C3 Mini-Flyers
Batman, Batgirl, Flash,
Riddler, Nightwing, Superman 

This is going to be one of those odd reviews, where the photos way out last the text.  Normally I write fairly long reviews - 1500 - 2000 words is the average - but occasionally, I pick up something that needs little discussion, but lots of visual.

That's the case with the C3 Flyers, the latest, and possibly last, of the C3 building sets from Art Asylum.  Each of these is a basic flying contraption, made from just a handful of the C3 parts, with a new (in some way) DC mini-mate.  There are six in the full set, including Riddler, Flash, Batman, Batgirl, Superman, and Nightwing.

I have to be completely honest.  I didn't buy these for the flyers, and I bet you won't either.  I bought them for the minimates, but the flyers turned out to be pretty damn nifty too, if you like building sets.  I opened and assembled the Riddler flyer, so I'll be reviewing that one predominately.

Four of these sets are based on the Batman show (Batman, Batgirl, Nightwing and Riddler) and two are based on the Justice League (Flash and Superman).

Online is probably your only option for these, and I'll have a few suggestions at the end of the review. 

Packaging - ***
When looking at these boxes, keep in mind that these were originally intended to be mass market releases, at stores like Toys R Us and Wal-mart.  Keeping that in mind, you'll see that they are pretty good.  The graphics explain the basic premise of the C3 system, it shows off the mini-mate nicely, and they are ultra easy to store for the MIBBers.  They are also very collector friendly, and even after building the set, you can always pop the parts back in the box, and return the figure to his little coffin of plastic.

Sculpting/Design - ***
Sculpting is never a big part of this style of figure or toy, but the design of most of these is creative and interesting.

There are a small handful of sculpted parts - cowls, capes or hair - but for the most part they follow the very basic style of the mini-mate.

The vehicles have unique and interesting designs, although both the Batgirl and Batman flyer are identical except for color.  Of the set, I think the Riddler and Flash vehicles are my favorites, but Supe's and Nightwing's are pretty sharp looking as well.

As you can tell from the photos, I put Riddler's flyer together.  The parts snapped together easily, and stayed there.  The set isn't particularly complicated, and you can have it together in a few minutes.  It would be a good project for a 7 or 8 year old to spend a little longer on.

Paint - ***1/2
With figures that have such little sculpting, and such basic design, the paint ops are critical.  Fortunately, the work on the faces, bodies and flyers is all very neat and clean, even in such a tiny scale.

While the Riddler has some of the more complex applications, with the small question marks and multicolored mask, others weren't shabby.  Batgirl has a rather unusual high tech outfit with lots of small detail, and a couple of the flyers have some interesting detail on the wings as well.

I'm interested in learning more about how this work is done.  While your initial assumption would be that some sort of masking technique is used, it could also be some sort of printed appliqué perhaps.  Whatever the technique, there's no denying that it works extremely well.

Paint is what differentiates a couple of these figures from past versions.  Of course, we've already had Batman, but not in this particular color scheme or expression.  And while the Flash is ALMOST identical to the previous version, he does have a slightly different facial expression.

Articulation - ***1/2
Each of the mini-mates is articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles.  All of the joints moved smoothly on these figures, and none of them had problems with feet or hands falling off easily.

One of the cool features of this style of mini-figure is the swappable parts, so if you want to pop Riddler's arms on Batman's body, go right ahead.  Where it comes in most handy is in swapping heads and hair to create alter egos.

The figures can hold a surprising number of poses, and each can stand quite easily on their own.

Each of the flyers is also articulated at one spot - the clear plastic canopy opens and closes.  It works fairly well for this type of building toy, and is unlikely to pop off too easily during play.

Accessories - Batgirl, Flash, Riddler, Nightwing ***; Batman, Superman **1/2
Since the theory is that the flyer is the main toy, then all the sets get a decent score for having the mini-mate.  Or if you're like me, the mini-mate is what you wanted, and the flyer is the accessory.

On four of these figures, there were other extras thrown in.  The Riddler has some normal hair and his trademark cane, Batgirl has some hair with a pony tail in back, Nightwing has a pair of fighting sticks, and Flash has some normal hair, for when he gets tired of wearing the cowl.

In a couple of the photos of the Riddler's flyer, you'll notice that I had to stick the cane under one landing foot.  That's because the flyer liked to sit rolled forward, rather than straight.

Fun Factor - ****
These are toys, first and foremost, and they work great in that capacity.  My four year old son enjoyed helping me put it together, and he had a great time flying it around the room when we were done.  I think these mini-flyers are actually better for younger kids than the larger sets, since they stay together better (generally), and provide an more instant gratification for their efforts.

Value - **
I'm assuming you're paying around $6 each for these sets.  That's an average value, considering a couple dozen C3 pieces for each vehicle, the minimate, and a couple additional accessories.  Unfortunately, the C3 line was never cheap, but then neither are lines like LEGO and Playmobil.

Things to watch out for - 
All of the parts snapped together fairly well, but the landing feet on the Riddler's flyer did have a tendency to pop off if you aren't paying attention.  They are likely to get lost pretty quickly if your kids are playing with it, so keep an eye peeled.  Or just glue the damn thing together.

Overall - ***
These aren't cheap, and they aren't works of art.  But if you're looking for some fun building toys that are also great DC comic heroes, then these are your answer.  The ability to swap body parts adds to the fun, and kids will really enjoy the design of the small flyers.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt/Design - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Batgirl, Flash, Riddler, Nightwing ***; Batman, Superman **
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
It's a safe bet that if you want to get these, you'll have to hit the web.  Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has the set of 6 for just $35, or individual flyers for $6 each.

- Action Figure Express has them as a set for $45, but they also throw in one of the older sets free, your choice of the regular Batwing or the exclusive Stealth Batwing.

Related reviews:
Here's some useful reviews of past C3 stuff:

- first, there's always the Art Asylum site, where they have a forum just for C3.

- here are reviews of the mini-Javelin with Flash and the Martian Manhunter, and the Chemical Warehouse set with Batman and Joker. 

Keep scrolling down for lots more photos!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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