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Star Wars: The Vintage Collection – Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) and The Child

The wholesome content you come here for.

Today we are celebrating ten years of The Nostalgia Spot! It’s not ten years to the day, the actual anniversary was about a week ago, but it’s close enough. In those 10 years, there have been 750 posts here on a variety of subjects, pretty much all of which could be labeled as nostalgic to someone my age. One such topic though has never been broached, and it’s Star Wars. I have nothing against Star Wars and actually consider myself a fan. The first Star Wars film I ever saw was The Empire Strikes Back when my dad was watching a television broadcast of it in the early 90s and beckoned me to watch it with him. I enjoyed it, even though I thought Darth Vader looked like a rip-off of The Shredder, and my dad made sure to rent The Return of the Jedi for me shortly after our viewing. I don’t think I’d see the original film for a year or so though, and that inaugural viewing was a broadcast television airing too.

I thought Star Wars was pretty great though, and while it never really threatened Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for number one in my heart, I would eventually become a bigger fan later in the 90s. The special edition of the trilogy was heavily marketed as was the novel Shadows of the Empire. Kenner re-launched its Star Wars action figure line and I dabbled in it. I had versions of all of the main cast, as well as a few vehicles, some Micro Machines, and other assorted toys. I got into the Expanded Universe and read quite a few books during that time and also played the video games. I even unironically enjoyed Masters of Teräs Käsi for the PlayStation and sunk several hours into it. And when the prequel trilogy was announced, I was pretty pumped and my family and I made sure to see The Phantom Menace as soon as we could.

Hasbro knows nostalgia.

Ever since though, my fandom has certainly waned. The prequels turned out be rather poor, and when I moved on from toys I largely left Star Wars behind as well. I never stopped liking the original films, but the fandom certainly became exhausting and I’ve never been able to bring myself to care about the franchise in the way a self-described “fan boy” would. To me, it’s just a fun world and fun collection of movies. I have made no grand plans on how to introduce my own kids to it or anything, I’ll just show it to them when they finally show enough interest to care. And so far, they’re fine with not really interacting with it outside of the Disney Infinity game. On the subject of this blog though, I’ve just never felt like I had anything important to say about Star Wars that hasn’t been said somewhere else. It’s a huge topic with a lot of opinions and you can find Star Wars blogs and YouTube channels in astronomical numbers. Anything I post here would just wind up in an echo chamber. I haven’t been actively avoiding the subject, I just haven’t really found anything worthwhile to say on the subject.

If you don’t like the modern stuff, there’s a Luke to keep you happy.

In celebration of ten years blogging though, it felt fitting to finally tackle something related to Star Wars. And today, we’re looking at a toy! The Star Wars: Vintage Collection from Hasbro is a throwback line of action figures meant to remind collectors of the Kenner days. And since Hasbro owns Kenner now, they can even toss the logo right onto the package! The Kenner line was a 3.75″ scale line, though it might be more accurate to say that was really the height and not the scale as the characters did not scale well with each other. They were also articulated in a simple manner with just five points of articulation: head, shoulders, and legs. It was limited, but not in a manner that stood out for the era as a lot of lines offered little articulation. A Toy Biz X-Men figure, for example, often only had four more additional points of articulation at the elbows and knees. I think the line is actually more memorable for just having some amusing sculpts and oddball characters. The original Luke, based on his appearance in Star Wars, had a massive, barrel, chest on him that looked ridiculous. There were also numerous peg warmers of characters no one wanted as the line went on as long as it could often pulling background characters into the limelight. It was a flawed line of figures to be sure, but I had a lot of fun with it and even still have all of my figures to this day.

And with him, as always…

For The Vintage Collection, Hasbro wisely did not just emulate Kenner. These are not ReAction figures. This is a 3.75″ scale line of figures with modern articulation and a lot of the bells and whistles collectors today are used to. I do not collect anything Star Wars today, but it looks to me like this line works largely in tandem with Hasbro’s The Black Series, a 6″ scale line, with these figures just being scaled-down versions of figures from that line. I do not know if that’s true of every figure, but it certainly appears to be the case with Din Djarin, better known to most as The Mandalorian.

This is awesome.

