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1974 Microman Zone Series

Microman Conning Tower Base M-115 (c.1974-1975)


Microman Base

Conning Tower Base M-115 (later ver.)




Microman Base Series

Conning Tower Base (early ver.)

Released : 12/1974

Retail Price : 2600 Yen


1974 version has painted box art typical of all the first year Microman Zone toys. This was a common practice for toys in the 60's and early 70's to use a beautiful commissioned artworks.


Microman Base Series

Conning Tower Base (later ver.)

Released : 11/1975

Retail Price : 2600 Yen


In 1975, Takara switched to using photograph of kids playing with the actual toys as box art for the Conning Tower.  This change was done for all of Microman toys from 1975 on up until 1980 when painted box art would become fashionable again.


Conning Tower comes in separated pieces and have to be put together.


Instruction & Insert



The toy comes with poster with information about the toy that also double as catalog on the reverse side.  The instruction is printed on the box lid.


When the toy was re-released in 1975, Takara redesign the catalog and the poster info sheet to go with the newer Microman figures.  Takara also included separate instruction sheet along with stickers for kid to decorate the Tower Base.



The Conning Tower Story

Microman constructed the Conning Tower base so they could broadcast the Spectrum MX Ray and revive other Microman from hibernations.




Mego Micronauts Version

Mego licensed Microman toy series from Takara in 1976 and released the Conning Tower as M.E.L. or Mobile Exploration Lab for the Micronauts series. M.E.L. version is mostly identical to Microman version with the exception of the missile launcher, the safety rubber tip missiles along with slightly alter sticker sheet (to remove Microman references).


(See Mego version of the Conning Tower - Micronauts MEL at Dave Waugh's Innerspace On-line)


Micronauts Innerspace Online


Takara released Microman Conning Tower Base as part of the first year Microman line up. The base was the largest piece in 1974 Microman Zone line up and the centerpiece of the series. The original concept of Microman Zone was that they were smaller version of Takara Henshin Cyborg series and the reason for this was toy such as the Conning Tower would be prohibitive if not impossible to be release for the large 12" format line. The Conning Tower was sold for 2500 Yen back in 1974. In 1975, Takara reset Microman line and reintroduced the series as its own separate toy line from the Henshin Cyborg, the Conning Tower was reissued as part of the 1975 line-up with new box art and stickers for decoration but the toy itself remain unchanged.






The Conning Tower, like the rest of the toys during the first year of Microman was sold on the concept of "construction set" toy.  The base comes in pieces and have to be put together using nuts and bolts (included).  The toy also come with several extra pieces so the toy could be convert into different vehicles.  The toy stand almost 14" tall and one of the most iconic piece in all of Microman line up.  The Conning Tower would later be repackaged by Mego and sold as part of Micronauts series in the US and also to the rest of the world (outside of Japan) under the name M.E.L. (Mobile Exploration Lab).


Being part of the original first year Microman line, the Conning Tower was actually engineer for the first (the founder series) Microman figures which have the barefoot design and lack the 5mm port on their backs. While Takara did rework most of the vehicles from 1974 Microman Zone to better fit the 1975 and later Microman figures, the Conning Tower never got such retooling and the toy was simply repackaged and sold in the new line.  This lead to the problem of very tight if not at all fitting of the figures into the vehicle seats.  Some of the figures would only fit when the feet sections are removed such as the observation seat on top of the conning section.  These seats would prove to be especially troublesome for the later bulkier Microman figures. It was not until 1979 that Takara finally re-engineered the Conning Tower. The new version was sold as part of the Rescue Team Microman series and known simply as The New Conning Tower. Also being the first year toy, Coning Tower was the only original Microman vehicle to have a designation number (M-115) which Takara would later change and use numerical designation exclusively just for the action-figures. Interestingly, the newly design Conning Tower was destroyed in the subsequence year (in the catalog story) by super death ray blast from Death King.