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Automaster Ryan

by yo go re

Microman is a strange beast.

A direct link between two of the '80s biggest properties, the figures were only ever marginally popular in the United States. Of course, their fans are very rabid and devoted even to this day, but the Micronauts (as they were known under Mego's importing) never reached a wide audience.

Microman. Shown actual size. Microman is the world's first 1:1 scale figure. Here, check out the backstory;

Having seen their home planet, MicroEarth, destroyed by the maniacal Acroyears, the Microman fled over 30,000 light-years seeking a new world to call home, a new land in which to make new lives for themselves. That world is Earth. Unfortunately, the Acroyears followed; but the Microman will not allow history to repeat itself. Earth, the land of giants, will be saved!

Yeah, Earth is the land of giants - the Microman characters were exactly the same size as the Microman toys. Of course, that story was invented only after the line had proved a raging success in Japan, but it's still cool.

Automaster Ryan It's been 30 years since Microman debuted, and Takara is trying to engineer a comeback. They've just released eight deluxe Microman figures: four villainous Acroyears (pronounced ah-KROY-ers) and four Master Force heroes. Each of the Master Force characters comes with a set of armor that could also be transformed into a vehicle or other secondary item.

Time has flown by since the birth of Microman in 1974. Now, in 2004, he has returned to us in a new form. We entrust him to the care of those who have a child's heart in order to explore the unforeseeable future.

do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph chrome? Automaster Ryan is the team's surface-based expert. He's got a great color scheme, all translucent green plastic with white highlights. The figures share the same body in different colors, and each has a unique chromed head. Ryan's looks like an advanced biker's helmet, which covers the majority of his face and has an odd, swept-back design.

The armor pieces are vac-metallized, as well. Ryan's got two big, wheeled boots on his feet and a metal harness on his chest. Remove all the armor and it can be reconstructed into a Tron-style light cycle, 5" long and 2" tall. The wheels and windshield are the same trans-green as Ryan's body, and he looks cool on it. The pieces of the chest armor don't go together easily at first, because the vac-metallizing process has made the tabs and slots a little bit mis-sized for one another; just play around with them a bit (until the chrome wears off) and they'll be perfect.

NORT The tiny Microman bodies have just as much articulation as a 6" Marvel Legend, which just puts Hasbro's super poseable Clone Trooper to shame: they move at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hands, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles. Considering how many of those joints are balljoints or at least doubled-up, this is one mighty toy and really shows that as good as we are, Japanese toymakers still have it all over Americans.

The Microman figures include replacement hands in a variety of poses. They pull out easily, but stay in place well. Also included is a display stand with two different styles of pegs: one for the new figures, and one designed for the larger holes in the feet of the classic figures. Now that's a smart move.

Mircoman was a lot more popular in his native land than here overseas. Sure, they got 85 issues of their comicbook, but in the '80s, if you didn't have a cartoon, you were nothing. Even the usually great Palisades' recent effort to reintroduce the Micronauts stumbled and fell apart. There just isn't a big demand for the toys. However, maybe these new imports, with tons of play value for their small pricetag, will create some new fans. Hell, they've already created one.

Microman: overrated or under-appreciated? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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