Tag Archives: baxter stockman

NECA Cartoon TMNT Premonition of a Premutation SDCC 4-Pack

Straight from San Diego Comic Con 2022, it’s another NECA 4-pack of action figures from the classic cartoon series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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 past two years, it didn’t stop most companies from saving announcements for the summer time to get all of those who are into the sort of subject matter featured at the convention worked up into a frenzy. It also didn’t stop those same companies from making convention exclusives.

NECA has been in the business of making con exclusive sets for years now. And unlike some companies, they have always made sure to include those who couldn’t make it in on the fun. This would often mean selling the exclusives on their website during the convention, or shortly before, which was often quite successful, but also lead to sell-outs and some hurt feelings along the way. With the convention getting cancelled, the exclusives were shifted to retail, but this year marked the return of the NECA webstore sale. And going back several years now, one of the pillars of con season for NECA has been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With the brand becoming the most popular thing NECA makes product for, the company has made sure to make a lot of stock available when it comes to these exclusives. And just like with 2021, NECA has turned to its toon subline of TMNT for another convention four-pack: Premonition of a Premutation.

It’s the figures you always wanted as a kid! Okay, well maybe not every body. Left to right: Baxter Stockman, Hamato Yoshi, Bebop, and Rocksteady.

As the name implies, this is a four-pack of popular characters from the show in their less celebrated pre-mutation forms. They are: Baxter Stockman, Hamato Yoshi, Bebop, and Rocksteady. Fans have been asking for these versions of the characters for years now and most knew it was only a matter of time given how popular the line is. Plus, the company already unveiled Scrag, one of the seldom seen gang members associated with Bebop and Rocksteady in the show’s earliest days, as a figure for Loot Crate that NECA swears will see the light of day some day. Obviously, even as a limited release item, NECA isn’t going to make Scrag and not the more popular punkers. Hamato Yoshi also felt like a given and we saw Baxter teased via the packaging on the Turtles in Disguise set last year. The only real surprise is that they were reserved for a convention exclusive four-pack, but given how easy it was to secure a set, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing. It only stinks for those who were only interested in one or two figures in the set and not all four since it wasn’t exactly cheap at $150 plus shipping. We also had to pay upfront and wait awhile if ordering online. I paid for this item on June 3rd and it was supposed to ship after the convention concluded on July 24th and I didn’t end up receiving it until August 24th. That was definitely a longer wait than usual for these convention exclusives, but it’s here now so let’s talk about it.

“Has anyone seen my glasses?!”

The set comes housed in the now standard NECA four-pack setup. It’s a long box with a front flap that’s secured by Velcro. All around the box is new artwork based on the cartoon featuring the characters and likely a few hints here and there about what could possibly be on the way. There are product shots on the rear, and the front flap lifts up to reveal the figures inside. They’re packaged all in a row with some of their accessories visible, and more behind them (basically just the optional hands). My box arrived in good shape and would have been suitable as a mint-in-box item, thought I did have one issue which we’ll get to momentarily.

He may have a net, but what he really needs is a fly swatter.

For me, and I think most collectors, the character I most wanted from this set has been Baxter Stockman so I’m going to start with him. Baxter made his debut in the show’s second episode as the inventor of the Mousers which would soon terrorize the turtles and especially their master, Splinter. It was fitting he debuted in the show’s second episode since he made his original debut in the second issue of the comic, though he looked much different. Baxter would become a lackey for Shredder, sort of a right-hand man, and he remained in that role into the show’s second season where he underwent his mutation into a fly at about the midpoint of that season. As a kid, I remember waiting for that to happen since I knew there was a mutant fly toy with the same name as the character I was seeing on television and I was pretty excited when that day finally arrived. NECA delivered the fly version of the character awhile ago now, which is kind of funny when one considers that the human version of Baxter appeared in the show more often than the fly one, but we all remember and love the old toy so it’s easily the dominant image when one conjures up the name Baxter Stockman. Baxter is also the only figure in this set to not get a figure in his human form back in the old Playmates days. The other 3 were all featured in the Mutations subline, so while not stand-alone figures, their human forms were at least represented in some fashion.

“Baxter! You’re of no use to me at this height!”

Let’s get it out of the way upfront: this figure is too short. A lot of this set contains reused parts from previously released figures to keep costs down. That’s fine when the reuse makes sense, but in the case of Baxter it really doesn’t. NECA reused most of the parts from the fly version, but when Baxter was mutated he also shrunk. In the show, he was shorter than Shredder, but about as tall as the turtles. Scale was not the show’s strong point, but it was fairly accurate in those first five episodes where Baxter debuted and I maintain that, whenever possible, that original mini series should be the go-to when it comes to character designs and scaling. Unfortunately, Baxter is about 4.25″ tall to the top of his head, a little taller when factoring in the hair, and when placed beside Shredder he looks ridiculous. He looks like some sort of goblin or something. He barely looks human because the scale is just so goofy and it really does drive me nuts. It’s probably not something that will bother everyone, but it does me. My figure also has another big problem: no glasses! They’re supposed to be attached to his head in the box and when I got my set I was surprised to see them missing, but figured they must have fallen off during transport and were in there somewhere. Nope, no glasses to be found. I emailed NECA right away and around 24 hours later received a response that said a replacement head will be shipped to me as soon as possible. We shall see, but I’ll certainly update this post should that happen.

I wish they had gone with the same grin he’s sporting on the box. This expression is just puzzling.

Aside from the height and glasses issues, the figure does do a decent job of recreating Baxter’s look. He has the same torso as the fly version which features the now black vest and yellow bowtie. The lab coat has been added and is fairly flexible and he has his sneakers instead of ugly, purple, feet. The head is okay, though a little oversized for the body in some respects. He has a somewhat neutral expression though his mouth is contorted in such a way that maybe he’s a little angry or in thought? He has his wild hair and it’s well-painted and fits the character. The face looks off-model from certain angles and might be due to how his nose angles up a bit. I think he looks better from the side than the front, but it’s not as-if he’s unrecognizable. It’s a decent depiction of the character, just not the homerun some of other figures in this line have been. Of course, mine has some ugly holes in the temples where his glasses should plug-in, but hopefully that’s only temporary.

“Good boy!”

As for his articulation, it’s about what one would expect. His head is surprisingly not impacted much by the hair. He basically can look in all directions and the only one that’s limited is looking up. The shoulders are standard ball-hinges and they raise out to the side almost horizontal and rotate. NECA used their controversial double-elbow with this guy which they do a lot for human characters in jackets or sleeves so you get rotation above and below the elbow and the bend goes past 90 degrees, it just looks weird because the piece in the middle is fairly long so rather than the elbow coming to a point when bent, it’s squared-off. The hands rotate and feature a horizontal hinge. The waist is connected via a ball-peg, but it basically only offers rotation as the torso is covered up by the plastic overlay for the shirt. The legs are ball-sockets and come out to about 45 degrees and he can kick forward enough and kick back just a little before the “diaper” piece gets in the way. The knees are double-jointed and work fine while the ankles feature the standard hinge and rocker combo. The cuffs of the pants get in the way a bit, but this isn’t a guy who will be doing much posing and what we have here is fine. The left foot on mine falls off frequently as I think they missed some glue at the factory, but that’s probably not a common occurrence.

Baxter has a tiny set of turtles that may be sparsely painted, but are still pretty cool nonetheless.

As for the paint, Baxter looks pretty good. The lab coat is a mix of white on the front and a light blue on the read and inside. There’s a lot of black linework and I really like how the front pockets turned out. The line work on his face is very clean, as is the black on the shoes. There’s a very light scuff on part of the jacket and some parts where the paint came out a touch thick, but that’s only noticeable upon really close inspection. Some of the joints will flake, but they all appear to be painted in the appropriate color so it’s just a mild annoyance. Overall, the paint application is easily the strong point of the figure and I have no complaints with it.

Wise human Hamato Yoshi.

