The Hand Ninja is an infamous band of ninjas first introduced in Daredevil #174 (1981) as members of an evil cult opposing the superhero. Created by Frank Miller, the Hand was part of the emerging fad related to ninjas and other martial artists in the 1970s and 1980s. There have been other Hand Ninja action figures and they sucked. This one is not as bad, but Hasbro does not seem to understand that army-building action figures should not tower over all other action figures in their lines.
Yes, Hand ninjas are army builders. There are thousands of them. You could purchase many of them to fight your Daredevil and Iron Fist action figures but unfortunately, they will tower over them while being very stiff. Hand Ninjas are popular because they are red. Red Ninjas are used in G.I. Joe where they work for Cobra and often fight Snake Eye and Storm Shadow, when he is not leading them on behalf of the bad guys. I bought this Hand Ninja action figure as a base for a possible army building that I could use for my G.I. Joe Classified collection. I am glad that I only bought one. Here is why.
The Hand ninjas as depicted by Frank Miller were all-black with red highlights or totally dark red with crimson hues. They were face masks and hoods. Often, their forearms and shins are wrapped in clothes and bandoliers. The Hand Ninjas look the part. The most important feature are the green eyes without irises. As a basic ninja action figure, the Hand ninja looks great. I understand fully well why many collectors considered them as army builders for their evil ninja legions.
The sculpt is good but very stiff. The over-hanging kimono looks good but as we’ll soon find out, limits the waist articulation. The camel toe feet look weird. The lower part of the kimono under the sash is glued in on the left but it does not look very good. The bandolier is very loose on the torso.
The base plastic is the main colour of the Hand ninja. The crimson reds are the original plastic while the dark crimson brown are the same plastic colours. Only the face and the hands have paint on them, and they have no highlight. The belt, the sash, the katana, the katana’s scabbard, and the kamas are also made of black plastic with minimal metallic paint on the kamas, the buckle of the sash, and the blade of the katana. Of course, the Hand ninja’s eyes are green. The lack of highlights and dirt makes the figure look plain.
Scale is the major flaw of the Hand action figure. He should not be so tall compared with the likes of Daredevil or even G.I. Joe Classified action figures. He towers over Duke
, Snake Eyes, Destro
, and is a smidgen shorter than Roadblock
and Gung Ho
. Most Hand ninjas are Han Chinese or Yamato people of Japan and therefore not as tall as Koreans of Manchus. The Hand ninja here is much too tall when compared to other Marvel Legends action figures and the G.I. Joe Classified line. He would fit much better with a seven-inch action figure line. I wonder why Hasbro made this figure to big in comparison to the characters it should be interacting with such as Daredevil, Wolverine, Iron Fist, and Shang Chi. A shorter action figure would have made a better collectible toy for an army builder.
Stability is an issue with the Hand Ninja. His feet are flat, but he is top heavy to some extent. The lack of flexibility makes it very difficult to pose him. You can try to play with his legs but they will often revert back to their default state. The action figure stand that comes with the Hand Ninja does not fit the peg holes in his feet. In fact, this action figure stand fits none of the regular Marvel Legends action figures I tested nor the G.I. Joe Classified line. The action figure stand was designed to fit with the legs of the Stilt-Man build-a-figure. Hand Ninja will fall often and could topple other figures in his fall. That means that you must put him somewhere he can lean against a surface and away from other action figures he could make fall and possibly break, in one of his frequent falls.
The Hand Ninja’s articulations are stiff. He is the anti-thesis of a movable action figure that can be easily posed for a fight. He does not even come with a peg hole in his back so that he could be posed in a mid-air action scene. His head is on a ball joint and moves well, even with his hood on. He has butterfly underarms, but they do not move much. He has shoulder articulations, bicep curls, double elbow articulations, wrists curls with up and down pivots. His torso has a ball-jointed ab crunch which does not move much. He has a waist curl, but it is very difficult to make it move with the lower end of the kimono on. Of course, he can move his hips but do not expect him to do a Van Damme. He cannot. His knees are double-jointed, but I do not dare put to much pressure on them as it seems that he’ll break. Of course, he has shin/calve curls with rocking ankles that can pivot as well as go up or down. You can easily exchange his sickle holding hands for grasping ones. This ninja is way too stiff to be used in complicated poses.
The plastic seems cheap and soft. I do not trust it the elbow and the knees’ double articulations. They seem like they could break. He is made of that soft PVC-like material.
Of course, the Hand Ninja is part of the build-a-figure Stilt-Man and thus comes with a pair of leg extensions that fit well with the translucent action figure stand. The two kamas and the katana are good, but he feels under-equipped for a ninja.
The package has a comic-art illustration on both sides and a short multi-lingual description of the character who is described as being a ninja spy. The box shows the other action figures needed to build the Stilt-Man toy.
I was expecting the Hand Ninja to be expensive. You will find users on auction sites like eBay and people’s personal stores on Amazon that like to boost the cost of this toy. Don’t fall for that. He can be easily bought for the regular asking price of $USD19.99 or close to $CAD29.99. I bought mine for $CAD32.99 at Toys R Us.
The Hand Ninja and the rest of the Stilt-Man wave were released in January 2021. There are still many around in stores. I expected this action figure to be more popular because it can be used interchangeably with the G.I. Joe Classified line as an army builder Red Ninja. He looks much more traditional than G.I. Joe Classified Red Ninja and is easier to purchase.