I feel like I need a little break with all of the TMNT reviews I’ve been doing lately. I could use a break from action figure reviews all together, but I have quite the backlog and I buy tons of them so I only have myself to blame for that. Today, we’re looking at last year’s event exclusive Super Saiyan 2 Goku from Bandai’s S.H.Figuarts line. For the past couple of years, Bandai has been doing event exclusives like basically everyone because they sell well, but with Bandai they’re not exclusive to any one event. The same cast of characters tends to get sold at multiple conventions and when that’s all done they also put them up for order on their Premium Bandai website. The only downside to ordering online is the wait as it’s sort of a made-to-order situation. I wish they would just unload their stock first and then turn to that, but instead, other retailers seem to get the unsold merch which they sell on their storefronts at inflated prices. The waiting isn’t that big of an issue though, and most of these event exclusive figures have just been repaints of older figures which is great because it gets them back out there and often looking better than before. Last year’s round of exclusives included re-releases of Majin Buu, Android 16, and Shenron, but the only one I grabbed was Super Saiyan 2 Goku.
The Super Saiyan 2 transformation is perhaps the most boring of Goku’s transformations. I think it’s due in part to the original planned ending for Dragon Ball being the battle between Gohan and Perfect Cell. Gohan would ascend to a level beyond Super Saiyan, and for him, the transformation looked pretty different from his Super Saiyan look. His hair stood all the way up, looked to be longer and fuller, and then you got the aura and lightning effects. Series creator Akira Toriyama was convinced to keep going though so we got another arc and in that one it was decided that Goku needed to be the main hero once again. This meant he needed to achieve the same level of power as his offspring and then go beyond that. Super Saiyan 2 was the big transformation for the Cell arc, but for the Buu one it was Super Saiyan 3 allowing the Super Saiyan 2 look to essentially be an afterthought as it concerned Goku. As a result, it doesn’t look much different from the standard Super Saiyan look. Goku basically just loses most of his bangs and his hair is a bit spikier plus he gets the same aura with blue lightning effects. Simple, but still kind of cool. As sort of the forgotten and less celebrated transformation, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Mostly, it was Bandai’s approach to the aura that got me to pounce on this one.
This Goku figure is more than familiar at this point. He is exactly the same as almost every Goku figure I’ve reviewed so I’m not going to go into too great of detail for this review. I mostly just want to talk about what’s new. For the sculpt, it’s very little. We get a brand new hair piece that has a nice shape to it and is evocative of the Super Saiyan 2 look. There’s a metallic gold paint in use, which is typical of these event exclusives, and it does give it a very nice shimmer. Considering this is a form that is known to basically always feature an aura, I think this paint job works better than usual. It helps distinguish it from a Super Saiyan look. Would I want all Super Saiyan hair pieces to feature this paint job? Ehh, probably not. I like the yellow in play on my Super Vegeta and the shading is done well on that figure. I’ll be talking about it eventually, but the recently released Super Saiyan Gohan head went in a different direction and I’m still sorting out my feelings on that one. I’d love to see Bandai try casting the hair in white and then hitting it with an airbrush of yellow. Absent that, this looks good. The only thing I don’t like are the pieces of hair off to the sides of Goku’s head. There is a sizable gap between his forehead and these pieces that just looks unnatural to me. It looks like they should either be right on his head, or further from it. They do at least hide the sideburns and the seem created by the hairpiece behind them. This Goku also has a halo since this is Goku from when he takes on Majin Vegeta, which also explains the more basic gi he’s wearing that lacks any markings on it. I’ve never really liked the halo effects when it comes to Dragon Ball toys because even if the post is transparent, you still see it. It just pegs into the hair, but it doesn’t seem to want to come out so it might be glued in. I’m tempted to just rip it out, but I’ll probably leave it.
As for the body, the only other new part is the chest. Since this is Goku from his brief return to Earth, his shirt is ripped which was something that occured during his fight with Yakon. He would go Super Saiyan 2 to battle Vegeta shortly after. There’s a sculpted rip in the orange part of his top and it looks okay, but it really could use more paint. Most companies would paint the inside of the rip darker than the outside. Just like most Goku figures, the only paint is really the blue and the flesh-tone of the upper torso, the blue on the sleeves, and the boots. The boots aren’t as clean as they are on some of the other Goku figures I have, even the budget-friendly Target offerings, so that’s a bummer. He does appear to have some light shading in parts. It appears to be yellow on the legs and a little on the torso to help sell his glow, but it’s very subtle. I wish there was more paint as the orange has a very plastic look to it, as do his arms and neck, but this isn’t a line known for using a lot of paint. He still has the floating crotch pieces which have a tendency to rattle around and feel cheap, but they work with the articulation so I don’t mind them as much as some folks do. I do hate the sleeves and how they pin into the shoulders and handling this figure just illustrates how Goku is in need of a redesign. They can do better than this and this mold is getting pretty long in the tooth.
For accessories, we get the standard assortment of hands: fists, splayed, martial arts posed, Kamehameha hands, and a set of hands in a two finger pose for his instant transmission technique. For faceplates, we have four varieties: stoic, cocky, yelling, and a teeth-gritting expression. The face printing on all four is terrific and very much in-line with the more recently released Super Hero Goku so at least that’s one advancement this figure possesses. The other accessory is the main one and it’s an aura effect. It’s a big, yellow, burst that can be positioned behind the figure. It’s a much sturdier part than the others I have and it’s cast in translucent plastic that alternates from being clear to yellow to clear and to yellow once again. It’s a new mold when compared with the stand-alone one Bandai sells and I’m guessing they did a new one because this has some extra bits. Four, blue, translucent, plastic, sparking effects are included. They attach to the yellow effect via a ball peg at the end. This allows them to be manipulated so when you place Goku in front of the backdrop effect the lightning can be positioned coming around him. It’s a terrific idea to try and sell the Super Saiyan 2 transformation, though the execution is lacking. The ball pegs are really hard to get into the yellow effect. I even snapped one trying to get it in and had to glue it back together. There’s no reason why it needed to be this challenging to pull off. Once they’re in they at least stay in and the effect works well enough. It’s very specialized so this isn’t an effect you’re likely to use with other figures, but if you wanted to I suppose you could use it with Majin Vegeta or the new Super Saiyan Gohan, but then your Goku doesn’t have an aura to stand in front of.
That’s essentially it though. I’m not going to run through the articulation since this is the same figure I’ve reviewed before and some of them are linked below. If you’ve been collecting DBZ Figuarts releases then you know this one pretty well. And if you have all of the Goku figures then Super Saiyan 2 is the missing link, so to speak, as they’ve never done it before. I’m guessing that made this one fairly popular. I’m curious if he’ll get a more standard release at some point without the metallic paint job and maybe without the torn shirt. It’s a bit odd to make the Super Saiyan 2 form an event exclusive, but it was also easy to get so I suppose it’s like any P-Bandai release. If you want it, you’ll have to venture out onto the aftermarket. Some retailers have this figure still in stock, but it’s pricey. I don’t think this release is worth paying over 100 bucks for, but if you really want a Super Saiyan 2 Goku and somehow missed out then I guess you have no choice. Just be prepared to keep your expectations in check. You’re paying for new hair and an effect part as the body has been done before. And if that’s fine with you then go ahead. I’m personally a little underwhelmed and certainly annoyed by the quality of the plastic as it relates to the sparking effects. I don’t resent having this in my collection, but I probably could have done without considering I don’t even have Super Saiyan Goku or Super Saiyan 3. I guess I like the Super Saiyan 2 form more than I realized.
Need to know more about how this Goku articulates or want to see how good he could be with a redesign? Look no further:
Back in the early 2000s I was a collector of Irwin Toys’ Dragon Ball Z line of action figures. When I started collecting that line, I just focused on my favorite characters which were primarily Vegeta, Trunks, and Piccolo. Gradually, the collector impulse took over and I started buying entire waves as they came out…
As part of the promotion for the film Dragon Ball Super – Super Hero, Bandai released a wave of action figures from its S.H. Figuarts brand of characters from the film. The neat thing was, these releases were actually really cheap relative to other SHF releases with a MSRP of just $35. Of the four,…
That is quite the mouthful, is it not? The Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku is the latest action figure from Bandai’s S.H.Figuarts to arrive in Target stores in the US. This form of Goku is what happens when a Saiyan ascends to Super Saiyan God level, and then goes Super Saiyan again. Confused?…
When it comes to character selection in NECA’s line of action figures based on the 1987 cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I think it’s safe to say we’re well into the weeds. This latest batch to arrive at Target as part of the company’s branded Haulathon have certainly illustrated that. Aside from heroic versions of Bebop and Rocksteady, I don’t think any of these characters would be considered household names. Even for people who consumed countless hours of the show as kids, many of these characters are probably hard for them to even recall. That is certainly true for today’s two-pack featuring Chakahachi and Lotus. For me, someone who has been immersed in TMNT since I was 4, I do recall the character of Lotus, or Lotus Blossom, but not because I can recall anything specific about her from the show. I’ve just come to think of her as a stand-in for the more popular Karai, a character who appeared in the comics and in most other versions of TMNT. As for Chakahachi? That’s a big “Nope” from me. I had to go digging to remember this guy and I honestly don’t know if I ever saw his episode. I probably did, as I’ve seen pretty much all of them save for every episode of the “Red Sky” era, but this ghost certainly didn’t leave an impression.
Who is Chakahachi? Well, he’s a ghost, which you may have surmised just by looking at him. He appeared in the episode “Farewell, Lotus Blossom” which was right in the heart of Season 4 airing in 1990 during peak Turtle-Mania. He should be memorable, but for whatever reason he is not. He was a leader of a clan baring his own name, but was sealed away in an urn with a magic pearl. When the urn was shattered in modern times, his ghost was set free to ravage the people of New York as he frantically searched for his beloved wife. He’s not really a villain, just a tragic ghost tale, and once his issue was resolved by the return of said pearl he went away never to be seen or heard from again. And it makes sense to pair him with Lotus since she was featured in that episode and somehow contained the spirit of the guy’s long dead wife. Like I said, I don’t remember the details. As for Lotus, she’s a ninja-for-hire who briefly usurps Shredder. She basically develops some feelings for Leonardo that could be classified as romantic, but it never goes anywhere. She did get to make more than one appearance in the show and in terms of the B-list characters she was somewhat high on the list of requests.
Let’s talk about the ninja ghost first. Chakahachi stands at approximately 6.75″ to the top of his hair, excluding the ponytail. He’s dressed as presented in the show wearing an old-fashioned ninja or samurai outfit that’s done in a range of blues. The armor is painted with more earthy colors and it pairs well with the pale blue of his flesh. I suppose it should be noted that in the show he was most often gargantuan in size, but I don’t think collectors were all that interested in paying $150 for a Chakahachi so this seems reasonable. He also was a normal size for parts of the episode so it’s not like this is inaccurate. Like most figures in this line, Chakahachi is painted from head to toe. It’s applied very well with virtually no blemishes on my figure. I’m especially impressed with how clean the line-work is around the yellow eyes which really help them pop. The cel-shading is fairly understated as the difference in the dark portion of the pants is barely perceptible when viewed from the side. It’s most noticeable on the more teal portions and the armor. The shoulder pauldron, I guess we’ll call it, is rather interesting as NECA put it on a hinged joint to help it get out of the way when moving the arm at the shoulder. It’s fine, but looks a little odd from certain angles. It also feels quite fragile so do be careful. Much of the torso features a soft plastic overlay and it looks quite good, but is going to present some problems when we get to the articulation in a moment.
Chakahachi being a ninja ghost probably doesn’t seem like the type of character that demands much in the way of accessories, but NECA did a solid job of loading this guy up. He has three sets of hands to make use of: fists, gripping, and open. The gripping hands, sadly, feature the wrong hinge which matters here since he has a pair of swords. Or rather, a katana and a dagger. Both have a scabbard and each one slots into a pair of rings on his belt. The setup does feel a bit fragile and I would suggest you go ahead and heat those rings with some warm hotter just a bit before inserting the scabbards to play it safe. The two bladed weapons slide in and out of the scabbards just fine at least. The dagger has a pretty simple paint job, but the katana is quite nice. It features a wrapped handle which looks quite clean though the blade seems rather thin. The open hands that Chakahachi comes with are slightly clenched to make use of his ghostly powers. In a rarity for this line, we get three effect parts: a small flame, a ball of energy, and a fireball effect. All are cast in semi-translucent plastic that has a hint of pink to it which imparts an ethereal quality. The little flame and the ball of flame or energy can rest in the open palm while the fireball effect is a more pliable plastic that actually wraps around the figure’s forearm. It’s done really well and I love how he looks with these effects to the point where I can’t even see myself posing him with the swords. And since he has three effect parts, but only two hands, it frees one up for another figure which is something I can appreciate.
Paint and accessories are the strengths of this figure, because articulation very much is not. Chakahachi possesses the standard range of joints, but he can’t make use of them all. The head is on a double ball peg which allows the head to do everything it needs to do. The shoulders are ball-hinged joints and they rotate just fine while raising out to the side to a horizontal position, being mindful that the left arm is a touch more limited due to that shoulder obstruction. The bicep swivels quite high on the joint, but it works just fine while the double-jointed elbows will bend past 90 degrees a healthy amount. The wrists swivel and all of the hinges are of the horizontal variety. That’s all the good stuff, the rest of the figure is not much to write home about. The torso is pretty much locked in place due to the overlay. You get nothing out of the diaphragm and the waist twist doesn’t work very well either. Whenever I try to rotate at the waist he wants to snap back in the opposite direction and I assume the overlay is to blame. The hips would be fine if not for the skirt. NECA declined to put slits in it anywhere which is a surprise because it’s segmented by design, but it’s all one piece. Because of that, he can’t do splits and can barely kick forward and back. You do get a little pivot at the thigh and the knees are double-jointed, but because the top hinge is buried in the cuffs of the pants it doesn’t really do much. I can force a 90 degree bend out of it, at least. There might be a boot swivel because my left leg doesn’t appear to be lined up properly, but I can’t get it to budge. I can get a little rotation though out of the top of the knee and the ankle. The ankle also has the customary hinge and rocker and both work fine. The rocker is pretty steep, but the range is good.
It’s a bit of a bummer that Chakahachi doesn’t articulate below the waist better than he does. I’m actually okay with the knees and ankles, it’s really the waist and hips. I suppose it wouldn’t be that hard to cut slits into the skirt for better range, but I’m not the type to customize my figures. They cost too much and I don’t trust myself. That would have solved a lot of the issues though. I’m not really sure why the waist won’t twist, but maybe it’s just that the tolerance is off on the ball joint there. The effect parts don’t require a ton of posing, at least. He can stand like a statue and look intimidating, but if you prefer the swords and for this guy to look more like an actual ninja you may be let down.
