Jan 30, 2008

TDJ005 - Red Ninja, G.I. Joe figure by Hasbro

Red Ninjas! Comin' after you!
Red Ninjas! Whatcha gonna do?!
Not blue, not pink, not yellow, not white -
They're Red Ninjas!

There's a lot more to that song, but I've broken a lot of rules just by writing even that much down for others to read. So I'll just talk about the figure instead. This is yet another piece that ToydeJour.com acquired from the holiday season. (Thanks to Andrew and Missy!) The Red Ninja is part of the third wave of 25th anniversary figures that are now being released in the G.I. Joe toy line. This newest line of figures has seemed to mimic the new style of figure that has been seen in the newer Star Wars 3-inch figures. The Joes have lost the classic o-ring construction that has been the staple of the figure's line since the first series debuted in 1982. Now, 25 years later, the body style has changed but the spirit of the line is alive and well.

The Red Ninjas once were a part of the Arashikage clan, that also boasts members such as Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Their first appearance was in G.I. Joe #21; the silent issue. However they never received a figure until 1993, and not a proper figure until now.

This figure comes with an impressive array of weapons/accessories; two katanas, a small dagger (that fits into his belt!), a bow, a backpack with a quiver & arrows, a custom stand that features his code name and a large silver staff with two ends that curve in towards one another to form what seems to be some sort of restraint. Apparently that accessory is NOT some sort of device for getting pizzas out of the red hot oven. I'm still not convinced...

The figure is just slightly taller than the classic figures but does a good job to keep the same build as it's predecessors, not getting too bulky in the new figure style. There are about 20 points of articulation, rather impressive for such a small scale figure. I actually found two I didn't know about until checking the figure out for the number of articulation points. That much movement in a small figure means that the poses are almost endless and display for this figure is really going to bring out a lot of creativity on the owner's part. Be warned though, that many points of articulation also means there's that many joints that could become very loose after time and result in the figure actually loosing it's posture. The head is connected on a ball joint, as "Dr. deJour" has so kindly pointed out in the pictures below. This design point has become more and more common among G.I. Joe figures recently.

Little known facts about Red Ninjas:
Red Ninjas like video games, but will only play in arcades after hours. They don't consider ice cream a desert. Red Ninjas tend to drive just under the speed limit, and they can often be found holding down office jobs.

This is an amazing figure though. I've since purchased a second figure in order to be able to open one and still keep the sealed figure with the rest of this line that I've decided not to open. This is actually the first figure from the line that I felt that I really needed to open. There's something about a red masked ninja, a throw back to Jinx from 1987, that really does it for me. I still have a strong memory of having my sister just stop off at a K-mart while I ran in to look for some Joes on the way to spending the weekend at her house. I came back with Jinx and Law & Order. The original Jinx figure, while very simple in design held so much in the way of character. I think the same stands true for the Red Ninja - a very basic design that still holds an immense amount of personality.

It should also be noted that the body sculpt is taken entirely from the 25th anniversary line's Storm Shadow figure, repainted for the Red Ninjas, but the head was made specifically for this character with those cute little ninja ears that the Red Ninjas are famous for. Both of his hands are molded in a grip that looks really awesome when holding any of his weapons. They also make it easy for them to recite the "Ninja Oath". The weapons, excluding the pizza retrieval stick are also from the Storm Shadow figure.

The card art for this figure is also a rehash of another, it's based off of the original card art for the Argentinian figure, Satan. Satan was again a straight repaint of the Storm Shadow mold and exclusive to Argentina. The figure art actually matches the original artwork more than the new figure it's supposed to be depicting. Most notably on the gold wrist wraps that the artwork shows but the figure does not have. I'm done, I'm going to go throw this figure at my cats while yelling "hiiiiiii-yaaaa!"

Find the Red Ninja for sale here and here and for auction here.
Also, there's another review here, that has much better pictures.


Liz: The red ninja and I first met in college. We sat next to each other in airbrushing class. He was easy to talk to. Good listener. He told me all about himself, his family, and the "ninjastry." We went out on a few dates, and I really thought we were headed toward a serious relationship. One night, after one too many apple martinis, I made the decision to give him my virginity. Afterwards, he went to the kitchen to get a glass of water... and never came back. He ninjaed. Imagine my surprise when he and Sam walk through our front door together, seven years later.

Wow I can't believe I just told you all of that. Sam doesn't even know. Please don't tell him , it would just ruin his new friendship with his little red pal. Oh yeah, the review.

I give red ninja a D... for douche-bag.

  • Plastic/Material - 5/5
  • Poseability - 5/5
  • Packaging - 4/5
  • Design - 5/5
  • Playability - 3/5
  • Price (value) - 3/5
  • Overall - 5/5

Jan 21, 2008

TDJ004 - Darth Vader Mighty Mug vinyl by Hasbro

"Hey, how do we make a cuter/cooler Star Wars figure than Lego figures?"

I'm guessing that's how the Mighty Mugs line from Hasbro was born. Or maybe they were trying to make it up to collectors that have been really turned off by the lame Galactic Hero figures.

I've been very impressed with this line ever since seeing them debut last year at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con in Hasbro's Star Wars case. So when I finally came across them at retail this passed weekend, I was super excited to be able to pick one up. There were only three left at the store, one Vader and two Boba Fetts, but I figure I'd start with one to see how I liked the figure, before investing in the whole line. And out of the two characters that were there, I figured Darth Vader could stand alone better than Boba Fett. I'm sure that statement alone could spark a million arguments, but I was going mainly on accessories and Boba Fett only comes with his jet-pack backpack.