Our next figure is Hamato Yoshi, the man who would one day become Splinter the rat and mentor to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (he seriously calls them that in the first episode, it’s so silly). Unlike Baxter, Yoshi does not reuse any parts from his previously released mutated form. Even the kimono is new as NECA chose to sculpt it rather than utilize soft goods. He stands a tick under 5.5″ to the top of his hair and basically looks the part. NECA did a good job with the facial likeness as Yoshi had a fairly unique look to him in the show. He wears his kimono more like a shirt in his human form with it tucked into some striped pants and fixed in place with a black belt. Curiously, there’s no shading on the pants, but the black lines are painted very well. There’s still shading on the top, but that’s it aside from the shading in the hair (which looks really good). I’ll just say the paint is well done with him, rather than devote an entire paragraph to it, and he definitely looks more on-model than Baxter.

“Life as a rat isn’t so bad, you get used to eating out of the trash.”

As for articulation, we would like a ninja master such as Hamato Yoshi to move better than Baxter and he does in some respects, but not in others. His head is on a double-ball-peg and gets good range of motion. There’s no joint at the base of the neck so he doesn’t look down super far, but far enough. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he can raise his arms out to the side okay while the shoulders of the kimono piece need to be worked around when rotating. It’s at the elbow where NECA made an odd choice to go with a single hinge and swivel. The biceps piece is cut at an angle and it makes it look like his arms are slightly bent all of the time. The puffy nature of the sleeves must have convinced NECA to do it this way, but he can just barely hit 90 degrees at the hinge and the swivel only works a little bit as it throws off the sculpt in most, non-neutral, positions. The wrists rotate and feature horizontal hinges and he has the same limited ball-joint at the waist as Baxter. At the hips, he can almost do full splits. He can’t really kick back though and kicking forward only goes so far until the legs want to shoot out to the side. The knees are double-jointed and NECA continued the paint on the top piece so they don’t look bad when bent, not on the bottom. He can bend his knees past 90 though and it looks okay. Above the ankle is a swivel point and below that we get the usual hinge and rock combo which works fine. One thing I wish he could do better than he does is sit, but otherwise he moves around fine.

Bebop sure had style back before he got mutated.

Next up is the tallest figure in the box and it’s Bebop. Bebop is also the first black character in the line and might end up being the only one as I can’t recall many others from the old show. He too also doesn’t reuse anything from his mutated counterpart, but he does appear to share some parts with Vernon. He stands around 6.25″ to the top of his head, and nearly a full 7″ when you factor in the mohawk. He’s pretty lanky looking, which seems close enough to the source material. He has the big red jacket and purple mohawk and matching glasses and the paint is all really well done. There’s shading on the torso, but not on the pants as they’re all black. I think I like the facial likeness on this guy the best out of all of the figures in the set and he may be my favorite overall.

Bebop looks pretty good, but these elbows are weird.

The articulation with Bebop is a bit similar to Yoshi in that I’m not crazy about the elbows. The head and neck are articulation via ball pegs and they work very well. He can even look up quite far with that mohawk of his so long as you turn the head first to avoid his giant collar. The ball-hinges at the shoulders allow the arms to be raised out to the side, but again NECA went with a simple hinge and swivel for the elbows. Bebop’s arms basically can’t be positioned straight and will always have a slight bend to them. When bent, you basically get 90 degrees out of it, but it looks odd because the actual hinge is above the elbow, which is sculpted and painted. They don’t make visual sense when bent and I wish I could say it was less noticeable than it really is, but he basically always looks “off” to a certain degree unless his arms are left in a neutral position. He has the same waist joint as the others and the hips are fine as he has the most range of anyone kicking forward and back in this set. He can almost do splits too, not that he needs to. This is also as good a time as any to say the hips are all nice and snug in this set, which is a noted improvement over some past releases. The knees are double-jointed and they work fine while the ankles are hinged and rock. There’s no boot swivel so don’t try to crank on those parts.

We might as well call him Mr. Big Head.

Lastly, we have Rocksteady who features a lot of parts reuse, but not from the rhino version of the character. Like Bebop, Rocksteady gets his parts from a member of the Channel 6 News Crew, in his case it’s Burne. This means Rocksteady is pretty short coming in at 5.5″. He’s probably a bit undersized compared with his character model, but not as severely as Baxter. His proportions are also a little odd as Burne featured a pretty big melon so Rocksteady does as well. His head was not this massive compared with his body in the show, but he’s at least still clearly Rocksteady and wouldn’t be mistaken for someone else. And since he’s based on Burne, he has another oddity in that he has two belts. The overlay on his torso features a belt sculpted onto the bottom while the pants on Burne featured a sculpted belt on the hips piece. It’s only noticeable if you’re looking for it, but it is odd. The paint on him is pretty good though with the pants and vest both featuring the usual shading, though the sleeves of his t-shirt are not shaded. There are some scuff marks on the rear my figure concerning the pants, but the front looks fine. The linework is all done really well, but overall I think he might be the weakest of the set. The giant head just bothers me more than Baxter’s shortness (I’m disregarding the missing glasses since that’s likely a me issue) and he’s another one I’d consider acceptable, but definitely not a strength of the line.

“Hey! Don’t even think about touching my soup, Ugly!”

Burne is possibly the worst articulated figure in the line so unfortunately that’s going to extend to Rocksteady as well. The head is on a ball-peg and that’s fine as he’s not restricted by the sculpt at all and can look in all directions. The shoulders are ball-hinged and they can get out to the side, but his elbows are terrible. They’re always bent a little bit, and more-so than we saw with Bebop. There’s just one hinge and when bent fully gets to about 90 degrees, but since the neutral pose is already bent you’re only getting a range of motion here of about 45 degrees. He also has the same issue as Bebop where the elbows are painted and shaped to be below the hinge and it just looks really weird. The hands rotate and hinge horizontally and the waist joint is a ball-peg that just basically allows for a twist with very little forward and back or side-to-side. The legs do not kick out very far, but he can almost do a split. The knees are double-jointed, but very tight. I can get the top hinge to work okay, but the bottom is fairly stubborn. Ideally, if only one worked you’d prefer it be the bottom so the kneecap stays in place. He can bend past 90 degrees though. There’s no boot cut and the ankles do the same thing all of the others do. Overall, he might be the worst articulated, though Baxter does have the long coat to contend with, but the only part I’m really disappointed with are those elbows.

Rocksteady’s elbows might be worse than Bebop’s.

Okay, that was a lot of words on some figures so now lets spend some more on accessories! Each character comes with a set of fist hands in the package and some additional ones to swap to. Baxter has a set of gripping hands with the left hand being looser than the right. He also has a more open, but still clenching, left hand and a right pointing hand. Hamato Yoshi has a set of gripping hands, karate chop hands, and a loose gripping left hand. Bebop has a gripping right hand, an open, but clenchy right hand, and two left loose gripping hands. Those two look almost the same, but I think one is slightly more closed than the other. Functionally, they’re almost the same though and I don’t understand why he doesn’t have a tight, gripping, left hand to pair with the right one. Rocksteady has a set of gripping hands and a set of open hands. The open hands are the same ones that Burne came with and they’re oddly shaped like maybe to be used as typing hands with the computer he came with? They’re weird and probably useless with Rocksteady.

“Hey Bebop! Get a load of these pipsqueaks!” “Yeah, they sure are ugly! Not as pretty as we are.”

In addition to hands, we have a whole bunch of other stuff too. Baxter comes with another Mouser and its the same as the one from the set released earlier this year. He also has the jeweled tracking device for some special crystal from a Season Two episode and there’s another tracking device that almost looks like it has a turtle shell in the center. They’re both painted very well and give Baxter something to hold onto. He also comes with a net for catching tiny turtles which are also here and come housed in a jar. The turtles are removable, but they’re one piece sculpted together and the only paint is green and yellow. They still look pretty neat and it’s certainly a fun accessory. The sculpt on the tiny turtles is also pretty damn impressive, as far as I can tell. The net is fairly basic and the actual net portion is soft plastic. I’m surprised they didn’t go for the real thing, but maybe that would have cost too much. Baxter Stockman is definitely well-stocked, pun intended, though and about the only thing missing is the remote for the Mousers. I’m seriously shocked that hasn’t been included with something yet.

