The first Robin Hood action figure was produced by the Mego Corp. in 1975.
Despite Robin Hoods popularity in movies and on the TV there has been very little merchandising and the next line of figures wasn't produce until 15 years later by Kenner Toys.in 1991.
In 1975 Mego released a very popular and beautifully made set of four figures based on the legend of Robin Hood. Being based on public domain figures and characters meant that Mego didn’t have to pay any licensing fees, as with the Super Knights, which freed up more money to be spent on the sculpting and accessories. As a result these are some of the best figures that Mego produced.
As well as the four figures known to exist, i.e. Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet, it is rumored that a Maid Marion and Sheriff of Nottingham were released as part of a European exclusive Nottingham Castle playset , but neither the playset or figures have ever been seen.
The Robin Hood figure is thought to be based on the Errol Flynne version of the character and the Will Scarlett figure uses the head sculpt from the Galahad and Zorro figures.
The figures were packaged in window boxes that were popular at the time and allowed customers to see the figures before purchasing them.
The most common of these figures is the Friar Tuck figure and Robin Hood features both the Type 1 and Type 2 bodies, with the Type 1 body being the most common and the rarest and most valuable of the four is the Will Scarlet figure, which was produced in much lower quantities than the others.
The prices of these figures can vary considerably depending on their condition, whether boxed or loose and whether all the accessories are available.
This figures weren’t popular in the States so were discontinued after their first production line, however other foreign distributors continued to sell them, such as Marks in the UK, Baravelli in Italy and Toltoys in Australia, who simply added their logo to the front of the box. Most of these foreign figures were produced on the type 2 Mego bodies.
1975/76 Mego Robin Hood and His Merry Men
• Robin Hood 250.00
• Little John 150.00
• Friar Tuck 150.00
• Will Scarlet 350.00
In action figure terminology the word kitbashing refers to a figure or figures that consist almost purely from bodies and parts from a mix-match of other line and the Kenner 1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a prime example of this practice. In fact Robin Hood’s body is famously made from a Super Powers Green Arrow (minus the knee articulation).
Kenner released this line after the huge success of the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves movie in 1991, starring Kevin Costner, and rushed to produce a line of action figures. There were seven figures released in the original line: Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett, the Shariff of Nottingham, Azeem and the Dark Warrior.
There were two different Robin Hood figures released, the first with a generic head sculpt which was quickly replaced by a (supposedly) Kevin Costner head, but it is the non-Costner head sculpt that is the rarer of the two. Aside from that none of the figures really bore much resemblance to their real life counterparts. Both of these figures were released with either a Long Bow or Crossbow.
A second series was also rumored to have been in the pipeline which was to include a Sean Connery King Richard figure but, alas it was not to be. The Kenner Friar Tuck figure in this line was short packed and as a result has also become quite collectible and sells for prices upwards of $30.
The figures weren’t the only things cannibalized from other lines. If you look closely at the Battle Wagon it is in fact just a repainted Ewok Battle Wagon from the Star Wars Power of the Force line.
Despite this, this set is quite unique and is certainly worth obtaining, particularly as they are generally relatively cheap and easy to pick up yet provide an excellent piece of nostalgia, and film history.
1991 Kenner ROBIN HOOD, PRINCE OF THIEVES
• Long Bow Robin Hood (#05810)
• original non-Costner head 4 1/2" Figures 18.00
• Long Bow Robin Hood 8.00
• Crossbow Robin Hood (#05820) original non-Costner head 18.00
• Crossbow Robin Hood (#05820) 8.00
• Little John with Quarterstaff (#05830) 14.00
• Azeem with Scimitar (#05840) 12.00
• Sheriff of Nottingham with Sword (#05850) 8.00
• Friar Tuck with Battle Staff (#05860) 30.00
• Will Scarlett with Crossbow (#05870) 20.00
• The Dark Warrior with Pike Scythe (#05880) 20.00
Vehicles and Accessories
• Net Launcher (#05890) 10.00
• Bola Bomber (#05910) 10.00
• Battle Wagon (#05920) 20.00
• Sherwood Forest playset (#05930)
In 2004 The Figures Toy Company release a line of Retro Robin Hood action figures based on the original four figures from Mego.
However these figures were, unfortunately, inferior to the originals although they were good reproductionsthey bear some very clear differences. For a full breakdown on these and over cool facts about this line please see http://www.megomuseum.com/galleries/?s=robin+hood.