Last week I took the plunge and finally copped some of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles occupying store shelves. Needless to say I’m geeked as hell, so hit the jump to hear more on this re-kindled love affair in a half shell!
It’s been about 15 years since I laid my hands on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right. Let me try that again…
About 15 years have passed since I experienced the sweet sensation of caressing a Ninja Turtle in the palm of my hand. Yeah, that’s much less creepy. Anyways, the current TMNT series has been on the shelves for awhile now, and while they caught my eye immediately I was reluctant to begin collecting yet another action figure line. I also really didn’t want to hear any more griping from my wife, who is becoming increasingly pissed at the scarcity of breathable air in our home due to the volumetric spacial occupancy of my ever-growing toy collection. However, like a true addict, last week I threw sensibility and moderation to the wind and copped a fat sack of little green homeboys straight from the sewer. The bender I have been on since has been glorious and beyond any juvenile Hangover-type shenanigans, and I didn’t have to pull out my own tooth or get rocked in the face by Mike Tyson to experience it.
The last TMNT figures I owned were the 1998 Kay-Bee Toys exclusive reissues of the original Turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael. For reasons unknown to me, mostly because of the four-year-long blackout otherwise known as my college experience, I have no idea what I did with them. I suspect that I either gave them to a child in need, or more likely bartered them for a 40 oz. bottle of ice-cold Colt 45. Don’t judge me, Lando Calrissian ain’t playin’ when he says “it works every time”.
Prior to that, in the late ’80s and early ’90s my brother and I had amassed quite a large collection of TMNT figures, all of which were lost during the Great Saunders Move of 1993. As I recall, the TMNT collection suffered the same fate as my revered Transformers collection, in that my younger brother borrowed and left them all at a friend’s house in St. Louis, forgetting he did so until we had already moved about 600 miles away. No amount of noogies, wedgies, or farts to the face could rectify the gross negligence that had transpired, and to this day I won’t allow him entrance to the man cave without an armed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent present. We had some fantastic figures—tons of Turtle variations, Super Shredder, Casey Jones, Triceraton, Foot Soldier, Baxter Stockman, Slash, Bebop & Rocksteady, Tokka & Rahzar, Metalhead, Chromedome, Groundchuck, Ray Fillet, etc. Too bad my brother’s letter to the diminutive poindexter he left my toys with fell upon deaf, morally bankrupt ears, otherwise I could have been saved a decade in therapy and anger management classes.
For no other reason than to aggressively blow off a bit of creative steam, I am going to assume there are some folks in the toy community who will scoff at my recent dabbling in all things Turtle. They may even accuse me of jumping on some sort of bandwagon to gain acceptance or enhance my online nerd swagger. It might sound ridiculous to the average reader, but there has been a recent trend in various Instagram collector circles of people throwing such accusations around. Ironically, these are the same people who feel compelled to post screenshots of their invoice every time they purchase some super-weird ThreeA Jesus Christ figure for $200, hoping someone will notice them and finally give a crap about their shuttered existence.
Let me put all such haters on immediate notice—my Ninja Turtle pedigree runs mad deep, their arms aren’t long enough to box with me nor pull my nerd card. I had my Turtle Blimp filled with helium when most of these so-called “toy hipsters” were sitting around blowing air into theirs like a bunch of chipmunk-cheeked constipated sycophants. Frankly, their opinion is not worth the paper upon which their most recent Paypal receipt for $300 worth of Danbo figures is printed.
Phew! I have to say that if felt quite good to get that chip off of my shoulder. Now onto the good stuff: the 2012–13 Playmates TMNT figures I scored last week. They are amazing, highly articulated, with detailed sculpts that are just the right aesthetic balance of the 1988 Turtles and the current Nickelodeon animated series. They feature 19 points of articulation, which allows them to strike pretty much any ninja pose you would need or want them to. Each Turtle has a unique skin tone and features- the crack in the front side of Raphael’s shell stands out to me as a small but awesome detail totally befitting his hard-ass Brooklyn-brawler demeanor.
The crazy part about all of this is that I totally passed on the two collector-oriented TMNT lines currently in stores- the TMNT 25th Anniversary Reissue figures available for$12.99 each, and the 6″ TMNT Classic Collection figures priced at $19.99. When looking at the cost (the current basic TMNT figures retail for $8.99 each), articulation, and aesthetic appeal of each series, I chose the “kiddie” line above all others. They are just that damn good.
So, if you have been holding back on these figures, I would strongly advise you to take a similar leap of faith and go pick yourself up a set ASAP. I promise you won’t split your skull on a manhole cover.