Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Sure Bets" for Palisades Micronauts toys!

Palisades' Micronauts had a pretty wild hit-or-miss quality control record, which has understandably soured many collectors to them. But there are a lot of really great figures in the line that at least meet and very often exceed Mego's workmanship, in my experience.

I can advise some "sure-bets" among Palisades' Micronauts as far as reliable quality is concerned, so that collectors don't miss out on a lot of great Micronauts toys. These will give you a good crowd of Micronauts to enjoy shopping for, opening, playing with and maybe - dare I say it - sharing with the kids!

As a general rule, the transparent Micronaut figures were a constant issue for Palisades' Micronauts - which was a shame also since transparent figures were a keystone of the Micronauts' design style. But most of their opaque toys worked out quite nicely. Palisades produced 3 series of Micronauts toys: Series 1, Series 1.5 (which was sold via their web store), and Series 2. Series one has the infamously worst QC by far, but there are even some real winners in that set as well. Some figures in each series also had special editions unique to certain retail and hobby-interest sources.

Excellent Palisades Micronauts have great QC and compatibility with vintage Micronauts:

Red/White "Hero" Acroyear (series 1.5)
Red classic-style Membros (series 1)
Black Membros (series 1)
Black/Gold opaque Time Traveler (series 1)
Red/silver opaque Time Traveler (series 1)
Lee's AFN&TR Black "test-shot" style Time Traveler (series 1)
Green opaque Galactic Defender (series 2)
Blue opaque Galactic Defender (series 2)
Black opaque Galactic Defender (series 2)
Black/Blue classic-style Centaurus (series 2)
Black/Purple Centaurus (series 2)
Red/Gray Pharoid (series 2)
White/Green Pharoid (series 2)
Blue/Black Pharoid (series 2)
Green/Red classic-style Repto (series 2)
Blue Repto (series 2)
Blue/Red classic-style Red Falcon (series 2)
Military Green Red Falcon (series 2)
Black/gold classic-style Emperor & Megas set (series 2)
White/purple Emperor & Megas set (series 2)
Gold Baron Karza & Andromeda set (series 1)

Pretty-Good Palisades Micronauts have some regular flaws, but are absolutely worth picking up if you don't mind doing a tweak or repair yourself because they're otherwise great looking figures with decent QC:

Gold/Red "Hero Factory" Space Glider (series 1)
[may have loose elbow rivets]

"Space Commander" Space Glider (series 1.5)
[Rubber sheath in torso between shoulders melts to ball-joint in neck. Can be removed and replaced with aquarium tubing.]

"Time Medic" Time Traveler playset (series 1.5)
[Rubber sheath in torso between shoulders melts to ball-joint in neck and inner shoulder joints. Can be removed and replaced with aquarium tubing. Delicate work, but the whole playset is great!]

Micropolis Embassy "Bioscan" Membros (series 1.5)
[Rubber sheath in torso between shoulders melts to ball-joint in neck and inner shoulder joints. Can be removed and replaced with aquarium tubing. Delicate work!]

"Radioactive" Membros (series 1.5)
[Rubber sheath in torso between shoulders melts to ball-joint in neck and inner shoulder joints. Can be removed and replaced with aquarium tubing. Delicate work!]

Clear blue/white Pharoid (series 2)
[may develop cracked or broken transparent body parts]

Gold Acroyear (series 1)
[5mm sockets & posts are inconsistently sized, and not compatible with vintage Micronauts or for full interchangeability with itself!]

Grey/Silver Acroyear (series 1)
[5mm sockets & posts are inconsistently sized, and not compatible with vintage Micronauts or for full interchangeability with itself!]

Grey/Purple Acroyear (series 1)
[5mm sockets & posts are inconsistently sized, and not compatible with vintage Micronauts or for full interchangeability with itself!]

For collectors who repair, kitbash and take advantage of the play value of the Micronauts interchangeability, I'll note that any Palisades Micronaut is worth picking up if it can be had cheap. Each one comes with a stand with pegs for either standard Micronaut feet or the unique Micronaut alien foot socket (even Acroyear and Centaurus, who don't need stands), and lots of new and repro accessories and parts that are typically compatible with the vintage toys for play or repair. You'll often see some competitive bidding for lots of loose Palisades figures on eBay because of this. Also, all Palisades Micronauts were produced in lower quantities than their Mego or GiG counterparts - even Emperor and Red Falcon.

I'll also note that there are a few bugs in even the best of these toys:

Series 2 Pharoids and Galactic Defenders have forearms that are slightly too long, and may force the figures' hands out of their wrist cuffs. Compare them to a vintage figure and trim the forearm back a little with a hobby knife or nail clipper.

Series 2 Red Falcons almost always develop cracks in their clear torso fronts near the screw posts. This seems to be unavoidable.

Series 2 Centaurus may have a loose brain, which may require being glued on or it will fall off easily.

Series 1 & 1.5 Space Gliders have a small flaw in the inner surface of their left shoulder sockets, which may catch as you rotate the shoulder in the torso socket.

