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View Full Version : If only Takara made SW figs - 30 points on a 4" body for $6!!!



JediTricks
07-24-2003, 05:21 AM
Takara's Microman figure has been around since 1974, 4 years before the first Star Wars figure made the scene. Thanks to Czahr over at the figures.com forums, I recently learned about a new line of Microman figs that are hitting US comic shops at the amazingly-low price of $5.99. There are 8 Microforce figures, 4 Microman-based designs and 4 licensed designs (1 is Ken from Gatchaman/BOTP/G-force!), each come with several unique accessories, the aforementioned price that for a Japanese import on the small comics market is fantastic, 10 extra hands in various poses, a body that's within a few millimeters of the standard Star Wars body, and my favorite selling point: 30 points of articulation! Yes, it's true, this Microman Spy figure I picked up today has more articulation than any 3 " Star Wars figure, and even more than any 12" Star Wars figure!
swivel head ball-jointed neck double ball-jointed shoulders swivel bicep double elbows swivel wrists tilt wrists tilt mid-torso ball-jointed waist ball-jointed hips swivel thighs double knees swivel ankles rotation ankles (limited range ball-joints, actually)Check Czahr's original review thread for more details and pics: http://www.figures.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3560

That's 30 points of articulation for 6 bucks! 1 set of extra hands is even made to tilt forward for cool sword poses. I know some fans don't like articulation that is this obvious, but love articulation and I can't think of 1 lightsaber-wielder who wouldn't benefit from being able to create nearly any awesome pose imaginable. Granted, I don't think figures like Lott Dod need to be anywhere near this poseable, but Jango Fett, Luke Skywalker, and other action-based characters sure would be awesome figures in this Microman 2003 style.

icatch9
07-24-2003, 09:04 AM
You know it's not impossible for Hasbro to do this. It's called GI Joe. They have much more articulation that Star Wars for a fraction of the price. Hasbro has a lineage to keep to with Star Wars figs. They've vowed to keep them as close to the old line as they can. There for we'll never see articulation that that. It just isn't going to happen.

I'm still baffeled that adult collectors want more articuation. Seems the kids should be complaining about that, but kids don't buy these so they don't complain :rolleyes:.

rherk
07-24-2003, 11:20 AM
I think the Microman figures are great and they work for Microman. Same with GIJOE. However, I think all that articulation would take away from the sculpt of the Star Wars figures. You would see to many lines. Plus there is so much detail in the design and costume of many Star Wars characters as apossed to the simplicity of Microman that it could be a disaster for some figures.

Kidhuman
07-24-2003, 12:38 PM
Swivel arm grip huh Icatch? I remember those and hasbro can make those. SW figures would sell alot better if they made them look better. So far to me, the problem seems to be these action posed figures. Honestly, they are great for diarama makers and all, but if they want to get the kids involved with them they need to go back to neutral poses and add lots of articulation. I wouldnt mind paying another dollar for the figures if they looked alot better. I for one am a MOC collector and hate the action poses. I love looking at the neutral poses in the bubbles. All of the lines sold great until the action poses. Think about that Hasbro.

icatch9
07-24-2003, 01:12 PM
I'm not going to get in a debate over the way a figure should be made. I like the way they are, you don't. We could talk about this until Episode 12 and that wouldn't change a thing.

I have to say that all TPM toys were netral save a few, and that line didn't do well. Now this leave the door open for you to bash the movie or Hasbro in general but that subject is played.

Articulation is great, but not at the cost of detail. There are many lines that have great articulation but details suffer a bit becasue of all the lines that rherk mentioned.

IMO the SW line is the best in it's scale. Few match it for realism. Look at Ephant Mon, everyones favorite figures. Pre-posed, zero articulation yet more detail than any other figure out there. Proof that you can never make a star wars collector happy :D.

InsaneJediGirl
07-24-2003, 01:14 PM
I agree with kidhuman.The "action" poses are what I hate the most.A little articulation wouldnt be all too bad for some figures,(Jedi,Clones etc) but it wouldnt work for all.

Beast
07-24-2003, 01:37 PM
Articulation where it's warrented, is all I care about. I hate 30+ points of 4" figures. It looks terrible and on such small figures, it doesn't take long before the figure is loose limbed and falling over more then a Kennedy in a private bar. I'd rather have a figure then can stand, then one that falls over like a puppet with no strings. :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

JEDIpartner
07-24-2003, 01:46 PM
I agree with Jar Jar... When you start putting all those joints and swivels on the figures, you are left with a bunch of bumps and bulges with some stuff connecting them. I personally think the G.I. Joe figures look like little stacks of crap and I wouldn't even buy them for a kid. Yes, i agree that there should be a little more articulation on the Star Wars figures, but 30 is a little ridiculous. I would go for additional shoulder, elbow and knee articulation and call it a day.


By the by... Takara DID make a few Star Wars figures in 1978 and they were little more than slightly larger knock offs of the Kenner figures.

aceguide
07-24-2003, 03:21 PM
I agree with those saying only appropriate articulation. As a kid my GI Joes were casualties within days of good play. Star Wars Loosened, but not damagingly so, as they were not as articulated.