These baby turtles are pretty damn great.

Hamato Yoshi is comparably much lighter in the accessory department than Baxter, but he has a few things. For one, he has a bo staff to arm himself with. It has some sculpted lines to simulate wood grain, but is otherwise very basic and just painted brown. He also comes with a translucent fishbowl and four baby turtles. They’re pretty damn cute and painted rather well considering how small they are. The only thing that stinks about them is it’s really hard to get them to stand on all fours inside the bowl. I’d probably have to get tweezers to do it properly. It would have been nice to get just a blob of mutagen for them to stand on outside of the bowl, and maybe one to go on the back of a shell, but this is fine.

Sometimes you just need some good tunes when committing acts of vandalism.

Bebop and Rocksteady essentially have a bunch of stuff they can share. Rocksteady has his stick that sort of resembles a baseball bat, but not quite. It’s a light brown with some black linework and certainly looks the part. There’s also a baseball bat if you prefer the real thing and it’s a very light brown with white tape painted onto the handle, but surprisingly no wood grain. It’s also not the same bat included with Casey Jones as this one is slightly smaller, so that’s also a surprise. There’s also a gray crowbar and an actual chain since I think it was Bebop who did sport one in the show. They also come with two cans of spray paint and the sculpt on these is really fun. It would have been cool if they could have attached the nozzles via small ball-pegs similar to the controls in Krang’s body, but they look cool. One is painted blue with a green, wavy, line across the center while the other is purple with the same green line. Rocksteady really can’t hold them though, but Bebop’s slightly wider clenched hand holds them well. Lastly, we get a new boom box which is different from the one included with the Turtles in Disguise set. It has a fairly simple design, but it’s painted well enough. The accessories are often a strong point with these four-packs, and with this set, that’s pretty much the case. What’s missing amounts to nitpicks, and it’s great to be able to add yet another Mouser to the family.

These two feel right at home in a darkened alley.

Overall, this a solid release from NECA. Compared with last year’s convention exclusive, I might like this one just a little bit more because we’re getting four, distinct, characters where as last year’s included another Vernon and Cat April wasn’t particularly high on my wants list. Plus, I can only get so excited for the news crew, even if I did want all of those characters on my shelf. With these four, I did want to add them all. The one I was probably least interested in is Hamato Yoshi, but a TMNT collection should include him so it’s not like I’m disappointed. He also arguably turned out the best out of all of the figures in this set. It’s really between him and Bebop, who would be perfect if not for the elbows. Baxter and Rocksteady are the two most off-model, and my Baxter obviously has the missing glasses which is a real bummer. I’m not one to complain as everyone makes mistakes and all products have a fail rate, but it does irritate me that two out of the past five shipments I’ve received from NECA featured an obvious defect readily apparently to anyone who would have looked at it. A missing accessory stored under the tray would be one thing, but the glasses are supposed to be right on the figure’s face! Does anyone inspect the product before shipping it?

Criticisms aside, this Rocksteady is certainly an improvement over the old one. I don’t have Bebop from that line, but if memory serves they made him white and I’m fairly positive the new one is an improvement. Same for Yoshi.

Frustrations aside, if you wanted human versions of these characters in your collection then this set should scratch that itch. Yes, two out of the four figures could have been better from a likeness point-of-view, but they’re not hideous or anything. They just aren’t as good as some of the other releases we’ve seen of late. None are threatening April for worst in the line, but none are challenging the likes of Chrome Dome for the top spot either. They’re merely adequate, but they didn’t really need to do much more than that. If you missed out on the web sales or the convention itself then you may be out of luck when it comes to this set. The after-market will definitely have some and it might not be the type of set that’s super sought after. There is no retail release planned though, but convention exclusives from NECA’s past have shown up recently on costumes.com so maybe keep an eye out there. It’s entirely possible that NECA didn’t sell every set and the extra will show up there or maybe even at Target? In other words, it might pay off to be patient, but it could also mean missing out completely. If this is a set you think your collection will be incomplete without, then it might make more sense to act now rather than chance it. Hopefully, your Baxter will have glasses.


NECA Cartoon TMNT Mousers Pack

I hope you have plenty of rats, because these Mousers brought their appetite.

It’s been a little while since we had a Turtle Tuesday around here. NECA was keeping me quite busy in March with release after release and really putting a hurting on my wallet. Not only were sets hitting stores, but items were going up on NECA’s website for preorder, all of which require payment upfront. It almost became exhausting especially since the capper on all of that was a Turtle Van in April, and as you can probably guess, that thing ain’t cheap!

One of the surprise solicitations of 2021 was for a set of Mousers. The Mousers are from the comic and made the jump to animation pretty early in the show’s life. They have since appeared in nearly every iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to follow. In most versions, if not all, the Mousers are an invention of Baxter Stockman and are intended to solve New York City’s rat problem, but they often hide a more nefarious purpose. Being that the turtles are lead by a mutated rat, it’s pretty easy to see how the Mousers can work their way into a story for the series. And most of the toy-lines have sought to introduce them as well to varying degrees. The original Playmates line featured an oversized Mouser as part of the wacky action line of figures, while the 2003 line made them a pack-in accessory and portrayed them at the appropriate size. Pretty much ever since this line took-off, collectors have wanted to see NECA introduce the Mousers. They previously did some for the Mirage line as a convention exclusive and their April figure came with a pair, and NECA has finally come through.

A familiar box, but much smaller.

The Mousers from NECA come in a small, toon-style box, that reminds me a bit of the boxes the bunny Bebop and Rocksteady came in for Loot Crate. It’s just a lot smaller in comparison with the NECA two-packs since Mousers aren’t exactly big. This set was retailed for $40 and is a NECA website exclusive, but individual Mousers are likely to be worked into the retail line as accessories (this year’s San Diego Comic Con set includes Baxter Stockman and a Mouser). It’s great to see NECA just come right out with a pack like this as if they had released a Baxter with a Mouser or two people would be trying to army build Mousers while getting stuck with multiple Baxters. Even Super7 has made collectors wait a couple of years after including their, lone, Mouser in the first wave of Super7 Ultimates! as they have a Mouser pack due to arrive at some point this year.

Look at all the tiny robots!

With this set, NECA is providing each buyer an assortment of Mousers. There’s enough here that many collectors will probably be satisfied with just one, but others can likely easily talk themselves into multiples since the variety is done well. So what’s in the box? Well, each box comes with four, complete, unblemished, Mousers. Their design matches the toon as they have a slight curve to their head as opposed to the more rounded look of the comic version. They’re painted white and gray, with the gray acting as the “toon” shading and the proportions look spot-on. They’re over 2″ tall, but they’re construction affords a range of posing in which they can be more upright or hunched over. They’re quite bird-like in their design with thin legs, clawed feet, and “knees” that can bend forward or back. There’s a single stripe of red for the glowing “eye” on the head, and the interior of the mouth is sculpted and painted a slate gray. There’s black on the joints too and gray on the “neck” of the robots. The sculpt is basically perfect. It’s not a demanding design, but credit where credit is due. The paint job is also nice and free from slop. There’s a little excess black on the hip of one of mine, but otherwise the set is pristine.

The battle damaged ones are pretty damn fun.

Now, four Mousers is nice, but not 10 bucks a piece nice, so it’s good that there’s more! There’s an additional, complete, Mouser with a bashed-up head. It’s lovingly dented and scratched and the red light has been extinguished on this one because it has a hole going through the top of the head that can accommodate Raph’s sai. Both pieces of the head are re-sculpted for this and the mouth hinge still works while the body is the same as the others. The sixth Mouser is more destroyed as it has a bashed head that’s a different sculpt from the other bashed Mouser. The neck is extended to imply the cable has been forced out and there’s a new body as well. It’s nicely dented and even features an adorable mouse popping out of a hole in it along with some wiring. There’s an added, non-removable, cap on the bottom which does look a little odd since it’s not on the others, but maybe it’s there for a reason I forgot. One leg is the same, while the other is a new piece that has a frozen knee joint and the foot is broken off. Lastly, we have a completely smashed Mouser that’s in three pieces: head, neck, and the rest. There’s sculpted wiring in the husk of the body with more sticking out of the neck of the headpiece. Between the battle damaged and the non, this is quite a little collection of Mousers and certainly strikes me as enough for a display.

Poor Splinter. He used to be displayed enjoying a nice book, now he has to deal with these things.

I touched on it a little already, but I should take some time to rundown how much articulation is in these little guys. Each Mouser has an articulated jaw, even the busted ones, which opens quite far. They’ll have no problem gobbling up rats or latching onto a turtle limb. The head is on a ball joint, and the neck too is connected to the torso via a ball joint basically making it a double-ball-peg joint. They can look up and down and get some nice nuance in the tilt. The only thing they can’t do well is look to the side. They can a little, but probably not as much as the robots in the show. The hips are just simple swivel points. It would have been nice to get some rotation out of there, but it’s suitable for what these need to do. The knee is a hinge that goes in both directions and there’s an ankle hinge as well. An ankle rocker would have been cool, but I can see why NECA went with the hinge as it’s much closer to the design in the show. Plus, without a ball joint at the hip there’s little need for an ankle pivot. It’s a neat and tidy assortment of articulation which definitely prioritizes the aesthetics of the sculpt, but also doesn’t really feel like any sacrifices were made so overall a good job.

Mousers need rats, and rats demand cheese and pizza. Not sure who requested the VHS tape, but it’s delightfully nostalgic!

To sweeten the package, NECA did toss in a bunch of extras. These are mostly limited to the various rats we’ve seen bundled with figures like the Rat King previously as well as the sitting rat that came with Splinter. There are 6 rats in total, three are reissues of the ones that came with Rat King but painted in a light gray with a brown tail. The sitting rat from the Splinter/Baxter set also has lighter fur and a re-colored tail and NECA painted the feet gray instead of brown. There are two, new, rats in this set: one on all fours and one that’s on its hind legs with the forelegs against its chest. That one is the cutest one yet and while it’s good to have rats with Mousers, I may take the Rat King re-issues and add them to him since they have the coiled tails. Also included is a wedge of cheese the sitting rat can hold, the VHS tape that came with Ace Duck previously (only now with a little blue paint on the label area), a slice of pizza that we’ve seen before, and a little drone robot that looks like a fly. It’s another Baxter invention and something to hide in a display. I’m curious if the controller for it has been released or will be in the future to pair with the Baxter figure.

With the Super7 version. That one is a little bigger and is colored to be in-line with the Playmates figure, but it has way less articulation..

The accessories are fine, and even though I don’t know that I need so many rats, I can’t deny the wisdom of including them here. Plus there’s not a lot that can be released alongside Mousers. Another controller maybe? A new panel for the street diorama with a hole munched through it? That would obviously be more ambitious than what is here, but I can’t say we’re truly missing anything.

And Rat King gets some new rats out of this set, what’s not to love?

NECA’s Mousers set is a solid addition for those who want Mousers in their TMNT display. For 40 bucks, it’s not hard to see the value here as the small army of damaged and undamaged Mousers is sure to eat up some shelf space and there’s some extra rats to keep them busy too. And most importantly, the actual figures turned out very well and I think fans will be quite pleased. Unfortunately, this was offered only through NECA’s webstore and isn’t coming to retail. Several have made it onto AliExpress for basically MSRP so check there if you missed out or if you just want more. The mere fact that they’re available there means these weren’t made-to-order so it’s possible that NECA ordered extra and might make them available again at a later date. And as mentioned earlier, we’re likely to see these guys pop-up here and there as an accessory in other releases. If you want this specific set though I’d suggest you act fast as this is one likely to rise in value on the after-market since collectors love army builders.


NECA Turtles in Time Baxter Stockman

“Big Apple, 3 AM”

When NECA finally received access to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license to release product at retail, the company decided to focus on three pillars: cartoon, movie, video game. The cartoon product, being the most sought after, was exclusively sold at Target stores in the United States. The movie line, probably nearly as desirable as the cartoon, but not as deep, was to be sold exclusively at GameStop and has since been moved to Walmart. The third pillar, and probably the least desirable, was the video game brand. Those figures were to be sold across various comic and specialty shops. Basically, anyone who sells collector-grade action figures can place an order for these. Which, incidentally, made it possible for a retailer like GameStop to at one point sell both movie and game figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The design of the original cabinet was so bizarre. This odd Baxter fits right in that.

The video game line was always going to be the lease desirable because it’s the most gimmicky. All of the figures feature a pixelized deco to create the illusion that they came out of a video game. Only, this sort of thing is basically impossible to properly replicate since pixels, by their nature, are arranged in a very strict fashion and any three-dimensional object that can bend and move in the third dimension is going to break those rules. It also was a line designed primarily for repaints and re-releases. The turtles themselves had been originally released as a comic con exclusive already along with Shredder and the Foot. They were based on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game, but NECA’s line for retail was to be based on Turtles in Time. Still, the turtles didn’t change enough from one game to the next to warrant new sculpting, so instead the pixel deco was modified slightly and each figure came bundled with a surf/hover board based on the bonus level Sewer Surfin’. As for the rest, well most could just be repaints of the cartoon line or re-releases with slight modification. Shredder, for example, had his shoulder pauldrons adjusted while Slash received a new head to differentiate him from his toon counterpart. And since these were priced under the usual NECA Ultimates price point, they tended to just come with a few extra hands and a weapon or two.

It seemed like that was all the line would be. NECA also expressed interest in winding it down in favor of a new line based on the original Mirage Studios source material, even though there were still a few boss characters missing. NECA didn’t want the line to just fizzle out though, so it decided to do a couple of special releases. One is a two-pack of Bebop and Rocksteady which is due any day now, while the other was the line’s first Ultimates release: Baxter Stockman.

The video game version of the character always struck me as a great deal more creepy than the cartoon one.

Baxter, like many characters from the game and this line, have a cartoon counterpart. NECA released Baxter alongside Splinter in early 2021 so NECA double-dipping with a game repaint was not a surprise. The only thing was, it didn’t make a ton of sense. Baxter in the cartoon is a diminutive, mutant, fly. He’s a pip-squeak. In the video game though he’s pretty beefy. Maybe because he’s a boss Konami felt he needed some presence because he’s as big as the turtles, if not a little bigger. He also looks just a little different. His head is a bit more grotesque and he has this one, ugly, tooth that makes him look like an old man. NECA could have just faked it and did Baxter up in a different color scheme and called it a day, but most probably would have called them out on it.

Two different interpretations of the same character. I do love how that toon one turned out.

Rather than make Baxter a lesser release, NECA did the opposite. They upped the price to an Ultimates tier which gave the company the freedom to do a new sculpt. Now, some of his parts are probably sourced from other, non-Baxter, figures, but some is also unique. He also got his own, unique, packaging in the Ultimates styled box with the fifth panel for product shots and artwork (and the front of the box is basically NECA’s interpretation of Baxter in the same style as the turtles were presented on the original arcade cabinet). It also meant more accessories! Baxter comes with the usual assortment of extra hands, but he also has two guns, a flight stand, and an effects piece with a stand of its own! It’s quite the package, and it’s nice seeing NECA sink a little extra love into the video game line.

Thank goodness his union kept their dental plan.

Baxter stands at around six and a quarter inches, making him nearly two inches taller than his cartoon version. He has shaggy, red-orange hair, and bulbous pink eyes and a hideous grin. He has a purple sweater vest and red bowtie to go along with some tattered, white, dress sleeves and blue pants. It’s tough to get a good look at a sprite in a 16-bit video game, but this looks pretty consistent with the arcade game. His flesh is a fuchsia or hot pink which also includes those extra arms on his back. The wings are just lightly sculpted and feature a powdery, pink finish, that are ever so slightly transparent, but functionally not. The pixel paint job seems less intense than some of the other figures released. It’s mostly on the front of his vest and sides of his pants while the gray shading on his sleeves is given a boxy edge. They really didn’t attempt anything on the head, save for the diamond pupils in his eyes, nor is there any on his wings or extra appendages. I think it looks fine and I prefer the pixel effect to be underplayed as opposed to overplayed, and the paint application in general is quite clean. In terms of parts sharing with the cartoon Baxter, I can’t see any. I thought they might have the same pincer arms, but those are different as well. The hands, feet, arms, torso, even the bowtie are all different. He probably shares legs and arms with Vernon from the toon line, and whatever is under the sweater vest as well, but this guy is largely unique.

