Toy Biz 5-inch Jean Grey custom toy

Of all the characters Toy Biz made five-inch X-Men action figures of during their legendary run in the 1990s, they somehow never made this 1991 Jean Grey design.

Well, that’s not ENTIRELY true. This version of Jean DID come out in the 1997 ONSLAUGHT wave, but she was an inch taller than the entire rest of the X-Men. That could work for a character like She-Hulk, but not Jean.

Otherwise, a variant of this costume with extra armor bits came out in the Space Riders line…

And the Marvel Hall of Fame: She-Force line saw a repaint of the X-Force Domino figure, which was pretty close, but gave Jean extra straps and gear that she never wore (but Domino certainly did)…

Jean DID get some good figures, including as both Phoenix and Dark Phoenix, as well as two of her X-Factor costumes, and an okay version of her green minidress outfit from the 1960s. But never just a decent, comic-accurate toy of her early 1990s look. So I had to fix that.

In 2000, Toy Biz did a bunch of re-releases and repaints under the name X-Men Classics, and they released this Jean:

Okay, that’s a decent start. She’s missing her shoulder pads, gauntlets, and those weird hip pads. And she’s got a shorter haircut than usual, but it’s not the worst. I knew I could sculpt some of the minor details, but the hair. That would be tricky…

You wouldn’t know it now, with how many 5-POA, 3.75-inch toys I’ve bought in 2021, but back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I was kind of an articulation nut. If a figure didn’t have bendable elbows and knees, I generally wasn’t into them. I recognize the irony of saying that, as Jean only had the 5 points of articulation herself, but I was gonna be painting her. In terms of customs, I find the fewer the joints, the easier things go.

Besides, Toy Biz re-made and rereleased most major characters every couple of years anyways, it seemed, so at the time I felt that this Black Cat was expendable… especially since, as it turned out, her hair was a separate piece from her head! Coincidentally, Jean’s hair was ALSO a separate piece from her head. This is a more common practice now, but in the 90s, it was basically unheard of.

Anyways. Two haircuts, some sculpted details, and a whole lotta paint later, and I had my own 5-inch Jean Grey!

I decided to leave off her mid-bicep pads that were inconsistent, and I painted the hip pads blue, because making them off-yellow always seemed like a weird choice to me. I also painted her tights YELLOW like in Jim Lee’s X-Men #1, instead of the weird light orange that she was in the cartoon that made it look like she was half-nude all the time.

She’s been hanging around for almost 20 years now and has moved house a few times, so some areas could use some touching up. But for now, this is where she stands. And I’m still pretty happy with her, overall.

Jean Grey, X-Men, Black Cat, and all related characters are owned by Marvel Comics, a subsidiary of Disney.

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