Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ninjas & Kung Fu Part 1: Ninja Ninja Ninja!

Just about every Asian fantasy movie I have seen and story I have read revolves around one or more martial arts masters who's skills rise to the level of super powers. Asians love to mix fantasy with martial arts, and who can blame them.  Martial arts and fantasy are a natural fit.  Part 1 of this post is about ninjas, and part 2 will be about other martial arts figures.

Japan's supernaturally sneaky ninjas exploded into the world's culture in the 1980s and were quickly paid tribute in the form of cheap plastic ninja toy soldiers. The first ones to show up in the USA were made in Hong Kong and China.   Some very nice ninja figures have also come out of Russia more recently.  I see no reason not to include ninjas in any fantasy world.  Having trouble with pesky orcs?  Sick the ninjas on 'em.


Hong Kong/China Ninjas

Hing Fat 45mm.

The first ninja toy soliders I found were made by Hing Fat, but were distributed by lots of different companies.   These figures are about 45mm.








Photo from an ebay auction.

Photo from an ebay auction.































The red guys are copies made by Sopla of Greese.





Photo form an ebay auction.

Photo from an ebay auction.


































































Unknown 54mm.

These 54mm Ninjas are just about as common as the Hing Fat figures, but I don't have any idea who made them.


















Redbox Return of the Ninja Playset.

This is the only Ninja playset I know of.   The figures are only about 35-40mm and are a little cartoonish, but the playset is very cool.

























GI Joe Copy Modern Ninjas.

These are 54-60mm copies of 3.75 inch GI Joe figures.  I have no idea who actually made them.  




































Other Ninjas.

These are 40mm from Boley's Ninjas v. Robots set.

These were vending and prize figures.  About 45mm.

These come apart the the waste.  About 45mm.
























Russian Made Ninjas


Russia is a little late jumping on the ninja bandwagon, but they have made some exceptional figures.

Oritet.























Tehnolog.















Unknown (because I can't read Russian).   90mm.

































Mattel Guts Akido Force - Close Enough.


Mattel called these guys the Akido Force, but they look enough like ninjas to me.


Greek copies.




19 comments:

  1. I had almost forgotten about Ninjas. Nice find!

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  2. I got to get my hands on those GIJoe knock-offs (recasts).

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  3. Imperial recently released tubs of Pirates vs. Ninjas. These were available in Walmart and other places for $5 and had about 90 figures, 45 pirates and 45 ninjas. The pirates were yellow downsized (about 50mm) versions of the Hing Fat pirates. The ninjas were new sculpts to me - slender but nice and in a good quality soft red plastic.

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    1. Look for those guys in part 2. Imperial calls them ninjas, but they look a lot more like Chinese monks to me. I'm putting them in part 2 because non-ninja martial arts figures are so much harder to find.

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  4. Given their look - especially around the head - that makes sense. Looking forward to part 2!

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  5. Great post Shaun. Miniature ninjas, what's not to like! When I was a kid the Kung Fu craze burst onto into my sleepy world circa 1972 when Kwai Chang Caine was on the telly and Bruce Lee made Enter The Dragon. There were Kung Fu 'action men' type figures suddenly allover and I got mine from Zodiac Toys toyshop. The closest we got to Ninja miniatures were the Japanese soldiers in the Airfix plastic soldier range that was massive at the time. I think Britians issued a Kung Fu or Karate set of small plastic figures in their Deetail range - two fighters sparring on a small die-cast base. Anyways, happy new year! This is one of my favourite blogs!

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    1. MPC put out a Kung Fu playset with painted figures of Kwai Chang Caine and the his master, but the Caine figure sits on a horse and is hard even identify as being Asian let alone a martial artist (not that David Carridine was Asian). The master figures is much nicer. I saw the playset on ebay a few years ago and I wish I had saved the picture.

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  6. One of the guys has either a giant can opener or a huge spanner, just the thing to use against knights in plate armour.

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  7. I remember those black, grey and white ninjas!
    I also had versions that were modded to (poorly) hold red weapons instead of having them permanently molded in-hand.

    Also those GI Joe Ninja Force bootlegs are amazing.

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  8. Very cool!What better way to collect Ninja then by the handful ;)

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  9. Regarding Kungfu Swoppets the mounted ones appear to be on Indian bottoms. I have some figures that seem to be from this series with blue lower halves but different poses.

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  10. Shaun, the dollar section of one of my local Targets has bags of 20 Ninja from Toysmith. These are kind of kiddish looking with large heads and not a lot of detail and are meant to stand on their feet instead of bases. For your martial artists, there is also a bag of similarly styled figures labeled Super Hero from Toysmith, but to me these masked and shirtless men look more like Mexican wrestlers than anything from DC or Marvel.

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    1. I've seen those bags of figures, they are a little too cartoonish for my taste. Still, you can't beat the price.

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  11. Unknown 90 mm set is called "Ninjas - warriors of the night" and was made by Moscow company High Standard LTC.

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