He’s trying to look tough, but he really could use some more meat on his bones.

All of the ingredients are there for Baxter to be a visual splendor, but I do think he has one obvious flaw. He’s just not chunky enough. The character model in the game was about as tall as the turtles, but noticeably thicker. This Baxter has the height, but he’s pretty thin. I’m sure some of this perception is magnified by the fact that he’s kind of hunched over in the game and squat. Even if I try to scrunch him up though the effect still isn’t achieved. Is it a deal-breaker? Well, almost. I really waffled on this release for a bit as I liked it, but just didn’t think it was a terrific likeness of the video game art. I really only gave in because of availability and my own desire to just get a new toy. Plus, even with the likeness issue, it looked like a fun toy because of all of the stuff. Anybody interested in this figure will just have to decide for themselves if the likeness is good enough or not. I think NECA brings it on themselves here since a lot of their toon figures look like they stepped right out of the television so that’s a standard we’ve come to expect for their TMNT figures, whether they’re based on a cartoon, movie, or video game.

Baxter, I told you not to try to swallow a fistful of sugar cubes.

In the game, Baxter attacks from the air and land so such a character needs to be able to achieve a variety of poses and this Baxter is more than up to the task. He’s pretty loaded when it comes to articulation. His head sits on a ball-peg and has some solid functionality there made even better by the fact that his head sits on a rather large neck with a hinge at the base. This does help him achieve that stooped look he has in the game when on his feet, and if in the air, he’s able to look down at his target just fine. At the shoulders, he has the usual ball-hinges and they have a terrific tolerance for moving around and out to the side. For this guy, NECA used their slightly unusual double-elbows that the cartoon Baxter had. When these elbows are used on a sleeveless character like the movie Casey Jones they look really bizarre, but on a character in a dress shirt like Baxter they look fine. He can bend well past 90 and the arms swivel above the elbow as well. And since you can point that hinge wherever you need it, Baxter can basically bend almost as well as a character with a butterfly joint at the shoulder. He can reach across his chest, achieve two-handed, gun holding positions, or even choke himself! At the wrists, he can rotate and hinge, but all of his hands have in-out, horizontal, hinges which is unfortunate as vertical ones are better for handguns. He has some articulation under his shirt, but it’s not particularly functional as the shirt doesn’t feature a cut anywhere. He can crunch forward slightly, but mostly his waist is available to swivel. At the hips he has ball-joints underneath one of those soft, “diaper,” pieces. I’m happy to report that the diaper appears structurally sound with no cracking or flaking present on mine, though the hips are too loose for my liking. He does have a slight thigh twist there and the standard double-knees. On the rear of the figure, his wings and pincher limbs are the same as cartoon Baxter. They swivel and hinge where they meet the body, but there’s no “elbow” or pinching articulation which is kind of a bummer. Lastly, he has a hinged jaw which I always love on NECA’s figures. They just add so much personality without hindering the sculpt and with Baxter the same is true.

He didn’t like my mocking his toughness earlier, so now he’s got a gun.
Make that two guns.

Baxter’s articulation is pretty impressive. The pincher limbs lacking a little more is basically a nitpick. My only real criticism rests with the loose hips. I’m able to get Baxter to stand, but sometimes the legs kick out to the side and he tumbles over. It’s less an issue with this figure than it was with the frogs because he’s made for a flight stand, but he should still be able to stand on his own without fear of falling. He can definitely achieve basically any pose from the game, be it standing, hovering, or even his damage pose. Beyond that, he can achieve any sort of flying pose you could want. He has no problems lifting his head and looking straight-ahead when flying parallel with the ground. And since virtually none of his joints came stuck and his joints are all cast in the proper colored plastic, he’s really a joy to mess around with. I said the likeness gave me pause, but I’m happy to say my assumption that this guy would be fun was definitely the correct one to make.

Sorry Leo, you’re the sacrificial lamb today.
This is fun, but damn, does it require a lot of space. The surface of my deep freezer is definitely not a permanent solution.

And Baxter is made fun because he has a nice assortment of accessories. In terms of optional hands, he has three sets: fists, open, and trigger/gripping hands. For weapons, he has two guns: a submachine gun, and a revolver. These are taken from the game as the boss fight begins with Baxter wielding the machine gun and then he loses it and switches to the revolver-styled weapon. Of course, that one doesn’t fire bullets, but a gigantic hand thing. When flying, it comes out like a yellow, goopy, slap while on the ground it would form into a fist. NECA provided this hand effect weapon, though it doesn’t match the game. Rather than use a slap or fist, they went with a grabby hand as they likely felt that would work better with the turtle figures. I do wish they had included a fist part to swap as the hand can swivel and probably separate there, but I’m mostly fine with this artistic license the company took. It pegs in rather snugly to either gun, so if you want the machinegun to fire the hand it can. The guns and hand have the same pixel deco as the figure and look fine. NECA also did what they should have done with the toon Baxter and tossed in a flight stand. It’s similar to the one they sell at retail and it’s functional. It’s not my favorite flight stand, but it works. This one has an added hinge which make it better than the retail version so maybe they plan on replacing it with this new model. There’s also a second stand for the hand effect since it’s pretty hefty. It just clips onto the “body” of the effect and helps to keep it suspended in the air. It works for straight-on poses and for angled, flying, poses. The only thing that sucks is the hand is so heavy it doesn’t work great when it’s actually clipped onto a turtle. That makes it even heavier so you have to account for that somehow in how the turtle is positioned, but it’s also so high off the surface that it makes it hard to do that. You almost need a third stand for the victim. It can be finagled, and the accessory is still fun and welcomed, but it can get frustrating trying to achieve the “perfect” pose.

The added functionality to the stand plus Baxter’s excellent head/neck articulation means he can achieve a variety of flying poses.

The Turtles in Time Baxter Stockman is a figure that looks great, even though it doesn’t perfectly match the source material, that’s also a lot of fun to pose. NECA put the effort into this release to make sure it came with everything it needed and the results speak for themselves. I was very close to passing on this one, but I’m glad I changed my mind. Now, my only regret is not having the actual video game turtles to pose with him. I should have them eventually, but for now I basically have a collection of gaming villains ganging up on one electrified turtle. I don’t know which turtle that is, but it sure sucks to be him. As for Baxter, the only other downside is trying to decide how to pose him. I like the two-handed weapon pose, but the hand effect is too fun not to use. On the other hand, pun intended, utilizing that attachment means dedicating some serious shelf space to this one figure as the hand is about seven inches long, not including the gun it has to peg into. These are good problems to have though and I’m very happy with my purchase. Baxter Stockman ended up being a worthy first video game Ultimates release for TMNT and now he’s got me hoping that he won’t be the last!

That poor, poor, turtle.

NECA TMNT Cartoon Splinter vs Baxter

Got another two-pack for ya!

I didn’t intend for so many TMNT reviews to hit one after the other, but Christmas pushed a bunch of stuff into the final week of December and then some surprise difficulties with another review has moved this one up. So be it. 2020 had a final surprise in store for collectors of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. NECA had previously announced all of Wave 4 of its cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure line would release in the fall, before having a change of heart. The two most anticipated releases of the wave were pushed to 2021, the deluxe Android Krang and the two-pack of Master Splinter vs Baxter Stockman in his mutated fly form. In addition to being some fan-favorites, these two releases were important to collectors as they represented for many the last essential release of the line. Everyone’s mileage is a bit different, but I think all can agree that the most important characters in the show are (in some order): the turtles, April, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, and Splinter. You could certainly make a strong case for the generic Foot Soldier, and maybe some would push for Irma considering she was in a lot more episodes than you may recall. No one would argue though that those 10 previously mentioned characters are not essential.

