#2681: The Hand Ninja

THE HAND NINJA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Skilled in martial arts and espionage, the ninjas of The Hand are a force to be reckoned with.”

Remember how Ethan didn’t really care for the Red Ninjas?  Think that’s gonna come up again?  It’s a pretty safe bet.  First introduced in the pages of Daredevil #174 in 1981 by Frank Miller, the Hand were an ancient order of…well, pretty generic ninjas really.  They share a lot of common ground with the Red Ninjas, serving as a force of rather generic ninjas mostly just there to give the bad guys some minions.  They’ve kind of become the go to ninja foes for the Marvel Universe, and showed up in the second season of Daredevil on Netflix, as well as seasons of other shows that I’d prefer to not acknowledge the existence of at this juncture.  They’re…well, there just kind of generic ninjas, but people seem to have gotten really attached to them.  They’ve shown up twice before as Marvel Legends, but it’s been a little while, so the latest series has given us an update.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hand Ninja is figure 5 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and is the first of the the three comics-based figures in the line-up.  He’s sort of a loose attachment to the overall Spider-Man theme of the line-up, falling a bit more into the Daredevil side, but DD stuff usually goes with Spidey anyway, so I guess it works.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  At first glance, the Hand Ninja looked like an all-new mold, but the visible pins on the elbows and knees got me to do a little bit of detective work, and confirm that his arms come from Mordo and the legs (up to the ankle, anyway) come from that same assortment’s Doctor Strange.  Not the worst choice for re-used parts, I suppose, though it’s a shame they couldn’t get reworked like Gwen and Prowler’s re-used parts to bring them up to speed with the new releases.  He still gets a new head, torso, pelvis, and feet, as well as add-ons for his bandolier/sheath and belt/skirt.  These new parts implement some of the newer articulation standards, such as butterfly joints at the shoulders, and the newer balljoint/crunch combo for the torso.  They work pretty well in terms of posing, and I was happy to see that the skirt didn’t impact the posability on the legs too much.  In terms of the newly sculpted parts, I do find that there are some areas where the parts don’t quite fit together as well as I’d like.  The head definitely sits a little too high on the neck, and the bandolier is rather loose and ill-fitted to the torso.  It’s a weird enough fit that I had to double check a few times to see if it was a re-use.  I don’t think it is, but whatever the case, it’s definitely a bit loose.  For the most part, however, the sculpt looks pretty decent, and is a respectable sort of all-encompassing take on the various Hand Ninja looks from over the years, leaning more towards the more basic end of things.  The paint work on the Hand Ninja is a lot of reds, as expected.  They mesh together well, and he’s even got those eerie milky grey/green eyes that we tend to see on Hand Ninjas, which is a nifty enough design.  The Hand Ninja is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and open gesture), a sword, and two Kama.  Aside from having nowhere to keep the Kama when not holding them, it’s a pretty cool set-up.  And, most importantly, the Hand Ninja includes the Stilt-Legs to Stilt-Man, as well as a stand for said legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hand Ninjas don’t, as a rule, thrill me, much like the Red Ninjas.  I don’t tend to like them so much as a story telling device, as I often find them to be kind of bland and boring (ie: most of the of their Netflix appearances).  That being said, they can make a good toy, with the first Hand Ninja Minimate being a pretty stand out piece.  I’ve not picked up any of their earlier Hasbro figures, but I did have the Articulated Icons Basic Red, which was a good stand-in.  Did I need this guy?  No.  But then I saw that he came with Stilt-Man’s Stilt-Legs, and I kind of was locked in.  Ultimately, after being disappointed by the Red Ninja, I was pleasantly surprised by this release.  He’s got his flaws, but I like the overall appearance of the figure.  I don’t see myself army building him, or anything, but he’s perfectly acceptable on his own.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1740: Classic White Tiger & Hand Ninja

CLASSIC WHITE TIGER & HAND NINJA

MARVEL MINIMATES

The 38th Series of Marvel Minimates was themed around Marvel’s Daredevil-centric “Shadowland” event.  It wasn’t exactly the most memorable event they’ve run in recent years, but the corresponding wave did at the very least serve to showcase a few of Marvel’s street level heroes, as well as giving us our first crack at one of the more established army builders of the Marvel Universe, the Hand.  Today’s set touches on both of those things, giving us lower-tier character White Tiger, alongside a generic Hand Ninja!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Classic White Tiger and the Hand Ninja were the one-per-case variant set for Marvel Minimates Series 38, with this White Tiger being swapped out for the regular set’s more modern rendition.

