Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Missing Microman: Chameleon Goods Protos & More.

One of the misconceptions out there is that Microman was a dead toy line by the end of 1984, and that it was cancelled because it was a bad seller. Neither of those internet theories are true. Microman was promoted right up to the time Takara began promotion of Transformers in mid-1985. Microman toys were still selling in stores with new toys still in development right till the end. Some of these un-produced toys is what I want to focus on here.

Beam Robo
The most recognized of the un-produced Microman toys. This toy was not just solicited in retailer catalogs sent out by Takara but actually advertised to the public as coming out soon. Of course, it never did make it to stores. The Beam Robo was part of Takara's Chameleon Goods push, and the toy would have been a working flashlight. The pic below shows the early working prototype, and the final prototype that would have been sent to production. The robot's alt mode would have been a flashlight, and had a third configuration as a desk top lamp. Several Japanese fans have created pretty accurate versions as garage kits for sale over the years and they've even carried the Takara licensing trademark. This has caused some to believe the toy was in fact released or that they have seen loose samples at auction.

Transformers Beam Robo 1984 1985 Microman unreleased prototypes Takara ミクロマン タカラ

Camera Robo II
A second camera was developed for the Microman line, this one a single unit as opposed to the earlier 3 robot Camera Robo. I like that the Camera Robo II robot has a bit more personality than the original Camara Robo. Not having to split apart rally helps to make a better single robot. Microman designers loved their shoulder mounted guns.

Camera Robo Reflector 1984 1985 Microman unreleased prototypes Takara ミクロマン タカラ

Sandglass Robo
This would have been a much later toy, issued in the Chameleon Goods campaign. It's a quirky design for sure. The glass tube would have contained sand to make it a fully functional item. I file this along with the Kagi Robos as cool in concept, but not overly fun as toys.

1984 1985 Microman unreleased prototypes Takara ミクロマン タカラ Micronauts Diaclone

Gun Robo Walther P-38
While this toy was ultimately released, here's a look at some early development designs. When the body design was chosen, the style and head still sort of resembled the Browning Gun Robo. The two alternate head designs are cool, but the actual humanoid face the toy had works better as a heroic Microman robot companion.

Transformers Megatron 1984 1985 Microman unreleased prototypes Takara ミクロマン タカラ

I'll leave you with this illustration from late 1984 by Amuro Ray (a pseudonym, not the anime character). Pretty cool to see the Lady Command remembered so many years later.

Micro Change Saran Lady Command Acroyear 1984 1985 Microman unreleased prototypes Takara ミクロマン タカラ

1984 1985 Microman Takara ミクロマン タカラ unreleased prototypes

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