Thanks to DrRampageo from doomkick.com for taking the time to do this awesome list of his top 10 vintage TMNT figures!
When The Daytime Ninja snuck into my house, held a razor sharp kunai to my throat, and asked me to be a part of TMNT week all I could do is gladly accept. I was right in the target demographic when TMNT bust onto the scene, and as soon as I saw them I knew I wanted them. After finally getting my parents to understand what the heck a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was I got a few, and after that it was all over. In all my younger years I donít think any line of toys got more of my parentís money than TMNT. After several moves and some floods all of my vintage toys are pretty much lost to me, so I decided to write up a list of my top 10 favorite TMNT figures. I also made the decision to skip over any of the (multiple) variations of the four heroes in half shell themselves, so here is my list in no particular order of my favorite figures from this diverse and incredible line.
Look past the ridiculous belly shirt/ sweatpants combo on this figure and you will find a pretty awesome guy. Casey Jones always struck a chord with me, he wears a hockey mask, carries his weapons around in an old golf bag, and fights with sports equipment whatís not to like? The best part is as a kid all you need is the hockey mask and an old bat and you have a ready made Casey role play outfit. This figure always brings back fond memories for me so his inclusion on the list was a pretty obvious choice.
Anyone that knows me knows that I am a sucker for faceless grunt troopers, the large squads of Stormtroopers and Cobra troopers on my shelves can speak to that. Loving cannon fodder troops is something that was in full force in the TMNT days, I had at least 6 Foot Soldiers (including that nice shiny metallic one) in my box of TMNT figures. In the original comics these guys were just plain old ninjas, but in the cartoon (for obvious reasons) they were reduced to robots that could easily be chopped to bits. The only thing that would have made me happier as a child than a yet another Foot Soldier is if they had released all the different colored ones from the TMNT arcade games.
I love rock people, I love laser guns, and I love most characters with the word General in their name. These three facts combined into one awesome figure that to my young mind looked ìjust like real rocksîÖboy was I a dumb little kid. Even if he doesnít look like real rocks General Traag is still one sweet figure, in a line where a lot of guys had guns that looked like they shot cats, or pizza, or anything you could imagine a gun NOT shooting General Traag had some serious looking laser guns, plus he had that elbow hinge, which in those days not may figures had making him able to do things most TMNT figures could not.
As a big fan of frogs I was pretty pumped when we saw Genghis here at the toy store one day. Genghis Frog perfectly captures the vibe of the time when TMNT was that hot fire, with his loud colors and surfer dude look. He was part of the ìPunk Frogsî 4 frogs mutated by Shredder (and named after his heroes) to serve as his response to the TMNT, the Punk Frogs eventually realized that Shred Head was a bad guy (as if the outfit didnít give that away) and joined the Turtles in their fight against evil. Genghis was one of two Punk Frogs (the other was Napoleon Bonafrog) to be released in toy from. Iím not sure if these guys pre date Battletoads or if they were in direct response to those characters, but any way you slice it mutated frogs are pretty cool.
Ahh Krang, the disembodied brain who was really the brains (pun intended) behind Shredders plots in the TMNT cartoon. In the original comics there is a race of brain like aliens called the Utroms on which the character Krang was based. Being a brain in a robot walker is a great look, and the walker itself was pretty neat with articulated legs and arms that could be attached to hold his ìbrain drain gunî. Krang got plenty of play at my house, even in non TMNT adventures. Any time you needed a big brainy to be the boss Krang was your go to guy.
A mutated Alligator with a Cajun accent, a bear trap, and a shotgun? Yes please!
Leatherhead had the distinction of looking really different from the other TMNT figures of the era, with his odd bent over stature he really stood out in the field of figures. Being a mutated Alligator (one of the coolest animals) only helped his case. Leatherhead love really reached its peak for me after his awesome boss fight in Turtles in Time which saw him throwing crayfish at the player on a out of control wild west train.
A quick way to my young heart was robots and interchangeable hand attachments, so naturally I was a big fan of Metalhead. The light piping feature of the figure was also neat allowing you to hold him up to the light and make his eyes glow. Metalhead like so many characters in TMNT was created by Shredder to fight the turtles, after a long fight Donatello managed to re program the robot and he became a friend to the turtles. The light piping, arm attachments and vac metal of the figure all made him a very memorable toy. Word is that the new Nickelodeon line of TMNT figures will be releasing a Metalhead figure along with some other weirdo type figures, which is great news for turtles fans.
Honestly I couldnít tell you why I like Rat King so much, but I do perhaps because of his grappling hook made out of rats, or his crossbow that fires rats. Maybe like a lot of my TMNT memories it is because of his boos fight in Turtles in Time. Anyway you slice it Rat King is pretty cool, he is a human who lives in the sewers who has some kind of Willard style control of rats, which puts him at odds with the turtles and their leader Splinter who himself is himself a rat. Despite being mostly a villain there is a few instances of Rat King being an anti hero, and even helping the turtles rescue April OíNeil.
Loving bad guys like I do Slash was a no brainer instantly for me, he is like a dark version of Raphael with wolverine style claws, and he even had a bent sai. Slash is an alien turtle from Dimension X who hates everything the turtles love, and only wants their destruction. Once again Slash had a great boss fight in the SNES (the best version) port of Turtles in Time which really helped endear him in my heart.
Usagi Yojimbo is form a comic titled Usagi Yojimbo and was mistakenly named that in his TMNT cartoon and action figure appearances, his real name is Miyamoto Usagi. This figure was awesome, a cool samurai rabbit with plenty of weapons and some great details on his outfit. The Usagi Yojimbo figure always made me hold out hope for Cerebus the Aardvark figure to appear in the TMNT line, which sadly never happened. Usagi even saw a second release as Space Usagi with a cool space rabbit vibe.
So those are 10 of my favorite TMNT figures from the vintage line.I want to thank Gavin for letting me write something up forTMNT week, and I would like to thank you for reading.
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