That’s the rundown on Chakahachi, but how about his not-wife Lotus? She’s another ninja character and the second female figure from this recent batch of figures, which is pretty cool. The TMNT franchise is fairly light on women so it’s nice to see the few that are a part of it get figures. Lotus is far more slight than her box-mate coming in at approximately 5.75″ to the top of her hair. She’s not particularly short for this line, but she is more slender. At the same time, she has some really long legs which is somewhat atypical of the show’s look which tended to squish most of its characters. I don’t know if she had exceptionally long legs in the show, but it looks fine here. Her hair is done with a swoop in the front that partially covers her face and adds a dynamic element to her presentation. Her expression is quite stoic, befitting the character, and her all gray and black attire makes her the most “ninja” of them all as well. There’s no garrish colors on display with Lotus which feels almost out of place. Her paintjob is not particularly demanding, but she does feature the cel-shading with gray on the front and black on the back. The paint on her belt is fairly clean, though the right side isn’t painted so you see gray when looking at her from an angle. There’s also some black paint on the jaw of my figure which is unfortunate, but I was able to get most of it off with a magic eraser to the point where it may not even be noticeable in my pictures. The paint around her mouth and eyes is sharp though, but where it’s not is on her hands. She has little armored bits on the back of her hand which go over the hinge. NECA cast the hinge in flesh-tone and painted gray onto them. This will flake off almost immediately if you make use of that hinge. It’s also not cleanly applied on all of the hands. Overall, she looks okay, she’s just not as flashy as Chakahachi.
For accessories, Lotus comes with an assortment of hands: fists, gripping, and open. The fists actually have a small hole through them so they can handle her actual lotus blossom accessory. It’s a nicely painted flower and it slots into either hand just fine. The gripping hands are interesting because they’re at a slight angle. Rather than just give them the proper vertical hinge, the angled shape allows Lotus to point her sword towards an enemy. It’s different, and while I’d rather she just have the proper hinge for her gripping hands I will say it’s better than the more straight up and down hands we usually get with the wrong hinge. And she does have a sword to swing with those hands. It’s shaped like a katana, though with a very slender blade similar to Chakahachi’s. It too has a wrapped handle, but is done with more muted colors. There’s a scabbard for it that slides into a ring on the back of the figure and that was fairly painless to insert. If you would rather a ranged weapon, she also has a short bow with an accompanying arrow. It has a real string and the arrow has a little cut-out so you can “nock” it if you wish. The string is very taut, however, and there’s not much flex to the bow so I wouldn’t go nuts. Getting her to hold it in a convincing fashion is also another matter entirely. Lotus also comes with the scent analyzer, one of the silliest devices from the show. It looks like a handheld vacuum cleaner, but with a nose at the end of the hose. It’s goofy, but the type of thing I want to see in plastic form. Plus, it’s something she actually used. It doesn’t feature any articulation though which feels like a missed opportunity. It almost looks like the hose is connected via a ball joint, but it doesn’t want to do anything and I don’t want to break it.
Lastly, Lotus comes with an alternate head featuring her hooded look. I’d tell you how nice it looks on her if I could get it on. When I tried to pop her head off, the double-ball peg in her head came out of the neck instead. Her head should come clean off, but I couldn’t get the damn thing out. To make it worse, I ended up popping the neck off from the double-ball peg it connects to thinking maybe the other head could go on that way, but it does not and getting the neck back onto her torso was a huge pain in the ass. I was heating it, applying lubrication, stretching out the hole, and I could not get it back on. I had to walk away and come back to it a few days later and I eventually got it back on, but there was no way I was going to try it again. The head looks fine, it’s well-painted and everything, but it’s not how I remember her. Plus, she has the remnants of the cowl sculpted onto her torso so it doesn’t make sense for her to have this head. We see stuff like this with superhero figures all of the time, and even NECA’s own Renet did this, where there’s a little removable loop for the cowl when a character isn’t wearing a hood or mask. I don’t know why NECA passed on that here, but it also creates the issue where her neck is flesh-colored when the cowl should cover it so with the ninja hood on she’ll look kind of silly. I’m sure that can be posed away to a degree, but it doesn’t feel like this alternate look was well thought out.
In terms of articulation, Lotus is anther mixed bag. The head, as detailed above, is on a double ball peg and the neck is on another double ball peg. This gives her a ton of range at the head and neck, though her hair gets in the way and if the scabbard is on her back that can be problematic too. She can rotate and look down, but the hair prevents her from looking up and restricts the more nuanced posing we’re accustomed to. I assume the hooded head has zero restrictions and probably moves pretty well, though it looks like the ball joint is designed to sit rather deep in the head so maybe its not as free as I expect. Since I can’t get it on, I don’t care. The shoulders are ball-hinged and she can raise her arms out to the side just fine. Unfortunately, they’re pretty floppy which is an unusual problem for a NECA figure. They rotate around fine and she gets the NECA double-jointed elbows featuring a swivel and hinge above and below the elbow. This allows her to bend past 90 degrees just fine and the more baggy design of these limbs also suits this style of joint pretty well. The hands rotate and hinge and all of the hinges are of the horizontal variety. They’re also all stuck out of the box. Her hands are rather dainty, so be careful when trying to free them. There’s nothing in the diaphragm and her waist will only provide some twisting motion. Her hips are really tight, and similar to my Rex-1, they make an awful clicking noise when trying to kick forward. I can just about force them to horizontal, but the figure is fighting me all the way. Going out to the side isn’t an issue as she can handle splits and she does kick back a bit, but her diaper piece includes a fairly ample posterior that will get in the way. There’s a little swivel at the thigh and the knees are double-jointed. The bottom hinge is stuck on both legs, but she should be able to bend past 90 degrees though doing so really illustrates how most of the length in her legs is below the knee. There’s no boot swivel, which is a surprise as one could have been added rather easily, but the ankle hinge and rocker combo works well.
Lotus is a bit of a frustration figure from a design perspective. Articulating her is not particularly fun as it feels like the figure is fighting me the whole way whether it’s the floppy shoulders that don’t want to stay in play, the hinges in the wrists that won’t move, or the hips which practically scream whenever they’re manipulated. Her gripping hands are also pretty firm so slotting the accessories into them is a pain. The sword works fine, but the bow and the scent analyzer are more of a challenge. She is one of those figures where you’re best off just using hot water on her hands before trying to get her to hold most of her stuff. And that second head is a bummer. While I was unlikely to display her with it, it would have been fun to snap some photos or maybe to change things up. Especially if it really freed up her head articulation like I imagine it would.
This two-pack is one where the figures look pretty fine in poses that aren’t particularly ambitious. Chakahachi has the accessories and presence to pull it off, while the Lotus design is attractive on its own. I do feel like Lotus should pose better though and really she should be one of the most dynamic figures in the whole line. There’s not much to her that should prevent NECA from really going all out on the articulation, but they just didn’t do a great job there and I’m not sure what the reason for that is other than she’s just kind of a dud. As a result, I prefer Chakahachi, even though it was Lotus I was looking forward to more. The fact that both can still look cool on a shelf is why I feel like I can still recommend this set to the TMNT collector out there that wants to go deep. Obviously, these are characters that a more casual collector probably doesn’t need or even have interest in. The design and effect parts on Chakahachi make him rather appealing to me personally, but is that enough to get someone who has no idea who these characters are to drop 60 bucks on the set? That’s probably a tougher call.
The Chakahachi and Lotus set is part of the TMNT toon line and is therefore exclusive to Target stores for the time being. Unfortunately, their online drop has come and gone and I don’t think it can be expected that they will return to the website. They were also part of the first week of the Haulathon event, but it looks like they’re being restocked in-store as I write this. As always, their distribution will vary by region in the US and your local stores may have already received a second batch or could still be waiting on it to arrive. It’s also possible that following the initial drop and online sale that any restock will hang out a bit longer this time around as people who want them get them. This is a set that really shouldn’t sell fast given the obscurity of the pair, but these Haulathon events are rather successful at generating buzz which helps to get product moving. It’s why we’re probably not done with this style of release, whether we like it or not.
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So just who is Zog? Well, he’s an alien dinosaur from the comics who is kind of an ally to the turtles. Not so much willingly, for you see, Earth’s air isn’t conducive to the Triceratons and when they don’t get the right concentration of whatever the air is on their planet they basically start to go insane. I think his brain is literally decaying in the comics to the point where he mistakes Raphael for a commanding officer. It was the Utrom who brought him unwillingly to Earth and he was able to escape to the sewers where he resides for about a year before coming into contact with Raph. By then, his clothing is tattered and so is his mind. The Utrom, being a common foe for the turtles and Zog, is basically a unifier, but a run-in with the Shredder clones ends Zog’s miserable existence prematurely. That makes it rather appropriate that he gets released at the same time as the clones, but if you’re familiar with TMNT, then you know Zog was just the start of the turtles’ involvement with the Triceratons. The interactions that followed tended to be less pleasant.
Zog is our fourth Triceraton from NECA following three in the toon line. The Triceratons are always depicted as bipedal dinosaur creatures resembling a triceratops. They usually have an orange complexion and tend to like being destructive. Zog, is essentially a big, orange, dinosaur in a purple jumpsuit. This is being a NECA comic release means he goes beyond that basic description as he is loaded up with detail. It all starts with the sculpt which is credited to Gurjeet Singh and Kushwara Studios on the box. There’s tons of texture to every inch of this guy. He’s scaly, lumpy, wrinkly to the point where there is hardly a smooth surface anywhere that’s larger than an M&M. And not one of those standard sized M&Ms, I’m talking those little mini ones that come in the tube. He’s sculpted in orange plastic, but there’s a wash basically everywhere to make him grimy and dirty and basically like someone who spent a year in a sewer. There’s some orange paint as a base coat as well because it flakes off of the hinged joints and does reveal a pale orange beneath. That’s basically the only eyesore to be found with this guy as he looks imposing. I love how the jumpsuit has just a hit of gloss in places to create the illusion of a shimmery spacesuit. His sleeves are completely ripped off leaving some cuffs behind around the wrists. NECA did the interior of the “material” black which creates this rich appearance. The other torn parts and the belt all feature cleanly applied paint. About the only thing one could reasonably nitpick is that the black wash is going to appear heavier in certain places and lighter in others. On my figure, the right side of the head seems noticeably darker than the left and there’s a very faint hit of gray near his top, left, horn that I assume was meant for the horn. It’s barely noticeable, but worth pointing out. Overall though, what a tremendously fun figure to just look at.
A big, beefy, dino is not going to move like a ninja, but NECA has a few surprises in store with Zog. First off, the head is likely on a double ball and he can look way up which is cool if you want to try to pose him in a ramming position. He can’t really look down, but you get rotation and some room for tilt. The shoulders rotate all around and the hinge will allow the arms to raise up to about horizontal. We get a biceps swivel and single-jointed elbows which can’t quite hit 90 degrees nor can they really allow the arms to go out completely straight. He’s just too thick. The waist features a ball peg and you get a little motion front-to-back as well as side-to-side, but it’s mostly a rotation point. The ball-socketed hips will let Zog damn near hit a split and they pivot as well on the ball joint. What he can’t really do is kick as the leg will only go forward and back a little. Single-jointed knees can’t bend 90 degrees, but you do get another swivel point there. The hinges in the ankles are really tight and don’t seem to want to allow for much movement, but the ankle rocker works fine. On the rear of the figure is where the tail plugs in and it’s just a hinged ball-peg system like NECA’s Gargoyles line. The tail itself has a real, heavy-duty wire running through it so you can bend it, just be mindful that you’re not putting pressure on the plastic peg when you do. Lastly, we get an articulated jaw. In there is what I think is a first for this line in an articulated tongue. I think it’s basically just a little ball joint because it moves in all directions. It’s pretty damn amusing to play with. Did NECA need to make the tongue articulated? No, but I’m happy they did. Otherwise, he’s pretty basic, but it’s the size and overall presence that’s going to sell a pose with this figure more than range at an elbow or knee. I’ve had no trouble finding interesting poses with this guy and I’m guessing others will say the same.
The accessory load-out with Zog is fairly substantial. He gets an assortment of hands to pummel his victims and comes with a set of fists, open hands, gripping hands, another gripping left hand, and a right trigger finger hand. The gripping hands are interesting as no two hands appear to have the same grip. His left hand seems to be the loosest fit followed by the right hand. The third gripping hand, the other left one, is a really tight grip. The hands don’t have much flex either unless you apply heat. I’m guessing the variety in gripping hands is due to the other accessories. He has two spherical grenades and one that’s a canister. The loose gripping hand can handle the canister while the tighter ones can grip the other grenades by the handle, or whatever that part of the grenade is called. All three grenades are brown with these sculpted wraps on them which are outlined in black. They look fine, but almost comically small in Zog’s giant hands. Zog also has a big combat knife which fits rather well into the loosest gripping hand. It has a handguard on it which is spiked and it looks rather menacing. Lastly, we get a Triceraton blaster which is easily identified by it’s triangular shape. Fugitoid came with a smaller version though this one doesn’t look much bigger in these oversized hands. The gun is well painted and features a strap that’s sculpted in a pliable plastic. I suppose you can loop it over a shoulder if you prefer, but it does slot nicely into the trigger finger hand. The finger just barely gets behind the trigger guard and I’m curious why NECA didn’t just make the gun a little big bigger to not make it so tight, but it’s fine. That’s it for accessories though and I think it’s okay. The only thing I wish he had was some kind of weapon storage. He has these pouches on the rear of his chest strap and I wish they had just gave him a sheath for his knife instead. It probably isn’t how the character was drawn, but I’d be fine with them taking some liberties here. A way to holster the gun would have also been welcomed.
Zog is a massive figure and he comes at a massive price. Well, massive is too strong a word, but I couldn’t resist the wordplay. He retails for $50 like REX-1 which is quite a bit. Is he worth it? That’s going to vary from person to person as there are some collectors out there still angry that Marvel Legends hit $20 years ago (they must be really pissed now). For what you get, I’m finding it hard to be too upset about the price. This is a huge figure with a lot of plastic and a lot of paint. The accessory count won’t blow anyone away, but it’s not as if he’s short-changed either. I just think he looks damn cool and he’s one of those figures I’m having a hard time putting down. I just enjoy picking him up and feeling how hefty he is. The posing is limited, but at the same time it’s still fun. Especially if you have other figures to pose him with. I know some people are hoping for more Triceratons to army build, but I’m kind of hoping NECA stays away. Don’t make me have to decide if I want to army build $50 figures because I don’t know if I can resist. If they’re done as well as this guy then watch out wallet!