I'd love to see a pic of the Takara SW figs if there's one around.

JediTricks
07-25-2003, 02:00 AM
I can't say I'm surprised by the comments here, though maybe you guys should just get an auto-responder so you won't have to say the same stuff over and over every time the issue comes up. ;)


Icatch, I'm not talking about GI Joe:RAH - that line was great for its time, but nothing compared to this design. That line had ugly rivets, big nasty neck joints that had very little range, waist articulation on a rubber band, and those awful slippy hips. Not that the current version of GI Joe 4" is much better, Hasbro tried to cross modern SW articulation with Joe articulation and came out with 2 different messes, one after the other, that's currently culminated in the cheapest elbow articulation, even worse necks, and more rubber band crotches.

I don't buy that part about the lineage either, if that were the case then the figs would still be stiff "standing at attention" figures with 5 points of articulation. All they have to do is keep the size reasonably close to scale (I've given up on expecting actual scale from them) and they've thrown in many crazy different styles of figure design, from preposed statues to v-crotch figures to diagonal cut joints even (those are the most bold IMO).

As for why an adult collector would want more articulation, it's 2 simple reasons:
- These are still toys and toys should be as good as possible;
- The figures should not be limited to 1 pose on your shelf, you should be able to decide what pose the figure shall take, and you should be able to change it to suit your whims.


rherk, the asthetic can always be salvaged by coats and other removable clothing if need be, but I also think this level of articulation can be tailored to fit the SW need. Han Bespin (POTJ) has universal shoulders, but I never hear complaints about that. Jango Kamino has a ball-jointed neck, nobody seems to be bothered there. Chancellor Palpatine has swivel wrists, and he's far from the only figure with them even though he's not even an action-oriented figure.


kidhuman, I don't think we need the robot-stiff bodies of the vintage era, but I agree with you: action poses are for statues, not action figures. It's preposing that hurts my cool Plo vs Maul setup: www.geocities.com/jeditricks/plo-maul (http://www.geocities.com/jeditricks/plo-maul)
If Maul's arms weren't permanently bent, he would look way better there.


As for the Ep 1 line not doing well, I think fingers should be pointed more at soft sculpts, too many Mauls, and too much product. Look at the currently-hottest figs from that line, Sio Bibble, R2-B1, TC-14, Swimming Jar Jar, they all had better sculpts and little preposing, yet because the early part of the line sagged, retailers didn't order and they became too hard to find.

I think Ephant Mon is a pretty bad figure, he's too big, articulated funky, painted wrong, and smelly. This is not a benchmark action figure, not with that head articulation.


Let's not get into "loose joints" issue, because SW doesn't fare anywhere near as well as we'd like to pretend it does. I have seen so many loose-limbed vintage figures that I can't imagine one standing on its own anymore, and this isn't just "the passage of time", I remember this problem from before ROTJ left theaters. And what about gimmick-armed Jango Pilot? Loose arms sink buyers, apparently. Then there's the loose shoulder of Dooku 1. Or how about the gap at the waist in last year's Vader Bespin? This joint is looser than the magneto-waisted Maul from the POTJ 2pack! Then we could mourn the tragedy of Obi-Wan Acklay. Certainly, let's not forget pinstriped Saga Maul with his spinning arm and gappy shoulder, or gummy articulation on Ep 1 Mace, Saga Padme Factory, or magneto-limbed Zam & Anakin. And many of these are just examples of figures that came loose-limbed, not even counting the figures that got played with.

JEDIpartner
07-25-2003, 09:36 AM
I wouldn't mind standard articulation on EVERY (human or humanoid/biped) figure. The ball-jointed neck, shoulders, twisty wrists and ankles would be nice additions to ALL of those types of figures. I think 30 points of articulation is a bit on overkill but 10 to 12 would be great.

Jedi Tricks is my hero everyday...! :happy: Well said, man.

Kidhuman
07-25-2003, 10:20 AM
I Agree JT. The lack of articulation of the vintage figures is not needed on the newer lines. If they packaged them in neutral poses with elbow, shoulder, knee, and wrist articulation, it would better. The statuesque poses are lame. If I opened them, and set up dioramas or scenes, I would be peeved because they would be limited to scene specific moments. And to tp it off, they dont make all the figures from that scene which would upset me more. Neutral poses work for all, MOC and openers. Let us decide what pose they want to be in. Hasbro is acting like a parent to us telling us how they should be posed.