The Mandalorian has been a big hit for Disney and its streaming service, Disney+, pretty much since day one. The second season just finished at the end of 2020 and a third season is expected later this year along with a spin-off series concerning Boba Fett. Like basically everyone with a Disney+ subscription, I have watched The Mandalorian and I’ve found it pretty damn enjoyable. It’s probably the best Stars Wars thing Disney has done and I think that’s due to it keeping things simple. Some of the episodes get a little too formulaic and feel like video game quests or missions, but for the most part the show is anchored by the relationship between its title character and The Child, a toddler of sorts who bares a strong resemblance to Yoda, hence why many just refer to him as Baby Yoda. The Child was given a name in Season Two, but I’ll refrain from including it here since it’s not printed on the package and because I don’t need to spoil it for anyone. This set features both characters and appears to be partly inspired by the final episode of the first season and is very similar to a set from The Black Series that also includes both. And because Hasbro needs to please all retailers, that Black Series set is exclusive to Target stores while this one comes from Walmart. I don’t know if any of these have actually made it to physical stores as it seems everyone who got one did so via Walmart’s online store where this set was made available as a pre-order (which Walmart cancelled many orders of). I did not get a preorder and was actually hooked-up by a fellow collector whom I met on Twitter via the #CollectorsHelpingCollectors group so a special shout-out and thanks go to Jay (@TMNT_MOTU_RGB)!

He’s got a spot for his rifle.

This set comes packaged on a retro-inspired blister card. The card itself is really attractive and features a shot from the series and a cross-sell on the rear. It looks so nice that I almost hate to open it as this is a classic blister and not something that can be resealed, but this wouldn’t be much of a review if I kept it mint-on-card. Once freed from his plastic confines, Mando stands almost right at that 3.75″ mark coming in a tick over. This makes sense as he appears to be a character of approximately average height for the setting. He’s in his beskar armor and he looks like he’s been in a fight as I think this is modeled on the Season One finale. There’s a nice graphite quality to the beskar with just a hint of a pearl finish on it. Black scuff marks and dirt smudges provide the distressed quality the figure is going for while the rest of the figure is mostly an earthy brown and gray-blue. He’s quite detailed for such a small figure and it’s incredibly rewarding to just sit an admire all of the little touches sculpted into the belt, armor, gloves, and boots. The amount of paint on him is rather impressive as there’s lots of little touches, especially on the belt or the shells strapped to his right calf. And it’s remarkably clean for the most part. The only areas I have some paint slop are the fingers and inside of the glove. The trigger finger of his right hand has some turquoise on it that I don’t think is supposed to be there, and it’s the only paint slop I’d consider an eyesore.

Or if you prefer, a jetpack!

Like the detail work on the sculpt, the articulation is rather impressive for such a small figure. His head is on a ball peg and has great range of motion. He can look up and down and tilt as well as rotate. The cape doesn’t really get in the way too, which is surprising. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he has single-jointed elbows with swivel right above the hinge. Even without a double joint at the elbow, he can still bend his arm a bit past 90 degrees. The wrists swivel and his left hand is a gripping hand while the right is in a trigger position. There’s a ball-joint in the torso with some nice range of motion that affords forward and back bends and plenty of twist and side-to-side action. The bandolier across his chest is loose enough that it doesn’t restrict the torso at all. His legs are on ball hinges which is certainly different. You can get him to kick forward and back as long as you line that hinge up the way you want it to go. This means he can swivel at the top of the thigh, plus he has a thigh cut just above his armor so you can finagle a kicking pose, for example, by spinning the top joint to orient the hinge properly and then twisting the thigh so his leg doesn’t look like it’s been contorted in an impossible fashion. I don’t know why they don’t just use a ball-joint, but this is okay. He has a single hinge in each knee and can swivel below the knee for an effective boot cut. The ankles are hinged and can rotate, but don’t appear to have an ankle rocker of any kind. And really, that’s probably the only thing I miss. An ankle rocker just adds stability for more spread out stances, but this guy stands pretty well and I am just impressed that Hasbro got as much articulation into this one as they did.

The best I could do with the rifle. Note how his jetpack can stand on its own though!
The ever important beskar.

