Shadow Ninja Nunchuck, 1994

Shadow Ninja Nunchuck

I’m a big fan of Ninja Force figures. Their gimmicks don’t usually bother me much, and I usually find the figures to have sculpts that are strong with great colors. That doesn’t give everything Hasbro tried with the line a free pass however, and one subset I certainly don’t love is the Shadow Ninjas. Today I’m looking at Nunchuck, but most of my comments could likely be applied to this line as a whole.

The Shadow Ninjas were a single assortment from 1994, reusing the ’92 and ’93 Ninja Force molds. The figures now are cast largely in semi-translucent, color changing plastic for a new gimmick on top of their existing action features. This is entirely what ruins the Shadow Ninjas, including Nunchuck. This plastic is inherently fragile. Most of the ones from my childhood have broken or cracked thumbs, which is something I can’t say for any other GI Joe toys I owned as a kid. Of the entire subset, the only intact figures I have left are this Nunchuck and the Nightcreeper.

Another issue the plastic brings along is it’s appearance. Clear toys can sometimes get a pass for being stupid as long as they look good (Like the 2003 Firebat). The Shadow Ninjas weren’t totally clear however, only partially. What you end up with is a figure that looks like it was made out of soap. Additionally, the elbow joints were often not made of a color changing plastic at all, making certain figures look even uglier with miscolored joints.

On top of all that, Nunchuck is a huge visual down grade from his original figure. The colors on V1 Nunchuck make him one of the most appealing Ninja Force figures, but now that’s all gone for dull magenta. The paint is also much more simplistic and basic than V1 Nunchuck’s, further making this figure quite bland and ugly.

Gijoe 1994 Ninja Force Snake Eyes Hasbro vintage action figure

If there’s one thing I can’t say I hate about Shadow Ninjas, it’s their parts. The Shadow Ninjas all featured parts similar to the typical Ninja Force figures, but in completely translucent plastic. As a kid, I loved these weapons and would give them to various other figures. I often times would give them to Star Brigade figures or Iron Grenadiers who I thought looked pretty good with an energy sword/ light saber type thing. Mind you, the bows like the one Nunchuck here includes were always pretty difficult to get a figure to hold, but the swords and halberds saw frequent usage.

Shadow Ninjas as a whole aren’t as common as their Ninja Force counterparts. Often times Ninja Force figures can still be had for prices similar to their original retail, while these figure are a little harder to find. As a consequence, they often have more inconsistent prices. A loose complete Nunchuck will sometimes go for as much as $15, while a MOSC example might go for $12. Likely, this is just the general value of the figure and being sealed adds nothing to that.

Gijoe 1994 Ninja Force Snake Eyes Hasbro vintage action figureGijoe 1994 Ninja Force Snake Eyes Hasbro vintage action figure

Shadow Ninja Nunchuck, 1994 Links:

Yo Joe

(Note: There’s almost zero content about this figure on the internet. So here’s a fun 1993 commercial for all of the Joe products out at that time.)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Shadow Ninja Nunchuck, 1994

  1. A-Man says:

    Silliness aside, yeah, it’s the brittle hands, and combined with hard plastic accessories that hurt these.

    Shadow Ninjas sold for $5 new back then, for a figure with double gimmicks. I guess that was Hasbro’s rationalization. Funny how Zartan wasn’t among them, the one guy known for changing color.

    Odd thing is the US releases used a generic card art for all the figures, but I think some European releases used the proper individual character art for each one.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    The colouring changing Shadow Ninjas are kind of a bummer, since the colours they chose were actually fairly nice. Though your comment about the inferno BAT, makes me think that the Shadow Ninjas probably would be looked at better if they were done that way, rather than “GOES FROM PINK TO WHITE”. The accessories would match at least!

  3. djv says:

    I LOVED (and still love) Ninja Force, but I never had any Shadow Ninjas as a kid. I just really wasn’t interested in them, and my overall interest in GI Joe was waning just a bit in 1994. I did get my friend the Shadow Ninjas Bushido for his birthday that year, but he hated it. As of now, I only have one Shadow Ninja. It’s a Storm Shadow I got it in a lot with a bunch of good stuff. It has a broken thumb, but I did manage to use it for one photo in my Dice Review. I think that might be the only photo it ever gets.

    The original Nunchuk is a figure I just really enjoy. I loved him as a kid and I love him now. I don’t mind seeing him in purple/pink so much, but these figures just weren’t very well thought out.

  4. Matt Owen says:

    Yeah, anything that added more fragility to vintage Joe’s wasn’t good. Neat gimmick though. Mattel used it recently on a convention exclusive Orko.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *