Today we’re doing something a little different. It’s a vintage reproduction piece. So while this is technically a “new” toy, it’s based off an old one. In the early 1970’s a little company by the name of MEGO, pronounced Mee-GO, began to take the toy world by storm. It started almost as an accident as their off brand GI Joe toyline faltered because of a issue with the TV adverts and soon they decided to use that toy body to make new figures. From that accident became the birth of the “modern action figure”, at least that’s how the story goes.

The reality is that with Action Jackson out of commission Mego began to use their buck body and put new clothes on him. First came the Worlds Greatest Superhero line, which saw DC and Marvel characters in the same scale by the same company. Then Mego took a gamble on a hot new movie, Planet of the Apes and it spawned one of their most successful toylines.

In the early 2000’s a guy by the name of Doc Mego began working with Diamond Select to bring certain Mego properties back to life. It started with Star Trek and eventually it led to the Planet of the Apes. Mego founder Marty Abrams even gave them the seal of approval. EMCE toys is now working with Mattel on revamping the DC version of the World’s Greatest Superheroes, good times indeed. But today it’s all about the monkey men.

Doc Mego is a collector himself, so he sought to have collector friendly packages. Each package comes with a resealable clamshell. These appear almost identical on the front to vintage Mego Planet of the Apes packages. On the back they show off the rest of the figures in the series and there is a nice picture of the whole set.

I was born a little too late to really get the Mego craze, by the time I was coming up Mego was slowly fading off into nothingness, but I do vaguely remember seeing some Megos. It’s pretty cool to see toys redone. Although this doesn’t have the “official” Mego name, this is as good as it gets in my view.

I was also born a little too late to get the Planet of the Apes craze, but I’ve always had much respect for the Apes. It was the first real “franchise” in movies and without the Apes, there could be no Star Wars. The whole Ape Mania that gripped the 70’s was pretty cool if you look back on it and Mego rode that wave quite well. I love being able to experience this phenomena first hand decades later. Sadly even though these figures are still available for purchase, there aren’t any meet and greets with characters in Ape costumes like there was back in the day.

Classic Mego figures pretty much followed a standard formula. Using the basic buck, a new head and clothes. A lot of the outfits were recycled from time to time, but Planet of the Apes managed to get a fair amount of money put into it.

For starters the outfit itself is pretty nice. The faux leather is great and one quick look and this is immediately recognizable as a Ape Soldier. This was the first real army builder of the line and perhaps the first army builder ever? The EMCE version is a pretty faithful reproduction of the original Mego outfit, though some of the material may be slightly different.

Mego for reasons I can’t imagine never could make gloves. Instead they made “mittens” for all their figures. Usually these mittens were made of cheap plastic and they looked like crap. For POTA the mittens were made of fabric and included a leather gauntlet. It’s pretty cool actually. These have been faithfully reproduced… But the mitten part still makes no sense. You might want to clip that off if you’re anti-mitten.

Unlike GI Joes that typically have a nice shirt that you unbutton in the front, Mego usually had clothes that came off with a couple of snaps on the back. A lot of times this looked clunky and cheap on certain figures, but on POTA figures it works. Mostly because of the bandolier and the leather vest.

Everything has been painstakingly reproed to the best of anyone’s ability. The head sculpts do seem just a tad softer, but it’s nothing major. I really applaud the work that EMCE toys did on these guys and I know that Doc Mego personally lost money to make these Planet of the Apes figures a reality and I just want to give him my utmost gratitude for that. Without him and Diamond Select, this wouldn’t be a reality.

Articulation on vintage Megos and by proxy these modern reproductions are a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand you have fairly modern articulation with hinge ankles and pin/post style wrists… On the other hand the figure itself is “stringed” on the inside and that elastic string holds the figure together.

What you end up with is string joints, that work similar to ball joints but are held in by a string. It’s a little weird. If you get a loose string figure, it becomes floppy. If it’s too tight, you can barely move it. If the string breaks, you have to re-string it. This is just something odd that isn’t common place in today’s market of articulation but it works well enough.

There really isn’t a lot of other figures in this unique 8 inch scale, but these guys work well enough with my beloved GI Joe Sigma 6 figures. Although the bigger Sigmas dwarf them. There’s also tons of vintage Mego lines out there and other modern reproductions plus new products like the ones coming from Mattel.

A lot of classic Megos didn’t come with weapons. The POTA ape figures were pretty lucky in that they needed accessories and Mego provided. EMCE toys didn’t skimp out on making the repros have all the correct pieces.

For starters all the clothes are removable. Then you have the M-16 gun which is actually an old Action Jackson gun but also what they carried in the Planet of the Apes films. He has his bandolier and plastic boots as well.

Original Megos used to retail for $2-3 tops, but vintage ones off of Ebay can run up to $30 and are rarely in this good of shape. These repros retail for about $18-$20 depending on where you find them. It seems as though $20 is the new price for Mego guys, but it’s worth it if you’re a fan or looking for something a little different.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Value – 7
Overall – 8.5 out of 10

Kids in the 70’s didn’t have the greatest selection of toys, but Mego’s Planet of the Apes were some of the best. EMCE toys has brought back that classic love and made these reproductions for collectors of today. I’m hoping someday there’s a big POTA revival and kids today get to enjoy EMCE’s POTA just as much as kids of the 70’s got to enjoy the originals. For now though, this will more than do.

3 Responses to EMCE Toys POTA: Ape Soldier Review

  • Bill White says:

    Ah memories! I used to have this guy back in the day. The two differences between this remake and the original is that his “mittens” were plastic, not cloth, and not all of them came with the bandolier. At least this was the case with mine. I wonder if these toys had different versions, or “runs” like today’s toys do?

    This being Thanksgiving, I remember Mego sponsored a POTA float in the Macy’s parade right at the height of Ape-Mania. It was awesome! Well, at least it was to grade school geeks like me…

  • jimm says:

    Will have to track some of these down. Still have my original cornelius (or is thant galen?)

  • Glad you guys liked. I’m definitely getting big into POTA and Megos.

Leave a Reply