Ming Prototype Figure

This post is about a rare painted hardcopy action figure that I acquired.  The figure is the character ‘Ming the Merciless’ from the proposed 2nd series of action figures from the ‘Defenders of the Earth’ line.


Defenders of the Earth was an animated television series produced in 1986, featuring characters from three comic strips distributed by King Features SyndicateFlash Gordon, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician—battling the Flash Gordon villain Ming the Merciless in the year 2015. Supporting characters include their children Rick Gordon, Jedda Walker (daughter of the Phantom), Kshin (adopted son of Mandrake), Mandrake’s assistant Lothar, and Lothar’s son L.J.  For more information, check out this link to the Wikipedia page


Overall Height –  5 5/8 inches

Height to top of Head – 5 1/8 inches

Height of staff –  5 1/2 inches

Width – 2 3/4 inches

Markings: labeled 4/13


As this is a prototype, the hands are not made of metal as in the final product, nor does it have the knob on the back or any internal mechanisms for its fighting actionThe figure is made of a hard resin, not injected plastic as a final version would be, and you can see evidence of air bubbles on the feet.



In the side by side comparison with the Series 1 release Ming figure, you can see the obvious differences in the paint scheme.  As for the modeling, it appears that they removed the chest medallion and added an ornate piece to the top of the helmet.


(Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of



There was never any official product release about Series 2 of the Defenders line.  But here are some examples from different print material depicting images of Ming looking how he appears in the prototype.


Cover of Vol.2 Defenders of the Earth DVD set.

Cover of Vol.2 Defenders of the Earth DVD set.

Close up of Ming from the cover.

Close up of Ming from the cover.

Defenders of the Earth Complete DVD set

Defenders of the Earth Complete DVD set


I have also found some interesting images from a 1985 Galoob Catalog that depict a loose version of the figure that appears to use the main body of the prototype mixed with the head and hands from the Series 1.  Also, if you look at the smaller image of the carded figure it appears to have the light blue skin and possibly the head piece.