2011
03.01

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The Mini Flyers are Art Asylum/Playalong’s way of getting more DC Minimates into the market without making larger sets. The Mini Flyers feature one Minimate and one small flying craft. The piece count is low, with only 44 pieces, but really the emphasis is on the Minimates with these small sets.

Packaging

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The packaging is a very small semi-window box, it’s a lot smaller than the basic sets in waves 1 and 2. The Batman logo appears at the top left. The packaging is done in the normal C3 style, but interestingly, perhaps to highlight the Minimate more, they have added the Minimate head graphic style from the Marvel Minimates sets to the side of the box. I always liked this on the Marvel packaging, and likewise really like the use of it here. To the right, you can see the Minimate very clearly in the window portion of the box.

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The C3 pieces are all bagged up in the main part of the box, and the Minimate is packaged in a tray on the right hand side. There is one twist-tie holding the figure in.

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The back of the box shows the cross-sell of the other new C3 sets, and a “technical specification” type drawing to show off the set itself.


 

The Figure

Riddler

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One of the main complaints with the handling of C3 is the huge number of Batman figures we have had. True, most of the figures are well done, even the more exotic variants, but with a roster the size of DC’s it always seemd a bit shortsighted to continually pump out Batman after Batman. Perhaps with the Mini Flyers, AA/Playalong see this as a good chance to get more villains and supporting characters out, and here we have one of Batman’s earliest foes, the Riddler.

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The expression for the Riddler is superb. With his furrowed brow yet self-satisfied smirk, the Riddler looks like he’s having some fun with a particularly tricky riddle for Batman to solve. The figure comes with a hat, which is molded to the hairpiece rather than being a removable item in itself. In a nice touch, there is also another hairpiece (without a hat) included in the set. The head block has a hole in it like the Marvel wave 8 and 9 figures, and both the hairpiece and the hat have a corresponding peg to match.

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The costume is very well done, with the primary colours being a very sharp-looking green and purple. Question marks liberally adorn the torso, arms and legs, some very nice detailing shown there. It’s a simple costume, and as such, translates into Minimate form very well.

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Aside from the hairpiece, the Riddler has his big yellow question mark-style cane, which adds greatly to the innate campness of this villain. It’s made of quite flimsy plastc, though, and bends easily, so be careful.

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Overall, it’s great to get another classic villain from Batman’s rogues gallery into Minimate form, and the Riddler is particularly well suited to it.

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MMC Score – 8 out of 10

 


 

The Construction Set

Mini Flyer

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Thrown to the marketing wolves, the Mini Flyer concept has forced C3 to stray far from the original idea of creating versions of classic vehicles and playsets, from the Batmobile to the Batcave. Here, the emphasis is focused on the Minimate, with the block set coming a distant second, which is why we get these small miniature flying vehicles with no foundation in comic canon. Still, they are simple sets, easy to make in just a few minutes, and quite solid once togther. Sometimes being simple and easy isn’t necessarily a flaw.

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The set is coloured brilliantly, in both senses of the word. Garish and lurid purple and green mean this vehicle isn’t going to avoid detection in a hurry. The colours, along with the questions marks and goofy-looking “balls” – described as “knockout gas tanks” on the technical drawing on the back of the package – make this a very fun vehicle in visual terms. It’s a lot smaller than the other C3 sets, even ones like the mini Javelin and Batcycle.

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As such a simple toy with few pieces, there are no real gimmicks to the mini flyer beyond the opening canopy, which is nicely translucent so that you can see the Riddler piloting it. Thankfully, the cockpit area hasn’t been skimped on, with an area comparable to the mini Javelin. It has a chair, joystick and computer terminal.

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Overall, it’s clear that with the mini flyers, the emphasis is on the Minimate, but the mini flyer itself is a nice fun vehicle, albeit a simple one with no real gimmicks. I know the ideal DC set might be seen as being Minimates two-packs done in the Marvel Minimate way, but with legal contracts stopping that scenario, the mini flyer concept is a nice compromise.

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MMC Score – 7 out of 10

 

This review is dedicated to the memory of Frank Gorshin, who played the Riddler in the Batman TV series in the 60s, who sadly passed away on Thursday 19th May 2005. 

Review and pictures by Danny Mills

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User Rating for Minimate #1:
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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User Rating for Minimate #2:
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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