I guess these two were paired-up because of their similar height?

Well, as I said, 2020 had a final surprise and it’s that both the deluxe Krang and Splinter vs Baxter two-pack arrived early. They first popped up in California Targets in the middle of December and gradually worked their way east before the end of the year. I actually found my Krang on New Year’s Eve, but had to wait on Splinter vs Baxter until 2021. While it’s always nice to get something earlier than expected, I definitely wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of running out to stores and hunting for action figures during the holiday rush, COVID or not. The whole pandemic thing just added another layer of anxiety, but I suppose there’s enough fool in me that I did go out. I masked-up, armed myself with a ton of hand sanitizer, and went through stores as quickly as possible until I found what I was looking for. In the case of this particular set I’m reviewing today, I never actually found it myself and was helped out via the CollectorsHelpingCollectors hashtag on Twitter so a special shout out is reserved for user og3 (@OG_mulch) for helping a fellow collector out!

Check out the sculpting around the base of Baxter’s wings and extra limbs.

Splinter vs Baxter comes packaged in the standard NECA window box. It’s a thinner box than some of the more recent releases as these are two of the smallest figures in the line so far. The only one smaller is the Roadkill Rodney. Not that we’re going to hold their size against them as these two boys more than make up for their small stature. And perhaps to compensate, there’s a ton of stuff included with this release, most of which belongs to Splinter. Some of it should be very familiar, but some of it is pretty obscure and I’m not even sure where it all comes from, but I’m happy to have it! More than accessories though, I am just thrilled beyond belief to finally have cartoon accurate depictions of both of these characters. The old Playmates line featured a Splinter that didn’t really resemble any version of the character. There was a slight resemblance to the Mirage Studios depiction, but he was kind of his own thing. And there weren’t a ton of Splinters to follow, and none really resembled the cartoon look. As for Baxter, his Playmates version was close, but like a lot of that line there was a lot more detail and grotesqueness with the figure that the cartoon chose to ignore. Playmates also wasn’t that concerned with scale so even though he was a fly he was the same size as basically everyone. For the cartoon, they took the already short Baxter Stockman (he was the same height as the turtles, pre-mutation) and shrunk him further when he was mutated resulting in a rather diminutive villain. They also gave him a sweater vest, but kept the bowtie, which just further separated him from the action figure.

Enter: The fly!

I get the sense that Splinter is the figure fans are most excited for, but I want to talk about Baxter first. I touched upon it a bit in my review of the Super7 Baxter Stockman, but this character was one of my favorites in the cartoon. And since I never got the original toy, it actually made me drawn to him more. He was used sparingly in the show, and he was able to be a sort of perfect villain for the show because he could be threatening, funny, and even sympathetic. He was as much a villain for the turtles as he was for Shredder, whom he blamed for his transformation into a fly. And I love the design! He’s got that big fly head with tiny wings and those purple appendages coming off of his back. He’s just a fun design.

Aww, he brought flowers!
And he brought a friend.

For this figure, NECA absolutely nailed it. First off, I love his size. Like a lot of characters in the show, he could be inconsistent in how he was portrayed, but generally speaking, Baxter should be shorter than the turtles. And he is here as he stands around 4 3/4″ when standing upright. The proportions also look pretty good with Baxter having a rather large head given that he has those big fly eyes. The paint though is where this thing shines. The way NECA painted the eyes is especially striking. This line does a great job of really giving the impression that these characters stepped out of a television set, but Baxter might be a new highwater mark as far as that goes. And I think it’s partly due to the fact that Baxter is basically fully clothed as the shading NECA has utilized for this line works really well here. NECA also matched all of the hinged pieces to the appropriate color this time around, so no paint-flaking that reveals the wrong color underneath as we saw with Leatherhead and the Triceratons. Oh, there’s still plenty of flake though as NECA continues to paint over joints, but at least once removed it doesn’t leave behind an eye sore.

“Hey, dude, you’re lucky I left my fly swatter in my other shell!”
“Lucky, am I?”

Little Baxter comes packed with an impressive array of articulation. Mine did feature some pretty stiff joints out of the box. Some of that is likely due to arriving rather cold since it did come by mail to the north east in January, and some of it is just the usual assortment of stuck joints this line is known for. Strangely, the joint that gave me the most trouble out of the box was the head which is just a simple ball-joint. I held him under running, hot, tap water for a bit and was able to get it to move. It sounded like there was some paint or something just holding it fused and once broken his head spun just fine. He has good rotation up there with a little ability to look up, but he can look down quite far which is useful if you intend to place him on a flight stand. His shoulders are pretty standard, ball and hinges, but at the elbow he features NECA’s somewhat unique double-joint. There are two hinges at the top and bottom and the arm can swivel at the top joint. He can bend well past 90 degrees as a result, but be a little careful as after the head this was the part that was toughest to free up. The hands are pegged in and can swivel. There’s also a hinge, but the hands sit fairly deep into the cuff of his dress shirt so it doesn’t do much. There’s what seems to be a ball-joint at the waist hidden under the vest that allows for some rotation and a little pivot. The legs are secured via a ball-joint, but they lack the usual amount of swivel we see in this line. He can swivel his thighs maybe 45 degrees or so, it’s not much. The knees are double-jointed and his feet are hinged and can rock side-to-side. The feet are also stuck pretty well on mine, so be careful. Lastly, Baxter has those wings and extra limbs on his back which are all attached via a ball-joint and hinge. I wish NECA had added additional hinges to the purple “arms” and some pinching articulation at the claws, but they’re largely just decorative.

I hear people enjoy comparisons.

Baxter is able to move around quite well which comes in handy since he has plenty of stuff he can be posed with. For starters, Baxter comes packaged with fisted hands, but he also has a pair of gripping hands and a pair of trigger finger hands. I’m glad NECA gave him trigger finger hands since it could have been argued he didn’t need to come with them since his main weapon, the trans-mutation ray, doesn’t have much of a trigger. You may recall this weapon from the cartoon as it allowed Baxter to mutate Shredder into a fly and Michelangelo into a gerbil. It’s mostly white and features a dial on the rear of the gun by the sights that allowed Baxter to select what animal he wanted to apply to his victim. It’s well-painted and looks great, though I wish that dial could actually move. Mine has a black blemish across the top too that I hope to rub off. Baxter’s hands are painted purple and are pretty stiff so it’s probably not a bad idea to heat his hands before trying to insert this gun into them lest you want ugly purple smudges on it. Baxter also comes with his computer buddy who helped him escape Dimension X. I don’t remember if he had a name, but he’s basically a computer monitor with attached keyboard. The screen is a lenticular image so he can display different emotions and it’s pretty cool. He has an opening for a socket underneath, so I’m curious if NECA will sneak a body into another pack for him, even if it’s non-articulated. The doku flower is also included, which poisoned April in the same episode Baxter debuted his fly form. I’m actually not sure if this is a Baxter accessory or a Splinter one, as it could be the gazai plant which was used by Splinter to cure April. Both plants looked identical in the episode. What will likely entertain people the most though is the included fly Shredder and gerbil Mikey. Both are non-articulated, but they look pretty great. The paint is applied well and Mikey is actually quite cute.

“What the devil?!”

It’s an impressive haul for Baxter, and like I said, I appreciate NECA including proper trigger hands with him so he can also wield any of the other guns from the show (like the small handgun that apparently belongs to Splinter, but kind of looks like the gun Baxter used in “Enter: The Fly”) with ease. Maybe some wanted a goofy accessory like a stack of sugar cubes and I know people are aching for Mousers, but I suspect those will be included one day with a human version of Baxter. I’m happy with this loadout and it’s cool that his computer buddy could even just function as a computer in a display for someone like April, if it’s so desired. The inclusion of the trans-mutation ray also makes it more fun to compare this figure to the Super7 version since that one came with the same weapon, albeit, unpainted.

Your ninja training has begun!

