Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sonya Blade Mortal Kombat Movie Edition

In the late 1990's, there were a few staple customs in the Joe world.  Red Star's body was used to create most of the Oktober Guard.  Stormshadow was painted red for a Red Ninja.  And, any half decent custom of Daina used the head from the Sonya Blade figure.  Originally released in the Mortal Kombat line, Sonya Blade has since become a figure that can stand on her own and has found a home in many Joe collections.

The Mortal Kombat line was Hasbro's foray into licensing in the post G.I. Joe world.  The popularity of multi player fighting games provided them with an avenue to use existing molds and technology on a line with a built in fan base.  As a strategy, it wasn't terrible.  The games were immensely popular, especially among kids who were prime ages to still be interested in toys.  And, the figures produced are perfect complements for the Joe line due to their usage of G.I. Joe parts.  Originally, the Mortal Kombat figures were going to be part of the Joe line, much like the first series of Street Fighter figures.  But, that plan was scrapped and we got stand alone Street Fighter Movie and Mortal Kombat lines: even if they borrowed from what G.I. Joe would have been.

The original line consisted of a few video game characters.  Included in this was a Sonya Blade figure wearing a green outfit.  This figure was a full body repaint of the 1987 Jinx figure with a new head.  Shortly after this series of figures debuted, Hasbro released the Mortal Kombat Movie Edition figures.  Included with this series was a newly repainted Sonya Blade wearing an all black ensemble.  Along with the color change, she also featured one part swap on the lower legs.  Gone were the Jinx legs with her foot exposing slippers.  Instead, the Movie Edition figure uses the lower leg molds from 1994 Flint figure.  She also sports dirtier blonde hair.

Sonya Blade Mortal Kombat Movie Edition MOC
The Movie Edition Sonya Blade includes some familiar accessories.  Her knife is a repaint of that originally included with the 1989 Stalker figure.  Her gun is a black version of the odd weapon that debuted with the 1991 Cobra Commander.  She also includes a dark blue missile launcher and grey missile.  The launcher first showed up in 1993 in different colors with the 1993 Dr. Mindbender figure and the 1993 Alley Viper.  It was recolored again in 1994 with the Viper and the Alley Viper.  But, Sonya's launcher is a unique color to her.  The missile was first colored in black with the 1992 Headhunter figure and also came with the 1993 version of that character.  This is the first release of the mold in a grey color.

The Mortal Kombat line borrows heavily from what G.I. Joe would have been in 1995.  The packaging  window uses the full card width to better show off the figure and accessories inside the bubble.  We saw this coming on the packaging mock ups for the 1995 Ninja Commandos.  Speaking of those Ninja Commandos, the Mortal Kombat line also gave us 3 of the 5 planned body molds from the cancelled Ninja Commando line.  Famously, the Movie Edition Shang Tsung uses the entire mold that would have been the Ninja Commando Budo.  But, the Movie Edition Rayden uses the body from the Ninja Commando Flint and the Liu Kang figure uses parts of the Ninja Commando Road Pig.  These are great insights into how far some of the '95 Joe line got into the production process.

As for Sonya Blade, she got two figures in the line and disappeared.  The Jinx body that comprises most of her was released again by Hasbro as Vypra in 1998 and then appeared again in 2004.  The Flint figure from which her lower legs were taken was used in 2001 before disappearing again.  Sonya Blade's head, though, kind of made another appearance.   In 2010, a convention exclusive figure of Natalie Poole was released.  While the figure was based off an Action Force character from Europe and the UK, the figure's head was based on Sonya Blade.  Sadly, this figure is really, really terrible and only its scarcity keeps it from being more ridiculed.  It was a sad fate for this Sonya Blade head and Hasbro might have found better uses for it as an updated Quarrel or new female character.  

The Mortal Kombat figures are kind of tough to find in the wild as part of loose, childhood collections.  They were late run figures and most kids who had them acquired them as gifts of non-Joe related purchases.  However, by 1995, there were tons of toy dealers who scoured liquidation and close out stores for bargains.  When KB Toys lowered the prices on their vast inventory of unsold merchandise, the dealers were there to gobble it up, box them, place them in their storage area of choice and sit on it: hoping for a pile of gold.  Well, enough of them did that that the Mortal Kombat figures are actually very easy to find still MOC, even 20+ years later.  Green Sonya Blades figures can be had for around $10 MOC.  The Movie Edition figures are a bit harder to find and will usually sell in the $20 range.  Though, you can get them cheaper if you are patient.  As novelties of the era, these aren't bad prices.  And, as Sonya uses 1980's Joe molds with the new head, she's a much better fit into a classic Joe collection than some of the ninjas from the line who used later molds from the 1990's and incorporated actions features.

Sonya Blade Mortal Kombat First Series Figure MOC
As there is a dearth of female figures in vintage Joe style, have Sonya Blade available is helpful.  Being, mostly, a Jinx repaint does limit her.  But, the vastly different color scheme and the new head help to mitigate that.  This black Movie Edition figure works as a unmasked Vypra since the 1998 Vypra figure uses black as the base for a Jinx repaint, too.  The green version can work as a Joe, too.  So, there's quite a bit of versatility with the figure variants that are available.  The figure's head is a bit large, though, for the body.  So, be aware of that.

For me, figures like this are fun to have and nice ways to grow a collection.  At this point, I'm not a completist and don't consider these figs to be essential to my personal Joe collection.  But, as my Joe needs are crossed off, I'm sure I'll be looking to both the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat lines for a way to keep growing.  I like Sonya Blade as she's a figure that's useful to have around since she can be used as either a Joe or Cobra and she's cheap to acquire.  That's a solid combo for any figure.  Since she's not, technically, a Joe figure, the interest in her will always be muted.  That allows for the modern collector to still get a bargain on a figure that doesn't show up as often as you might expect in the collecting world.


  1. There's also the weirdness of Toy Island making 5 or 6 inch Mortal Kombat figures and some of them were scaled up version of Hasbro's actual molds. I think Sonya (green version) was among them, too.

    Fans of the games dislike the MK and Street Fighter Joe -style figures because they aren't accurate to the game...but the figures are the only reason I even paid attention to the games.

    1. I stumbled across those Toy Island figures a few years ago in an online auction. From the photo, they looked 3 3/4. As there was at least one with a unique paint scheme, I thought I found something cool. I hesitated buying one, though, until I finally found some other info online confirming the larger size. So, I never actually bought one.

    2. It was a shame, they made some of the other characters (with less articulation, though) and an unmasked Sub Zero.

      Zarana-X made some interesting customs using the big Sonya's parts.

    3. Here's a fun custom that used the smaller figures:

  2. I gave Sonya's head to the 1997 Lady Jaye to make my custom character Tailwind, a member of the Canadian Special Forces now employed by Action Force's SAS division.