Jesse Ventura – Man of Action
Governor & Navy SEAL Jesse
12 Inch Scale
By: Ventura for Minnesota/Formative International
$??? (Whatever you can get it for at a flea market)

In 1998, Jesse Ventura “shocked the world” by becoming the governor of Minnesota. Make no mistake, it was hardly a small feat. Ventura is one of the few independent candidates to ever win such a high office in the United States. He won the position spending far less than his competitors and with little (but some) political experience.

Making an action figure of the governor might seem like a strange thing, although in general it’s not that strange for Jesse Ventura himself to have an action figure. Jesse was a pro wrestler with the AWA, WWF and WCW through the years and he’s also been in a variety of motion pictures. So there have been a few Jesse Ventura toys along the way. What makes these figures unique is that it was made in celebration of his becoming governor.

Incredibly, it was an action figure of Jesse Ventura that is often credited for getting him elected. You see Jesse had limited campaign funds and mostly did radio ads. His one television ad, was of kids playing with an action figure of “Governor Jesse Ventura”, where he fought special interest groups and cut taxes. It was absurd, but so out of the box from the usual nonsense political ads that it worked. It also created a demand for the actual action figure.

So once elected, Jesse created the “Man of Action” line, in which he released three versions of himself. The Governor, as a Navy SEAL (which he name drops every other word) and as a Football Coach. I picked up the Governor and SEAL versions, but I skipped Jesse in sweat pants. So let’s take a look at “The Body” err, I forgot… During this time Ventura insisted on being referred to as “The Mind”.

This figure is not the same as the one featured in the commercial/campaign ad. It’s very similar, but clearly that was just a rough makeshift figure. The final product is better in some ways (the likeness) and worse in others (overall quality).

Here’s that ad that was partially responsible for Ventura’s election. See, playing with toys IS serious business!

The packaging here is interesting as it has lots of Ventura stats running along the sides and a big V logo in the middle. There’s also a half window at the top so you can see the figure inside. I guess that lets you know which version of Jesse this is.

It’s not a horrible package, but a bit busy. The big “button” on the side seems kind of distracting and a lot of the text is hindered by other text. There’s just too much going on.

The box opens up to give you a full window experience. Just in case you wanted to check out the Body’s body… Or the sack of silicon pellets inside. There’s no accessories, so I don’t really know why we needed the fancy window box.

The back shows off the other figures in the series and the prototypes which are pictured on the back have a trigger finger that the final product is lacking. It also talks up Jesse’s accomplishments and lists all the people who worked with Jesse to make this figure. Supposedly this figure’s profits all went to “helping Minnesota” and that Ventura himself didn’t get any of the money. I tend to believe that the only thing that these figures helped in Minnesota was to line Ventura’s coffers.

As a 1/6th scale figure, there isn’t a lot of paint applications on these figures. Just the moustache and eyes, really. Of course those things can make a difference. For example, the Navy SEAL Ventura has sort of googly eyed paint applications. Which of course, makes him all the more awesome!

The governor figure comes in a suit. The suit isn’t horribly scaled, but it’s not perfectly tailored either. The tie is quite oversized and the biggest complaint from me would be the fact that the material they chose to make the suit out of isn’t the proper fabric. This looks like a pimp suit or something.

There are some pros, though. Such as the fact that underneath the suit coat, is a full dress shirt. It’s not amazing quality or anything, but they didn’t cut corners and make it a dickie like Hasbro did on their ROC Destro. There’s also a belt and the pants themselves are nicely tailored. The pockets aren’t real.

Incredibly, he also has socks!

The likeness itself is okay, but not amazing. I go back and forth on if I think it looks like him or not. I actually bought these figures for a custom, mostly based on the fact that I didn’t think it was immediately recognizable as Ventura. Your mileage may vary.

“Bleeding? No time for it!”

The Navy SEAL outfit is pretty impressive because it’s an outfit that Jesse has actually worn. If you watch his Conpiracy Theory show, you can see him in this outfit during the opening credits. It’s all here, right down to the boonie hat. In a lot of ways, this outfit is similar to his Blaine’s outfit character from Predator. Though it’s hardly exact.

Perhaps the nicest part about this outfit is that the pockets are real. There’s also a Navy SEAL logo on the front.

Not surprisingly, it’s all made in China. Jesse might be a patriot, but he’s no dummy when it comes to cheap labor. We also learn that Formative International is the one truly behind this figure. They made the popular Soldiers of the World line during the late 90s-early 2000s, when the 1/6 scale was exploding in popularity.

When it comes to articulation, Jesse has quite a bit more than you might expect from some cheap one and done type of toy line. Of course, given that Formative International had made plenty of 1/6 figures, this is just a recycle from some of their other efforts.

He has Hasbro style elbow joints at the wrists and elbows, pin/post ball shoulders and hips, as well as knee and elbow hinges. He also has a hinge at the ankles and cuts at the waist and neck. It’s not a ton of articulation, but for 1998, it wasn’t the worst.

Posing Jesse shouldn’t be a problem, except for one major issue. You notice how his skin is different colors? That’s because there are a variety of different plastic and rubbers in different parts of his body. In a nutshell, Ventura can not stand. His ankles give out, his knees give out. It’s nearly impossible to keep this figure vertical.

Jesse Ventura might be a man of action, but he’s not a man of accessories. Aside from his removable clothes, he comes with nothing.

It seems like the Navy SEAL version should have included some sort of gun. But he doesn’t get one. I suppose that’s too controversial. He does have some web gear, but it’s all fabric and really cheap.

The Governor version just has his clothes as well. I’m not sure what else he could have come with, but something would have been nice. Both figures have rubber boots that are SUPER soft, which add to the standing problems. They’re almost the consistency of Wacky Wall Crawlers.

I have no idea what these retailed for back when they came out in 1998. I’m going to go out on a limb and say $20 or so. However in today’s market you can get them for dirt cheap. They must have made millions of these things and by 2000 everyone had figured out that Jesse Ventura was a loon and not really worthy of a governor figure, much less three. Ventura spent most of his time as governor seeking fame and fortune doing anything but governing. Now he chases conspiracies like the Ghostbusters bust ghosts.

With a quick change of clothes, you can make Jesse look a bit like his modern self. I’m too lazy to get rid of the stache, but you get the idea. Speaking of which….

You’ll notice that in that ad, the figure falls over a few times. I left those in on purpose, because he fell over 900 times while trying to shoot those scenes. This figure can mostly just lay on his back. I won’t speculate what that says about Jesse.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 6
Paint – 4
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Removable Clothes
Value – 4
Overall – 6 out of 10

Why would anyone want this figure? I don’t know. I actually would have ranked this guy a bit higher, if he could stand up. His inability to stand sort of takes away a lot of the fun of having a goofy Jesse Ventura figure to fart around with. Still, if you’ve got $5-$10 burning a hole in your pocket, I suppose you could do worse things with it.

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