Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rarities - Clear Shadow Ninja Prototypes

A great many collectors hate the Shadow Ninjas.  Actually, that's probably not overly accurate.  It's more correct to state that most collectors are indifferent to the existence of the Shadow Ninjas.  They may own a couple that were acquired in lots of better figures.  But, few people actually collect them and fewer still consider them an integral part of the Joe line.

It appears, though, that the Shadow Ninja concept morphed a bit in the design process.  Instead of the color changing plastic that was released at retail, Hasbro originally considered clear figures for the series.  A few samples of these clear version made it out into the world and you can see examples of Snake Eyes, Stormshadow and Night Creeper below.

While the idea of clear figures would have been novel at the time, the design would have run its course quickly.  Maybe if one of the figures in the set had been "invisible", it would have been a cool gimmick.  But, a whole series of them quickly showed the fad's limitations.  You can see the inner workings of the figures.  And, since these molds all had spring loaded features, there's a lot of guts to see.

There's no real info as to why this concept was abandoned for the color changing plastic.  We can speculate that the color changing gimmick was better received than the clear plastic.  But, we don't know for sure.  These figures are an interesting look into what might have been, though.

1994 Shadow Ninja Stormshadow, Translucent, Clear, Prototype, Unproduced, Night Creeper, Snake Eyes
Night Creeper Unreleased Figure

1994 Shadow Ninja Stormshadow, Translucent, Clear, Prototype, Unproduced, Night Creeper, Snake Eyes
Clear Snake Eyes Unreleased Figure

1994 Shadow Ninja Stormshadow, Translucent, Clear, Prototype, Unproduced, Night Creeper, Snake Eyes
Clear Stormshadow Unreleased Figure



1 comment:

  1. Interesting, not any better...kind of stranger, actually.

    The Shadow Ninjas are novelty gimmick figures are not really usable for anything but display. Plastic seemed more brittle, as far as the thumbs go, add in the hard plastic weapons and it's not uncommon to see loose Shadow Ninjas with missing thumbs. The collecting world would've been better off if the Ninja Commandos had been released the Shadow Ninjas never made it past test shots.

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