Since this is Mando, he needs to come with some accessories. And obviously, important to him are his weapons and tools. He comes with a blaster holstered at his hip which fits snugly in there, but is also easy to remove. The sculpt on it is quite nice, but the paint is understandably simple. It’s just gray with a brown hilt, but there is a touch of pearl in the finish on the gun metal. He also has his rifle which he can either hold or have pegged into his back. The sculpt of the rifle is great and it’s painted or sculpted in that same graphite gray nearly matching his beskar armor. The stock of the rifle is more of a copper than brown and there’s some gold portions where the scope is fastened to the barrel. It looks rather nice, though there is a couple of spots of missing paint on the stock that I don’t believe I caused when trying to pose him with the rifle. His articulation means he can hold it in a ready position, but struggles to hold it in a firing position, but that’s common for six inch scale figures as well. He also comes with a container that probably has a special name, but I don’t know it. It opens at the front with a hinge and the top can also come off. It’s off-white with a little gray paint and looks like something from Star Wars. It’s mostly here to store his stash of beskar. He has a single brick he can hold in his left hand and a molded stack of bricks to put in this container. It might sound stupid, but even this little, plastic, brick is sculpted rather well as it even has the Galactic Empire insignia stamped into it. The finish is the same graphite color as his armor. He also comes with his jet pack, and it’s done in the same graphite color. I’m not sure if this is painted or just the plastic used, but it’s nice. It pegs into his back just fine too.

A canister, some space metal, and a kid.
“I love you, little buddy.”

Of course, there is one other accessory and it’s The Child, or Baby Yoda, whatever you refer to him as. He’s in scale with his much taller buddy meaning he stands at just three quarters of an inch. He is tiny, and yet somehow he’s just as cute as he is on television. The face is perfect and his eyes are a shiny black so they really capture the eyes of the actual character. There’s a little paint in his ears, but otherwise he’s kept pretty simple. His robe is two-toned and has some nice sculpted details in it. Best of all, he’s articulated which the Black Series two-pack can’t even boast. His head is on a ball-joint and it can rotate all around. He can look up and down slightly, but the way the robe is sculpted won’t allow much. That’s the only disappointment since he can’t really look up at Mando. The arms are ball-jointed too so he can raise his arms out to the side a bit and rotate forward and back. I don’t think his hands can move, but they look like they could be pegged in. Maybe they were strengthened with glue. He is beyond fantastic as far as I am concerned though. Somehow, Hasbro got more personality into this tiny chunk of plastic than some of the much larger versions of the character I’ve seen out there. The only downside is he lacks his little, floating, bubble (pram?) stroller of a device which would look nice beside Mando. He’s also so small that he basically can’t have his little steel shifter-top from the show.

What’s in the box?!
SHIT!

And one last thing! Mando also has an alternate head. If you prefer your Mandalorian unmasked you can pop the helmeted head off and replace it with this unmasked version. Once again, I am left floored by this figure as the likeness to actor Pedro Pascall on this tiny, piece of plastic is better than a lot of the larger scaled figures out there. It’s also a far better solution than the Black Series which made the helmet fit over the head thereby smooshing the nose of the actor and leading to a slightly imperfect fit. I can’t imagine ever displaying him with his unmasked head, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s also worth noting that this head features no battle damage as one may have expected given the rest of the figure. And I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that his cape is removable. One you have popped off the head, simply slide it off, if you desire. It’s well positioned though so as not to interfere with the jetpack slot or the rifle slot so I doubt most will want to remove it. Plus, everyone looks cooler with cape!

He’s so small that it’s hard to get a camera to focus on his face.

If you can’t tell already, I am in love with this release. It’s the best Hasbro figure I’ve ever owned. It makes me want to check out more from the Vintage Collection, though presently I am not after any other characters. Instead, maybe I’ll just quietly hope my son or daughter falls in love with Star Wars and wants to start a collection of these or something. I definitely don’t feel the need to acquire other characters based on The Mandalorian, at least not the characters who originated in the show. I can think of one character from the Season Two finale that might tempt me, but otherwise I think I’m all set. We’ll see. Time has a tendency to make fools of us all. For now, I have this awesome set of figures that I’m really excited to find a home for in my house. I don’t know where they’ll be displayed, but it will be somewhere prominent, I suspect. This set is being sold by Walmart and is presently sold out, but considering how popular these characters are I expect a restock is underway. There may even be a reissue that omits the battle damage and is distributed to other retailers, so if you missed out don’t despair just yet. And if you’re not interested in The Child, there are single card editions of just The Mandalorian available. It also should go without saying though, if you’re a fan of the show or a Star Wars collector you absolutely do not want to miss this!

