In this post I am taking a look at one of the many toy playsets released as a tie-in with the movie, Batman & Robin. This playset – produced by Kenner – hit toy stores in 1997 as part of a collection of MicroVerse sets, comprising miniature playsets and 2cm figures.
The product description on the reverse of the packaging reads: ‘Gotham City is about to become a very cold place… The city observatory has been overtaken by Mr. Freeze, a cold-blooded villain who has control of a deadly cryonic freeze ray cannon! But Batman heats things up by busting through the ice cage, wrestling Poison Ivy’s venomous, vine-encased laboratory and discovering the secrets of Bane’s chemically enhanced power before battling it out with Mr. Freeze himself. Leave it to Batman, the Caped Crusader, to save Gotham City.’
So, what is it exactly?
The set is the Mr. Freeze Observatory. It includes the Gotham Observatory – as seen in the movie – along with two figures: Mr. Freeze and Batman.
The set is one of a number of mini-playsets released during the 1990s, when micro toys (Micro Machines, Mighty Max, Polly Pocket etc) were very popular. It offered kids the opportunity to experience a full playset in the palm of their hand and without the hefty price tag of a regular sized toy.
It could be played with as a solo set, or alongside a sister set: The Micro Batcave playset (sold separately).
A vehicle collection and a figure assortment were also available. The figure set included Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, and two of Mr. Freeze’s ice-skating henchmen.
Enter the MicroVerse
The set in this post is mine. I didn’t buy it in 1997, I picked it up around 2017/2018 from eBay (where it was pretty hard to come by).
To date, I have never opened it. As a collector I am often in two minds as to whether I should open sealed vintage toys – sometimes I do, other times I don’t. On this occasion I have chosen not to open it, so I am sharing close-ups of the packaging to give you a feel for the set.
As you can see from the image below, the playset is based on the Gotham Observatory from Batman & Robin, but with some creative license. For example, this set includes sections for Bane’s Chemical Lab as well as Poison Ivy’s Lab – two ‘laboratories’ which did not feature in the Observatory scenes in the movie.
What you can also see in this image are some of the set’s movable features, including the spring-loaded Freeze Cannon, a break-away Ice Cage, and an adjustable dome. These features offer a little interactivity in the set.
Here you can see the two figures that are included. To give kids a sample of what is on offer, the figures sit behind a thin sheet of plastic, rather than being sealed up in the box.
So, why haven’t I opened this set? Well, I’m currently keen to preserve the playset as best as I can. I think the box art is fantastic and I don’t want to cause any damage by opening it.
What I will say is that I had a number of micro playsets during the 1990s, including a few Star Wars sets from Galoob. I loved them, and I know that if I had this Batman & Robin set back in ‘97 I would have loved it equally.
I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the images I have shared today. For more Batman movie related posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.