Interested in seeing more from NECA and Mirage Studios?
Where there be turtles, there be Casey Jones – the bad ass vigilante of New York City! Casey was an early addition to the comics and he’s basically been included with every iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since. And in all of them he tends to wear a hockey mask and bludgeons bad guys…
I’m having a hard time coming up with an action figure line that has had retail releases separated by more than a decade. I don’t mean long-running lines of figures like G.I. Joe or Marvel Legends which have been around for decades, I mean a line that was started, ended, then re-started like NECA’s line…
A dozen years ago, toy company NECA dipped its toe into the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time, and shockingly it failed to stick around. That’s incredible to hear for collectors currently chasing down Bebop and Rocksteady at Target, but it’s the truth. There are a lot of folks at NECA…
It’s time to look at another NECA two-pack that’s been released during this year’s Haulathon event at Target. And for today, it’s the Tall Thug and Short Gangster two-pack, who are better known as Dopey and Dumbo. I say “better known” as that’s a relative term since these are some pretty deep pulls from the cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which premiered with a five episode mini series in 1987. Like the previous two-pack of Grunt and Jersey Red, these guys hail from Bebop and Rocksteady’s seldom referenced street gang which was in the very first episode. I went into all of the details in that review, and if you want a refresh it’s linked at the bottom of this entry, but to make things short these guys appeared briefly, were mutated offscreen by Shredder, showed up in a couple of quick shots, and then were never heard from again. None of them had a speaking role or were even named in the show. We only know their names thanks to production art and only the most involved TMNT fans even know that much. And it probably goes without saying, but NECA couldn’t use their “real” names on the box for legal reasons since there’s a mouse out there that’s pretty protective of its copyrights.
The Tall Thug, who is Dopey, is perhaps the oddest of the bunch from a style standpoint. If there was a narc in the gang, I’m putting my money on this guy. He’s got a big, floppy, hat that covers most of his face and this jacket that makes him look like he just came from a Janet Jackson show during the Rhythm Nation tour. His boots almost look like platform shoes and this is just an all-together odd design for a purported gangster. Dumbo, the short guy, is dressed far more practically with a simple gray tank top with black vest combo to go with some blue pants and black boots. Aside from some wristbands, he’s got nothing going on as far as jewelry or even fancy weaponry. This is a thug who is clearly saving his earnings and must have a retirement goal in mind and I respect that. He’s also very short, like shortest in the line short. We might as well make it official and do a measurement which places him at approximately 4.75″ which is shorter than Baxter Stockman but pretty close to Splinter and Screwloose. He’s got bragging rights with Kala and Kerma and that’s about it. As for the so-called tall thug, he’s around 6″, maybe a tick over as it’s hard to tell where the head ends and the hat (which isn’t removable) begins with this guy, which really only makes him tall relative to Dumbo here. Compared with the rest of the gang, he’s fairly average.
Because these guys were little more than background characters, there’s not much to their designs. Dopey’s face is barely visible on the show due to the hat which sits low and his bulbous nose that dominates his face. NECA did give him eyes with pupils, so that’s good, and there’s probably elements to this guy that had to just be guessed by the designers. The jacket is a gray overlay with the cel-shading on the rear of the figure while the arms are separately molded. There’s some linework for pockets and such and he has two stripes near each shoulder, but there’s not much too it. He has the NECA double-elbows which is a swivel and hinge at the top of the joint and bottom which can look odd on some figures, but here it’s fine. He’s wearing blue pants which might be more like work pants as opposed to denim, but this was a low detail cartoon so it’s hard to know what the model was going for. There’s some sloppy paint on his belt, but otherwise the paint seems sharp. I like all of the detail on the face as this guy has a somewhat lumpy appearance and it adds character. The rest is done well enough, it’s just not a very exciting character design.
For articulation, Dopey should feel fairly familiar. He’s very much in-line with someone like Vernon and Grunt. The head is on a double ball and he can rotate, look down, and gets some fairly solid tilt and nuance posing. He can’t really look up due to both his hair and the collar on his coat, but he’s the “tall” thug so he shouldn’t look up to anyone! The shoulders peg in and hinge and they can rotate, but at a slight angle since his coat is designed to look like it has shoulder pads. They hinge out almost to horizontal. At the elbow, you get rotation at the top of the joint which is essentially your biceps swivel. The bend goes past 90 degrees, but it results in a squared-off “U” shape to the joint which does look odd, but it’s more than functional. You also get rotation past it for the forearm and the wrists swivel and hinge. In the diaphragm, there is a joint, but like Vernon and so many others in this line, it’s useless due to the overlay. There’s another joint at the waist that’s mostly for rotation. You do get a little tilt in all directions, but it’s minor. The legs are ball and socket joints and you can hit some pretty solid splits. He kicks forward to just about horizontal before the diaper piece gets in the way. There’s some rotation at the thigh and he can kick back a little bit and off to the side. The knees are standard double joints that bend past 90 and you get a boot cut below that. The ankle hinges are fairly useless due to the shape of the boot, but you get a decent ankle rocker. He’s going to be able to do enough and I’m happy to say nothing was overly tight or loose. The elbow swivels are a little stubborn, but it’s more due to the shape of the cut and they’re still usable and didn’t require any heat. The gripping hands have the wrong hinge, which is an issue on just about every figure from NECA these days save for REX-1.
With Dumbo, we have a very basic design. I already talked about it a little, but we have bare arms, a bald head, and clothing that just hits blue, black, and gray as far as the colors go. The pants feature the cel-shading, but the black vest does not and since the shirt is barely visible on the rear of the figure it would seem NECA declined to apply it there. The linework is done well on both the shirt and the flesh parts. There’s some on the pants but it’s fairly limited in application. He does appear to be all new tooling though. Dopey likely is as well, which is a surprise for such minor characters. They could have reused the Burns/Human Rocksteady mold again, but he was noticeably shorter than Rocksteady so NECA must have decided they needed to capture the same. I wish they had instead put more money into that human Rocksteady since I think his proportions are off, but oh well. I thought he might share arms with Jersey Red, but his are ever so slightly larger. He’s just very plain, but the paint on him is mostly fine. There’s a blemish on his left arm, but nothing too extreme.
A little chunk like Dumbo probably isn’t going to articulate very well, and that’s pretty much true here. The head is set very low on the body as he’s one of those no-neck characters. He gets enough movement side-to-side and can look up, but he can’t look down and there’s very little tilt available. The shoulders can rotate fine and they hinge out past horizontal, so that’s good. The elbows are just single-hinged and a little awkward looking as you can see the sculpt of the point of the elbow past the joint, but at least here they didn’t paint any lines onto the elbow like they did with human Rocksteady so it’s not as weird looking. He can bend to about 90 degrees there and it swivels in place of a biceps swivel and on a thick-armed guy like this I like the approach. With Grunt, who had defined biceps, I was critical of the choice to forego the biceps swivel. The wrists swivel and hinge horizontally, per usual. At the waist, we get a swivel point that’s probably a ball-peg, but it doesn’t do a whole lot. The overlay for the shirt gets in the way so he can only rotate a few degrees to either side and gets virtually no tilt in any direction. The ball-socketed hips will allow the little guy to nearly hit a full split and you get a little swivel at the joint as well. He can’t really kick forward as his legs want to go off to the side, but if you accept that you can get them to go fairly far. He actually can do the same backwards just as well which is rare. The knees are just single joints and his default posing has them bent slightly. They can’t bend much farther than that either, but they do swivel. The feet can’t do much due to the cuffs of the pants. You basically just get a little tilt out of the ankle rocker and the hinge is fairly useless.
Dumbo is a guy who isn’t going to move much. You’re going to set him on a shelf and pose his arms with some accessories. As for those accessories, we get a few. Dumbo and Dopey both come with fists in the box and have a set of gripping hands. Dopey has an additional left gripping hand with a gap between the middle and ring finger. That gap is for use with the meat hook accessory which fits in the hand with the metal portion slotting between the fingers. It has a wood handle and gray hook and looks fine. It’s nice to get a unique weapon as the rest are less interesting. Dumbo was seen wielding a chain in the episode so we get another one of those. It’s an actual chain and it’s different from the one that came in the Premonition of a Premutation set. It’s a bit longer and the links are more rounded. I like the length, but I prefer the shape of the links on the first one we got. There’s also a short baseball bat they must have swiped from a Little League field or something. It’s painted brown and has some linework to give it a wood appearance so that’s cool. Lastly, there’s a mallet, like a cartoon, Itchy & Scratchy, mallet. It’s amusing to me to think of street gangs running around with mallets, but it’s from the show. It’s a very pale brown, almost a yellow-brown, with some black detail on each end of the head to give it a wood appearance. It’s fine, though almost too silly to use even for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
That’s not all as we also have to talk about the mutations. Just like with Grunt and Scrag before him, Dopey and Dumbo come with extra parts to mutate them. In the case of Dopey, he was mutated into a shrew or something. He basically ended up with an even bigger nose. He was always positioned to the rear of the brief shots we got so it was hard to make out much and I’m guessing NECA had to use a lot of artistic license in sculpting this. He gets the extra head though with the massive nose and he’s quite ugly. We never saw his hands, but NECA decided to give him an extra right hand that was mutated into this monstrous shape. It’s affixed to a new forearm so you separate it below the second hinge to peg it in. Both swaps are easy and they don’t really affect articulation in any way. I will say, there’s no linework on the middle finger of the monstrous hand and that does distract me a bit as it’s present on all of the other fingers, but otherwise it looks fine. It’s not the most interesting mutation, but NECA did it about as well as they could.
For Dumbo, he got mutated into some sort of dog-sloth thing. He’s always been referred to as a dog mutation by the fanbase, but I’m getting a sloth vibe. Especially with the tiny hands that seem to feature long claws. Whatever he is, he had better exposure than Dopey in the show so this one was easier to do as far as the design goes, but in terms of engineering it’s more involved since Dumbo’s look is sleeveless. He gets a new head that’s wide enough that it hides the flesh around the collar of his shirt from head-on, but does lock the head down even more so than before to the point where he can’t really do much there. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sit as low as I’d like though as from the side you can clearly see the flesh parts. It almost would be better if the double ball peg for the head stayed on the head when you pull it off (and it’s a little tough getting that off) so the mutated head could sit even lower. The arms are an easy swap and they look fine. They’re darker than the head, but that’s in keeping with the show. The biceps piece appears to be the same as the standard arms, but the forearms had to be resculpted to include fur. The hands are tiny and sharp and you do lose the hinge joint. They don’t really do much though. He can still hold his chain, but that’s probably it. Overall, it’s okay. His mutation is more interesting than Dopey’s, though I wish they did a better job hiding the neck. Just a floating piece to slot over that would have been nice.
This two-pack is another one where if you have the other gang members then you probably want this one, and if you don’t, then you probably won’t see much of a need for it. These are of two of the least interesting designs in the group. I kind of like Dopey just because he looks so stupid as a “gang” member given his attire while Dumbo is just a very bland design that wasn’t supposed to receive this much attention or scrutiny. With the mutated forms, it’s the opposite as I think Dumbo’s is a bit more interesting while Dopey looks, well, dopey. He’s definitely the one to position towards the back if you’re going with a mutated display. And that’s the dilemma present. I like Scrag and Grunt’s mutant looks while Dumbo’s isn’t great, but his un-mutated look is boring. However, they pair better with human Bebop and Rocksteady so that’s probably how I’ll display them. At least for now, maybe I’ll change it up at some point, but I’ve had Scrag in his human form since getting him as well so I don’t know when that change will happen. They’re able to better make use of their weapons in human form so there’s that too.
This set is exclusive to Target stores and retails for $60. It’s a lot, but it’s the going rate. Again, if you have the other characters then you might as well get this one. The designs may not be the most exciting, but they are executed well. If you don’t have those other sets or don’t feel like you need to add to the old gang, then I don’t think you’ll miss this one. The accessories are about as exciting as the characters themselves so there’s little incentive to buy them unless you just want to collect them all.
Need more obscure Turtle characters in your life? Look no further!
Collectors my age who watched the original mini series for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over and over likely all wondered the same thing at some point: what happened to the rest of Bebop and Rocksteady’s gang? When we first meet the dim-witted duo, they’re humans and part of a street gang harassing the people of…
It was a little over a month ago that San Diego Comic Con occurred, in person, for the first time since 2019. This was cause for a celebration, even if for those of us who take in the convention from the comfort of our homes saw little change. Even without the event taking place the…
It’s been a little more than 3 months since our last dance with Loot Crate. If you’re new to the experience, it has been quite a drag. Crates that were supposed to ship a year ago are still outstanding, communication has been poor, rumors have painted a dire picture of the company’s finances, and the…
NECA and Target’s Haulathon event which has seen a vast assortment of product dumped onto shelves recently was not content to limit the products to just the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Far from it, as an assortment of comic book based characters were also released and today we’re going to look at the first of 5 such releases: the Mirage Studios Shredder clones. In the original comic series, Shredder was unceremoniously killed off in the very first issue. He was never supposed to be a reocurring villain and really no one likely expected to even do a second issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the comic sold well so another had to follow. Co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird had no trouble coming up with other adventures for the boys, but the popularity of the Shredder character meant that he had to come back in some way. And he would, eventually, but first we got the clones.
Issue #20 of the original run saw the debut of the clones when they showed up and killed off the Triceraton warrior Zog (more on him in the coming weeks), though their full debut came in the following issue when the turtles actually did battle with them. The clones were essentially an attempt by the Foot to bring back the Shredder, but something must have gone wrong. They needed a few tries, and it would seem this trio of clones represented those first few failed attempts. One such clone is known as the Claw Shredder. A figure of him was released as part of the latest round of Loot Crates and it was basically a slender Shredder with big claws for arms. The other two clones are the subject of today’s post as they’ve been released together: Multi-armed Shredder and Mini Shredder or Shrimp Shredder. I don’t know if they necessarily have official names as these clones have now appeared in multiple iterations of the franchise and even in toy form. I suppose their official name isn’t important and all you need to know is we get a big, beefy, version of Shredder with four arms and a small Shredder. These two have been released as a two-pack and come in an oversized version of NECA’s Mirage packaging featuring new artwork by Kevin Eastman.