I feel like we should end this on a comparison shot, just in case I didn’t properly convey how small this figure is. Left to right: Lightning Collection Green Ranger, Mando, Funko Scrooge, NECA Leonardo

Transformers R.E.D. Generation 1 Soundwave

For today’s photos, red feels like an appropriate backdrop.

Full disclosure here: I’m not much of a Transformers guy. Transformers took off when I was a wee one and I kind of missed the boat. I had some friends and cousins really into it, and I even had a few myself that were gifted to me, but it was nothing I gravitated towards. And I say that as someone who very much enjoys the concept of toys that can switch between two modes of play – that’s just economical! I did get into the Generation 2 stuff a bit. I remember saving up, what was a lot of money at the time for a kid, to get the Generation 2 release of Optimus Prime, and I would also get a Megatron and a few others. It was a mostly passing fad as it basically occupied the brief period of time when I was transitioning from being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kid to one obsessed with the X-Men.

Since I didn’t grow up enamored with Transformers, I’ve very rarely dabbled in the collector scene for it. When I was younger and had my first post college job and more disposable income than I was used to, I did dabble in the Masterpiece line. I picked up the US release of Optimus Prime and I grabbed the Takara release of Megatron to pair with him. And that’s where I left the Transformers. It’s just too expensive a line for me to collect when I don’t have tremendous interest in it.

One character though that I have always had affection for is Soundwave. I feel like that’s fairly common as Soundwave is just so decidedly 80s in his design. He’s a tape deck that can turn into a robot, and better yet, he has tapes that transform into robotic, animal, sidekicks. He’s awesome, and there’s a part of me that has always wanted a kick ass Soundwave. Maybe I should have grabbed a Masterpiece version of the character or the G1 reissue from a few years ago. I didn’t, and instead I’ve turned my attention to the R.E.D. release of the character from Hasbro.

Walmart took special care to make sure this box got banged around before it got to me.

R.E.D. stands for Robotic Enhanced Design. It’s a bit of a controversial line in the Transformers collector community because these are Transformers that do not transform. What?! It doesn’t seem to make sense to have Transformers that literally do not do as their name suggests, but it’s also not a new concept. I remember seeing non-transforming Transformers released to stores not long after the Michael Bay films hit. Transformers are notoriously expensive, whether new or vintage, versus a standard action figure. It’s not at all surprising that Hasbro has sought to introduce cheaper versions to retail, especially as a whole new generation of kids got sucked in. I know I’m not eager to drop 30 bucks on a good Transformer for my kid when I don’t know how much play he’ll actually get from it. Plus, having a non-Transforming option means parents aren’t called upon to transform the toy every ten minutes.

The extra stuff gets its own panel, which is actually really helpful.

The difference with R.E.D. versus those other releases is that this one is not really aimed at casual fans, but collectors. That doesn’t mean casuals (like me) or even kids can’t enjoy them, but they’re definitely collector-focused. And the whole purpose is to produce robots that resemble their animated counterparts in a way that a transforming toy cannot. It’s not a secret that the old cartoon took a lot of liberties with the design of its characters. The show could have directly adapted the toys, but that probably would have resulted in character designs deemed too complex for animation, plus lesser robot designs could be improved for the aesthetics of the show. And now, collectors who grew up on that show can add some Transformers to their display that reflect the robot look of that cartoon. And honestly, from a collector’s point of view, it doesn’t feel that controversial a move considering the vast majority of collectors are going to display their toys in robot form anyway.

Hooray for product shots!