As far as the TPM and Saga figures slacking in sales, thats an easy fix IMO. Better case packings. Make all figures in the case even, except for army builders. No case needs for Jango's or four Padmes. Four clones, bikers, or stormtroopers, yes. Evenly distributed figures leads to less pegwarming. Ack....I ramble

BTW JT...nice steup on the Maul/Plo-Koon.

plasticfetish
07-25-2003, 03:50 PM
this Microman Spy figure I picked up today has more articulation than any 3 " Star Wars figure, and even more than any 12" Star Wars figure!
Wow. You found these too huh? I've been waiting and looking for them to show up near me. How are they quality wise? Good plastic, tight seams and joints, good paint, chrome, etc.? I was pretty sad to see Takara's Neo Microman line fade away ... but these Microforce are great looking. Perhaps if the rest of you could see them ...
http://www.takaratoys.co.jp/cyboag/index.html
... click where it says "Microman Topics" on the left side.
(Oh duh, now I see you have a link to photos.)
I'd suggested and wondered how people would respond to 12" figures done like how Takara handles the (Neo)Henshin Cyborg line ... where you get a highly articulated figure and you can then buy separate costumes, etc. After seeing these new Microman figures I thought pretty much the same thing, wondering how cool it would be to get a figure w/ lots of accessories and a cloth costume. Something like a series of basic Star Wars figures produced by Takara would be great I think. Truly earning the title "deluxe." I don't see Hasro as being able to handle the production of something like these and besides, I'd think Takara would be a little more enthusiastic. But then it's not so different than how Takara/Hasbro produce Transformers ... I'd love to see some of their design ideas bleed into the Star Wars line. I'd welcome the addition of a new approach to figures (if done well) any time.

JediTricks
07-26-2003, 08:19 AM
I agree JP, 30 would be overkill for this audience, but like you I still think your list is a bare minimum of what these figs should have. It's 25 years after the first SW figs yet in general, we've only seen 1 more point of articulation consistantly used in all that time bringing it up to "the standard six" - and it's a ridiculously simple one at that (waist).


kidhuman, while I totally dig what you're saying with the neutral poses for everybody, I've come to realize that there's just no way that Hasbro will be able to get a strong grasp on good case assortments in time for the next movie. They simply don't understand what is or what's going to be popular in a timely fashion (which is why Senator Jar Jar shipped more often than Yoda & Dooku combined last year), so even if they ship a nice case like you describe, by the time they find out what's not selling from it, they've already shipped way more of it as well as the next 2 waves of cases being packed and halfway out the door.

Glad you like my Plo/Maul, it's still one of my favorite prequels figure set-ups in my collection. :)


PF, check your local comic shops daily, they are apparently quite hot and sell fast even though they take up almost no display space (these "canisters" just aren't what we're used to, I think). The quality is nice, I haven't had any troubles with the chrome yet, the materials all seem good and dependable, nearly every joint is spot-on dandy and the few that aren't quite as solid are still strong enough to hold pose, some of the seams are visable but still tight, the off-white paint is a good match for the plastic of the same color but not perfectly applied or solid (especially at said seams) while the detail paint seems firmly in place and accurately laid down.

While I love the idea of cloth costumes on 12"-scale, I can't picture full-body costumes working on this 4"-scale because usually, the cloth is either too weak or too thick (or just ugly ;)). But I would be interested in seeing the results. I think ultimately though, the sheer difficulty of putting a shirt over a figure's arms this small would turn off buyers. I'd really dig a Microforce figure holding a saber and wearing a Jedi robe that wasn't as thick as the normal cloth ones that have been in our line, that would be awesome.

Kidhuman
07-26-2003, 03:58 PM
But atleast if they do that, they can cut down the pegwarmers to a few by splitting them up like that. Atleast we wont have 30 Padmes and 30 Jangos and 30 3PO's. We might have 10 of each instead, which leaves alot more room for the newer figures. BTW, I still dont have a Jar Jar senator because it sold quickly and I thought it would be a pegwarmer, same with Nikto.

JediTricks
07-27-2003, 11:28 PM
It was a pegwarmer in my area for a long time, a big one; some stores sent it back, and when Target had their big half-price sale, nearly all the figs were Senator JJ and Nikto Jedi and Saesee Tiin and Plo Koon and Watto and Lott Dod and a few others like that, these figs were there when the sale started and most of 'em were still there when it ended. :D

Kidhuman
07-28-2003, 12:09 AM
Do they still have em? I could use them. :)

JediTricks
07-28-2003, 12:34 AM
Target and the other major chains finally sent the rest back when Hasbro did round 2 of the buy-backs.

aceguide
07-28-2003, 09:00 AM
I agree with all this banter. The one point of articulation that I feel is a MUST on all figures is at the wrist (see CT Stormie :confused: ).

mabudonicus
07-28-2003, 09:12 AM
I have been thinking about getting the "KEN" battle of the planets fig from this line for a while, it is leagues better than the ones that have been popping up over the past year here...
I'm to a point where I think I may have to buy some Joe knock-offs just to make "proper" representations of SW characters..
Ankle articulation is AWESOME, though, something even RAH figs never quite got close to...
Those Microman figures RULE!!

JediTricks
07-28-2003, 11:35 PM
There was a recent Snake Eyes figure in the Joe line that had ankle articulation, so of course he was highly sought after and HTF.

I so very much want that BOTP Microman figure, that thing looks super awesome!