Takara Microman Batman

One of the coolest new Batman figures to hit the market is the Microman Batman, and tonight Bobby Wong steps up with a great guest review - take it away!

Since Mattel won the rights to produce comic inspired action figures almost two years ago, we are seeing lots of products that would make any Batman fan happy. Some of the most interesting products are coming from overseas, Japan in particular. Michael has already reviewed the first wave of Yamato Batman action figures, and this year DC Direct will be importing some interesting statues from Kotobukiya. Recently available at specialty Japanese import stores is Takara’s “Micro Action Series” Batman.

Older toy collectors may remember Takara’s Micro Man toys, repackaged as Mego’s Micronauts in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The current line of figures are bigger and feature even more articulation than their ancestors. Takara first “Micro Action” figure is Gachaman, better known to Westerners as Mark of G-Force. “Micro Action” figures use the same basic bodies but with character specific heads and details to create different figures. 

Packaging - ***3/4
Micro Action Batman comes securely fastened in a clear blister packaging. 
The card backing has the required Batman logo, and the rear has color photos of the figure with accessories in various combat poses.

Unlike most toys, the card back is not glued on. Rather it is first inserted, then taped to flaps on the back of the clear packaging. By carefully slicing the tape, you can easily reinsert the card backing onto the blister, which is great if you want to display it. Batman rests in a clear inner tray with two twist ties, and the accessories are arranged beside the figure.

For some reason the front of the blister has a raised circular mark that actually makes it hard to see the figure’s face. A plain bubble in this case would have sufficed!

Sculpting - ***
Batman shares the same basic body as other recent Micro Man figures. The figure itself looks correct proportions wise, although a little thinner than the way Batman is usually depicted in the comics, and stands 4 inches (top of head).

The body is made of ABS plastic, and held in place with screws like the smaller GI Joe figures. The head and cape are made of stiff vinyl, as are the hands. The belt is also made of vinyl, and hangs loosely on the waist. I found that if you push the belt down on the hips, it will stay there.

The head plugs into a post at the neck. My figure’s head was a little loose, so I resorted to using a small bit of Blue-Tac to help hold it in place. The head sculpt isn’t bad, the face appears a tad too long, and the ears could be longer, but that’s just my person preferences. I’ve been forever spoiled by the Four Horseman’s Batman.

The cape plugs into a 5mm hole in the back. Its length can get in the way of some action poses, perhaps a cloth or soft vinyl item would be more appropriate. 

Five extra sets of jointed hands are supplied, with as many different “poses”! Each hand plugs into a hole in the forearm, and Takara has thoughtfully supplied a plug in holder as well.

Paint - ***
Since this is a comic version of Batman, he’s in the classic blue and gray colors. The body is molded in a silvery-gray plastic, and to give the impression of musculature, dark gray lines that are painted all over the body. The application is consistent; though it’s starkness on the lighter color of the body many annoy some collectors. The other colors, such as the blue painted on the lower legs and forearms, and the flesh color of the face is basic. It’s a neat application without highlighting or shading. Interestingly, the chest symbol is painted in blue, not black.

Articulation - ****
This is where the Takara Micro Action body really shines. Finally we have a Batman figure that can match most ToyBiz action figures. It is advertised as having 30 points of articulation. The body actually reminds me of jointed wooden mannequins that artists use to aid them in drawings. It certainly looks like a scaled down version of the super-articulated 12 inch action figures by Dragon, BBi and Sideshow. 

Batman has ball jointed and swivel neck, ball jointed shoulders that swing front and back, mid-torso, and ball waist joints, bicep cuts, double jointed elbows, wrist 4-direction rotation, ball jointed hips, cut thighs, double jointed knees, and ball jointed ankles. 

Most of the joints are tight with the exception of the mid torso. Because of the weight of the cape, the figure tends to arch backwards. The ankles are quite tight, probably to support the weight of the figure. Take care not to break the thin ankle joints when posing the figure. Overall, Batman is pretty rugged, and the screw together construction makes it easy to modify or repair. 

Accessories - ***
Unlike domestic Batman toys, this Batman comes ready to fight without oversized brightly colored gimmicks here. The respirator, grapnel launcher, Batarang, and Bat-cuffs are molded in hard plastic and plated in a shiny black chrome color. The grapnel launcher is also comes with a length of vinyl tubing to fit in between the handle and three pronged head. Most of the accessories look a tad large, and fit loosely in the hands. The figure is supplied with a generic Micro Man logo base. Batman’s foot fits in the smaller peg. The bigger peg is for older Takara figures.

Play Factor - ***
These days most of my toys just sit on the shelf on display. They look great there, especially the McFarlane toys, but they don’t get much handling, being as they are miniature pre-painted statues. Conversely the Takara Batman gets picked up a lot, and often winds up on my desk or computer table. You can pose Batman in a multitude of fighting stances, just check the photos.

Value - **
Takara’s Batman is an import without domestic distribution. I paid $18.95USD at my local comic store. In Japan, they retail for approximately $9. If you can find it at that price I’d bump the score up to ****. Your best bet would be to try Asian Anime mail order stores or Ebay. Because it is Batman, sellers will price the figure higher, so shop around.

Overall - ***1/4
If the import price was not an issue, I would rate the figure ***1/2. Takara’s Batman has a lot going for it. It offers great possibility, accurate to the source material, solid construction, and simply fun to play with. Takara recently introduced a Micro Woman line, and expects to release a figure based on Batgirl and Catwoman in the future.

Note - If you wish to touch up your figures, you can use a permanent black ink marker to touch up the accessories where they were removed from the molding frames. Also some Micro Man fans paint the screws on the legs and torso in the appropriate colors to make them less obvious.

Where to Buy - 
There are a number of on-line choices:

- Action-HQ was the original source for many folks, but are now on backorder at $20 each.  They do have the pre-orders up for Catwoman and Batgirl though!

- Killer Toys has him up for pre-order at $17 each.

Figures from the collection of Bobby Wong.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour