Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

It’s time for an all new Vintage Toy of the Month! This month features a special look at a toy line that I wanted to share because it was inspired by the recent Tekken MZ fanfic by NERDSociety’s own editor-in-chief, Paladin! He has been crafting a really great fanfic. I’m playing catch up, and am half way through Part 1 and it is very entertaining. He knows his stuff on these characters. So with all the love for Tekken right now, it only made sense that the Vintage Toy of the Month would do the same.

So let’s look at the Tekken 3 toys that came out in 1998 by Epoch toys. The 90’s was a perfect time for gamers to get in on collecting their favorite characters in figure form. Toy lines from every which way were interested in making video game toy lines. Some lines were awesome while others were unable to really capture the greatness of a game. Luckily sculptor Hiroki Hayashi and Epoch toys took the Tekken 3 line in the perfect direction.

010 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Up first we have Ling Xiaoyu and her pet Panda. The packaging mimicked the look of Tekken 3 with the lightening across the card and the bubble is nice and big to display all the items inside. Ling is one of the more recognizable characters from the game, but for those who have played, there are quite a few.

025 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Looking closer, we can see that articulation for figures have drastically changed since 1998, but this figure still holds up pretty well even though she has limited movement. She is very similar to her appearance in the game. Her pose is accurate. Articulation was limited with the whole line, but during that time, toys were not emphasizing articulation. Sculpting and a pose was more the order of the day.

011 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

The detail is really nice on Ling. I like the coloring throughout the figure; it is very reminiscent of her appearance in the game. I liked her as a character, though she was not my usual go to character to play. She hails from China and loves visiting amusement parks. Many people tend to think that fighting games are just about the fighting, but the characters in these games usually have a very nice story and character development that unfolds depending on winning the tournament or not. The stories were always my favorite part in these fighting games.

Next up for this look back on the Tekken 3 toy line, we have Nina Williams. Packed on the same bubble and card as Ling, Nina actually comes with more items. Both figures come with stands, but Nina has an extra arm and some weapons.

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Her pose is right out of the game too. These figures are battle ready! Ling and Nina were purchased off of eBay about two or three years ago, but I have two other figures that were purchased when this line was still in stores and the process of swapping arms is easy on them. (They look so nice that the fear would be the arms would break or scuff, but that is not the case.)

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More great detail can be seen on Nina. I like her outfit and how accurate it is from the game. In instances like this, I would rather a figure have better detail than articulation. This is a great representation of the character. One game I wish had seen a line like this was Mortal Kombat. Unlike Tekken 3, Mortal Kombat toy lines usually end up focusing on the same characters while the Tekken 3 line by Epoch really went out and made pretty much every character from the game in figure form. Street Fighter is another series that has also managed to see some excellent toy lines where wide assortments of figures were made.

023 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Enough of the ranting though, here is another close up of Nina. She was from Ireland and was an assassin. She also had faulty memory problems. There are certain staples that are found in fighting games. There are always assassins and there are always characters with memory problems. It’s one of the fun things about these games. Fighting games and soap operas have a lot in common, which is why I probably enjoy them both.

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Here is an image of the back of the card. It is similar for both Ling and Nina. Four figures made up the first wave of Tekken 3 toys. Jin Kazama and Paul Phoenix were the other two in this wave. I had crushes on both of them. I have no shame in admitting that. There were plenty more waves that came out and they would be hinted at in the bottom corner. Two faces would be shown while there would be a surprise as who would be coming next. Let’s move on though to the two figures I had back in the 90’s.

026 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Up first is Hwoarang, the arrogant rival of Jin Kazama. He comes from South Korea and he wears chaps! Oh my goodness, I remember getting this figure on clearance at Electronics Boutique and I wanted him to be a love interest for one of my figures. In the 90’s I wrote these massive crossover fanfics where characters from all kinds of properties just coexisted together. Hwoarang was more of a bad boy rocker type in my story that had a love affair with a figure from Samurai Showdown.

027 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

The detail to this figure is really nice. He also came with a guitar, trophy, and stand. I have those pieces in a box somewhere. I have still been in the process of moving and unpacking my collection. I feel as if this will take my entire life to complete. For the time being though I have Hwoarang out and on a shelf with my other fighting characters from video games.

028 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Turned around, there is a great amount of detail to be seen with this figure. I love the print on his shirt and that it is included. Epoch toys really did an amazing job with the details on these figures.

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Our final toy to look at from this line is my favorite. Anna Williams is sisters with Nina and they have a bitter rivalry. (Ya know that bit about Nina having messy memories? Anna is the one to thank for that.) Anna is also an assassin. I mean, if you think about it, I would imagine that most people entering a deadly fighting tournament would have some ties to an assassin’s job. It just seems like a seedy world, ya know? Anyways, let’s just take in the awesomeness that is Anna. This sculpt captures Anna to a T. The colors pop and the dress sculpt is just awesome. I always wanted a dress just like this when I was younger. (It’s scary to think, I was at the end of my teens when this game came out.)

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I love the hair sculpt on this figure. Hair sculpts are important to me with toys, because in many cases, female figures are often given crappy hair sculpts because the theory being that female figures are not going to sell as well as a male figure, so why put in the same level of quality. I think that is total garbage. This style of hair is also one that I used to wear a lot when I was a teen. I loved bangs and a bob.

032 Vintage Toy of the Month: Tekken 3!

Anyways, I digress. A back view of this figure shows off an impressive sculpted bow and gorgeous bird design on the side. I love the colors and whimsy of this outfit. Also, she came with an extra arm, some weapons, and a stand. Much like Hwoarang though, those items are packed away. I feel like I had bought her at Electronics Boutique too. This toy line actually got me into playing the games. At that time there was such a huge list of fighting games to play and though I was up to date on most of them, I wasn’t exactly playing every single one. However, with a great toy line ready for my collector’s hands, I played the game and enjoyed it.

Tekken 3 certainly wins my vote for one of the best video game toy lines. The line still holds up to the present day. Collecting it is hit or miss. Some figures are affordable while others are incredibly pricey. All in all, this line reminds me of a time when collecting was full of giant possibilities. New games and stories were being told, and all kinds of interesting toy lines were following as a result. The late 90’s was a fun time for collecting, which is a silly statement, because there has never really been a bad time for collecting; at least for me.

So enjoy the Vintage Toy of the Month! Remember, every month around the 15th, we look back on an older toy line. It’s always fun and you never know what will show up next! Take care everyone.

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