Steel Brigade (2013 Micro Force)

The Micro Force was a fun and unexpected concept during the second film’s short-lived merchandising blitz. I must confess to not initially understanding the appeal of the blind-bag phenomenon, but as I’ve picked up bits of a few lines (thanks to having a four year old son) I’ve seen what the draw is all about. I’m also reminded of some similar fads from my youth. I’m particularly put in the mind of the old MUSCLE figures from the 80s. Hasbro even worked in a loose sort of gaming concept with the series. Like much of the movie product, last year’s toys are now on deep discount, and I picked up a few of the packs for 99 cents each. I snagged the packing box as well.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in the mystery and hunt of the blind bag, especially when there isn’t a readily available method of determining what’s in each bag. The Kre-O bags, while a lot of fun, are easily figured out thanks to a number printed on the back of the packaging. No such thing exists for these, at least as far as I can tell. The process is more akin to the old days of trading card collecting, and as a consequence, one can end up with multiples of some characters. Thankfully, that’s not a huge issue since the series has a fair share of army builder types mixed in. Hence the Steel Brigade. In today’s purchase of seven packs, my son and I ended up with three of the Joe troopers, a nice representation.

The Steel Brigade figure echoes the same look common to the series; super-deformed proportions, zero points of articulation, and simple paint applications. The effect is similar to the Combat Heroes, albeit in a smaller scale. The inclusion of the iconic Steel Brigade, among a myriad of ninjas and movie-inspired Joes, is a welcome one. There’s no mistaking the design of the figures, from the helmet to the color scheme. The powder blue sweater look is more reminiscent of the recent iteration of the Brigade, but I don’t have an issue with it, since an homage to the venerable generic Joes is a nice bonus in itself. If the hook of the Micro Force is to get the buyer coming back for more packs, I’m in. Taking a look at the checklist of the 40-odd figures in the series, I’m now on the hunt for a few more choice entries.


  • I heard some collectors are paying top dollar for these

  • He’s cool. Gotta love a soldier who wears a powder blue sweater!

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I’m not really a fan of the trading card-style marketing for action figures. On one side, the mystery aspect is cool. But, that’s about it. If I were a kid, I’d be really disappointed if I kept getting the same figures over and over.

  • Micro Force annoyed me just due to the presence of waaaaay too many generic ninja and samurai and ghost figures, almost none of them based directly on canon ninjas (or samurai or ghosts). I mean, it’s almost like they accidentally mixed two lines of toys together, shrugged their shoulders, and went with it. I certainly don’t mind a new character or concept dropped into something like this, but “generic ninja” was nearly a quarter of the total figures.

  • Isn’t this line dead? I guess that makes it easier to collect.

    The use of characters never appeared in toy or well, any media form, before was odd.

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