1992 T’Jbang

1992 T’Jbang

First, to make you feel old, I just realized that T’Jbang is thirty. That means if you’re older than T’Jbang, you’re a really old man now. Unlike you, I’m younger than T’Jbang, which might make you wonder why I run an 80‘s toy blog, but that’s another story for another time. Anyways, T’Jbang is an insane looking figure, and is simultaneously the best GI Joe and the worst GI Joe.

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the Ninja Force. The gimmicks don’t bother me much, and a lot of them were some of my first GI Joe figures (I was born in ‘94, but my parents bought me Ninja Force and Star Brigade figures that were still floating around into ‘98). They put a bigger focus on the fun-factor, and as a kid, they could play out roles as anything from ordinary soldiers, to wrestlers and Power Rangers. I never read the comics or knew who any of these guys were supposed to be. I just made up my own adventures and had fun.

Recently, I’ve rectified my lack of media knowledge and have finally read through the later Marvel comics. The result of this is a better understanding of why grumpy older people hate Ninja Force. In the comics, they suck. They come out of no where, they’re goofy, and clearly are riffing too much off of the then popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe it was something else, but colorful ninjas with attitude is a considerable leap from Storm Shadow or the Night Creepers.

Put that aside, T’Jbang is a fun figure. Although he’s a ninja, he definitely looks more like a wrestler to me, even now. I don’t mind that, he fits in well with Sgt. Slaughter, and it seems like a more appropriately colorful idea to have a ninja commando that moonlights as a masked wrestler. Visually, he comes off a lot stronger than Banzai or Dojo, which probably makes him one of the more memorable figures from the subset. There’s enough detail on him to make him stand out. My favorite part is his rather detailed yellow mask, with tiger print on it. Most of what you see on him is some more standard ninja aesthetics, with big shin-guards and arm gauntlets, but the mask is unique and looks pretty good.

Of course, like all Ninja Force figures, T’Jbang has an action feature. Similar to Dice and Zartan, you can twist him at the torso and he springs back into position, similar to a punch or a sword swing. Although it’s a shame that a ninja of all things loses some articulation, he’s not as harmed by the gimmick as figures like Snake Eyes. Of course, once his o-ring rots away, the figure has to be cracked in half or extensive mods have to be done to fix him. I really hate that, though as a toy it’s not a terrible concept, since most o-rings will outlive the amount of years a kid would spend playing with toys.

For added interest, his accessories are a sword, and a double-bladed hook sword. Hook swords are sometimes called hu tou gou, or tiger head hook, so there’s a tiger connection that goes with the mask. It’s also interesting that this weapon is Chinese in origin, so T’Jbang has learned Wushu to go with his ninja training. Oddly, hook swords are usually used akimbo, but T’Jbang’s is one weapon, combined. Because of that, I’m not sure if it’d really work the same, or all that well at all, but I suppose that’s all apart of his secret style. Sadly, it’s a little hard for him to hold because of it’s design. The other sword is plain and works better, but is also boring. Both parts are powder blue, but this figure already looks nuts, so he’s not any worse for that.

T’Jbang is worth about $5, complete. I’ve warmed up to this figure in a lot of ways, but I’m not blind to the ways he’s also an awful toy. He’s a nobody with a corny character, and his outlandish toy is doomed to eventually fall apart and require a dreadful repair. He’s practically worthless for a good reason, but I can’t find it in myself to hate this figure. He’s still fun in a very innocent, juvenile kind of way.

T'Jbang ARAH Vintage action figure Ninja Force Cobra Hasbro 19921992 T’Jbang Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Half the Battle

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3 Responses to 1992 T’Jbang

  1. Mike T. says:

    While I’m not a huge Ninja Force fan, you have to admit that the set looks amazing when all posed together. Hasbro was still on their complementing colors kick back then and did a great job making these figures work well together despite the different color schemes.

    I’d have given these more credence if they didn’t have the action gimmick. But, 30 years later, I appreciate that they do have it moreso than if they didn’t. Without it, I think they’d lack any distinguishing feature and would be lost in the greatness of 1992. But, with the gimmick, that gives us something to comment upon and recall about lesser characters like this guy.

  2. A-Man says:

    This far removed from his heyday, my only complaint is the action feature making him lack the back screw and thus replacing their o-ring is not possible without breaking the toy as mentioned so why am I typing this?

    T’Jbang “Shuh-bang” or “She-bang” was oddly named. And he’s a silent character, swore an oath *yawn*. He’s a second cousin to Storm Shadow but is named “Sam LaQuale” and is from Rhode Island. What? I didn’t get how they used a different skin tone Dojo and T’Jbang but then their file cards make it seem like they are some white dudes. Maybe they go to the same tanning salon as Battle Commanders General Hawk?

    His file card says those are actual throwing stars on his shin guards, not decor. Okay.
    The important thing is he has grenades, which was like GI JOE “flair” at the time.
    “I think you could use some more grenades, Joe.”
    “You know what, Duke, if you want me to wear 7 grenades, like your pretty boy over there, Bazooka, why don’t you just make the minimum 7 grenades?”

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