As for the original toys I had to look them up on the net as I could not remember what they looked like. They sure have aged badly and seem really simple by modern standards. The stuff SOTA are set to produce are light years ahead in quality.
I think you really hit the nail on the head when you mention quality.
Palisades problems with their reissue line could be blamed on the poor quality of the intial factory they used.
BUT I think the basic design and function of a lot of Microman/naut toys is just not up to todays standards.
Hard ABS limbs with very think joints and metal rivets? Those are just too delicate by todays standards.
Had they beefed up the joints and connections with an eye toward durability (perhaps hybrid ABS/PVC joints so you have some flex and cushion as you do on current 3 3/4" joes) they probably wouldn't have had as many QC problems regardless of the factory.
The designs are great and nostalgic, but they are not sturdy, and sadly Palisades learned this the hard way...