I suppose we can start with the Shrimp Shredder, my preferred name for him. He’s more like an accessory, but since the box does say “Shredder Clones” with a plural, we can treat him like a figure. And this will be quick because there isn’t much to him. He stands at roughly 2.75″ to the top of his helmet, but his true height would probably add another half inch to him. That’s because he’s in a permanent crouch since his legs are prepositioned and lack knee articulation. His color scheme is like that of the standard Mirage Shredder so he has a red outfit with brown wraps at the forearms, waist, and boots. He looks like a tiny Shredder with the only difference being his skin tone is an earthy brown and he has red, glowing, eyes from behind his mask. He has just a single blade on each hand as opposed to two and features no spikes at the shin. The figure has the cutomary black line work this line is known for and it’s all really clean. The helmet and other “metal” parts have a luster to them. They’re painted in silver with hits of light blue to create the illusion of metal and it looks really sharp. It’s really impressive how much detail is packed into such a small figure and the lack of paint slop is to be commended.
Where the little guy does come up short is in the articulation department. He’s not a slug figure, but he also doesn’t do a whole lot and it’s very similar to the baby turtles we saw in the recently released accessory set. The head is on a ball peg, but it’s pretty large relative to the creature’s body so turning it will result in it coming into contact with the spiked shoulder pauldrons. He can look down, but he can’t look up, and there’s really little in the way of nuance posing. The shoulders rotate and hinge, but they can only go so far because the elbows are bent. Eventually, the spikes on the hands will hit something when rotating and the pauldrons obstruct the figures abilito raise its arms out to the side. The hips are ball-jointed and they’re mostly unrestricted. They do kick out to the side more than forward, but his bent knees mean he wasn’t going to do kicks anyway. They pivot and can go forward and back and are easily the most accessible of the joints. The ankles feature hinges and an ankle rocker. He’s not really going to do much. You get a few options in how the arms can be positions and the legs being bent means you can’t really take advantage of all of the articulation down there. He can basically crouch, sit, kneel, or be on one knee. He’s not too hard to stand, easier than the baby turtles, so mostly he’s fine. If they could have given us knee and elbow articulation that would have been nice, or maybe just swappable legs and arms? He gets the job done though and he’s not the main attraction.
That’s because the big guy is. We’re talking about the multi-armed Shredder, or Shiva Shredder in some parts, and he’s definitely the more impressive of the pair. Standing at around 6.75″, he’s the tallest in the Mirage line so far, or would be if he wasn’t being released at the same time as Zog. More so than the height, he feels big because he’s very broad in the chest and he needs to be because he has four, beefy, arms that need to attach to that trunk. Everything about his design is broad as even his head is practically square-shaped compared with the more rounded features of Shredder. His chin is squared-off behind the metal plate and the color scheme for this guy is the same as Shrimpy. Also similar to the little guy is that he only has one blade on each hand, but since he has four hands he has the same number of blades as Shredder. The paint is all the same so same flesh color, same approach for the steel, and so on. And like the little guy, it’s all applied exceptionally well and is mostly free of defects. The actual spikes on hims are quite firm and pretty sharp too so keep this one away from your little ones. I kind of have a “thing” for designs with four arms so I am especially taken with how this guy turned out. He’s going to look awesome in your display whether you have a ton of releases or just a few.
Now when it comes to the articulation there’s a lot to work with, but this clone still feels like most releases from NECA. The head is on a ball peg and there’s also a ball peg in the base of the neck. He gets good rotation there with plenty of room for nuance posing. He can look up only a little due to the shape of the helm, but he can look down rather well. There’s nothing in the torso and I’m guessing that’s because of the arms. Each one is articulated as expected. We get a shoulder hinge with rotation at the peg insert, there’s a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow, and wrists that swivel and hinge. Rotating the arms is a bit cumbersome because they conflict with each other or the pauldrons, but it can be done to a certain degree. The elbows, even though they’re double-jointed, really only give 90 degrees of bend because the gauntlets on each arm ride up so far and the biceps on this guy are pretty massive. You can rotate at the gauntlet as well which I like because it allows you to keep the forearm blades in-line with the hands. There is a waist twist, but it’s just that and doesn’t feel like a ball-joint. The hips are the standard ball hips and this big boy can almost do full splits as a result. He doesn’t kick forward very far, and the legs tend to go out to the side more than forward. There is rotation at the thigh and the knees are double-jointed and can bend past 90. There is no boot cut, but the ankles hinge and have a rocker which works well enough. In terms of stuck joints, I had a little trouble with the left knee, but I was able to get it going without having to resort to hot water or a hair dryer. Some of the biceps and elbows were a bit stubborn, but again, nothing that required heat. His a big, brawler, type so I think the articulation here is good enough and he stands easily so that’s a plus.
When it comes to the accessories, this set is somewhat lacking. Unless you consider the little clone an accessory, then I guess it’s better. He has no accessories, but the big guy gets some extra hands. He has, in total, two fists, two clenching hands, two gripping hands, and two chop hands. I guess if you wanted four fists you’ll be disappointed, but I’m good with the variety. He also comes with some battle damage accessories. In the comic, these guys were made up of some weird worms. They’re like a hive mind and whatever they eat they can replicate, or something. It’s not important, but when they get damaged the purple worms become visible which is pretty gross. What you can do is pop off each forearm just behind the gauntlet, which is why you get a swivel point there. With that removed, you have a cap that can go over the stump which makes it look like a bunch of purple worms are visible. And for the discarded limb, there’s another purple cap that can attach to the that making it look like the worms are spreading out from it. It’s pretty cool and certainly helps for those into toy photography or want to stage a fight on their shelf. The pieces work fine and look fine as well, but that’s it for accessories. Is it pretty slim? Yeah, but I don’t know what else we could really ask for. I guess more battle damaged parts if that’s your thing, but I’m more or less content with this.
The Shredder Clones two-pack is another very specific release and one that unfortunately is limited in value by the presence of a Loot Crate figure. If you have the Claw Shredder then you probably want these guys and if you don’t then you might not see the point. The good news is, the Claw Shredder really hasn’t been that sought after and aftermarket prices haven’t been terrible. They might go up now that these guys are out, but he’s certainly easier to get than Scrag. I have that figure so I wanted this pair and I’m happy to have them. I’m also happy to say that they came in at $40 which doesn’t seem terrible. With online retailers charging $38 for Casey Jones and the Utrom, $40 for this pair feels like a pretty damn good price. That’s the Target price though and when this gets sent to specialty retail he may very well cost more. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, this pair is only available at Target stores for the month of March and it remains to be seen if it will be refreshed or if it was a one and done affair. If you’re into the Mirage stuff and you come across this one then I definitely recommend it. You can never have too many four-armed figures and apparently you can never have too many Shredders.
Here’s some more TMNT goodness that might interest you:
It was October 12, 2021 when I last posted a review of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed Loot Crate. It did not go well, but the review closed with some optimism for the future. I made mention of the delays impacting the latest series of TMNT themed crates from Loot Crate and NECA, but…
We’ve become so accustomed to having the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in our lives that the name of the franchise has almost lost all meaning. Well, maybe not all, but I feel we mostly have lost sight of how ridiculous a concept this franchise is. And it extends to other characters in the franchise and…
We’re well into the cold of winter and spring feels like it’s just around the corner which means it must be time for another NECA Haulathon. Haulathon, if you don’t recall from last year, is basically a tandem promotion between NECA and Target which was just an excuse to get NECA some more visibility in…
Collectors my age who watched the original mini series for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over and over likely all wondered the same thing at some point: what happened to the rest of Bebop and Rocksteady’s gang? When we first meet the dim-witted duo, they’re humans and part of a street gang harassing the people of New York. When they turn their attention towards a reporter by the name of April O’Neil, they run afoul of some local vigilantes who happen to be mutated ninjas. Shredder, identifying that his new foes are not human, decides to create some mutants of his own. We see the transformation of Bebop and Rocksteady to a mutant warthog and rhino respectively, while the rest of the gang gets mutated offscreen. We get one glimpse at them post mutation on a monitor in the Technodrome and then a very brief glimpse in the fifth and final episode of said mini series where they’re all in a cell. One lucky mutant, who we’ve come to know as Scrag, got to demonstrate Shredder’s reverse mutation ray which returned him to his human form and then he and the rest of the gang were never heard from again. Did Shredder, seeing how moronic Bebop and Rocksteady turned out, decide to just cut his losses and exterminate the rest? Maybe he returned them all to human form and set them free in New York? Or, perhaps wanting to have a little fun, did he and Krang tell them they were going home, but they actually dumped them in Dimension X where they almost certainly met their end?
There’s no canon explanation for what happened to the rest of the street punks. In reality, the mini series was commissioned by Playmates Toys to sell, well, toys. And it did its job so they were all set. Producer Fred Wolf saw more potential in the show and wanted to continue producing it and so they did leading to a second season and then several more. In going from the mini series to season two, it was likely decided that Shredder didn’t need a whole gang of mutants at his disposal. Bebop and Rocksteady would be enough as recurring characters and they could bring in other “villains of the day” to add variety. And since it was a kid’s show, there likely wasn’t any consideration given to telling the audience what happened with these other characters. Adults often underestimate kids and their capacity for knowledge and memory because I certainly wanted to know what happened with those other guys, but the show never brought them back. Now that I’m an adult and immersed in the collector community, I know my thoughts were not unique to me. Most kids wondered what happened to those punks, but aside from very brief appearances in supplemental media and ephemera, they’ve been forgotten. It’s only through those items that we even know them by name: Scrag, Grunt, Dopey, and Dumbo.
When NECA and Loot Crate returned for another round of TMNT crates, the bonus figure for those who purchased all four crates ended up being the infamous Scrag. This basically signaled to the collector community that these long ignored characters were on NECA’s radar, and not being one to shy away from deep pulls, the prospect of completing Bebop and Rocksteady’s original gang suddenly seemed like a foregone conclusion. The only catch was that Scrag had a pretty significant barrier in front of him. If you only wanted that figure it was going to cost you $200 as you had to buy four $50 crates. NECA has insisted that any figure exclusive to Loot Crate would remain so which is why most of the first wave of crates were variants of popular characters. Wave 2 was more specialized and while a character like Danny Pennington from the first film, who was featured in the first crate of Wave 2, could get re-released at mass retail with a different look a character like Scrag only has one look. And his figure featured components to display him as a human or as his mutated bat form, so that possibility was out. Would NECA release the rest of the gang if there was no way for people who missed out on Scrag to get him? Well, we have our answer, and it’s “Yes!” For this round of Haulathon, NECA has unleashed the gang and for the first time ever we have them all in plastic form. And as a result, we essentially have all of the main characters from that inaugural mini series in plastic as well so that’s pretty cool. These guys have been more than 30 years in the making so now the question is, “Was it worth it?”
The other problem with NECA releasing Scrag solo is that it meant the four missing gang members were now reduced to three. NECA prefers to release these figures in packs of two so someone was going to have to be paired with a non-gang member. Or, there was the possibility of NECA doing another three-pack like it did with the Neutrinos, but it turns out that the company had a satisfactory replacement in mind: Jersey Red. Jersey Red is the canonical replacement for Bebop, or Rocksteady, in the gang they once ran with. She debuts in the episode “The Gang’s All Here” when Shredder orders the pair to reconnect with their old gang. If you’re wondering how that squares with my prior paragraphs talking about how we never heard from them again, it still does as the gang is composed of all new characters. Red, as far as we were shown, never actually ran with the likes of Grunt, Scrag, etc and instead was more like a replacement for those guys. She is joined by Lugnut and High-Five in her episodes so maybe they’re on NECA’s radar. For now, she’s a suitable inclusion as far as theming goes even if she wasn’t a figure I ever actively wanted.
Grunt and Jersey Red come in the standard window box we’re accustomed to at this point. Purchasing the pair will set you back $60 now, but $30 each for a pair of figures of new tooling is pretty much the going rate these days. We’ll talk about Grunt first. He stands at around 6.25″ to the top of his head and 6.75″ to the top of his mohawk. He is pretty absurd looking. Maybe to avoid doing anything that could be too realistic for a gang member, the design of Grunt looks more like a Judas Priest roadie or pro wrestler. He has a blond mohawk and sunglasses, but has declined to wear a shirt. Instead, he basically wears a harness that’s strapped to his chest with a big, gold, buckle in the center of his chest and back. He has an oversized gray belt with some pouches on it to pair with tight, black, pants and boots. I guess because he values some personal protection, he’s also got gray kneepads and a pair of bracelets to complete the look. He’s lean, but pretty muscular, and I don’t know if a guy looking like this approached me on the street if I’d laugh or be intimidated. It’s certainly a look though and NECA captured it well. Since he’s mostly black and fleshtone, there isn’t a ton of paint on this guy. Every spot of him is still painted, it’s just not a paint job that requires a ton of detail. The toon shading is only applied to the harness and the kneepads, but there’s still plenty of linework on the muscles and finer details. And what is there is very clean, there’s little or no blemishes on my figure and there’s no plastic look to the figure. The only thing I don’t like is that his eyes were left without pupils. They’re just white, but since they’re behind sunglasses I’m guessing NECA decided it didn’t need to paint them.
For accessories, Grunt has 3 sets of hands: fists, gripping, and a second set of gripping hands. That second set of gripping hands features claws on the fingers because they’re likely intended for his mutated form. Unfortunately, they’re cast and painted in his normal flesh tone so they’re useless. The hands are also on long, skinny, pegs and are quite challenging to remove. More so than they should be and the long peg just means more room for breaking so do exercise caution. As for what he has to wield with the gripping hands, he gets a sword. It’s a curved blade with a wrapped handle and I think this is a new sculpt. It looks fine and he was seen with a sword in the show. His main accessory though is his mutant form. Grunt was mutated into a green, lizard, creature, and since he declines to wear a shirt NECA needed to include more than just a head and some hands like it did with Scrag. The lizard form is an entirely new torso. The default torso separates at the waist and it’s pretty easy to do. The lizard part then just plugs in, and again, fairly painlessly. If you wanted to get a really good seal you may need to heat the lizard torso up, but it’s not necessary. He looks great and the paint and linework is all very clean. He has open, clawing, hands which thankfully look great since they’re the only hands he’s got. He’s got a long, flicking, tongue which is a nice touch and it’s going to be hard to settle on a display for this guy because this lizard creature looks so cool.
When it comes to articulation, Grunt is fairly basic for the line. The head is likely on a double ball peg so you get some up and down plus full rotation and some tilt for nuance posing. The shoulders are just pegged in on hinges so you get full rotation and they can come out to the side almost to a horizontal position. It might go further if you force it, but it’s probably not necessary. No biceps swivel on this guy which is a surprise. Instead, he gets a single hinged joint at the elbow that just pegs into the bicep so you get a swivel there. The elbow bends to about 90 so it’s functional, but a biceps swivel would look better, in my opinion. I’m guessing they didn’t want to break up the sculpt or were trying to save some money by tooling fewer parts. The wrists swivel and hinge and after being pleasantly surprised with the vertical-hinged REX-1 wrists, Grunt is back to just all horizontal hinges despite his lone weapon being a sword. In the torso, we have a ball-joint in the diaphragm. It will give the figure rotation with a decent amount of side-to-side tilt and very little forward and back. At the waist is a twist where the upper body pegs into the lower body so while it works it does tend to come apart slightly when twisting on it. The hips are the standard ball and socket joints and they go out to the side for full splits, kick forward all the way, and back slightly. There’s a thigh twist up there as well as double-jointed knees which go past 90 degrees. At the top of the boot we do get a swivel and at the ankle we get hinges and rockers. The hinges offer very little going forward and back, but the ankle rocker is pretty solid.