Baxter is impressive, and his box-mate Splinter is much the same. He stands basically at the same height as Baxter with his ears taking him up to approximately 5″. This is a depiction of Splinter from early in the show when his fur was a lighter brown and his kimono a deeper magenta. In later seasons, his fur would change to a much darker brown and his kimono lightened to a shade of pink, or maybe it just looked lighter by comparison. This is my preferred look though and it makes the most sense since the main turtle figures we have feature that olive flesh-tone from the show’s early seasons. Splinter has a rather stern and serious expression on his face which is appropriate for the character. NECA’s toon shading they utilize is blended really well with the sculpted fur which is different as it’s usually more pronounced. I think it works quite well. There’s a minor paint imperfection on my figure where a blob of the light brown is present on the back of his neck, but it’s partially hidden by the kimono. His body doesn’t have the toon shading on it and is painted the darker brown as it’s hidden by the kimono. His hands though are cast in the light brown so it looks odd when his wrists are visible. The kimono itself is a soft goods addition which I think is the way to go with this figure. I just wish NECA had done something different with the belt as it’s just a black ribbon tied in a knot. It sits too high on the character’s chest as his lower abdomen is very round making it hard to put it in the right place. A plastic belt like the old Playmates toy or the more nylon one Super7 used might have worked better. Or they could have sculpted a channel for the belt to fit in. It would have made the figure look a bit ugly when disrobed, but who is going to display Splinter without his kimono? They also could have just made the figure less round which probably would have worked the best.

Well, he apparently didn’t put much thought into their names.

The articulation on Splinter comes largely as expected. He has articulation at the base of the head and where the neck meets the torso. It’s very stiff on mine even after heating it multiple times so I’m not sure if this is just my figure or if the articulation is doing what it’s supposed to. He can look down, but I can’t really get him to look up and turning his head is also a bit challenging. It’s hard to get just the head to turn without the lower joint trying to as well. And that one is sculpted fur to fit over the body so it’s a bit rough and definitely not a fun joint to mess with as it feels like it’s rubbing quite a bit on the torso. His jaw is articulated, but mine looks miss-aligned. It’s like he has a cross-bite and I’m tempted to see if I can get it into a better position with a heat gun, though I’d probably have to remove the soft goods lest I want to set them on fire. The arms are standard joints at the shoulder and feature double-joints like Baxter’s. They move very well considering you have to contend with the soft goods. My only concern is that the top pin holding the elbow joint together on the left arm of my figure looks pretty jacked up like it was damaged during insertion and pushed in too far. I’m only pointing this out because it seems to be rather widespread with this figure. He moves fine right now, but I’m definitely being careful there. The wrists are the same peg and hinge joints we’re accustomed to. There is a diaphragm cut and the legs are joined with standard ball-joints. The shape of his rump prevents him from kicking back, but he can kick forward and balance on one foot so ninja kicks are still on the table. His knees are double-jointed in a very rat-like manner as they angle backwards. There’s a hinged joint at the ankle and also a toe hinge. Thankfully, that ankle joint is cast in white so no paint blemish down there, but the toe hinge is a bit ugly as there’s a gap between the wrappings and toes. Lastly, Splinter’s tail is connected via a ball-joint and moves much better than any of the other tails we’ve seen in this line. It’s also a wire with plastic sculpted over it so there is some bendy quality to it. It’s not a lot, but better than the movie Splinter from NECA.

Splinter, I think it’s upside-down…

Splinter probably won’t demand a ton of posing ability from most collectors, but he is a ninja and should be able to move like a ninja. I think NECA did just okay in that respect. I really wish they could have figured out a scheme that allowed him to cross his legs in a meditative pose or got some more torso articulation into him as well. I feel like they could have taken advantage of the fact that this is a robed figure, like they kind of did with the movie version, to fit torso articulation into him that may not have been super aesthetically pleasing, but would have been covered up. He looks the part, which is most important, he’s just not quite the homerun I was expecting after seeing the promotional images.

That’s a lot of stuff for both figures.

Even more so than Baxter, Splinter is loaded with extra goodies. He comes with gripping hands instead of fists, but also has five extra hands to work with. I should clarify they’re more like relaxed gripping hands as he has a set of tighter gripping hands he can swap for. He has a set of what I would call martial arts posed hands, or maybe even meditative hands. One even looks like Bart Simpson’s infamous Touch of Death. The other is a two-finger pointing hand. And lastly, he has a right, single-finger, pointing, hand. All of the hands are painted light brown and feature sculpted fur and claws, though the claws are unpainted (which is consistent with the show).

When a walking stick literally won’t cut it.

Splinter has all of those hands because he has a lot of stuff to hold. The relaxed gripping hands work great with his books and scroll. He has two books, one is open and features depictions of the artists that inspired the names of the turtles and the other is closed. The scroll, which is from an episode of the show and did something, is unfurled and he can hold it via either end. He also has his walking stick which the relaxed hands can fit over for standing poses. The tighter gripping hands come into play with the sword and gun. The sword is the Sword of Yurikawa taken from the episode of the same name. It looks a lot like one of Leo’s non-stylized katanas, which is to say it doesn’t really look like an actual katana. It has a yellow-gold hilt and short blade, but best of all, it comes with a flaming effect piece which is cast in translucent orange plastic and slides over the blade. It’s pretty cool and if you prefer your Splinter to be less of a pacifist this should work. If you think that blade is too elegant though, there’s a gun. I don’t recall where this gun came from, but it’s a small pistol. Splinter also has a Yin Yang medallion that he can wear and a dojo mat to meditate on. The mat is kind of cool as it’s made of a springy, foam-like, material instead of paper of cloth. Lastly, we have a little rat. It might have made more sense for a Hamato Yoshi to come with a rat, but I’m not complaining. The martial arts pose hands can even allow the rat to sit in Splinter’s palm.

When necessary, Splinter can turn up the heat.

That’s a lot of stuff, and there was so much in the box that NECA had to put the extra hands on their own, separate, tray and tape it to the underside of the main bubble tray. It’s something I really appreciate about NECA and this line as when figures seem to come in under budget they fill the set with extra stuff until they hit their standard baseline. They could have just shipped a set with a larger profit margin than usual, but didn’t, and that’s cool. I give a lot of credit to brand manager Trevor Zammit for spending probably far too much time with this cartoon to find all of this stuff and to director Randy Falk for encouraging him. Of the two figures, I think I prefer Baxter as he both looks fantastic and has the articulation needed to make him wonderful. I do wish he had a little more articulation in those purple appendages he’s got, and I wish NECA in general would start supplying vertically-hinged hands for proper weapon wielding. And I also largely like what we have with Splinter. He looks like the character from the show, and while I found more room for criticism with him, I still think he turned out well enough. You won’t hear me asking for a better version anytime soon.

And when that doesn’t work, he’s also packing heat.

This puts a capper on NECA’s release schedule for 2020 as far as TMNT is concerned. It was quite a year for the line with lots of frustration, but also lots of damn good toys. Trying to figure out a favorite is an exercise for another day, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next. Next up is a Rat King and Vernon two-pack and I am super stoked to add a cartoon accurate Rat King to my collection. Also announced are the punk frogs, Ace Duck, Mondo Gecko, Muckman, Chrome Dome, and a four-pack of turtles all featuring cloth goods trench coats and new headsculpts. There’s also the cartoon city scape diorama set to ship to those who ordered it last year sometime this quarter. 2021 is going to be busy, but hopefully rewarding. Once again, thanks to those in the collecting community who helped me secure this set and good luck to the rest of you. Remember, don’t feed the scalpers! Good luck, and happy hunting!

At long last, the family is together.

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Baxter Stockman

Baxter is here to swat some reptiles!

I am weak. When Super7 first unveiled its Ultimates! line of figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline from Playmates I said I was out. I still had those toys so why did I need 7″ versions of them in 2020? I had NECA and all of the TMNT product being released there, which was more than enough for the meager space in my home that I have for toys and it was going to eat up enough of my disposable income. “Not for me,” is I believe how I rationalized it.

I am weak, for I have since given in. I detailed it my thought process in my review of Raphael from the same line. In that I said I had decided I only really had affection for the actual turtles and that was it. I secured a Raph, and submitted orders for Leo and Mikey. When Donatello goes up for pre-order I’ll get him too.

