Mego-like red ninja

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A recent score, this 7-inch generic from the 80s is a rare knock-off the famed action figure body from Mego — the company that defined the 8-inch scale in the 70s, giving us The World’s Greatest Superheroes, Planet of the Apes and myriad other properties. (read more at The Mego Museum)

This slightly shrunken version has the same articulation and construction of the originals, but with zero markings, no production year, nothing… we’re just guessing at who produced this and when.

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Nice weapons though.

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And I really love these molded tabi with ‘putee’ straps. This sort of detail is not common in no-name knock-offs like this.

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I know there’s some Mego collectors out there that’ll be able to ID this head in a heartbeat. Chime in friends…

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Carded SAVITAR

A follow-up to this post on what was quietly one of, if not the best, ninja figures of the 80s.

Bought myself a Christmas present this year, a mint-on-card Eagle Force Savitar!

What I adore most about this shadowy saboteur is how rooted in traditional Japanese character design he is. The 1980’s saw a lot of ninja toys designed after the Sho Kosugi look in Revenge of the Ninja, plenty of bare-armed muscly assassins, and tons of cartoonish shinobi in white, red and myriad other non-stealth-friendly colors. Basically, they were as superhero as they were shinobi.

Not the case in this very early entry into American ninja figures.

Mego’s ill-fated Eagle Force line was released in 1982, but copyrighted in 1981 and likely concepted and designed as early as 1980, making Savitar as close to a pre-craze ninja figure as the U.S. would ever see. From the ‘stingray’ folded hood to the waraji rope sandals, this could just as easily be a Goemon figure from Shinobi no Mono.

I’m really curious as to what they were using as reference.

Alas, the Eagle Force 2.75″ scale and die-cast metal molding did not lend the detail to do justice to the designs.

Here’s the card back, with a nifty little comic to build up the character:

What a nice illo this is. I really dig the notion of Savitar choosing to adopt the silenced sub-machine gun, too, best of both eras and whatnot.

The heroic Eagle Force had their own on-board martial artist to counter Savitar’s shadow skills, but “Kayo the Judo Fighter” just sort of looks like a big douche. Way to not guard your inside and leave that arm hanging, Mr. I’m-Too-Cool-For-Shoes!

If only these figures were a more detail-yielding plastic or vinyl, and a few inches bigger, we would have had a ninja figure that rivaled anything ever done in Japan.