Grunt’s articulation is probably enough. I don’t like the elbows, but NECA doesn’t like doing double-joints on bare armed characters so I at least understand the thinking. I just wish he got to keep a biceps swivel. As for the lizard-man, the articulation is basically the same. His arms can’t quite get out to horizontal either and he lacks a biceps swivel. His diaphragm joint has less range and it’s partly because the straps on his chest sit lower and are on the part that wants to rotate. His head, which sits forward on his body, is also different. I think it’s still a double ball peg, but the orientation means that ball is pointing straight out so you get a head that can’t look up, can look down a touch, and doesn’t get a lot of side-to-side. You get plenty of tilt, but otherwise is limited and swapping to the mutant form is a downgrade in articulation.
Now let’s talk about Grunt’s box-mate: Jersey Red. Jersey Red is the rare female in this line, but I’m happy to say we actually have a couple more females to talk about from this wave of Haulathon releases. She was previously teased via a wanted poster included as a sticker in one of the Loot Crates and as a paper insert for the street diorama. She’s a heavy set woman in a halter top and jeans with a flock of red hair that reminds me of Guile from Street Fighter 2. She also has these red, cowboy, boots that will make her a challenge to stand in any pose that isn’t just straight up and down. The design is a bit understated compared with Grunt, but effective nonetheless. She’s not a character I ever needed in plastic, but what’s here looks good and true to the show. She does have the toon shading on her jeans and boots and the paint hits are all applied cleanly. As far as I can tell, nothing on this figure was reused from a previous one so she’s all new.
For accessories, Red has an assortment of hands: fists, clenching, a right trigger finger hand, and a left, wide, gripping hand. The wide gripping hand is included so she can hold one of her accessories. The first is a white bottle of some sort. In her debut episode, Shredder was trying to spread some new mutation serum so that might be what this bottle is for, but otherwise I don’t know. For the trigger hand, she has a gun. It’s a big, white, blaster of some kind that certainly looks like it came from the show. I don’t know if Jersey Red was ever seen wielding this gun, but it looks like something Shredder might have passed out to the gang when they brought them onboard in her debut episode. It’s not a lot of stuff, I’m guessing most of the accessory budget went to Grunt’s lizard half, but I don’t think she really needed anything else. She’s a brawler, but she’s got a gun too and if you want to outfit her with melee weapons you probably have a bunch laying around at this point. I know I do.
As for articulation, Jersey Red is a bit limited. She has the standard setup at the head which allows her to look up, down, all around, and she has some tilt. The shoulders rotate all around and hinge out to the side to just about horizontal. She basically has the same arm setup as Grunt since her arms are bare so no biceps swivel and a single-jointed elbow. She basically hits 90 degrees at the elbow bend and the wrists swivel and hinge. All of the hinges are of the horizontal variety. In the torso, she has a diaphragm joint that lets her rotate just below her bust and that’s basically all it does. She has a waist twist below that which is just okay. Since it’s not a ball joint, twisting her too far breaks up the sculpt at the waist so it’s of limited use. At the hips, we have the standard setup, but she has a rather large “diaper” covering her crotch so she can’t do splits like Grunt can nor can she kick forward very far and she can’t kick back at all. She does have a thigh twist up there, but her knees are single-jointed. They swivel there as well, but the bend doesn’t quite hit 90 degrees. She does have a boot cut so those swivel and the hinge and rocker combo at the ankle work well enough, but because her boots are heeled it’s not nearly as useful. You’re not going to do a whole lot with her feet, but if you keep it simple, she actually stands pretty well. There are peg holes on her heels if you feel a simple stand is warranted, but she’s stable. I should add, nothing on either figure was too tight or too loose. I didn’t have to heat any of the joints and the only heat recommended is maybe for connecting Grunt’s mutant half to his lower body or getting his hands out, and if you’re real concerned about paint rub with the white blaster, heating the trigger hand first would help there though I had no issues without it.
Grunt and Jersey Red is not a two-pack that is going to set the world on fire, but it’s executed fairly well. The only real bummer is the gaffe with the mutant gripping hands for Grunt. Some companies would attempt to fix this by offering replacements somehow, but I don’t expect that to happen here. My guess is if they ever do a second production run it will be corrected there. NECA has done this in the past and indicated that customers could get on a list for replacement parts, but I’ve never seen anyone actually receive said replacement parts. The last time something like that happened was with the Rat King who had a faulty crotch piece that flaked paint. If that matters to you then you may want to sit this one out. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that this set ever gets another run. These are obscure characters and if you don’t have Scrag all ready then you probably won’t even bother. Unless you’re the rare Jersey Red fan. The rise in price also doesn’t help. If I were grading these separately, I’d say Grunt is fine and a pretty fun figure to mess around with. Jersey Red looks good, but isn’t particularly fun to handle as she’s too limited. If I could have passed on her I probably would have, but I’m also not looking to offload her or anything. If you want to complete the original gang then sure, go for it. If you don’t care or don’t have any of those previous releases (including human Bebop and Rocksteady) then you can probably pass on this one.
It was a little over a month ago that San Diego Comic Con occurred, in person, for the first time since 2019. This was cause for a celebration, even if for those of us who take in the convention from the comfort of our homes saw little change. Even without the event taking place the…
It’s been a little more than 3 months since our last dance with Loot Crate. If you’re new to the experience, it has been quite a drag. Crates that were supposed to ship a year ago are still outstanding, communication has been poor, rumors have painted a dire picture of the company’s finances, and the…
We’re well into the cold of winter and spring feels like it’s just around the corner which means it must be time for another NECA Haulathon. Haulathon, if you don’t recall from last year, is basically a tandem promotion between NECA and Target which was just an excuse to get NECA some more visibility in…
When you’re doing a syndicated cartoon expected to air basically every day, you need to pull story ideas from anywhere you can. I think that’s why parodies are so popular in the cartoons of the 80s to the point where it didn’t matter if the show was parodying something kids would actually know. Take REX-1, who premiered in the episode of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series “New York’s Shiniest.” Rex is basically a RoboCop parody, and RoboCop was one of those bizarre R-rated films that was marketed to kids for some reason. He got a toyline and a cartoon series which dropped the violence of the film as well as the social commentary just to make a show about a good cop who happens to be a robot. Rex, being from a cartoon series designed to sell toys and make kids laugh, is more of a doofus, but also a product of his time. The episode leans into a crime-ridden New York City, which was very much the opinion of the city in the mainstream at the time, in need of a hero and it turns to a robot cop. It turns out bad in a way and I’m guessing it was more of a way to inject comedy, but seeing a cop with the power of REX-1 basically apply the law indiscriminately feels like the kind of thing that would happen in reality. The turtles basically have to do the programming themselves to make Rex a more appropriate arbiter of justice, and since it was the TMNT cartoon, they have to take down Shredder.
REX-1’s premiere episode came in season two, which may have been the most watched season of the show. It was when there weren’t a lot of episodes available, but in my market, that didn’t stop them from airing the program every week day. I saw this guy a whole bunch as a result so this almost one-off character (I know he came back for at least one other episode) ended up being rather memorable. Despite the exposure, REX-1 never received an action figure in the original Playmates line, but that toyline rarely went too hard on cartoon-only characters. They still tended to favor the comics or original creations because it was mostly Mirage Studios that came up with the toy designs. A character like REX-1 was probably created by the show, almost certainly, and it was probably easier for legal reasons to just stick with what they were doing on the toy front.
Because REX-1 was so well known, it felt like a foregone conclusion that NECA would eventually get to him. Especially once they started doing the “deluxe” releases that come in a VHS-styled box and are intended for solo characters instead of a multi-pack. It may have taken a little longer than some expected, but expectations have now been met and REX-1 is available in plastic form courtesy of NECA and Target’s Haulathon promotion. He comes in the expected VHS box which is quite massive this time around. I no longer have my Chrome Dome box, but it sure seems like it’s around the same size as that, and probably heavier. The artwork, once again provided by Daniel Elson and Aaron Hazouri, is fantastic and looks just like how I remember the old VHS tapes, style-wise. The only downside here is REX-1 comes at a new pricepoint of $50. As far as I can recall, the previous high for a deluxe release in this line was the previously mentioned Chrome Dome who came in at $40. That figure was released over 2 years ago so an increase of some kind was likely expected, but I was surprised to see NECA blow by the $45 price and go right to $50. We’ll get more into the value component of the review when I summarize everything at the end, but it definitely stung a bit to ring this one up at the register.
REX-1 is quite a beefy figure for the line. He stands at a shade over 8.75″ to the top of his hat which I’m just going to consider part of his head. This doesn’t make him the tallest figure in the line, but he just might be the heaviest. I was not prepared for how heavy the box would feel when I picked it up and most of that weight is concentrated in the figure itself. Rex’s upper body is very chunky, though rounded-off, and there’s a noticeable heft when lifting this guy up. If I had a postage scale I’d weigh him, but I don’t, so my un-scientific approach of just holding and comparing figures has lead me to be believe that REX-1 is the heaviest figure in the line. And the only one that strikes me as heavier from outside the toon line is the recently released Zog. Rex’s heft is largely contained to the torso as the legs are much slimmer. His design from a color and texture standpoint is very on-model with the show, but the proportions are a little off. The show wasn’t known for its consistency so if you do a search for the character you will find some images where the upper body is this shape. The head size seems to vary, though I favor the slimmer look he seems to have most often. This one is a little chunkier and seems to sit a little lower on the neck as well. The big difference though is the size of the feet. NECA gave this figure some pretty large boots and I think that’s just for stability. REX-1 had one of those toon designs where his upper body is massive, but his legs pretty thin. If you want your toy to have a similar build to the upper body, it’s going to need more at the base to keep him standing. And I’m happy to say he stands fine, so at least the design change works. As for the aesthetics, it’s going to vary from person-to-person. I think he looks pretty good and I like the sizing so I’m fine with the tweeks, others may think he looks too off and I wouldn’t say they’re wrong.
As is typical of a NECA release, REX-1 comes loaded with paint and the quality of that application is going to vary, but hopefully not too much. I had my choice of two in store and I selected what I felt was the one with the best paint, but it has some issues. There’s a little blue on one of the gray stripes on his shoulder and there are other small scuffs here and there. The only one that bothers me is there’s a little blob of dark gray at the base of his jaw on the figure’s lower right side. This wasn’t visible in the box because his head was tilted down and I think this is rub-off from inside the neck area as there’s a splotch of the same color in there. I think the jaw is gray plastic so I’m tempted to try to remove it (I was wrong, it’s blue plastic painted gray), but it’s also a delicate piece so I’m torn. There’s also paint rub at the knees which was the result of the gray pieces over his shins just being stuck to the thigh. It’s not visible when his legs are straight up and down and the plastic is at least navy blue so I could probably get this to come off without much risk (the base plastic may be navy, but it’s still painted over). Another spot likely to suffer from paint rub are the gray stripes in the hips. There’s actually a fair amount of clearance between the crotch piece and the hips likely to combat this issue, but push it too far and it will definitely happen. These are the types of flaws expected of a mass-produced item with this much paint. You basically take the good with the bad, and the good is that there is a ton of paint! A lot of companies skimp on that aspect of their figures so I will always prefer this approach to one that favors bare plastic. I like the shade of blues in use here and how it contrasts with the gray and white portions. The finish is quite matte and the cel-shading is effective. A lot of the more complex apps are also done very well like the name tag, the lines on the hands, or the black in the eyeglasses.
As a big figure, articulation is a bit of a wild card when it comes to REX-1. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and once I felt how heavy he was I only knew that it needed to be tight. Loose joints will kill a figure like this and I’m happy to say it’s not much of a concern. The head is likely on a ball joint and the figure looks up a little, down quite a bit, and can rotate some as well. The shape of the head prevents him from being able to spin all the way around, though a more determined person could pull it off. He gets some nice tilt for nuance posing and the jaw moves up and down a bit exposing his mouth. At the shoulders, we get the standard hinged peg and Rex can raise his arms out to the side almost to horizontal and rotate around. Again, a more determined individual could possibly get more, but you do have those gray stripes on the shoulder so I wouldn’t advise it. There’s a biceps swivel past that and then a single hinge at the elbow. It’s ratcheted so there’s no looseness and it gets to about a 90 degree bend. At the wrist, we have the customary swivel and hinge setup and I’m happy to say that the trigger hands have the preferred vertical hinge setup. Also, every wrist hinge in my set was stuck out of the box so you may need to heat them up to get them going. In the torso, there’s a diaphragm joint that basically just provides a bit of nuance posing. I’m not sure what they were going for or if the joint is just the result of how the figure was assembled, but it’s basically squared off inside. You can rotate there, but the figure fights you. Since it’s internal, I guess it doesn’t matter if the plastic is getting torn up, but I personally wouldn’t go too far there. There’s also two hinged pieces on the chest that lift up to reveal some of REX-1’s internal components. The hinges are tight enough to stay open without issue and the stuff inside is well-painted. It’s a nice touch.
Below the diaphragm joint is a waist twist that’s just a waist twist. The hips connect via ball and socket joints and this robot can basically do full splits and twist at the thigh. Kicking forward is not very good though. I don’t know if the joint is just super tight or if it’s ratcheted, but he really doesn’t want to go forward. I was able to force it two “clicks” which wasn’t enough to get either leg to horizontal. They don’t want to go back, and more often than not, when I try to kick the leg forward it feels like the peg is just bending and I’m not interested in breaking my new $50 toy to push it. I found more success going out to the side and then forward, but again, the figure feels like it doesn’t really want to kick forward and I feel like I’m playing with fire. The knee is a single hinge and doesn’t quite get to 90 degrees. Below that is a hinge and rocker combo at the ankle. Because of the big, gray, piece that goes over the foot and up the shin, it’s hard to really get at that hinge. It doesn’t seem to want to go forward much even though I can’t see anything stopping it and really only goes back for me. I have not heated anything, but at least the feet are tight so he isn’t falling over. The rocker works okay and I’m finding myself just adjusting his posing by widening his stance more often than not and using the rocker. He’s not the type of character that needs to do much, but the lower half is a bit disappointing.
