Sunday, February 28, 2021

Captain Simian - SHAO-LIN!

Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys - Series 02 - Shao-Lin - Bluebird 1996

In 1996 there was a short-lived 26-episode animated series called Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys. I think it has a cool premise. During the 1960's, an experimental space flight carrying a solo chimpanzee named Charlie goes off course and is intercepted by a highly advanced extraterrestrial race (that look like floating shadow amoebas). They altered Charlie's DNA and imbued him with enhanced intelligence and tech. They we so impressed that they sent him back to Earth to recruit others for the same treatment. The team stayed in space to battle the evil Nebula in his attempts to become a sentient black hole. Shoa-Lin is a Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey who had been worshipped as a Goddess at a temple on Earth. She retains some holier-than-though airs with the crew but eventually warms up and becomes first officer. She is known for her martial arts skills and Buddhist wisdom. Bluebird Toys produced two waves of action figures (with spotty distribution). Let's check out Shao-Lin below!

I'd like to take a moment to note that this action figure line was made by Bluebird Toys. They are most known for vintage Polly Pocket and Mighty Max toys (and more obscure miniature lines like Manta Force, Warriors of Kerang, and Gruntox. I think Captain Simian might have been their only foray into true action figures, just two years before they were swallowed up by Mattel.

One of Shao-Lin's action features is "gripping feet." 
This just means that they are sculpted like a second set of hands.

Shao-Linn comes with a variety of martial arts weapons, including nunchucks, daggers, and a weird grappling-hook-blade combo.

Shao-Lin is has hinge-and-swivel arms and legs, and a ball-jointed neck (the neck is a post with the ball joint in the chest cavity). Her tail is also flexible and swivels at the connection to her back.

Let's talk about Shao-Lin's tail. I am willing to bet that in the design and prototype phase, this bendable tail was a great feature. But in reality, it's really stiff and cumbersome. It is made from a dense but flexible rubber, and it seems that there is a wire running inside of it. The inch or so closest to her body is basically unbendable (although it can rotate in a full 360 at that connection point), and the remaining length starts making white stress flares in the rubber if you bend it too much (that could very likely be due to the age of the rubber though). When all is considered, I think a well sculpted solid tail would have been a better option.

Since this figure is pretty rare and I brazenly opened a 25 year old toy, I thought I would post plenty of extra pics of her cardback for posterity. Note that Shao-Lin's color deco changed a bit for the production version.

Shao-Lin also came with a Collector's Card.

Time for a Comparison Pic!


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