Even though my affection for Soundwave is deeply rooted in the fact that he could transform into a 1980s styled boom box, I still find the robot form immensely satisfying. And since the R.E.D. line retails for less than $20, I decided to take the plunge and add a Soundwave to my toy collection. The line comes housed in an attractive, red, window box. It’s shaped like a trapezoid with the figure in the center and off to the side is a window for the accessories, which are in their own, separate, tray. First of all, I think some may be taken by surprise at the size of the figures in this line. Soundwave stands pretty much right at 6″, which is pretty small for a Transformer. This line is likely designed to scale with itself, but it also feels like a typical size for a Hasbro action figure release. And it even feels like one as far as articulation and accessories go, which I’ll get to in a moment. If you’re a dedicated Transformers collector looking to mix and match your display with these guys and traditional G1 or Masterpiece figures, then you might be disappointed.

Meet your new friend, The Cannon.
Hasbro saved some sculpt-work for the rear of the figure, including that (non-functioning) volume slider.
You can see how high the head sits from the side, which is great for articulation.

Considering the primary goal of this line is really the aesthetics, I have to say Hasbro pretty much nailed this one. Soundwave looks like he stepped out of the old cartoon and onto my shelf. The paint is clean and vibrant and the physical structure of the character looks pretty good. I could maybe nitpick the broadness of the shoulders, but considering I’m not a big Transformers fan that feels unnecessary. He looks great to me, and I assume most will be quite satisfied with how this guy looks. My only criticism of how this figure looks is that he could have benefited from a bit more paint. The head is a little plain and something to bring out the facial details would have added some more “pop” to the look. There’s a little bit of paint slop here and there, but relegated to minor dots and blemishes. You can also see some residual plastic from the mold extraction process, but thankfully those blemishes are mostly found on the rear of the figure.

The other advantage to this design is that Hasbro can cram in quite a bit of articulation without worrying about the transforming function. First off, the cannon that mounts on his shoulder is prone to popping off. This isn’t a huge deal for a collector, but if you were thinking of this for a kid know that cannon is going to annoy someone who wants to play with this. For posing, I recommend not fighting it and just popping it off, pose your figure, then replace. Soundwave’s head is on a ball joint and rotates fine, but the cannon gets in the way a bit. He can look way up as Hasbro has the head seated pretty high, and he even looks down a little bit with some side-to-side tilt. The shoulders are also ball-jointed, but the blocky-ness poses a problem. There’s a butterfly joint, but it just can’t do much because of the chest. Hasbro clearly didn’t want to break up the chest with any articulation, and there is a reason for that beyond aesthetics, and it is an issue, but honestly it’s actually less an issue than one would expect just looking at this guy. The elbows are double-jointed and he can go way past 90 degrees as he can come up and touch his own shoulder. There’s a bicep swivel and the hands are on ball-hinges with swivel action. You can keep them recessed in his forearm or pop the ball-joint out of the socket slightly for additional range of motion. There is a waist swivel and the legs can go out and to the side. There is a thigh swivel and the knees are double-jointed and he can bend as far back as a Yoga instructor. The feet are also ball-jointed and can rotate all around and have an overall fantastic range of motion.

“I feel empty inside…”
“I now feel complete”

The final piece of articulation is in that chest. Soundwave may not be able to transform, but he still has a functioning tape deck. There’s a button near his head that causes the tape deck to pop open and he even comes with a non-transforming tape to insert. Honestly, this was the capper for me on this figure as if he couldn’t do that I would have passed. Since he can though, we’re all good! The eject function isn’t very strong on mine and it basically just cracks open enough to slip a fingernail behind it, but it works well enough. Overall, considering how blocky he is, I am really impressed with the amount of articulation Hasbro crammed into this guy. The only thing that’s unfortunate is that cannon, and I don’t even know why they made it removable considering he has no need to transform. They could have put it on a ball-joint and called it a day, but I guess that was just too much money to spend on one toy. He feels really nice to hold with solid weight. Nothing feels fragile. There is potential to damage the figure though via his articulation. The crotch piece, where the leg is affixed to the figure, has a sharp edge and when I was messing around with the figure it actually scraped my figure’s right thigh, essentially removing a tiny chunk right on the corner of the thigh piece. There’s a little mark on the other thigh as well so I must have done the same there without noticing. It’s something to be wary of though.

