It's Holiday Time! Now where's my Chap Mei stuff???
November 21, 2008

Ah the holidays are here!  Sure, most folks think turkey, Santa and whatnot.  But for me one special part of the holidays is CHAP MEI!  

Who is this mysterious ninja lurking by my rice cooker…?  Read on!

 

 

Yes, good old Chap Mei.  Purveyor of quality generic or "knock off" toys.  The best of the cheap. 

Each year they take what they think is a winning combination of current trends and timeless toy classics and fire the product out into fine retailers like Big Lots and Rite-Aid.  The toys are garish, crazy looking and just plain fun.  They take me back to the days of Aisle 7C in the world of 1980′s Toys ‘r’ Us…  When there were cheap toy wonders like "Dragonriders of the Styx," "Beast Warriors" and "Rocks, Bugs and Things."  Toys that were just crazy often ripped off toys; no comic, no movie, no tee vee show.

What do we have today that’s unlicensed and fun?  Not much alas (while GI Joe and Transformers are in fact in house brands, they are well beyond generic toys), just mainly good old Chap Mei!

And so far my yearly dose of Chap Mei is just starting to trickle in but not nearly in the #’s it used to!!!  And ironically, this year’s lines are really fun.

 

ADVENTURE HEROES

Think "Indiana Jones" meets "The Mummy" riding on a giant freakin’ stag beetle.  Good stuff!

So far at Big Lots all I’ve seen are the Adventure heroes single card figures (Bomani, King Tutenskull, Captain Sandy Storm, Skyboy Stratus) and the the Giant Crawler Playsets (Bomani & Scorpion, King Tutenskull & Serpent, Captain Sandy Storm & Stag Beetle). 

No sign yet of the bigger playsets or the Anubis figure pack!!!

 

 

 

 

 

The ones I’d really like to find is the big drill vehicle with Marcus Mole! Drilltastic!

 

And this GIANT FREAKIN’ CAMEL!  It’s like elephant size!!!! (Imagine GI Joe’s Dusty trampling Cobra on tha bad boy!  WoooO!

 

 

Vikings

 The other big line for Chap Mei is VIKINGS!  Why?  Who knows, maybe they thought "Pathfinder" was going to be a big hit? LOL!  They even have a very home made looking commercial on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsCV-9Uy4h8

In any case The Vikings line is fun, and is almost a "greatest hits" line as far as the animals are concerned.  The Saber Tooth Tiger, Mammoth, Giant Baracuda and others all return from past Chap Mei lines to battle the brave Vikings!   I’ve only seen the Midgard Serpent set in person, but the Viking guy there has ball jointed shoulders!  A rare treat for Chap Mei!  Bearskin Jarl has the ubiquitous "polar bear head helmet" that showed up in the Arctic line a few years back (the idea was recycled in the jungle line on the midget w/ stilts but as a warthog head. Hey, animal head hats are all the rage in toyland apparently).

Mmmm.  War Mammoth!  He’s almost as big as the Giant Camel! LOL!

 

NINJA CURSE!!!

Rite Aid is mostly the same stuff (beast packs, midgard serpent) but they also have a really neat 6" line called Ninja Curse.  It features "snap & play" interchangeability!  They had 2 of the 3 figures pictured on the packaging.

 

 

 

 Sculpting and style are similar to Chap Mei’s older Ninja lines, but these boys are chock FULL of play value.

They sport interchangeable joints of various sorts (ball and socket joints as well as simple plugs) and loads of accessories with pegs and holsters.

Here’s the yellow guy disassembled:

 

and his purple buddy menacing my rice cooker:

 

This is the first time I’ve seen Chap Mei venture into a scale larger than 4", and some real thought went into these guys.  The joints for the most part are quite solid (only Yellow Guy’s right knee is a bit loose.)  My only real complaint is that the right arms have no cut joint in the elbow like the left, and are splayed out to the side.  Rather awkwardly posed.  Still, ninja fun was had by all (well, me, my wife and the cat that was "helping" me take photos."

I’m sure this line is not everyone’s cup of tea, as the colors are cornea-scorchingly wild.  But hey, I love stuff like this!

Toys that are toys.  Amen, brother.

 Spy

PS.  Seriously.   I need to find that drill vehicle and the giant freakin’ camel.

  

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Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung
It's the all new, all different SpyMagician! No longer single, no longer an educator, but still 100% Toygeek! "I make good customized actions figures, but I also collect Pokemon. Go figure..."
Read other articles by Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung.

 

 

 

13 Comments »

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Liking the Vikings line a lot. Historical/military figures are always cool.

    The first I ever heard of Chap Mei was when they did a Tomahawk-like copter that could fit a G.I. Joe VAMP jeep inside! I searched high and low for that baby, but no luck.

    Great article, Spy Mag. (Love the rice cooker too, btw.)

  • Jeff Cope says:

    “Toys that are toys”

    Amen, brother, indeed. Good stuff.

  • David says:

    You’re seeing this stuff in the states? I gotta know. Wow. This stuff looks like an insane blast.

  • Tanner says:

    Ah, the simple joys of generic toys (pardon the rhyming). Great blog.

  • CantinaDan says:

    Awesome post, Spy! Had fun reading it. I’ve probably glanced at Chap Mei toys a million times but never paid attention. Thanks for sparking my interest in yet another thing! Good luck finding those you’re looking for.

  • OddJob says:

    Oooooh… I gotta look for those Ninja guys. What was the price on them?

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Ninja Curse were $6.99.

    Glad everyone enjoyed the article!

    Spy

  • JoeAce says:

    I saw the single carded Adventure figures at Big Lots.
    I may buy the Mummy King and repaint him.

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Yeah, the sculpt on the Mummy is rather good, a better paint job would really make it shine!

    I do love how Bomani and King Tutenskull both come apart at the waist and can be attached to the giant serpent and scorpion!!!!

  • Jason Jason Geyer says:

    I’ve been meaning to write a blog about Chap Mei for years; they are just waaaay too cool.

    I remember when I stumbled upon Arctic Adventure Extreme and chased down everything but the Mammoth (which I think never hit the U.S.). If I had the space, I’d get everything they made. I still kind of want to get a whole series and repaint them all in “natural” colors.

    The saddest thing is that their sculpting puts most U.S. companies to shame. The detail they include is just phenomenal, and you can tell a huge amount of thought goes into each line, especially considering how much the reuse existing tooling.

    Can you imagine if Chap Mei got their hands on a Batman license?

  • Jim Abell says:

    Man, I just wish this stuff was easier to get hold of in the states… I still need most of the second run of their pirate line, but now that I know the Adventure Heroes line has hit Big Lots I’ll make it a point to stop in soon! Any sign of the old west line, yet?

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Man, I wish more of this would hit the US!

    Used to be Big Lots would have a BIG section of chap mei around the holiday, but this year it’s paltry! Mixed around with other stuff, and at my big lots, the boxed stuff is on overstocks at various places around the store… NO big sets at all!!!

    I hope more stuff shows up!

    Thus far I dare not even hope for the Stone Age Dinos or the Wild West, I think I’ll be luck to find more Adventure Heroes or Vikings!!!

    Spy

  • Scott Rogers Scott Rogers says:

    It’s a sad commentary on the toy industry that Chap Mei is probably the last toy company that isn’t a slave to licensing.

    That drill machine is pretty damn cool. I might have to track it down.

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