Like Raph, Baxter gets his own logo on the packaging.

Again, I am weak! For when Big Bad Toy Store started putting figures up for sale, at the unfriendly price of $59.99 at that, I caved. If I am looking for small hints of my inner strength, at least I left Splinter and the Foot Soldier alone. I did not, however, pass on Baxter Stockman. Perhaps Baxter The Fly is the more appropriate name for this figure for it does indeed depict the mad scientist Baxter Stockman in his mutated fly form.

Hear him scream, “Let me out!”

Why Baxter? Well, I always liked that old toy from Playmates. Baxter was gross looking, like a lot of the figures in that line, with great sculpting on his feet and these two, purple, insect-like, limbs coming out of his back. He was just fun, and for some reason I have a “thing” for action figures with extra limbs. The thing is, I never got that toy. I didn’t lack for much as a kid, but I also wasn’t truly spoiled so on the rare occasion I was allowed to pick out a toy at the store I was limited to what was available. I don’t know if I just never ran across Baxter, or if when I did there was something else I happened to fall for instead. I usually could count on Santa or my parents to get me the top tier figures for Christmas or my birthday, but maybe I just didn’t push for Baxter as much as I should have? My grandmother got me Scumbug, and it would be a very grandma bit of reasoning to wonder why I needed two bug-based figures.

As tall as he can go.
And you thought back hair was gross.

In the end, I never did get a Baxter Stockman figure. I thought I would be content to just get a cartoon accurate version later this year from NECA, but apparently I’m wrong. I had even passed on the figure several times as pre-orders were available for quite awhile, but I just couldn’t let it go this one, last, time. Which is unfortunate since I ended up paying a $15 mark-up for my indecision. I did it though, what’s done is done, so how do I feel about it?

I call this pose “The Honker.”

For one, no amount of reviews I watched or read on this figure could properly prepare me for just how big he is. He may have been tiny on the small screen, but the action figure of Baxter is quite large, made even more so by the fact that he comes with his legs fully extended. Being a fly, he’s supposed to have his legs positioned in a crouch-style pose reducing his height, but since this is a super-articulated figure all of those joints are functioning now so he can stand as tall, or as squat, as you like. Fully extended, he’s a touch over 7″ in height, but in his crouch he gets down to about 6″. Even ignoring his height, he’s a pretty beefy boy even next to Raph. His torso is big, his hands are huge, and his head is also quite massive. The extra, bug, limbs on his back really widen the figure and overall he is just a really imposing presence on a shelf, which is amusing because again, he’s a fly!

It might be a stretch to say that’s a face only a mother could love.

In hand, he’s quite solid and has a nice feel. He’s weighty, and out of the box I found almost all of his limbs to be quite free and easy to move. The only joint that was stuck on my figure was the right elbow. I ran it under hot water and have had no issues since, unlike my Raph who still has a stubborn knee joint. His limbs are also the right tightness and if you position him a certain way he’s going to stay in that position. The only loose joints are the hinges on the hands. It’s unfortunately worse on the trigger hands so his wrist basically flops around whenever he has his gun in hand, which is a bummer. It’s amusing to me though, since tiny hinge joints such as those are often the hardest to break-in.

It’s like squeezing a melon.

Baxter comes pretty well loaded-up with articulation, especially if you compare him to the old Playmates toy. His head is on what I assume is a ball-joint or maybe a dumbbell. It’s hard to say since it can only rotate side to side as he has basically zero ability to look up and down. The shoulders are on ball joints with single-jointed elbows with a swivel at that point as well. The hands rotate and have those aforementioned loose hinges as well. There’s articulation at the waist and ball-joints at the thigh with a swivel as well. Single-jointed hinges at the knees and hinges at the ankle. The feet can swivel, but don’t have much movement side-to-side to speak of. The back arms are on ball-joints with hinges at the “elbows” and wrists with an additional swivel at the elbow joint. The wings are also on ball-joints so they can be rolled around and positioned where needed. It would have been nice to see double-hinges at the elbows, though they’re not really missed at the knee since he will most likely be crouched in many displays. The lab coat is a separate piece of sculpted plastic and I wish they had utilized that to hide a butterfly joint in the torso, but oh well. Overall, the articulation is good and pretty much what would be expected.

I love the sculpt work on those rear arms.

When it comes to these TMNT Ultimates! from Super7, I would say the articulation is good enough, but what helps sell these figures is the sculpt. Once again, this is from Four Horsemen and the reference is Playmates. Baxter has all of the little details you remember from the toy, and maybe some you never noticed or forgot like the wedding ring or watch. I love how the lab coat is soft plastic over a sculpted body as it adds some depth and texture to the figure. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any images online of folks removing the coat to look at what’s underneath. He’d look a little silly as the sleeves are sculpted with the arms, but from what I can tell the body underneath is a full sculpt. What really pushes Baxter to another level is the purple, bug, skin featured on the rear arms and feet. It’s so veiny and gross, but in a most excellent way. I get a very Xenomorph feel from it. It was the defining characteristic of the toy and Super7 did not disappoint here. Baxter’s face is also wonderful and he has this fiendish grin that I love. The hair is glued on and features some nice paint. The only aspect of the sculpt and paint that disappoints me a little rests with the wings. They look “too Playmates” for my taste. There’s so much good texture on the figure, so it stands out when the wings are just gray plastic with some purple splotches. I wish Super7 had gone with a translucent effect or something, but this just seems like the one area of the figure where they were too beholden to the original release. If they had even just painted the veins on the wings it might have done enough to add some more pop to the figure.

Baxter’s got some stuff.

On the accessory front, Baxter is a little less exciting than Raph. He comes with enough hands though as he has a pair of trigger hands, gripping hands, fists, and open hands. They pop in and out real easy and I can honestly say he’s not lacking there. If anything, it would have been cool to get extra bug hands in place of the fists or something. For weapons, he has a pistol which I believe was adopted by the cartoon as an animal muation weapon of some kind. It’s a nice sculpt, but for some reason Super7 neglected to paint it. It doesn’t “wow” like it should as a result. He also has his fly swatter painted teal with a smashed, baby, turtle on it. It can clip into this red contraption that fit on the original figure’s wrist, but now appears to just slide on the gun. It at least breaks up the gray of the blaster, but the weak hand hinges make it almost impossible to pose well in this form. He also comes with the old weapon rack like the original toy which features the same weapons, but all cast in gray.

You probably wouldn’t want to reach in there.
I tried to tell you…
“Good boy!”

By far, Baxter’s most exciting accessory is his mouser. The mouser features the same color scheme as the wind-up version from the old Playmates line, just not nearly as big. It’s about 3″ tall and features articulation at the jaw, neck, and each leg can rotate where it meets the body. The feet are nice and big so it’s easy to position the mouser standing upright or leaning forward a bit. The sculpt is great as there’s some nice detailing inside the mouth that makes it look like a really bad time to get your arm stuck in one. The only disappointing aspect of it, aside from there being only one, is the paint is a little sloppy on mine. The “eyes” aren’t very clean and there’s some slop on the legs. Hopefully Super7 finds a way to release more of them though, especially some with slots for maybe a sword or sai to stab at them as they are a lot of fun to have around.

“You have anything better than a turtle swatter, bud?”
“Good answer!”

Baxter Stockman from Super7 is largely as expected for me. He takes an old design from Playmates that was actually pretty good to begin with and just draws it out further. Every little nugget of detail on that old figure is here, but times 10. His size might shock some collectors who are more used to the cartoon version of the character, but few will argue he doesn’t look great on a shelf with your other TMNT toys. He was one of the best figures in the old line, and I think he definitely will be for this line as well. If I only end up with one villain from this toy line, I think I picked a good one. Though since I’m planning on assembling a squad of turtles, it would probably be a good idea if I grabbed another villain or two to supplement things. Maybe something awaits in the yet unannounced Wave 4, but since we’re probably a year away from release of that series it would seem Baxter will have to tend to whatever turtles stand in his way alone. At least he’s got a mouser.


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