These deluxe releases from NECA tend to come with a lot and REX-1 mostly lives up to that. He doesn’t have as much stuff as some of the past releases, or unique stuff, but he probably has enough. For hands, we get a whole bunch: fists, trigger finger hands, chop hands, wide open, and a right hand holding a hex nut. I think he was inspecting some evidence left behind in the show, but I can’t remember. I’m sure it’s scene specific. REX-1 also comes with his tongue. I wasn’t sure what the thing was when I pulled it out of the box and I’m thankful it was listed on the box. You can pivot his jaw down to reveal his “mouth” which is just a slot for the tongue. It’s cute, and likely something fun for toy photographers. Rex also has a pair of his sidearms. They’re a flat gray with some black linework and the trigger hands fit into them okay. They will leave behind white paint though, if you warm the hands up first that might help, but it’s just something you have to deal with. The guns can also peg into the gray circles on his hips for a holstered look and that works just fine. For when refreshment is needed, REX-1 also has a trusty can of oil to suck on. He has to use the same trigger hands for it, but they work fine. Again, be wary of paint rub. His last unique item is his controller which can be held by another character. It’s well-painted and looks just as good as the many other trinkets found in abundance with this line. Lastly, REX-1 has a trio of black VHS tapes for his reprogramming. They’re the same tapes we’ve seen with other releases so there’s nothing special here, but it’s a fun accessory and I’m happy to have more to pile up around the television set from the recently released accessory bundle.
REX-1 was a release I think a lot of folks had been looking forward to and for them I think they’ll be pleased. The looks is what matters most with this line and NECA did a solid job in that regard. I do think some of the accuracy was sacrificed to make a more stable figure and I’m content with the trade-off, but others may not be. The paint has its issues, but overall does give the figure a more premium look. He has enough stuff, and the only real disappointment for me is the articulation. It’s never the strong suit of NECA, but I don’t like how scared I am of breaking this figure when I move the legs so that’s a bummer. And then of course there’s the price of $50. Compared to past NECA deluxe releases, it’s disappointing to see a rise in price without a rise in quality or components. Understanding that this is all unique tooling, but it’s always preferable to feel like you’re getting something extra when something suddenly costs more. That was true of Chrome Dome who really came loaded with stuff and I didn’t even blink at his price, but with REX-1 it’s not apparent. Does the figure need more? No, not really, but this is a line that likes to toss-in unrelated accessories just to flesh out some packaging and we don’t get any of that.
At the same time, compare this release to other similarly priced figures and it doesn’t look so bad. NECA has been able to resist the price hikes we’ve seen with other toy producers so in a way they’re a victim of their own creation. Compare this to most of the Super7 Ultimates that come in at $55-$65 these days and the value appears tremendous. Unique tooling, lots of stuff, an abundance of paint apps – yeah, it’s no contest. And then compare it to Hasbro which recently announced a Spider-Man figure that’s 100% reuse for $35 and won’t have as much stuff as this figure and likely little paint and NECA looks even better. While I wish this guy came in at $40 or $45, I can’t really call it an outlier in the pricing department. I guess it is what it is and you’re either happy with it or you’re not. I am curious if NECA will try to reuse these molds for an “evil” REX-1 that was basically the same character model, but with a black and red look. Normally I’d say it’s a no-brainer, but does NECA think it can sell us the same figure twice at this price? Probably, but that remains to be seen. I don’t know if I’ll bother with that one if the time comes, but then again, I feel like I’ve said that a lot and here I am with a REX-1, Jersey Red, Grunt, and so on. If your collection needs REX-1 then you’ll probably want to get this. If you’re lukewarm on the character, then I’d understand passing especially considering how much stuff just got released. And if you’re having trouble finding this figure in-stores, you can try Target’s website tomorrow (as of this posting) at 9 AM EST when this figure is expected to be sold there. The obscure nature of the character and the price tag should make it a fairly easy release to get ahold of once the initial rush has subsided. Good luck and definitely don’t pay a scalper for this one.
More from NECA’s deluxe assortment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
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It took longer than anticipated, but at long last I now have a complete Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Wave 3 from NECA as I have in my hands the Deluxe Metalhead! Metalhead was released back in July alongside the Casey Jones and Slashed Foot Soldier set at Target stores in the US. While distribution numbers…
When NECA launched its line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures based on the classic cartoon series there was much rejoicing, followed by much consternation. The line was successful, some would say too successful. Product was hard to track down for collectors as only a handful of units were released to each store which…
We’re well into the cold of winter and spring feels like it’s just around the corner which means it must be time for another NECA Haulathon. Haulathon, if you don’t recall from last year, is basically a tandem promotion between NECA and Target which was just an excuse to get NECA some more visibility in store (and online) to sell a bunch of stuff to collectors. The tacky name certainly implies the two companies want a bit of a frenzy to be set-off that gets collectors storming into stores and ransacking the display leaving nothing but dust and empty shelves in their wake. Despite that feeling, it felt a bit more controlled in practice. Much of the stuff on sale had been made available via preorder months in advance so only a few items were actually brand new for TMNT collectors. That certainly helped, and when the promotion returned in the late summer it was done in pretty much the same fashion with only a handful of items being actually new to purchase.
That was the before times, this is now. NECA, for whatever reason, decided to do things differently for this latest Haulathon. Maybe there was pressure from Target to not offer pre-sales or maybe NECA just didn’t want to burden their own warehouse with individual orders? Or maybe there was such a backlog it made the logistics too cumbersome – I don’t know. What I do know is this latest incarnation of Haulathon cares not for your wallet. NECA has unleashed a vast assortment of product which is mostly concentrated to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license. If you’re an all-in collector, prepared to get hurt. In the toon line alone, we’re getting five two-packs, one deluxe release, and an accessory set, which is the subject of today’s inaugural Haulathon 2023 post. I’ll skip the math, but it also comes with the unfortunate rise in prices that I think many were bracing for, but few may have expected to hit this hard. It would seem the standard price for a two-pack is now $60, up from $52 when the line launched. The movie two-packs already hit that price point so it wasn’t unexpected, but still disappointing. The lone deluxe figure shot way up though to $50, beating out the previous high of $40 set by Chrome Dome. As for the accessory set, it doesn’t really have a precedent since this is the first of its kind for the line. The movie series has had a pair of sets and I think the first was $50 and the second $60. Some other licenses that NECA dabbles in have come in lower, but this one is on the high end at $60. Expected? I suppose, but it would have been nice if it could have hit that $50 sweet spot. We’ll talk more about that later though, for now, all that matters is what’s in the box and is it worth getting?
The toon accessory set has been a long time coming for collectors of this line. There are so many one-off items and smaller characters that made sense for such a thing. Plus we’ve seen the line already cram tons of little doodads into various releases because there is just so much. Every collector of this line likely has a container, drawer, whatever full of stuff with no where to put it all. The accessory set is going to add to that, but it’s also going to deliver some items meant to pair with the someday sewer lair. NECA showed off said lair last year at conventions and it was expected a portion of it would go up for sale in the fall, but that has yet to happen which almost leaves a pit in my stomach since NECA could come looking for more money any day now. That’s a problem for future me, and if NECA reads these, I beg of you to at least hold off a month or so before putting something like that up on your website! Some of us don’t expect to get tax refunds in April.
The accessory set comes housed in an oversized box with some toon-inspired artwork on the front showcasing a bunch of the items contained therein. On the reverse, we get some product shots and a partial list of the contents contained in the box. Unfortunately, there’s no window display so you won’t be able to inspect the contents before buying. It seems most stores are getting between 1 and 3 sets in this first wave of shipments and it’s been the early favorite of many as it’s flying off the shelves faster than anything else included with Haulathon. The store I found my set in only had the one, if others were there before I happened upon it I couldn’t tell. It was a packed endcap and this set had to be sort of wedged in on-top of other items just to fit. It’s possible there was only one sent to this store, and also possible the overflow was kept in the back to be put out later in the week -who knows? If you’re having trouble finding a set though, it’s expected to be made available this Friday (if you’re reading this the week this entry is posted) on Target’s website.
First thing we’ll talk about is the stuff that’s familiar. There’s a Mouser included and it’s just like the other Mousers we’ve received. Mine is stuck at the base of the neck, but is otherwise fine. There’s another pizza box of the hinged variety with a full pizza inside that’s removable. The deco this time around is Pizza Groove and it’s yet another box to add to the stack. There are two pizza monsters included in the set only this time it’s a new sculpt. That’s definitely welcomed as we have had multiple opportunities to get the other, standing, little, monster and I definitely didn’t need more of those. These ones are crawling and they look fine and should add a little variety to your display. Also returning is a VHS tape, this one with some yellow on the front where a label would be. The back of the box says there are two tapes included, but my set only had the one which seems to be the norm.
That’s the new-old stuff, the rest is all new. We get a portrait of a wedge of cheese which I think is from Rat King’s lair? It’s something to be added to a diorama, I suppose, and by itself doesn’t really add much. There’s an oversized gem, the Star of Hoboken, which would make a nice centerpiece on a coffee table. There’s a little blow torch for when Donatello needs to “do machines,” but no flame effect included which is a bit of a bummer. We get a turtle-themed backpack which can fit on any of the heroes if you would like, though it can’t open. There’s also a ray gun, which is how the box labels it. I’m sure it’s pulled from a specific episode and possibly has a specific purpose, but I don’t recall it. At least it’s something to broaden the weaponry of turtle foes (even though it’s Michelangelo who is pictured on the box holding it). Lastly, we have a few accessories that definitely feel specific to previously released figures. The first is Rocksteady’s helmet which he wore during the original mini series and maybe a few times after. He was predominantly without it, but since the original Playmates figure had one, many still associate the character with the helmet. It’s just an olive drab dome with goggles molded onto it and it looks fine. I feel like it could have used some more linework or something to make it pop more like a lot of the accessories in this line, but NECA opted to keep it simple. We also get the Turtle Tracker, which is a handheld device used by Baxter. It looks pretty cool and it’s a rather involved sculpt which perhaps is what made it difficult to incorporate into another release. And then lastly, we have a new head for Baxter. I’m happy to say this one has his glasses (my previous Baxter came missing them and NECA has yet to replace it) and he’s also wearing Shredder’s helmet. This is from a season two episode (“The Curse of the Evil Eye”) where he briefly usurps Shredder with some magical device. I think his face looks better than the standard one and I’m left wishing the helmet and hair on that release were removable, but oh well. The helmet had a gem on the front of it in the episode which is not present for some reason.
That stuff is the window dressing for this set. The filler, if you will. I suppose some really wanted that Rocksteady helmet and I know of a few who weren’t happy with how the Baxter figure turned out so they may welcome the new head. The real selling points for this set are the next few items we’re going to talk about. Up first is Big MACC. He’s a robot from an early episode that’s basically a foe, but by the end of the episode has been converted to an ally. He’s got a bit of a Short Circuit vibe to his design, but he’s essentially a set of treads with a body on top. As a figure, it’s very light and feels quite delicate. The base is hollow while the torso is connected to the apparatus below it with a double ball peg so it can twist and pivot. The arms are connected via double ball pegs so they rotate and have some pivot to them as well. There’s a hinge for an elbow joint on each and the head is joined to the neck via a double ball peg. There’s nothing at the hands and the big gun which is affixed to a tail of sorts has no articulation aside from a swivel. I’m a little surprised it’s not on a bendy wire, but I guess it’s fine. MACC is made of a hard plastic though so everything feels especially delicate. There’s a second gun plugged into his head which can be removed and replaced with a filler piece which is a nice touch. The main body is all white with black linework and it’s applied very clean. If you wanted a Big MACC figure, you have it, and it’s fine. I wish the hands could rotate and I’m surprised the base can’t, but he’s just a set and forget it kind of figure.
Our next item is one that will serve a greater purpose when the lair is available and it’s the television. This all plastic TV is an entirely new mold from the TV we’ve seen NECA release via other sets in the past. It’s a wood panel TV with dials and it has the missing front leg which has been replaced with a stack of books. On top of the TV we get a VCR and some rabbit ears for optimal reception. What’s neat is the VCR can actually accept one of the VHS tapes NECA has released and included in this set. It doesn’t have a little flap or anything, but it’s still a fun touch. The sculpt and paint are a bit plain, but it does have the added effect of featuring a removable top and a slot for the screen. NECA included 9 pieces of glossy cardstock to serve as the screens. They all feature different images so your turtles can watch a variety of programs. One is also clearly an old video game and NECA included a game console as well! It kind of resembles a Super Nintendo, but with a sleeker design. The controllers are more 2600 though and they’re connected to the console via a soft wire each. There’s a peg hole on the back of it which I’m not sure what that’s intended for, but it’s a neat little inclusion even though it doesn’t connect to the TV in any way. I’m betting the one in the show didn’t either.
The TV would be the star of the set if not for the inclusion of the baby turtles, or turtle toddlers. There was an episode where the turtles were transformed into child versions of themselves and NECA has included those characters in this set. All four are essentially the same mold, but with a different head and belt buckle. They’re quite dainty standing at around 2.38″ each. Donatello has a nervous expression, Mikey a big smile, Leo a more subdued smile, and Raph looks pissed. Each also comes with tiny versions of their signature weapons and Mikey’s even feature actual chains. They can’t store their weapons, but they couldn’t in the episode either. The figures are all well painted, but NECA decided not to attempt its form of cel-shading with these guys (they also didn’t with Big MACC). There’s still plenty of linework and the paint is applied rather well. There’s also a little articulation built into them. We have a ball joint at the head, hinged shoulders that rotate, ball-socketed hips, and hinged ankles with a rocker. The ankles feel pretty delicate and it’s hard to tell if the ankle is rocking or just stressing the peg. Definitely be careful. There’s also a lot of weight on the back of these guys due to the shell which makes standing them a challenge. Stepping poses help, or just lurching them forward can help too. I actually could get one-footed stances as well which surprised me. There’s no peg holes in the feet so I may end up using some sticky tack in the end to keep these little guys secure and I do wish they came with little stands to help. They can sit, but not very well, but well enough to stabilize them by holding into something. Ultimately though, they’re super cute and that’s what they’re meant to be. Chances are, if you’re interested in this set it’s due to the inclusion of the baby turtles. Now we just need the geriatric turtles to complete the set!
