If you’re an action figure fan and you’ve got Internet access, then surely you’ve heard of The Fwoosh. It’s a cornerstone site for news, reviews and everything you need to know about little plastic posable peoples. Seems like just the kind of folks who would be good at making action figures, right? Well, they did. They Kickstarted the Articulated Icons, a line of ninja-based action figures with an emphasis on articulation and accessories. At the time, I was really weighed down by Hot Toys Flex-Payments and some other Kickstarter commitments, so I couldn’t go as deep as I wanted. I did, however, pick up a few figures and we’ll look at one of those today.
Behold, the packaging for the Deluxe White Ninja! It’s not the most exciting name for a figure, but it certainly tells you what you’re getting. The figure comes in a collector friendly (and very professional looking) window box. There’s a tray for the figure and a baggie for a ton of accessories. I can’t remember when this Kickstarter officially ended, but I seem to recall it netted more than double its initial goal. I do remember the figures were estimated to ship in May 2016, and these just arrived on my doorstep earlier this month. Yup, that’s a long delay, but if patience is an issue for you, supporting Kickstarters probably isn’t something you want to be doing. So was it worth the wait? Let’s find out…
The basic figure is indeed a generic white-suited Ninja, and I don’t use the term generic in a negative way, because he’s supposed to be whatever you want him to be. Nameless solider? Hero? Enemy attached to a terrorist army that worships snakes? Like I said, whatever you want him to be. And as we’ll soon see, he has all the extra bits to help you customize him to your liking. The body features a standard ninja outfit… yeah, I’m sorry, but all my ninja knowledge comes from Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday afternoon kung-fu movies, so pardon me if I don’t even make an attempt at proper terminology here when it comes to his outfit and gear. The suit is very simple, with some sculpted wrinkles, wraps around the lower legs and a black belt. There are some minor cosmetic imperfections in the plastic, but overall this is a very solid buck, which scales quite well with Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel line.
The articulation here is excellent, and since it’s a big showcase of the figure, let’s run down all the points. The legs feature ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs and shins, double hinges knees, and ankles on balled hinges. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The torso has a swivel in the waist, a swivel and hinge in the torso, and the neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. It’s a few tweaks away from Marvel Legends style articulation, and that’s a very good thing! For the most part, the joints on my figure feel great and behave just as they should. Although, the feet and hands can sometimes pop out unexpectedly. It’s not that unusual for the hands, as they are designed to be swapped out, but I’m not used to the feet doing it also! It’s also worth noting that the figure has two peg holes, one in the middle of his back and another in the middle of his belt. These not only work for accessories, but also fit a standard Tamashii stand, and that’s a wonderful little extra.
The figure comes with three different heads. First up is the stock head, followed by the balaclava head. Either of these are perfect for your generic ninja warriors, particularly if one of them is named Shadow of the Storm, or something similar. The heads pop on and off pretty easy. There are also two hood pieces, one up and one down, but I didn’t use them in any of my shots, because I wasn’t really happy with the way they looked.
Next up is the unmasked head, which is the epitome of the wise old Master Ninja. I really dig the sculpt on this one, as it sports a lot of personality. If you were lucky enough to get a bunch of these guys, this head is perfect for their leader or teacher. The paintwork on this head is also very solid.
You also get this amazing demon mask that can be worn over the head and it looks fantastic. The sculpt and paint are extremely well detailed and it fits the figure perfectly. There’s also a red scarf to go with it.
In addition to heads, you get a passel of hands. These include fists, accessory gripping hands, hands with splayed fingers, and karate chop hands. But enough about noggins and hands, let’s move on to the accessories, because there are a ton of them to talk about…
For starters, you get what constitutes my favorite look for this guy: A pair of swords and scabbards that peg into the back. These work in conjunction with a shoulder strap to make it look like it’s holding them on. The swords peg in easily and I haven’t had any issues with them falling out while messing around with him.
The swords draw from the scabbards very easily and he looks great wielding them. The black hilts feature some excellent sculpted detail and there’s a little gold paint where the blade meets the tsubas. The blades themselves are painted in a sharp looking silver and are made from pretty stiff plastic, so there’s no worries about these bending and warping if you’re careful with them. The accessory holding hands grip the blades very tightly.
Another optional load out for the ninja turns him into an archer. You get a quiver with sculpted arrows that plug into the back, a bow, and a single loose arrow, which he can hold between the fingers of his accessory holding hand. Indeed, the articulation is good enough so you can pose him knocking the arrow. The sculpted arrows in the quiver can be removed (all as one piece) and there’s even room in there to insert the loose arrow. If you ponied up for a bunch of these guys, you can have a squad of archers backing up your swordsmen as they charge into battle!
Ninjas and shuriken go together like peanut butter and jelly. At least that’s what the old movies tell me. The figure comes with three different types of throwing stars. I’ve only shown off two here, because the third is super tiny. Again, the fingers on the accessory holding hands have a split between the fingers, so you can slide the shuriken in there and it holds very well.
For the next two weapons, I’m going to have to dig deep into my vast reservoir of ninja weapon terminology. You get short sickle weapon thing, and chunky triangle throwing knife thing. OK, so even if I don’t know what they’re called, these are both really cool and unusual accessories and welcome additions to my ninja arsenal.
Oh, this next one is a sai! I knew that one from watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I usually see these used as a pair, so I’m a little surprised he only came with one, but considering all the other stuff included in the package, I’m not about to complain. Moving on to the pole arms…
I think this is called a Bo Staff? At least that’s another thing that I learned from TMNT. It’s a simple staff with a sculpted and painted wrapped grip in the middle.
And finally, you have this glaive, which is one of my favorite weapons in the package. The shaft is just a brown pole, but there’s a sculpted butt on the end, which is painted gold, and another gold socket sculpted between the blade and the pole. It’s loads of fun and looks really cool.
Before wrapping up, I have to mention that the Deluxe Ninja comes with this rooftop base. It includes several pegs so you can position the figure in a variety of positions. There are also pegs on the side, so you can connect several of these together to make a bigger display. Yeah, I’m really regretting not picking up at least three more of these. Why the hell didn’t I do that? Oh yeah, I was short on money at the time.
In case you can’t tell, I’m quite satisfied with the way this fellow came out and to answer my original question, Yes… he was absolutely worth the wait. My only quibble is the plastic used for the body could have been a little cleaner and more consistent, but even those issues are minor and you need to get in really close to notice them. Otherwise, the figure feels great in hand and is loads of fun to pose. Couple that with the insane number of accessories, heads and hands, and you’ve got oodles of ninja fun. I actually pledged the Kickstarter at the Basic Ninja level, so this Deluxe Ninja was one of my add-on items. He ran $50, which is certainly a premium price to pay for a 6-inch scale figure, but when you toss in the extras and the base, and then factor in that it was a Kickstarted series by a small company the price feels about right. That’s especially the case now if you see what these guys are going for on Ebay. In a week or so, I’ll come back to this line and check out the Basic Red Ninja that I also picked up.