The figure stands a towering 6" tall and has a removable helmet, cape and lightsaber. I'm a huge fan of this particular lightsaber, as it looks like a baseball bat that Vader spray-painted red since it gets fatter on the end than it is by the handle. The figure's left foot has a Mighty Mugs logo stamp and the right foot has a peg hole, I'm guessing for a figure stand that this figure did not actually come with. Probably something that was cut from production to keep costs down after the mold was made.

The box design is actually better than any other packaging I've ever seen come out of camp Hasbro. This was definitely done with the collectors in mind, I was very tempted to keep this thing sealed in the box. An odd gripe to add in here, but when opening the top of the box to get the figure out, I was upset by the two inner flaps having two sided tape on them that almost destroyed the cover flap when pulling it open. This apparently was done to keep the tape off of the outside of the box, but ultimately had a negative effect when opening the box.

The price of this at 10 bucks is probably one of the best values when it comes to vinyl figures. You can pretty much collect the whole line as it stands right now for what some of the higher priced collectible vinyls would run you.

Display-wise, I have to say it's hard to do. I put him up on my desk and he was there for all of four minutes before I had him back in my hands playing with his helmet and making him scowl at the rest of the office. And by doing so I mean pushing down his helmet so that only the smaller white spots in his eyes can be seen, giving a sort of pouty look to him. Having the helmet set back on his head where it's meant to be looks good in the drawing on the box, but in real life the smaller spots are too white, making it hard to figure out which ones are supposed to be focused on as his eyes.

There's a ton of detail painted on, which for a figure with such a simple body design is pretty refreshing. I like that so much attention was paid to adding such nice touches, even the helmet has a gray paint-ap going directly down the middle. But you also get all the standard red, blue, silver and white doo-hickeys that Vader is normally spouting on his chestal area. I like to think that some of those buttons are some sort of synthesizer so he can make up songs while waiting for all the Empire generals to get done talking about who has more orange and red squares on their uniforms. In that design I made up the sounds only play straight in his helmet headphones, he doesn't want to be rude.

I'm totally going to do my best to get the rest of the figures in this line, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Darth Maul, Han Solo and the Storm Trooper. And I hope that the Mighty Mugs line isn't limited to Star Wars figures, I'd love to have a Mighty Mugs Cobra Commander some day. WINKFREAKINGWINK Hasbro.

Find him for sale here and for auction here.


(Liz): I think Sam took all the good words and I agree with all of them. I especially agree with the part where he says we're going to get the whole set. In fact, I think we should get several sets. We can have a set for when we are entertaining guests, a set for laundry day and a set to keep under our pillows in case of intruders.

Liz: "Did you mention that he's a lot like a Be@rbrick?"

Sam: "Why don't you do it?"

Liz: "It's too late."

  • Plastic/Material - 5/5
  • Poseability - 3/5
  • Packaging - 5/5
  • Design - 5/5
  • Playability - 3/5
  • Price (value) - 5/5
  • Overall - 5/5

Jan 2, 2008

TDJ003 - Clamp Champ Staction Figure by NECA

Xmas was very good to us this year - and TDJ is reaping the benefits. Thanks to Matt and Megan for this entry.

For the third ToydeJour review, we're taking a look at the one and only, "Heroic Master of Capture" from the mini-statue line (or "Staction Figures") from NECA. For those of you unfamiliar with the Masters of the Universe line of mini-statues, around early 2004 the highly detailed line of MOTU action figures sculpted by the Four Horsemen was canceled by Mattel. In order to keep giving the fans all of the characters and variations that weren't released in the toy line, NECA & the Four Horsemen kept the line alive by releasing statues at the same scale as the figures. Thus the term "Station Figure" was born. And at only about 20 bucks for the non-exclusive statues, they're accessible to the casual fan as well as the hard core collectors.

Clamp Champ is definitely a third string character from the MOTU line and usually over looked in most collections and recollections. The original figure was released very late in the 80's toy line and by that time many kids had abandoned the brand, therefore most never had Clamp Champ in their collections. This figure was released as part of the second series of statction figures along with Stinkor and Grizzlor.

Clamp Champ has the standard stance that most of the other statues have featured and frustratingly (& obviously) enough also lacks any sort of articulation. The accessories, two clamping capture devices or "power pinchers", fit perfectly into his molded hands and have a very commanding appearance once equipped. The clamps have clear soft plastic tubing connecting them to the large black backpack. The same tubbing comes out of the back of his belt and run down to both ankles. These are a nice touch and add the little something extra that tends to make a figure stand out from the others in the series.

The figure has peg holes in the bottom of both feet in order to have him attach to the standard figure stand that each one of these staction figures comes with. He stands very well on his, not too common for these figures - a lot of them tend to lean (you know who you are, Hordak).

Clamp Champ joins his brother-in-arms Zodac as the second African-Eternian (??) character in the MOTU line. Though Zodac underwent a skin tone change between the classic line of figures and the newer release.

In Clamp Champ's first appearance in one of the classic MOTU mini-comics he like to spell Clamp with a "K" as well as speaking for others.

So to sum up all the useless information I just gave you, the figure holds up to the rest of the MOTU line and makes a great display piece - considering there's not much else you can do with him other than display. I'm gonna go eat a rye bread roll now. You can go check out Clamp Champ on eBay and Bigbadtoystore.com.


Ok. My turn. This is Liz. I would also like to take this time to thank Matt and Megan for this thing we got. I don't know as much as Sam about this thing. This thing is was on our tv, then on out coffee table and now it is under one of our Xmas trees. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I think he's a black dude.

Yes, our trees are still up.

  • Plastic/Material - 5/5
  • Poseability - 1/5
  • Packaging - 4/5
  • Design - 5/5
  • Playability - 1/5
  • Price (value) - 5/5
  • Overall - 4/5