MING THE MERCILESS
DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH (NECA)
NOTE: This review was written before June 6th.
“Evil ruler of the planet Mongo. Ming the Merciless has been battling the unconquerable Flash Gordon for years, in their constant clash of good against evil. Desperate to seize and dominate the Earth, Ming’s greed for conquest has become his obsession.”
As I touched on in yesterday’s into, Defenders of the Earth leaned pretty heavily on the Flash Gordon franchise for much of its plot and mythos. To that end, the show’s primary antagonist was Flash’s own nemesis, Ming the Merciless. Much like Flash was a quite prototypical hero, Ming is very much the prototypical arch-villain, inspiring many popular villains that would follow. Like his nemesis, Ming has had his fair share of figures over the years, but who’s going to complain about getting one more?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ming the Merciless is figure 03 in the first series of NECA’s Defenders of the Earth line. He too is based on his animated design from the show of the same name. Even more than Flash, Ming’s design has been subject to much adjustment over the years, and that was true for the show as well. Beginning initially with some very definite Yellow Peril overtones, by the time of Defenders, they were trying to move him away from such things. It marked an early transition to a more alien design for the character, with making his skin a very distinctive green hue. It also, much like with Flash’s design, attempted to take elements from many prior designs and role them all into one. The end result is something that’s still very much Ming in terms of look, and definitely gets the idea across. The figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation. He’s got the same articulation scheme as the other two figures, by virtue of again using the same base body. Ming winds up with the most sculptural deviations from the main body, with a new head, a slightly tweaked upper torso to add the epaulets, new forearms, a new collar piece, and a skirt piece for the waist. It’s all topped off with a cloth cape, complete with a wire in the lining for posing. Technically, for full accuracy to the show, the arms should feature looser sleeves, but that might have been too many new parts to cost out. The parts that are there are quite impressively handled; there’s a lot of character in the face, and the depth of detail on the costume parts is really well-rendered. Ming’s paint work is more involved than the other two, but it works well. The accenting on his face and hands is fairly lifelike, and while he’s still got the chipping issue on the ankle joints, at least the molded color is a little darker, so it’s not quite as noticeable. Ming is packed with two alternate left hands (one open gesture, one trigger finger grip), a sword, a staff, a laser gun (modified from the other two), and two laser effects pieces.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Obviously, if I’m gonna get Flash Gordon, I can’t very well not get Ming, right? That would be silly. Ultimately, I wasn’t quite as sure about Ming going in, but I do have to say, he turned out very nicely. The QC issues are less so on this release, and he’s got a very dynamic appearance. While he doesn’t quite dethrone Flash as my favorite, he’s still a mighty fine offering.