Accessory sets are a bit of an odd thing to review, but there you go. It’s definitely the type of item that the completist collector will get the most out of. There’s some deep pull accessories and definitely a bunch of this stuff will work better with the lair. I’m definitely happy to have the TV and I think NECA would be foolish to not make sure that everyone who wants that item can get it because it will help sell that aforementioned lair. I’m actually surprised it’s not included with that. The baby turtles are pretty wonderful and I’m happy to have them. Big MACC is okay, I didn’t need it, but I don’t hate having it. That’s likely why the character is in here. And I will get some use out of that alternate Baxter head. The rest is just stuff that I have no attachment to. It’s filler, some of which will go into my display and some won’t. Is it worth 60 bucks? Ehh, that’s a tough call. We probably could have got the baby turtles in a set similar to the Mouser one which was 30 or 35 bucks. These little guys sold that way with maybe a few of these items tossed in would have sold me. The only thing I “needed” other than them was the TV, which I think could have come with the lair, but maybe it couldn’t? Hopefully it not being sold there means that item will be a little easier on the wallet? That’s probably a pipe dream. I don’t want to speculate on the cost of that, but the street scene was $150 I think so it’s not going to come cheap. Let’s just hope NECA gives us a little breather before that thing goes up for sale.
We’re back for 2021, and right now it looks like a lot like 2020 as we have a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure to talk about – Android Krang! Hopefully, this doesn’t mean 2021 is a lot like 2020 going forward, but if it’s going to copy anything from 2020 then let it…
It was a little over a month ago that San Diego Comic Con occurred, in person, for the first time since 2019. This was cause for a celebration, even if for those of us who take in the convention from the comfort of our homes saw little change. Even without the event taking place the…
When NECA started on this journey into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon it first began with a video game. An adaptation of a video game, to be more precise. The 2016 San Diego Comic Con exclusive contained a four pack of the famous, green, pizza destroyers in a pixel deco. They were the first…
We’re back with the fourth, and final, review of the inaugural wave of Super7 Ultimates! from The Simpsons. And today, you’re getting a two for one as we’re looking at two figures: Robot Itchy and Robot Scratchy. This pair hails from the Season 6 episode “Itchy & Scratchy Land” which was one part Westworld and one part Disneyland parody. In it, the titular family takes a trip to the theme park that Bart is dead serious about attending, Itchy & Scratchy Land. Now, this is yet another “controversial” release from Super7 as we’re getting the robotic duo before the more traditional cartoon pair. It’s an odd pull for the first wave of a toyline, but that’s Super7. They zig when others zag. This duo does have the advantage of being another episode specific release and I’m on record as being in favor of that approach. Would I like just a regular Itchy and Scratchy? Sure, but I also get a kick out of these and it’s something different. And ultimately, no pun intended, we have to review the figures for what they are so set aside your beliefs on character selection and join me in taking a deep dive into these two figures.
Now, you may think that these two figures share a lot of the same parts. And if you did you would be wrong. I probably could have split them up, but the engineering is essentially the same and they share a lot of accessories, even if the actual figure molds are different. Both figures comes in the same Ultimates! box the others come in with artwork from the show and a little note on where these guys hail from. These two definitely take up a lot more real estate in the box versus their line-mates with only Homer really coming close to that sort of presence. These are pretty big figures with Scratchy being the tallest figure in the line so far. He comes in at around 7.5″ to the top of his head and about 8″ to the tip of his ears. Itchy is 6.5″ to the top of the head and 7.5″ to the top of his ears. What really makes them look big though is their heads which are just massive relative to the other figures. The torso is very boxy as well which adds to the bulk, though they’re not that heavy. That likely owes to the torso being relatively hollow and the legs are quite thin. That’s not to say they’re light or feel cheap, but the weight is definitely not evenly distributed as they both have heavy heads and light bodies.
We’ll start with Itchy first since he always comes first when the duo is brought up. These two figures do not share a single part as far as I can tell. The arms and legs on both figures essentially look the same, but everything about Scratchy is noticeably bigger. Super7 probably could have fudged it and told us to deal with it, but they didn’t and that’s something I definitely appreciate. The heads, like all of the heads in this line, are fully painted. They’re sculpted on gray, but painted over, which gives them a nice finish. Itchy’s really well sculpted. The inner ear is painted purple, the teeth a shiny silver, and the white and red paint on the eyes is very cleanly applied. I like that the pupils are recessed which gives them a nice touch. The nose is also painted a gray-purple. The hair effects are glued in and the only other seems present is the one circling his dome which is part of the design of the character so it’s fine.
The rest of the figure is, unfortunately, mostly bare plastic. It gives the body a different finish than the head and a far cheaper look. Super7 did paint the bolts on the front of the chest and the abdomen has some of the gray paint applied as well. Unfortunately, the bolts on the side of the figure are not painted. That’s in keeping with the look of the show, but Super7 seemed to decide the front of the figure needed another hit of paint on those bolts so why not do the same with the other bolts? Aside from the lack of paint, the sculpt looks mostly good. The arms look like they could have been bendy arms, but Super7 opted to go in a more traditional manner. This means the articulation lines look a bit off, but they’re not bad and I prefer this route over the bendy arm approach. The sculpt is there, it’s the finish that holds it back.
With Scratchy, we pretty much have the same situation. The head is well-painted and well-sculpted. There’s little to no slop or bleeding on the edges and the seems are all really clean. Like Itchy, he has some silver paint apps on the chest with the bolts across the top and this big cap in the middle. His abdomen is not painted, but it’s also not supposed to be so I can’t knock it for that. He’s bigger than Itchy though so the lack of paint anywhere else stands out more. The torso looks especially bland and the larger tail on the figure is practically begging for some shading somewhere. He even has a wheel at the base of his tail, a detail I never noticed until this figure, but it’s not painted so it’s just a lump on his tail. Super7 has a great sculpt here, but they’re letting it down with the lack of paint.
For articulation, we can basically talk about both at once because the engineering is exactly the same. The heads are on a hinged ball peg, but it does almost nothing. The hinge is really tight, but even if you loosen it up, the oversized heads means there’s not really much room for them to do anything except look up. There’s really no tilt or room to look down, but you do get rotation. The hinged shoulders rotate just fine and they can come out to just about horizontal. I could probably force it, but I don’t want to break my toys. At the elbow, we have the standard swivel and hinge combo that won’t get you a 90 degree bend. Their arms are basically tubes so the swivel is useless. The wrists swivel and hinge and the hinge is actually built into the arm so you effectively can hinge the hand in any direction so that’s an added bonus of this slightly unconventional approach. There’s no articulation in the torso, but since it’s a box I wouldn’t expect any. The waist does twist and the hips just swivel forward and back. Because of the design, they kick all the way forward and back, but you get no split articulation. The knees are also just hinges, though they can hinge in both directions as far as you want because there’s no knee cap or anything else to get in the way. The ankles just hinge forward and back, but the range is pretty limited there and there’s no ankle rocker. The tail on each figure can rotate and hinge, though the hinge is fairly limited. Scratchy’s tail essentially functions as a third leg which is nice to have as the leg hinges aren’t the strongest. They’re not loose, but the top-heavy nature of each figure does mean you have to be mindful of how they’re posed or else they might topple over.
When it comes to accessories, these figures are pretty loaded, though we do have a lot of repeat accessories between the two. For starters, both figures come with some extra hands. Itchy has a set of open hands and a set of “gripping” hands. Their hands are a unique design so they’re not traditional at all, but they seem to get the job done. Scratchy has a set of the open hands, but only one hand that I’d call a gripping hand. It’s odd that he didn’t get two of those. Both figures also have an alternate head. As far as I can tell, the alternate head is exactly the same as the standard head, the only difference is they’re not glued at the seems. This is so Itchy can lift the top of his head off to expose his circuits and Scratchy can remove his face to do the same. Both are references to the episode they’re from. And the innards are well-painted and well-sculpted. The pieces fit together pretty well too. I had to work at it initially, but leaving them in place helped to better form-fit them in place. That’s all to say they look exactly the same when assembled so I’m surprised Super7 even bothered with the glued heads. I guess the added cost to the figure is just raw materials since it’s all tooled already, but it’s a surprise all the same. Only one of my pictures (not included the boxed shots) features the default heads as I’d rather keep the ones that separate on them and you should be able to see how well the pieces fit together.
For the accessories the two do share, we have a tiny arsenal and some rather common implements of destruction associated with the pair. Both come with an oversized, red-brown, mallet. The “gripping” hands work fine with the handles, but two-handed poses are a real challenge. The mallets aren’t painted, but they do have a nice, satin, finish so they look pretty nice. The pair also each come with an axe. They work just as well as the mallet as far as holding things and the axe head is nicely painted with a shiny silver and a red blade. It’s the same as the mallet as far as how it’s handled so it works just as well, and just as bad, I suppose. They also each have a tommy gun, though Scratchy has a hard time holding that one properly and Itchy isn’t much better. You can finagle it into their hands, but not in a realistic manner. I know we’re talking about a cartoon, robot, cat, and mouse, but they should be able to aim the gun. The gun itself is like the mallet in that it’s just plastic, but it has a nice finish so I’m not bothered by the lack of paint. The chainsaw is another accessory that Itchy has an easier time wielding than Scratchy. Neither can wield it particularly well as they just don’t have the clearance in the arms, but it can be fudged a bit more convincingly than the gun. The chainsaw itself has a nice, shiny, paint job on the metallic portion with red on the main housing. It looks nice, though I wish the handle on the top was a bit more pronounced and usable like the handle on the rear, but it’s fine.
Those are the shared accessories, but both also come with some unique ones as well. For Itchy, he has a wearable drum and two mallets for striking the drum. It looks really nice though. It’s red with gold trim and it’s done rather well. The face of the drum is painted with a light blue and has a cartoon Scratchy head on it that is probably printed, but I suppose could be painted on. Either way, it’s nice and sharp and it definitely catches the eye. The mallets are rather basic, just a beige handle with an oversized, off-white, top. They’re fine and Itchy holds them well so no complaints there. The only thing I don’t like is it hangs a bit lower than I’d like. I wish it could hook onto his torso somehow to sit higher as more than half of the drum sits lower than his crotch. Overall, it looks all right and I think the drum by itself looks great, but it is slightly ruined by the fit.
With Scratchy, we get some unique stuff as well. Scratchy has a butcher’s knife which slots well into his “gripping” hand. It has a nice, shiny, blade and looks nice for what it is. I like that it is sized appropriately for the figure and doesn’t look dinky in his hand. I also like that it can be used with Moe or any other figure for that matter. Scratchy also comes with the robot baby axe from the parade scene. It looks like the regular axe only smaller and with painted metallic legs. Unfortunately, Super7 went cheap on this one as the legs are not articulated. And since it’s a straight up and down design for the most part it doesn’t stand well. The legs do not sit flush on a surface so it feels rather pointless as a result, which is a shame because it was a good idea, just poor execution. Lastly, Scratchy comes with what I think will unquestionably be the accessory of the year. I’m, of course, talking about the much in-demand BORT license plate. It’s a simple, white, rectangle with “BORT” sculpted onto it and painted red with Itchy & Scratchy Land on top of the plate. It looks awesome for what it is and it’s a tremendous inclusion as it references one of the best bits to ever appear on an episode of The Simpsons. If I am to nitpick it, it’s not to scale with the figures as the vanity plates in the episode were much smaller, but I don’t care. BORT license plates for everyone!
Robot Itchy and Scratchy are pretty much on par with the rest of the line. The sculpts are pretty great, there’s some missing paint apps which detract from the look and the articulation is mediocre at best. The high accessory count, and some fun inclusions, do help add value to the total package which is $55 a piece. These two are a bit interesting in that their sculpts are quite possibly the best in the line so far, but the missing paint on the bodies stands out more to me. I think Super7 did a great job in isolating what made this particular episode of the show so fun. As always, they could have done more like add some blood spraying effects or something (especially in place of the extra head), but the execution isn’t matching the imagination from those who designed the product. The baby axe being a total dud is a bummer and Scratchy only having the one “gripping” hand is an odd choice. I don’t think the gun or chainsaw pose well with the figures, but they also have enough other stuff that it’s not that big of a deal. If they weren’t so expensive, they would work well as army builder figures since there are quite a bit of display options available. And even though the articulation isn’t great, they do match the movements and poses of their animated counterparts better than some of the other figures I’ve received from Super7.
Ultimately, pun definitely intended, how much you like this pair will come down to how much you like The Simpsons, how much you like this particular episode, and the design of the two robots. I love the episode, and I find the design of the Itchy and Scratchy robots to be fun, so I like these enough. I think they could be better, and Super7 is pushing it at their current price levels, but I don’t regret the purchase. These are pretty fun, but definitely for a niche audience, so buy accordingly.
Need to catch-up on the rest of The Simpsons Ultimates! from Super7?
Slowly but surely I am clearing out all of the action figure preorders I placed in the year 2021. Of the ones that had been remaining, the line I was most looking forward to experiencing was the line of Super7 Ultimates! based on The Simpsons. It was August of 2021 when these suckers went up…
Our first two looks at the inaugural wave of Ultimates! from Super7 based on The Simpsons have been two very episode specific takes. One was Deep Space Homer from the episode of the same name where Homer went to space and the figure presents the character in his space suit. The second figure was Poochie,…
We’re back with another look at a figure from Super7’s latest wave of Ultimates! based on The Simpsons. And for this one, we’re taking things TO THE EXTREME! That’s right, it’s Poochie, everyone’s favorite rockin’ dog. He’s got attitude to spare and he’s not afraid to show it off. Where would cartoon history be without…
When I became a dad for the first time it made me get reacquainted with children’s television. I’m guessing all new parents go through this where they watch shows with their little one and find a great many of them intolerable. Perhaps that’s too strong a word, but it did cause me to reflect on what I was watching at a young age. And some of that was the same, namely Sesame Street which is like a rite of passage in the US. I watched a lot of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood which basically has a sequel series in the form of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which my kids watched a little of. There was also a lot of new stuff which didn’t click with me, because why would it? I’m not the intended audience, but it did have the affect of making me want to share the stuff I liked with my own children.
That temptation is essentially a form of nostalgia and it’s also big business. Go to any kid’s clothing retailer and you’ll find clothing with 80s and 90s properties that children today are not exposed to unless it’s through their parents. That stuff is for the parents to clad their children in. And it’s fine, having kids is pretty fun and that’s part of it. You also only get so many years to dress your kids as you want before they develop their own tastes. For me, I wanted to show my kids the old cartoons I grew up with. This may come as a shock, but I wasn’t in a rush to show them Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Why? Because that cartoon sucks. I may have loved it as a kid, but it’s very much a relic of it’s time and not meant to cross the generational divide. Cartoon shorts from animation’s golden age? That stuff had already stood the test of time and it was those cartoons that I made sure to seek out. I already had a pretty large collection of Disney shorts via the Walt Disney Treasures line, but a gap in my collection was definitely the stuff from Warner Bros. Part of that was they just didn’t release their shorts in a manner that appealed to me. I love what Disney did by releasing character specific collections arranged in chronological order. Instead, Warner did the Golden Collection as well as a handful of spotlight releases that were either character specific or themed in some way. There were a lot of repeat cartoons across releases and it was all quite cumbersome. I wanted those shorts though, so I went out and got all 6 volumes of the Golden Collection and introduced them to my kids when they had the capacity to follow along with them.