Series 1.5 figures (EXCEPT ACROYEAR!) have a rubber tube in their torsos that causes the plastic it touches to melt. This tube provides resistance to the arm rotation and the neck joint. Nearly all hollow-torso Micronauts have this part, but series 1.5's used a grade of rubber that reacts to ABS plastic, unfortunately, quickly causing a melting reaction similar to that seen in vintage 'mushroom missiles', but occurring in months rather than years. The part can be replaced with clear aquarium tubing. (Try it in all your transparent Micronauts for a nice look!) But it takes some careful work to cut it away from the plastic it has melted, and to carefully trim up those plastic surfaces.

This list is also made based on good old-fashioned play value, durability and the problems my oldest daughter has experienced with her collection of Palisades Micronauts. So most of the ones I'm suggesting in this article feature the kid-friendly quality I remembered from my childhood Micronauts. Rachael's Emperor and several of her Pharoids have spent over a week getting squashed under couch cushions and come away no worse for it. They've shared parts with her vintage Micros, and suffered some of the exact same normal play wear, part-loss and breakage my collection did when I was a child.

...So, as you can see, this gives you a list of between 20-30 excellent Micronaut toys to shop for. That's nearly as many as Mego offered in the full run of their domestic figure series!!!



  1. Very useful - thank you.
    How does the glow-in-the-dark Dynamic Forces Time Traveller fare?

  2. You're welcome!

    I found the DF GITD Time Travelers occasionally have broken or cracked elbows. However, a dot of super-glue seems to repair then nicely for display. The GITD plastic is also a bit easier to coat with white paint if you need to kitbash replacement hand and foot parts for vintage Time Travelers.

    They were easy to buy by the case for a while, but have become less common in recent years.

  3. Does anyone know where I can track down a purple centaurus and/or clear grey Galactic Defender? My collection is incomplete without these. Thanks for the blog!

  4. Great article Ray! Unlike some persnickity collectors, I do like some of the Palisades line, particularly the Aliens (Bioscan Membros is a modern classic variation and I really dig your atmosphereic file card text- it made me think of the beautiful Ken Kelly paintings). I wish the line could have run long enough to do the other Aliens (4 variations of Kronos/Lobros and Antron would have ruled). As a side note, what do you think the chances are that they'll ever be any prints made/sold of the Ken Kelly alien art? I know Hornetroid was done in limited quantities (I missed getting one, unfortunately), but I'd love to someday have prints of all the Ken Kelly Aliens. Thanks again for the article!

  5. I have 3 micronauts on is green and made of metal , one is blue opaque and the other is blue with an Egyptian style sarcophagus. are they worth much? (no packages)

  6. It sounds like your green metal Micronaut might be Space Glider or Galactic Warrior, both of which had variations with green paint. Both also came with several accessories to complete the figures. Your blue opaque one might be an opaque Time Traveler - which is a rarer and more-valuable variation on the typially transparent-colored Time Traveler. The Egyptian styled figure is Pharoid. There are a couple of version of it. It would require small gold wings which fit on its thighs to be complete. He's a bit common, but still sought-after. The rarer variation of him has gold Japanese characters (from his Microman origins) on the sarcophagus, while the latter, somewhat more common version replaces those with two birds and a sun-sign.

    What value might might have can be ascertained by looking for recent completed auctions at eBay. That's probably the best rule of thumb. If you'd like some more details on the figures, I'd suggest www.innerspaceonline.com .

  7. Repair Tip: I fixed my clear armed Acroyear with a Hot Glue Gun... looks cool and durable.

  8. Hey Ray...you left out the Baron Karza's and Force Commanders in your list. Oversight?

  9. Hallo,

    I have 1 metal figures with a red collerd torso and boots and a plastic made head.
    I think its a Galactic Warrior bud i dont have the part u can put in the body or the part for his backside.
    If some one knows where i can buy the missing parts, it would help me alot. It would be the best if they ware made in 1976 bud if there made later it will be also good as long they look the same.
    If some one has got more information about my Mego micronaut, i would alos be realy grateful.
    If you can help and or have links u can post it on this page, I will try to look on this site at least each two days.

    Thanks for you time and help.
    kind regard: Rudiger

    P.S. I come from the Netherlands so if you want to help me, you can also post the information in Dutch bud its not necessary of course.

  10. No, not an oversight, Austin. They are much more likely than not to be defective, so I'm not going to consider them 'sure bets'. After going through literally 5 cases of Karzas and one case of Force Commanders, nearly all of them were defective or broken in some way or another. And the 5mm pegs/sockets on the backpacks & the Andromeda/Oberon legs aren't 5mm consistent. I'd only suggest them as a source of replacement missile & fist parts. And the Force Commanders are all nearly a total failure, unfortunately.

  11. Rudiger - Your Micronaut is a Galactic Warrior. You can learn more about it here:


    Ebay is a source for replacement parts. Alternately, you might join a collecting group such as the Micropolis Embassy, and ask about parts.

  12. Thanks again for the tip on GITD TTs, Ray.
    I just got one, it's not broke, and I love it.