Micronauts is the North American name for the Microman toyline created by Japanese company Takara. First released in Japan in 1974, Microman toys were imported to the United States by the Mego Corporation in 1976 under the "Micronauts" brand name. The line consisted of 3.75-inch-tall (9.5 cm) action figures, vehicles, robots, playsets and accessories which used a universal, .2-inch (5.1 mm) inter-connective design. Mego discontinued the line in 1980.
Takara produced small quantities of series one and two products in Japan before production was moved to Mego's facilities in Hong Kong. After Mego collapsed, Takara produced several series five toys for Italian distributor Gig's i Micronauti line.
|One (1976)||Two (1977)||Three (1978)||Four (1979)||Five (1980)|
|Astro Station||Andromeda||Betatron||Carrio (carrying case)||Blizzard|
|Biotron||Aquatron||Galactic Defender||Deluxe Rocket Tubes||Centaurus|
|Crater Cruncher (with Time Traveler figure)||Baron Karza||Gammatron||Hometroid||Hyperion|
|Galactic Warrior||Battle Cruiser||Micropolis Galactic Command Center||Space Vehicle (Montgomery Ward)||Kronos|
|Galactic Cruiser||Force Commander||Micropolis Interplanetary Headquarters||Membros||Lobros|
|Space Glider||Giant Acroyear||Micropolis Microrail City||Micropolis Mega City||Lobstros|
|Hydra||Karrio||Micropolis Satellite Survey Station||Repto||Sharkos|
|Hydro Copter||Neon Orbiter||Nemesis||Rocket Tubes||Emperor|
|Microtron||Oberon||Phobos||Rocket Tubes (Sears)||Megas|
|Mobile Exploration Lab||Pharoid (with Time Chamber||Star Searcher||Solarion||King Atlas|
|Photon Sled (with figure)||Pharoid (type 2)||Star Defender||Lantaurion|
|Stratastation||Rhodium Orbiter||Taurion||Green Baron|
|Time Traveler||Thorium Orbiter||Terraphant||Pegasus|
|Ultronic Scooter (with Time Traveler figure)||Time Traveler (opaque versions)||Red Falcon|
|Warp Racer (with Time Traveler figure)|
In 2002 Palisades Toys bought the rights to manufacture Micronauts, assuming that the original tooling and molds were available. When Palisades discovered this was not so, it asked collectors to donate unopened toys to replicate. Figures had defective or broken parts, and many were returned by consumers who found they had been given defective replacements.
Palisades tried to salvage its reputation by developing Series 2 and a special Series 1.5 from other factories, but lost more money. Retailers refused to carry the line, and a third series was in development when the Micronauts line was canceled. It was Palisades' largest financial loss, contributing to the company's 2006 bankruptcy. Most of the reissues were Takara-designed figures, but several original aliens from the Mego series (Repto, Membros and Centaurus) were included.
|Series 1 (2002)||Series 1.5 (2003)||Series 2 (2003)|
|Baron Karza & Andromeda||Radioactive Membros||Emperor & Megas|
|Bio-Scan Membros||Space Commander||Galactic Defender|
|DD Acroyear||Time Traveler Medic||Gold Red Falcon set|
|Dynamic Forces TT||Pharoid|
|Force Commander & Oberon||Red Falcon|
|Gold Baron Karza set||Repto|
|HF Space Glider|
|Lee's Time Traveler|
In January 2005, SOTA Toys unveiled plans for "Micronauts: Evolution", a redesign of the Micronauts figures. Concept art was released and prototypes displayed at the 2005 Toy Fair, with a projected release of late 2005. They appeared at the 2006 San Diego Comic Con.
Series one was planned to include 6-inch (15 cm) renditions of Lobros, Baron Karza, and Space Glider. Plans changed to an online box set of all three characters, available on SOTA's website as smaller figures.
In September 2006 SOTA president Jerry Macaluso said "the retail environment for collectibles is in the gutter right now", and many stores wishing to order the "Micronauts: Evolution" line were going bankrupt. He noted that the Palisades-line "disaster...had a huge negative effect", with retailers rejecting SOTA's upcoming series. Macaluso hoped to release the line in 2007 (before SOTA's license expired), and considered funding it himself. The line was never produced.
David Forrest and artists at Kinetic Underground assisted Abrams and Gentile[who?] in retooling the Micronauts. Forrest facilitated an agreement with Hasbro and J. J. Abrams. He and Kinetic Underground helped develop stories, concepts and characters for Abrams and Gentile, Emmett-Furla Films and Gale Anne Hurd's adaptation of the characters.
Several comic book series based on Micronauts toys were published by Marvel and Devil's Due Publishing. Kinetic Underground and its affiliates, Kinetic Toyz and Kinetic Komicz, created a range of Micronauts products (including toys and comics). Kinetic Komicz began development of a Micronauts comic series, which was protested by Takara Tomy.
In November 2009, Hasbro announced that director J.J. Abrams was negotiating to produce a film based on the Micronauts. In a March 2013 IGN interview, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick said they were working on a screenplay and the film was on Paramount's list of possible productions.
In popular culture
- The Robot Fixer, one of four short films comprising the 2003 film Robot Stories, examines a woman completing her comatose son's collection of Micronauts. Although Micronauts and Micromen toys are used in the film, they are referred to as "Microbots" and given fictitious names; the Lady Command figure is called "Angel Command".
- In Terry Gilliam's 1981 film Time Bandits, the protagonist's bedroom has parts of the Mobile Exploration Lab (which is seen in large scale during the film's climactic battle).
- The Cake Boss once ate a Micronaut because he "thought it was challenging [him]."
- The combined form of Baron Karza and his horse Andromeda served as inspiration for the Mortal Kombat producer John Tobias to create the centaur Motaro from Mortal Kombat 3.
- "interview: Bryan Wilkinson (part 4)". Fanmode. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "San Diego Comic Con 2006". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "News". Figures.com. 2005-02-18. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "Jerry Mac interview '06 (pt.1)". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- "Jerry Mac interview '06 (pt.2)". Innerspaceonline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
- Jakester (2009-11-06). "J.J. Abrams producing Micronauts movie". Corona Coming Attractions. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Screenwriters Give Update on J.J. Abrams' Micronauts Movie". IGN. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Bonavita, John. Mego Action Figure Toys, 3rd Edition (2001)
- Miller, Ray. "The Monumental World of Mego's Micronauts"
- The Micronauts Homepage
- Innerspace Online
- Microman Forever
- Mego Central: Micronauts
- Kinetic Underground: Micronauts
- The Action Figure Archive: Micronauts (1976-1982)
- The Action Figure Archive: Micronauts (2002)
- The Action Figure Archive: Micronauts (2005)
- Yahoo!: Groups: Micropolis_Embassy ("A Micronaut and Microman collector group")