Looney Tunes, the show that aired on Nickelodeon, was an early favorite of mine. It was usually the last kid’s programming of the night on Nickelodeon and it was often the show I watched after getting ready for bed. I loved those cartoons and I’m happy to say my kids share that affection. My daughter, in particular, became a pretty big fan of Bugs Bunny and she even carried around a stuffed Bugs for a solid year and a half or so with her when we went most places. When we went to Disney World in 2021, it wasn’t a Mickey or a Minnie head poking out of her carry-on but good ‘ole Bugs. Showing these cartoons to my kids was a way for me to get reacquainted with them too as most of these I had not watched in over twenty years and it was great. I always intended to review the Golden Collection for this blog, but found it just too cumbersome to do. There’s just so much content, some of it great, and some of it not so great. It also suffers in that these shorts were meant to preempt a movie and be consumed in small doses, but when you arrange an entire disc of Road Runner cartoons it gets really repetitive. The characters are still great though, and it’s a shame that Warner Bros has allowed their profile to slip (and more recently, have removed the post 1950 shorts from HBO Max). The Looney Tunes, as they’re commonly referred to now, were still pretty huge in the 90s which is why we got a film like Space Jam.
Warner seemed interested in reviving these characters, or maybe it was more that Lebron James wanted to match Michael Jordon in yet another way. Regardless, it lead to Space Jam: A New Legacy in 2021 that just paired James with the same characters Jordan starred with back in 1994 only now it was less interesting. I saw the movie and was so entertained that I fell asleep. The original Space Jam is hardly what I would consider high art. Jordan is as wooden as a basketball court and the plot is pretty stupid, but the character animation holds up pretty well and it has its moments. It’s entertaining, and my kids love it. I don’t think they ever asked to watch the new one again. It tries too hard to find more of a heart at its center and falls on its face as a result. It’s also too long and the characters in 3D CG just lack the same charm that they possess in 2D. The only good thing I can say about it is it lead to new toys. The Looney Tunes are severely underrepresented in the world of toys and collectibles. The best ones might be the McDonald’s super hero toys featuring Bugs, Daffy, Petunia, and Taz with snap-on DC super hero costumes. DC Direct also had a line of more diorama styled toys a few years ago that were pretty neat for what they were. The toys that showed up at big box retailers for the new film though weren’t of any interest to me, but I was hoping we might get something flashier in the collector realm.
Enter Beast Kingdom, holders of many licenses and makers of interesting toys. I’ve looked at one Beast Kingdom figure in the past, a Donald Duck figure from their Dynamic Action Hero line, and found it to be…okay? It presents pretty well, but the quality did not really justify the cost. Beast Kingdom is very good at the presentation of collectibles, but at the expense of the actual figure inside the fancy box. I question if they price their figures at a certain level to add prestige because it doesn’t look like the construction of the figure inside justifies it. At any rate, the experience was positive enough that I was willing to give them another look when they unveiled a Bugs Bunny from Space Jam: A New Legacy. Now, I personally just want a Bugs Bunny figure as seen in the classic shorts. I’d love a line of the character with various artists’ interpretations, but I was willing to settle for this one because the basketball uniform was done with soft goods that could be removed. The sculpt is still Space Jam, but I think the model is also pretty stock for Bugs. I just wasn’t in love with the price which was $80, so I waited. Once I could get it for almost half off did I finally roll the dice and now I can tell you all about the experience.
Bugs Bunny arrived in his fancy box, as expected. It’s very glossy and a pain to photograph, but it’s very much themed to match the film the character is taken from. On the front, we get a shot of the figure that’s probably a digital render and on the side is some artwork. It’s a fairly thick cardstock that lifts off of the box like a board game box. Inside is another image of Bugs on a slip cover that just lifts off to reveal a tray underneath that contains the figure and all of its accessories. Behind the tray is where they hid the figure stand. The tray is black with a clear cover that’s taped down. Once you get that off you can finally get at the figure. Immediately upon lifting Bugs out of his plastic coffin his left leg fell off so we weren’t off to a great start. His tail and feet are wrapped in plastic and it’s kind of a pain to get off. I assumed they were worried about plastic transfer or something, but once I got the plastic off I realized they were bagged because those parts are flocked – interesting.
Once out and de-plasticked, Bugs stands at approximately 6.25″ to the top of his head and nearly 8.75″ to the top of his tallest ears. He’s in his own scale, and even though it’s not the same license, I thought he would scale a bit with the Donald Duck I have, but it’s not even close. No matter, since I envision him being displayed solo, but that might bother some folks. Bugs is mostly colored plastic. The gray on his head, the pink of his nose, and the black for his pupils and inner mouth make up the bulk of the paint on the figure. Even though it’s not much, it’s not especially clean. The gray around the eyes doesn’t quite reach the edge of the white portions and it’s off enough that it’s visible from afar. It’s also noticeably darker than the gray paint on the back of his head which is awfully distracting. The pink inside the ears has the same issue and one can see why Beast Kingdom avoids painting its figures since it kind of sucks at doing it. I’m also not a fan of just painting the inner mouth black. There should at least be a tongue, and most images of Bugs would paint the inner mouth a dark red. The white portions are also begging for some paint too since the buck teeth get lost in the white fur. At least a black outline, or a black line down the center, would solve that. He has dimples for his whiskers, but since they’re not outlined you’d never know they’re there. Oh and speaking of, he’s also missing his whiskers! Maybe they weren’t in the movie? They’re on the artwork so that’s a bit bizarre. The flocked feet strike me as an attempt to make the figure better resemble the 3D model in the film. It works, but it’s really odd that they only did it on the feet. It’s just as odd with the tail, but since it’s on the back of the figure I don’t care as much, but the feet look silly.
For a largely unpainted figure, I will say that the plastic doesn’t have an overtly shiny appearance. The hands feel like a soft vinyl so they don’t reflect the light as much as the white on the face. The eyes and the mouth are the only real shiny areas which will vary from face to face and we’ll talk about in the accessory section. Where Beast Kingdom seems to spend the most money is on the soft goods. The basketball jersey is textured like an actual jersey and the printing is very clean. It’s not a decal and the stitching is really well done. I mentioned I have no plans to display the figure with the jersey on, but it’s done so well that it did make me reconsider. If it was the Space Jam jersey of my youth, I may have given in, but I just have no affection for this one. It’s not as loose-fitting as the jersey appears to be in the film and I’m actually surprised it’s not very stretchy. Getting it off will require removing the figure’s arms, which shouldn’t be hard since the right arm fell off shortly after the left leg when I initially picked the figure up, and I’ll likely have to remove the head. Getting the trunks over the tail will likely be the hardest part of the process. His belly is painted white underneath, about as well as the face and ears, and there’s no other sculpting. He can definitely be displayed naked, and I’m surprised that Beast Kingdom didn’t make it easier to get the jersey off without cutting it.
The look of the figure is certainly a mixed bag. The paint is poor and the flocked feet bizarre, and then there’s also the face. It’s definitely based on the film, but it’s like a low detail version. I can’t fault a figure based on the new Space Jam movie for looking like its source, but it could be better at actually looking like the source. Mostly though, the figure just feels cheap. Really cheap. The shoulders are very loose and floppy and it seems part of the problem is the torso isn’t held together very well. It keeps splitting at the neck, which makes the head extremely floppy. I have to keep pinching it to get the head to stay in place, but manipulating the figure causes the joints to get loose once more. The only fix would be to try to glue the piece together, but I’d be afraid of the glue seeping out or getting into a joint and screwing it up there. This is absolutely not a premium collectible despite its price.
We may as well go right into the articulation since it plays into the looseness. The head is on a single ball peg and he can rotate, look up, look down, and gets some nice nuance posing. Manipulating it will loosen the neck and create a bobble head, but pinching the neck back together solves that to a point, but the gap never stays closed so it’s going to get loose again real quick. The shoulders are on a hinged ball peg so they can raise out to the side a touch past horizontal and get a little forward and back movement at the ball. The bicep pegs into another ball hinge at the elbow which in turn pegs into the forearm. This gives the figure a swivel point above and below the ball-joint plus a bend at the elbow that goes past 90 degrees. It functions well, and it’s at least nice and tight, but ball elbows are the type of joint that look a bit unsightly to me when the arm is out straight. When the elbow is bent it looks fine. The wrists are on another ball-hinge so they rotate and move up and down on that hinge and they work fine. There’s no articulation in the torso at all or at the waist. Our next point is at the hips which uses another ball and socket joint like the shoulder. Bugs can kick forward almost to horizontal and he kicks back a little. Bugs can’t do splits, but his legs go out to the side past 45 degrees. The knees are just like the elbows, so we get rotation above and below and a bend that goes past 90. The ankles are the same setup as the wrists but with a forward-facing pin for an ankle rocker. The hinge goes forward pretty far, but they cut the shin at an angle so the range back isn’t as far as it should be. The rocker works fine. The tail is the last spot and it just swivels.
Bugs moves well enough for the source material. He’s easy to stand since his feet are so large and most of the joints are plenty tight. It’s the shoulders and head that are loose and a pain to pose as a result. I’m a little surprised at the lack of posing for the ears, but since Beast Kingdom loves the ball-hinge joint I’m glad we don’t have ears on ball-hinges. Bugs works best going for basketball poses like running, jumping, and shooting. He struggles with more traditional Bugs Bunny poses as he can’t really get his hands onto his hips, and trying to do so means fighting with the loose shoulders. I would have loved to get him to lay down as he appears on top of the Warner logo in many a cartoon, but he really can’t do that either. He can basically stand and his big feet mean you can pose him on one foot with the other more relaxed, but he could be better. The lack of any articulation in the torso is a killer there. It’s surprising to me that they didn’t try something there since he’s intended to wear clothes, but at least the solid torso means he has a cleaner appearance when not in the costume.
For accessories, Bugs has a spread of hands and faceplates to go with a couple of props. For faces, Bugs gets three portraits: smile, worried, and carrot chomping. Interestingly, it looks like the eyes were going to be removable as they just slide over some pegs, but they’re totally fused. My guess is it wasn’t working in the testing phase so they just cut that feature. There’s zero looseness so I don’t think they could be removed now, but it would have been nice as he has wide open eyes, upward looking eyes, and partially closed eyes. The gray on the faces are all painted poorly, but at least the eyelids look fine. Every face has the same issue with the gray on the face being slightly darker than the gray painted onto the head of the figure which is distracting when viewing the figure from the side or when his head is positioned at an angle. Both are white pieces painted gray so I don’t know how they messed that up. The worried face has a little extra pink paint for the gumline and that is surprisingly sharply painted. The bare teeth though really draw attention to the lack of detail paint there. He needs some shading or something because the teeth are practically lost in the white fur. For hands, Bugs comes with a set of fists, open hands, and a set of hands that are open and slightly curved for palming a basketball. There’s also an additional left, gripping, hand with the pinky finger raised for holding a carrot. For ears, we get two relatively straight-up ears that have a gentle curve to them as well as a right ear bent past 90s degrees and a left ear with a less severe bend to it. The hands slide off and on the wrist pegs fairly easily and the ears key-in to the head in designated spots making it virtually impossible to mix-up the right and left ears. The faceplates are also easy enough to swap and they stay on just fine as well.
As for props, Bugs comes with his signature carrot. The tip has been bitten off and it has a long, green, leaf coming out of the back of it. It slides into the gripping hand easily and is the accessory likely to get the most use from me. I just wish the side-mouth carrot chomping head featured a puffed out cheek to simulate a mouthful of carrot. His signature accessory from the film is the silver basketball. It has a very shiny, silver, paint job and the lines on the ball are sculpted in and painted black. It’s done surprisingly well and it also has a magnet in one spot. The magnet goes with his palming hands which also feature magnets in them so he can effortlessly hold the ball. The last item included is a display stand. It is quite interesting. The base is translucent, blue, plastic with “Tune Squad” printed on the top and “Bugs Bunny” on the front. The actual arm that pegs in is black and it’s articulated like a wire. It’s coated in black plastic so it feels like an old payphone cord (how’s that for a dated reference?) only it holds its shape. It’s about 7.25″ tall and it holds whatever shape you want to put it into. It’s very different, but also quite useful. The hinged claw at the end can grasp the figure just fine and you can even try to get the clothing over it to better hide it. It’s plenty strong enough to support the figure, though the base is light so if you try to go too far forward it will tip. It’s primary function is probably to pose Bugs as if he’s going for a dunk and it works just fine for that. Too bad he lacks a hoop to really convey that action.
The accessory loadout is plenty good for a Bugs Bunny from Space Jam. He’s got a ball and a carrot plus some different expressions. As a more evergreen Bugs Bunny, it still works okay, though I think that version of Bugs would maybe have some gag effects and probably different expressions. A basketball hoop, even if it was just the backboard that could be stuck to a surface, is about the only thing missing. And if they insists on doing the flocked feet, I think they should have included a set of unflocked feet for those that didn’t care for the look. The feet don’t even look flocked in the promo images and it wasn’t a listed feature so I’m right to be surprised by the inclusion.
Let’s cut to the chase: as an 80 dollar collectible figure this release from Beast Kingdom stinks. There’s no way the quality is there to support that price. Even at nearly half off, I still think the quality is suspect. This feels more like a $30 figure with issues that can be overlooked because it was only 30 bucks. At the $45 I paid, those problems can’t be dismissed as minor. And if I’m reviewing it at the $80 it was released at it’s junk. The looseness is aggravating and even ignoring that the figure just feels cheap. Even so, when you get him posed and on a shelf, the figure looks okay. For its source material, it looks good enough. I still think the flocked feet are dumb and just distract more than anything, but the soft goods are really well done and he’s plenty expressive. Especially if you want him in a basketball pose as the stand works well and the ball turned out great. As a more traditional Bugs, it’s fine, but represents a compromise. To most people who look at it, they’ll just recognize the character for what he is. For people who are bigger fans of Bugs Bunny and the classic shorts, they’ll probably be able to tell that this is a Space Jam release trying to get by as a Golden Age Bugs. If you’re okay with that and think the figure looks good enough for your display then I can tepidly recommend this figure for purchase provided it’s found at a deep discount. I’d say $40 is the absolute most one should consider, but even less is preferable especially if you’re like me and have no interest in the Space Jam branding. Otherwise, it’s just not worth it.
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