Yesterday I launched the Flash Gordon Celebration here at Infinite Hollywood. I figure even if Flash Gordon won’t generate a lot of traffic at least he’ll provide some much needed diversity to the world of action figure reviews. If you like these Flash Gordon reviews, have an opinion on how I can improve the site or just want to tell me to stuff it, leave a comment below! I have a new comment box and I’d like to see if people like it better than the previous one.

We started off our Flash Gordon Celebration with Flash himself, now we take a look at his arch nemesis the evil leader of Mongo, Ming the Merciless. Ming has been fighting Gordon since the original comics in the 1930’s but even critics of the 1980’s movie love Max Von Sydow’s turn as the Emperor. With a certain amount of charm, a slim sense of wit and a devilish attitude Sydow really made Ming his own.

Ming came in Wave One of the Flash Gordon figures in two colors, a red version that resembled perhaps his most famous robe in the film and an Entertainment Earth exclusive black version from one of his other robes. I’m looking at the black version, but aside from the paint scheme, this is identical to the red version.

Since this is a Wave One figure, his packaging is a little different. He is still in a standard clamshell but the artwork is red instead of yellow. There is a great picture of Max Von Sydow as Ming on the front cover and depending on which version of the figure you bought, he’s either wearing his red or black robes. Pretty cool touch by BifBangPow.

Inside is Ming and he comes out relatively easy. He didn’t have any of that Mongo Freshness that Flash had. Not sure why that is.

The back of the package has another screen still, as well as a picture of the figure. It also shows off the figures in Series One. It has a decent little write up on Ming. I should mention that Alex Ross’ name is all over this stuff, so obviously he did design the looks, but as I said yesterday it’s almost a moot point when you consider Alex’s artwork looks just like the human actors. That’s a credit to Ross, though.

As I said in my Flash review, one of my big concerns was how poseable these guys are. Flash had some decent articulation, but nothing spectacular. I’m sad to report that Ming is virtually stuck in his one single pose.

Ming has a cut neck, cut arms that are stuck in strange positions and that’s it. There might be a cut waist hidden in there somewhere, but I can’t get it to move.

Obviously the long hanging material in Ming’s robes is part of the reason why the articulation is so minimum but I do question why if BifBangPow were going to make him so immobile why they chose to stick his arms in such drastic positions. He basically has one pose. That doesn’t do much for me. He’s a statue.

My other issue is that despite being stuck in one pose… HE CAN’T STAND UP! Sure I can carefully balance him a tad bit but a fart would knock him over. When all this guy can do is stand and he can’t do that, I’m pretty disappointed. I’ve worked with his legs to see if maybe they can be moved a bit and they do seem to slightly move, but I’m not certain they have any cuts at all. I think I’m just bending the plastic. Maybe I got a bum Ming?

Despite the fact that Ming is merciless in his posing, (See what I did there?) he’s brilliantly sculpted and beautifully captures the likeness of Sydow as Mongo’s most violent ruler. The detail work on the face is just unreal and BifBangPow should be applauded for that at the very least.

The figure also has sparkles all over different parts of the robe and that really makes it stand out and resemble the way everything was in the movie. Those who pay close attention will notice that the robe is not 100% screen accurate, but that’s for a reason. The red robe is the sculpt this one is made for. There were minor differences between the red and black robes, but they look close enough alike that BifBangPow is able to get away with passing this off as the black robe, even if it’s not 100% correct.

Paint wise he’s pretty good all over. I do question their choice in not painting his symbol in the middle of his chest red, as that would have further helped to pass this off as intended for this sculpt. Either way it’s pretty solid paint work overall with a tad bit of slop. I did get one sparkly glop on Ming’s beard though, which could probably be scrapped off with a thumbnail but it’s worth noting.

Ming is pretty massive with his collar being nearly a half inch higher than Flash’s head. He doesn’t look out of scale, but I’m not certain he needed to be this tall either. He looks alright commanding Klytus though and trying to get freaky with Dale.

Bupkis. If you thought Flash didn’t come with much, then Ming will be an even sorer disappointment. I would have loved some interchangeable arms, so he could at least get into a few poses. Why even bother to articulate him?

I paid more for Ming that I did anyone else. The red Mings seem to be hard to come by now and the black one is a fine substitute for him. Still at $15 and above, you’re getting a statue. Don’t come into it thinking you’re getting anything other than that. If your expectations are low, then you’ll be excited by this figure. As a STATUE, he’s very well done. As a figure, he’s pretty crappy. His inability to stand does stick in my craw a bit, but no Flash Gordon line is complete without Ming and at least he looks the part.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 1
Accessories – Nothing
Value – 5
Overall – 5.5 out of 10

For better or worse, I’m grading Ming as an action figure since he does have articulation and this is an “action figure” line. That’s why he gets such a low score. In reality, he’s basically a statue, so if I was grading him as a statue his entire score would be based on the “Sculpting” section up above. In that case he’s a 9 or so. Your mileage may vary. More Flash Gordon Celebration tomorrow with Klytus!

You can purchase this figure now from Entertainment Earth just click here: Alex Ross Flash Gordon (White T-Shirt) 7-Inch Action Figure

5 Responses to Ming The Merciless Figure Review

  • TAO says:

    Not much to stay about the figure, but I do prefer the new comment box!

  • Bill says:

    Newton, I like that you review some of the more obscure items that other sites ignore. The Flash figures are a perfect example. I was on the fence about this line, and your reviews have helped me make up my mind. I liked the old comment box, though.

  • @Bill: Duly noted about the comment box. I'm trying to find a happy medium. The good thing with this one is that folks that don't have a blogger account or whatever can have their info saved as well. Plus it allows gravatar which the other didn't. We'll see which I keep, but thanks for sticking with me no matter what the heck kinda comment box we got.

  • Lt_Clutch says:

    I hate it when figures turn out to be statues like ol' Ming here, but he does look like Max. I'm still on the fence on these due to the articulation problems and the chosen scale for this line. But I might spring for the Tim Dalton figure if he's at least as good as Flash. All I ask is that he can stand up on his own.

  • PrfktTear says:

    The new comment box is sweet! Yay Gravatar!

    I've seen these Flash figures around for a while now, but as Bill commented, I haven't seen anything written about them. I'm not a flash fan, but Ming has always beconed me.

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