series, you might have a tough time figuring out who Lorraine is. She does match up to the Enchantment Under the Sea motif well once you know, but it's not like that particular outfit is burned into anyone's brain. The Enchantment Marty, like the Disguise Marty and Future Marty, is a bit easier to pick out, but Biff isn't, unfortunately. Even if someone handed you this figure and told you "He's from Back to the Future 2", you'd probably be scratching your head a bit.

Of these six, the most fun are the Future Marty and Enchantment Marty. The others make nice back up characters for the display, but on their own are unlikely to drive you to buy the sets. I also ended up knocking off a bit for Doc Brown because the holes in the sides of his face don't work well with the futuristic glasses. I'll mention this more in the Accessories section, but the fact that they don't line up well is a sculpting issue for me.  Unfortunately, his hair doesn't come off either (unlike most mini-mates), and there isn't another face on the back.  That would have been nice as well.

Paint - Enchantment Lorraine ***; the rest ***1/2
The key for the appearance of a mini-mate is the paint. Sure, getting a nice sculpt on the hair or accessories helps, but the paint is always critical when there's such a basic design in the third dimension.

Here, the paint is largely top notch, and very similar to past mini-mate releases. If you're expecting clean lines, perfect faces, and sharp cuts, you'll have those expectations met for the most part. There's the spot of slop here and there, but in this scale, the quality is certainly above average.

My only complaint is on Lorraine. Her clothing exhibits more issues than we usually see, especially around the thin lines separating various areas of the dress. It's not awful, but it is distinctively noticeable next to the other, cleaner figures.

Articulation - ***1/2
Mini-mates always have the same articulation: ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips (so to speak), pin elbows and knees, and cut wrists, ankles and waist. While some of the movement is a bit restricted in some of the joints because of the design, these are certainly some of the best articulated figures in this scale.

You'll have no trouble getting them to stand on their own, sometimes in pretty bizarre poses. Another nice feature of the mini-mate body is the ability to take them apart, removing the hair, head, arms, hands, torso, legs and feet, and swapping them (and their clothes) around in weird and amusing ways. Hey look - it's Cross Dressing Guitar Playing Future Biff!

Accessories - Enchantment Marty, Future Marty ***; Enchantment Lorraine, Future Doc **1/2; Disguise Marty, Biff Bupkis
The poor boys of these two sets are Disguise Marty and Future Biff. Neither has any true accessories, although you can take off Marty's hat as long as you don't mind the hair and ears coming with it.

Enchantment Lorraine has her little purse, which is fairly plain both in sculpt and paint. It's a nice add, but nothing to twist your panties over. Doc has a better accessory in his cool future shades, but they don't actually fit on his face. He has the sculpted holes for them, but I couldn't get the little soft pegs to line up properly. Hence, no photos of Doc actually wearing them. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I.

While Enchantment Marty and Future Marty only have one accessory each, I like those accessories enough to give them the extra half star. Enchantment Marty comes with his electric guitar, and you can put it in his hands in a relatively realistic way, so it appears like he's actually playing. Future Marty has the more 21st century style hover board, which has a peg for him to attach to it, or can be held in his hands.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
If you're more of a Nerd Hummel kind of collector, these really aren't for you.  These are more for the toy collectors out there who also love pop culture, which is why they have such a solid play value.  These really can be a lot of fun to play around with, even for adults.  Don't believe me?  Put a few on your desk at work, and see if the people who come in to speak to you can resist playing with them while they talk.

Value - **1/2
Mini-mates tend to run $4 - $5 a pop these days.  While that's a bit much for some, these guys can actually be had for closer to $3.50 - $4 each, even the exclusive set.  That's an average value compared against like items out there.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you have trouble getting Doc's glasses on, take some care.  The small posts on the back of them can be broken pretty easily.

Overall - ***
For fans of the films, these are the closest we'll probably ever get to actual action figures.  And for mini-mates fans, these figures give them another way to expand their ever growing display in a rather unique way.  They won't be to everyone's tastes, but the target audience should be pleased.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Future Marty, Enchantment Marty, Disguise Marty ***1/2; Future Doc, Enchantment Lorraine ***; Future Biff **1/2
Paint - Enchantment Lorraine ***; the rest ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Enchantment Marty, Future Marty ***; Enchantment Lorraine, Future Doc **1/2; Disguise Marty, Biff Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Your local LCS might have these, or you can try:

- the Enchantment Under The Sea set is an exclusive to BTTF.com. Expect to pay around $9.

- the four pack is just $12 at CornerStoreComics or Amazing Toyz.

- the four pack is $16 at Entertainment Earth.

- or you can search Ebay using MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
I covered the first series of Back to the Future mini-mates at Quick Stop

 

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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