MEMBROS (1979)

Membros fullMICRONAUTS

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.Membros-carded

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 breakdance

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.Membros accessories

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.Membros face

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.Membros group

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About mike's collection

I'm a dude that collects toys and writes. I figured I'd combine my hobbies.

Posted on July 18, 2014, in Miscellaneous and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Great now I want them my wallet hurts…

  2. Man, that brings back a lot of memories. My older brother (12 years older!) had a bunch of micronauts and when I was a kid, those were the holy grail of toys for me. I was born in ’78, so they were already a little obsolete before I was allowed to touch them but it was a big event whenever he or my folks allowed me to dig into the micronaut boxes. I recognize most of the stuff you got in that bag. The green guy was always one of my villains until I read the Star Wards comic with the green rabbit and then he switched over and substituted for that guy. Why? Well, he was green I guess…

    • This guy really reminds me of my early childhood too (also born in 78) which is why I’ve wanted to replace my old one. At that same flea market i got some CHIPS figures and a MEGO Spider-Man. All classic stuff.

  3. This guy is REALLY familiar, I think some of my neighbors growing up had this fig, because I distinctly remember playing with him.

    • They were pretty cool little figures. I wish I didn’t get rid of so much stuff from my childhood. But I’m glad to have him back.

      • I think all of us can relate to that — wishing we didn’t get rid of childhood stuff 😦

      • I kept a fair bit of stuff luckily (all my old Joes) but I wish I had held onto it all. Sucks paying top dollar for some old toy you already owned and probably sold for pennies or gave away years earlier.

      • I wish I kept more of my old toys in better shape. A couple of my first-year Joes are missing thumbs. The earliest figures seemed to be made of harder plastic and the hands eventually cracked from stress of taking weapons in and out. I lost very few accessories though, and sometimes that’s more valuable than the figures!

      • Oh i didn’t say the Joes I have from my youth are in good shape. They’ve seen some shit.
        I have most of my weapons too but I’d say 40% to 50% of the figures are broken (mostly just O-rings).

      • I haven’t inspected my Joe’s in years but I know some O-rings were starting to go. I know you can replace them though, I think my Scarlet was using an elastic band towards the end!

      • I’d fix them if the were on display, or capable of being displayed. Even with the o-rings fixed many have loose knees and quite frankly I’ve run out of room to display stuff.

        I remember using elastics and oversized washers back in the day. never really worked out.

      • I know that some of my later figures that didn’t get a lot of play would be in good shape. But guys like Zartan and Destro, who I loved, I know they have lots of loose limbs. Too bad. It’s really hard to find a Zartan with the stickers intact like mine.

  4. Good article, I managed to pick up one of the Palisades Membros reissues a couple of years ago and the quality of the plastic was quite brittle, he broke in the same manner as your pictured Time Traveler..I’d love some more of them. The aliens were far more interesting than the heroes. I hope you get to complete Baron Karza’s horse, he looks very cool.

    A couple of points on the history however, Kung Fu Grip and flocked hair were developments of Palitoy in the UK for the most part in their Action Man line and the smaller drivers were part of a line unrelated to Microman called Diaclone also released by Takara, both Diaclone and Microman were brought together for Transformers. Sorry for being that correcty guy.

  5. Hi Mike, long time no comment on your wonderful blog 🙂 Nice to see you’ve been updating with toy reviews. One small nitpick…Mego made the Series 4 Alien’s for Micronauts NOT Hasbro as your article stated. The backpack and hose for the figure were actually taken from Takara’s ‘HoodMan’ moulds. Google ‘HoodMan’…I used to own the Pallisades Micronauts figures, they were okay, but had some issues to do with the rubber used for the arm connections for one thing. I ended up selling them, except the Membri – plural of Membros 😉 I still have a Clear one, a Radioactive Green One and of course a classic Mego style Red One…the Palisades versions came with optional hands designed by Ken Lily, Palisades Product Manager. Whats more, they even included figure stands especially made for the shallower holes in their feet. They still came with the classic accessories in co-ordinating colours…

  6. Oh, one final thing, the original concept for Membros, as per the late designer at Mego’s idea, was that that Membros is supposed to be a sea-slug with a soft body and a mouth of rasping teeth. The toy was supposed to include a silver armored suit for him to wear to protect his torso and brain, but the only element of that which made it into the final form was the pelvis part of the figure. It should actually be bright chrome! Membros in a shiny silver pair of underpants….go figure…I like Membros and his siblings. They enjoy living at my house…

  7. Oh shit….forgot to mention, Stephen Lee designed Membros at Mego…

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