CLASSIC WHITE TIGER

By the time of “Shadowland,” Hector Ayala had been dead for a little while, and had passed the title and the amulets that gave him his power on to his niece Angela del Toro (who was the White Tiger that participated in “Shadowland”).That said, how else were we going to get a classic White Tiger? The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  White Tiger is almost a vanilla ‘mate.  The only deviation from the main base body is a pair of flared gloves.  I suppose an argument could be made for having the amulet be sculpted, but it honestly works fine as is.  Beyond that, the character’s design is meant to be pretty simple, and the ‘mate gets that right.  The paint on this guy is okay, but does have a few drawbacks.  The overall detail work is pretty solid, and I think they’ve done quite a nice job of capturing all of the musculature and such.  The detail lines don’t appear to be a clean black like others in the assortment.  This, coupled with the largely white palette, makes him look a look a little washed out.  I think the most disappointing thing about the paint, though, are the lines depicting the bands going around his shins.  They’re only on the front and outward-facing side of each leg, which looks rather silly, and is especially noticeable on a tampo-reliant figure such as this one.  There were no accessories included for White Tiger.  I’m not sure what he could have been given, but an extra unmasked head or something might have been nice.  As is, he’s quite light on parts.

HAND NINJA

The Hand were major players in the whole “Shadowland” event, and have been rather prominent over on the Daredevil side of things for a while.  Their inclusion here was definitely sensible, and at the time they were certainly a highly demanded army builder.  The Hand Ninja has no shortage of sculpted parts.  There’s a hood, a vest, a sash, wrapped hands, armored boots, and a pair of sheaths for his Sai.  Amazingly, there’s not a single unique piece on this figure.  The hood comes from Series 29’s Moon Knight, the vest from Series 9’s Lady Deathstrike (with the quiver from Series 20’s Hawkeye glued on the back), the sash from the Previews-exclusive Dark Phoenix, the boots from the Dark Avengers Ares, and the sheaths from Series 28’s Deadpool.  Only the wrapped hands are technically new, and they were actually sculpted for this very same series’ Iron Fist ‘mate.  Despite their multitude of origins, the pieces actually go together quite well, resulting in a very cohesive, and quite unique looking, Hand Ninja.  Most impressively, all of these extra parts can be removed and a standard pair of hands and feet swapped out, allowing for an almost completely different classic Hand Ninja. Paint is relatively simple on this guy when you get down to it.  He’s got two different tones of red, which go well together, and then some detail lines on his face/mask and his torso.  Not a lot going on, but it’s all very clean, and the main shade of red is really bright and eye-catching. In addition to the extra hands and feet that facilitate the classic Hand Ninja transition, this figure also includes two Sai, a large sword, a bow, and an arrow.  These weapons allow you to arm up your army of Hand Ninjas in all sorts of different ways, thus adding an extra level of fun to them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased this pack and the rest of the series brand-new from Cosmic Comix, back when they were first released.  I remember they hit around the same time as the Thor series and Excalibur boxed set, so I had a lot of Minimates going on there.  They were one of my first sets to be purchased while living on my college campus, and I remember sitting at my desk in my dorm room opening them all up.  This set was a surprisingly solid pairing that quite stuck with me.  Classic White Tiger was a sensible choice for a variant.  He’s one of those characters that’s never really been in the focus, but it was nice to get him in figure form nevertheless.  This figure’s definitely on the simpler side, and he has some flaws, but he’s generally well-executed.  After a couple assortments of sort of weak army builders, the Hand Ninja was a breath of fresh air, not only in terms of choice of character, but also in terms of quality of the end figure.  DST put a lot of effort in on this guy, and also showed that you can really do a lot with re-used parts.  Hands (heh) down the strongest figure in this assortment.