Toy Review: NECA Movie-Style Flash Gordon and Ming Figures

NECA‘s certainly getting as much bang for their buck as they possibly can from the Defenders of the Earth figures. We’ve covered every variant thus far — the Defenders of the Earth cartoon style, Mattel style, and Filmation style. But they’ve save the best for what is likely last: 1980 movie-style Flash Gordon and Ming figures.

By all appearances, NECA scored the rights to the 1980 movie but not the actor likenesses. This seems unusual — Sam J. Jones and Max von Sydow signed off on action figures several times before. But in this case, affordability may be the key. Only two new accessories are sculpted — everything else is a repaint of pre-existing parts, along with new cloth robe parts for Ming. As collectors used to say in the ’90s, before all sculpting got super-realistic, “They look like the characters, not the actors.” NECA’s initial likenesses feature hints of Jones and von Sydow, but mixed enough with other elements that nobody can call them portraits.

Both figures use the muscular NECA superhero body, which features its best execution so far. No stiff joints needing hot water, and when one of the figures fell from a height during a photoshoot, its leg simply popped out of the socket and could pop right back in again. Also noted: far less paint rub on the interchangeable hands, cast in the right colors this time.

RELATED: Toy Review: The Original Superheroes Series 1 by NECA

Flash gets three hands total — two fists and one left sword-holding hand. (A double handed sword-grip might look more accurate, but that’s not happening here.) Ming comes with five — two fists (neither with his ring), two left handed grasping/gesturing hands with ring, and one weapon-holding right hand. He comes with no weapons, as the movie version only ever used his ring. Flash’s accessories are the “football” jewel and his movie-styled sword.

Both figures are as pain-in-the-ass as possible to remove from their tray, as they’re held by form-fitting plastic, limbs through holes, tie-wires, and shirt-ties. Beware of recoil when trying to pull any part of these out. Once that’s done, however, the cardboard insert makes a nice diorama display piece, and unlike some, it is taped into a box shape already.

Ming features new shiny soft goods, as a cape, skirt, and two front flaps. Both sport exterior texturing and shiny effect, with the inside a more generic fabric texture.

Beyond that, as a comparison with previous Mings will show, he utilizes the armor and forearms of the Defenders of the Earth version. And the alternate bald head of the Filmation version (seen below on the Mattel-version body).

Flash also uses all-existing parts; even his belt comes from the Defenders version.. But he’s the first to exercise his right to bare arms. He has the biggest sword, but no blaster. Perhaps because he’s showing off the guns!

Intended as a Walmart exclusive, this two-pack’s appearances can seem scarce. Online prices elsewhere run in the $100 range, which feel like convention exclusive prices. Which, of course, this would have been if not for COVID. For those who find this too steep, the consolation is that it’s really not that different from easier-to-get variants.

Take a look through the gallery below for alternate angles and poses. Then let us know what you think in comments.

Recommended Reading: Flash Gordon: On the Planet Mongo Vol. 1

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