The Phantom has had some awesome and slightly unusual merchandise items over the years with lamps, crockery, clothing, rings along with the usual stickers, badges, posters etc but the one thing we have never had is a descent action figurine with full articulation.
Over the past sixty years we have had a few attempts of an action articulated figurine but each time they have had issues, looked ugly and in one case, even took off with everyone's money.
Every other action hero has received cool action fully figurines and now it looks like we will finally get a proper Phantom fully articulated action figurine not by one but two different companies in 2020. (Please note, this may be pushed out with COVID-19)
The first articulated action figurine is by Boss Fight Studio's which we have interviewed in X-Band: The Phantom Podcast Episode #146. The second is a re boot of the Defenders of the Earth range which features The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake, Lothar and Ming the Merciless the main antagonist from N.E.C.A Toys.
Both will be released toward the latter parts of 2020, in time for Christmas (virus crises permitting). We recommend keeping an eye out on our website and social media accounts if you want to keep an eye out on the products as they are released.
However before we get to play with our toys, let us have a look at the past articulation Phantom figurines. First of all we will show a Gallery with all of the figurines, then we will go into more detail on each one.
Please note, we have not included the plastic PVC figurines which feature no articulation.
Starting from the beginning the first action figurine was the 1966 Captain Action Playset which was best described as a boys version of a barbie doll with the hero, Caption Action having different outfits you can dress him up in. There was Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Aquaman, the Phantom, The Lone Ranger (and Tonto), Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Sgt. Fury, Steve Canyon, and the Green Hornet.
For the ring collectors, it did include a special hologram plastic ring.
This Captain Action attempt had limited articulation and was a ploy to try and compete with the success of GI Joe's. It failed!
Captain Action was revived in 1998, by retro toy company Playing Mantis. In addition to Captain Action and Dr. Evil, costumes released boxed with Captain Action figure were The Lone Ranger (in red and black outfit), Tonto, Flash Gordon (& Ming the Merciless), The Green Hornet (& Kato) and of course The Phantom with his arch enemy Kabai Singh.
In 2009 Castaway Toys also released a Captain Action which featured brilliant packaging that did not cause you to ruin the box and packaging if you wanted to take it out of the box. The big difference was the detail they put into the Phantom line.
It featured multiple Phantom suits with red, gray, olive colour versions and a Mr Walker outfit. It also featured the arch enemy Kabai Singh along with a special exclusive Redbeard the Pirate. The packaging was different and they even included a cool skull throne limited edition version (pictured above). The skull thrones now command close to a $1,000AUD when they make it online to sell.
The Castaway Toys release was the best version hands down of the captain Action series.
Apart from the Captain Action figurines the others are the 1980's Defenders of the Earth figurine's with accessories and play sets which included vehicles.
While these figurines were articulated and featured a cool punch feature with the back dial it was never as good as the cool GI Joe's a lot of kids grew up on.
The other attempt was the 1996 Phantom movie figurine. The less said about the owl shaped Phantoms head the better. It did not do the movie or Billy Zane any justice at all.
As bad as the 1996 movie figurine was it was still a better story than the next two attempts by a company called Shocker Toys.
It is a shocking story of false dawns and a company that thankfully is not around anymore.
If you would like to learn more about the company I would suggest reading this article from Bleeding Cool.
They did release the SDCC 2009 Mallow figurine (short for marshmallow) which would be a precursor for the now famous Pop Vinyl range. The Phantom Pop Vinyl range was released in 2015. It came in purple, blue, red and grey.
The Mallow figurine has more articulation than the Pop Vinyl and while both sold well and are in majority of collections, it still lacks something special and looks cheap.
What really got phans excited was when Shocker Toys released their "Indie Spotlight Series 2" which featured the Phantom along with many other King Features licenses. Originally announced at the New York Toy Fair in 2009 and then displayed at San Diego Comic Con in July 2009.
The line was announced to be available in August 2009, then the end of 2009 and then to 2010 and then nothing.
A lot of phans pre ordered this and are still angry at being duped including me. It is rumoured that King Features did end up with the molds for this figurine in their possession.
It may have taken another ten years but it looks like we will finally get what we want.
Both N.E.C.A Toys and Boss Fight Studio's figurines have way more articulation than the Shocker Toys figurine (pictured right).
If you would like to see the prototype of the Boss Fight Studio figurine with their art director Erik Arana showing the capabilities we suggest you watch our video X-Band: The Phantom Podcast with him from the 35 minute point. The YouTube video is below.