I own way more action figures now than I ever dreamed I would when I was a kid but that’s not to say I didn’t have a sizable collection even back then. I had impressive assortments of G.I. Joes, Transformers, Star Wars, Battle Beasts, Masters of the Universe, and Wrestlers just to name a few. But besides those major collections, which were all kept in separate boxes in the closet or under the bed, my brother Doug and I also had our figure drawers. The figure drawer is where all the misfit toys ended up; random things that we acquired as birthday presents from friends or as impulse buys on road trips. My figure drawer was the bottom drawer of my dresser. It was home to figures like Mark, Crank, and Deeth.
This ugly red dude was another denizen of my figure drawer. This is Membros and he is from the Micronauts toy line. In case you’re not familiar with them, here’s a quick history lesson on the origin of Micronauts. Hasbro invented the first action figure in the 1960s; the 12” G.I. Joe doll. The Japanese company Takara imported the Joes into Japan where they used the Joe body template to create translucent figures with mechanical innards called Henshin Cyborg. To cut costs Takara later reduced the Henshin Cyborgs to a smaller 3 3/4″ scale. The 3 3/4” figures became known as Micro-Man. The American company Mego liked what they saw and imported the Micro-Man figures stateside where they sold them under the name Micronauts. In Japan, Micro-Man figures got even smaller for a new line called Diaclone where the figures piloted transforming vehicle toys. Hasbro later imported the Diaclone vehicles and released them under a brand new name: Transformers.
The first couple waves of Micronaut figures were released before I was born in the late 70s. They consisted of 3 ¾” human figures with metallic chrome heads and colorful translucent bodies. The only Micronaut figure I ever owned was Membros and he was part of wave 4 which was released in 1979. I would’ve been about 1 year old at the time. I can’t imagine anyone buying me Membros when I was 1 seeing as he had a bunch of small parts so I probably acquired him a few years later. Then again, it was the late 70s/early 80s when kids didn’t have to wear seat belts so maybe someone did gift me Membros when I was a toddler. That 4th wave of Micronauts was the first to feature figures designed in-house by Hasbro instead of just imported Japanese figures. The evil aliens Hasbro added to the line were quite different from the established Micronaut heroes. Membros was a buggy eyed freak with exposed guts and a removable glow-in-the-dark brain. Antros was a multi-armed purple bug man, and Repto was a faceless flying lizard dude. Doug and I each had our own Membros but Doug had the other 2 as well.
Since we never owned any heroic Micronaut figures for our aliens to battle they were sometimes integrated into our G.I. Joe play sessions. However, the most action they saw was when we would have our figure drawer battle royals. We’d dump all our misfit figures out onto Doug’s bed and they’d duke it out for supremacy by tossing other figures over the side. No bias was given, it was every man for himself, California Raisin vs Voltron Lion to the death. Membros was a middle of the pack contender.
Membros is an interesting figure in that I thought he was cool but also kind of disgusting. The weird 3-toed feet, the bumpy skin, and the cartoonish yet horrific face all contributed to his cool/grossness. He’s sculpted as if maybe he has no skin and all we’re seeing is exposed muscles and guts. The face is really bizarre with protruding tube like eyes and large vampiric fangs. His head has a kind of mechanical vibe to it which is odd considering how gutty the rest of him is. The brain is sculpted in translucent glow-in-the dark plastic. I was never a big fan of the brain because I thought it looked like he had an old lady haircut.
Membros came packaged with a backpack, a couple of removable weapon hands, and a tube to connect the weapons to the pack. The idea behind the removable hands was that you could swap them with the pieces from the other figures who also had removable hands.
At some point in my tweens I parted ways with Membros. For years I’d been meaning to replace him. In the early 2000s Palisades Toys re-released Membros in a variety of colors but they were kind of pricey.
Finally, at a flea market last month I found this Membros in a zip lock bag for $10. But it wasn’t just Membros, the bag also contained Repto, Antros, a good-guy Micronaut, and a Baron Karza horse. It was a steal at only $10.
Or so I thought until I got them home and opened the bag. All of the figures except Membros were broken. Repto is easily repairable but the other guys are snapped and missing limbs. The stupid horse only has 1 leg. So that sucked. But at least I have a Membros again and he’s the one I really wanted. Now I may have to try and track down his accessories as he looks pretty sad with no hands. 7 out of 10.