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Microman Batman, Catwoman and Flight Gear Batman

Sean Teeter, our very own College Bum, is back tonight with a review of three very cool figures, the Microman Flight Gear Batman, and the Batman and Batgirl two pack!  Take it away, Sean!

Since Iím still holding out on buying any of the new animated Clone Wars or Episode III preview figures until I can find some in undamaged packages, Iím doing something a little different tonight. Iíve always been a huge fan of Batman. No other comic or cast of characters has ever held my attention as long or entertained me as much as the continuing saga of Bruce Wayne and company. However, when it comes to action figure collecting thereís little evidence to show it other than my Hush figures. Well that all changed the moment I saw a guest reviewerís coverage of the Takara Microman version of the bat. There were so many things going for this figure that I had to pick it up. The poseability appealed to the articulation freak in me, and the size was excellent for my increasingly crowded shelf space.
In the end I picked up all five figures produced by Takara. Since the original Batman and the Lee inspired Catwoman have already been covered, tonight Iíll focus on the Batman/Batgirl 2-pack and the Batman in flight gear.








Packaging - ***
The packaging is serviceable and shows off the product well enough. Not exactly collector friendly though. 

Sculpting - ***
This is not a line one collects based on the sculpting. Like the Marvel Comics figures done by Toy Biz, these guys are all about articulation, and the sculpt reflects that. The 2-pack Batman is basically a repaint of the first Microman version. The head, hands, and cape are rubber while the rest of the body is plastic. The facial expression is nice and stern, and the muscles on the torso arenít overdone. The legs come out as being a little long and skinny, but itís hardly noticeable. 
FG Batman is slightly different. While the base body is the same, the head, shoulders, and waist have been tailored to the specific figure. The waist has a sculpted belt instead of the separately sculpted piece found on the other Batmen. The shoulders are made from silver vacu-formed plastic to mimic armor, and have a curved spike on top of each. The head is also vacu-formed, and has a very retro Voltron look to it. Heís also missing the trademark fins on his forearms. He has a peg clamp on his backside to hold the gun. It works out all right, but can get in the way of the wings sometimes.

Batgirl comes with the same base body as Catwoman Ėthat is little waist, big bust, and very long legs. In fact sheís almost as tall as the Batman figure she comes with. The waistline is sculpted with her belt, and has a huge peg sticking out the right side to hold her red purse. The fins on her forearms are thinner than the Batman figures, but look in proportion with her thinner build. The boot sculpts seem a little large, but work well enough. Batgirl boasts a truly unique cape and head design however. While the face sculpt is a little bland, the jointed hair coming out the back really sets her apart from the other figures. The cape design with the back plug separate from the jointed body of the cape is pretty cool as well.

Paint - ***
There ain't much to paint, but whatís there is clean and looks good. Batman is done up in dark blue, which looks a lot better than the two-tone muscle outline on the first Microman version. Batgirl boasts a blue-gray with gold highlights on her gloves, chest symbol, belt, and boots. The face is a little flat, but at least sheís got a hint of a smile as opposed to being completely expressionless. It would have helped if Takara had given her pupils.
The FG Batman has the best paint job. The metallic purple and red lining looks pretty cool and really gives him a more Anime feel. 

Articulation - ****
Pick a pose, any pose. 

Each of these figures has articulation coming out the ying-yang.

Both Batmen have 30 points: ball-joints abound at the neck, shoulders, upper & lower torso, hips and ankles, while their pivots and swivels aplenty at the head, biceps, elbows, wrists, hands, thighs, knees, and ankles. Batgirlís design is similar, but her thigh cuts are lower. She also has two additional swivel points: one at her hair and one at her cape. These last two work great for running and jumping poses.

Accessories - ***1/2
The accessories are pretty good all around. The 2-pack comes with the same weapons found with the original Microman Batman: Batarang, handcuffs, gas mask, and the harpoon gun. Batgirl comes with her red ďBat-purseĒ or whatever. Frankly I could have done without the bag. I would have liked a few more weapons included, maybe even just another Batarang, but whatís there works out just fine. Each figure also comes with extra hands mounted in a nice little storage tree ĖBatman has six pairs total, Batgirl has seven.

The FG Batman comes with his wings and a gun. Like every other bat-oriented weapon, the gun is also done up to mimic the bat symbol. It almost looks like one of the double pistols used in the movie The Black Hole by the robot security guards. The wings are clearly the centerpiece of this figure and work pretty well for posing. They have four double jointed points of articulation that allow for folding and turning actions by any of the four segments attached to the back center plate. The design is clearly inspired more by other Japanese toys and comics, but still retains the Batman ďfeelĒ in its design, especially in the closed position. The only drawback is the fragility of the joints. This puppy falls apart quite easy, even when youíre just trying to move it a little. FG Batman also comes with six pairs of hands. Each figure also comes with a sturdy clear stand.

Durability/Quality - **
Some of these joints are really loose. The FG Batman seems to suffer the worst, since his arms keep popping off quite easily. They all still hold their poses okay, but Iíll have to keep my fingers crossed in the future.

Value - Flight Gear Batman: **; Batman/Batgirl 2-pack: ***
The single figures tend to go for about twelve bucks each, while Iíve seen the 2-pack at sixteen. Twelve seems a little pricey, especially when you can get most Toy Biz Marvel figures at a lower price. However these are pretty unique among Superhero figures, so itís really a judgment call in the end. I feel that the 2-pack is a pretty good deal ($8 a figure) though, especially if you havenít picked up the original Microman Batman. 

CornerStoreComics has Catwoman, Comic Batman, and Flight Gear Batman in for a marked-down price at $10.99 each. The Batman/Batgirl 2-pack is a bit pricey at $19.99, but they also offer all five figures at a sale price of $49.99, which is probably the best deal out there.

Yup. Ebay. Check it out. Nuff said.

Overall - ***1/2
Iíve had some sort of reservation about every figure Iíve picked up in the past few months, except when it comes to these little guys and girls. I like the small-scale, heavy articulation combination presented here in these figures, and I would love to see Takara produce more Ėand not just in the Batman line. Unfortunately the planned Microman version of Spiderman was cancelled (imagine how much butt that figure would have kicked), but there are other characters on the horizon. Takara is producing a couple of Street Fighter Microman figures, including Chun Li. Even cooler, theyíre doing a series of Microman figures for the Alien vs. Predator franchise, including a Queen Alien, in the correct scale. Groovy, eh? Iíd love to some X-Men figures, maybe even a Microman version of Daredevil and Elektra. Hell, why not a few Jedi while weíre at it? Time for Hasbro to subcontract out their Star Wars line I think . . . 

I donít know what other licenses Takara is planning on acquiring for the Microman line, but I have to say Iíll be watching with interest in the future. Iíve never been disappointed in the articulation and playability of cool Japanese toys ever since the Gundums and Transformers of my childhood. Itís nice to see that in my mid-twenties, Iím still not disappointed. 

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Durability/Quality- **
Value - Flight Gear Batman: **; Batman/Batgirl 2-pack: ***
Overall - ***1/2



Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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