Not a lot is included, but I’d say he at least comes with the essentials.
Other robots assemble!
Wait! You’re not a real robot!

In addition to the figure looking great, the accessories do as well. Especially the tape which is fully sculpted and painted and looks great whether it’s in Soundwave’s chest or out. It’s his coolest accessory, but the not the only one. In addition to the fists he comes packaged with, Soundwave also has two additional hands. One is designed to work with his eject button to make it look like he’s about to summon one of his robot minions, while the other is a simple trigger finger. That one works with Soundwave’s blaster which also looks sharp. It’s well-sculpted and has the right amount of paint on it to really make it stand out. The hands are easily removable, though I had trouble getting Soundwave to hold his gun. I ended up heating up the hand to get him to grip it, as it just had little to no give and I didn’t want to scrape up the plastic. And now that I have the gun in his hand, I do not plan to remove it. It’s a solid assortment of accessories, though some may have preferred an open hand option. I do wish we got a transformed Laserbeak as well to pose on his shoulder, though that probably would have tilted the costs beyond what Hasbro wanted.

Modern day Hasbro All-Stars.

If I am only going to own one Soundwave, I feel like this figure scratches that itch. There will always be a part of me that desires a transforming version of the character, but I’d definitely display him in his robot form anyway so this will do. I just love how he turned out from a visual standpoint. There’s a nice balance to the molded plastic and painted parts and he’s just really fun to look at. Maybe a little bit of shading, especially on the head, could have brought an even greater level of detail, but this is fine. If you’re not philosophically opposed to non-transforming Transformers, then I think this will make you happy. The only real negative is that stupid cannon, but I suppose I could glue it in. And the only other impediment is the scale, but that only matters if you intend to place this figure alongside other, non-R.E.D. Transformers. For me, this is great and I think I’ll keep him beside my Weltall figure which complements him well. If you want to snag one of your own, your only option right now is Walmart. Yeah, I know, I prefer not to shop there (especially during a pandemic), but he has regularly been in stock online if that helps. For 20 bucks, I say grab him now if you’re even slightly interested and return him if it ends up not being your thing, but I think most who do take the plunge will be pretty happy with the end result.

You probably shouldn’t pick a fight with him, Soundwave.

NECA TMNT Casey Jones and Raphael (In Disguise)

“The class is Pain 101. Your instructor’s Casey Jones.”

There may not be a more quotable scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than the encounter between Casey Jones and Raphael. Raphael, after taking in a movie he appeared unimpressed by, stops a purse-snatching and scares the kids off with a simple gesture to his sai. The kids take shelter in Central Park, where they have a chance encounter with the vigilante Casey Jones. Jones witnessed the attempted thievery, but he’s not as forgiving as Raph. Before he can really lay into the teens with an assortment of sports equipment turned weapons, Raph breaks it up which brings about the memorable encounter.

It was a trip for me as a kid to see my favorite green heroes on the big screen, and it was almost equally as entertaining to see Casey Jones. Played by Elias Koteas, Jones basically leapt from the comics and cartoon and took to live-action effortlessly. His attire was simple: sweatpants, t-shirt, vest, and that trademarked hockey mask. It should have been easy to translate to a film, but the performance of Koteas throughout the film should not be dismissed so easily. He’s an entertaining and even endearing character. There was probably so much more that could have been done with him, but in an effort to tone down the violence from the first film the Casey Jones character was written out of the sequel, I suppose in favor of the much less-celebrated Keno. He did return for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, but the less said about that film the better.

As has probably been noted in every one of my reviews of NECA’s movie-inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of action figures, this is a notable release because it’s the first of its kind. The movie was not expected to perform well, so Playmates did not support it with any toys. When it did prove a surprise hit, the company went straight to producing toys based on the sequel. That meant the Turtles themselves at least received figures as well as many others, but the characters and designs unique to the first film never did. And it doesn’t look like Casey received a figure for the third film, which is a bit surprising. Fans of Casey Jones have had to wait 30 years for a proper figure, but he’s finally here and fans are left to determine if he was worth the wait.

Not to be ignored though, is the fact that Casey Jones is part of the first movie two-pack released by NECA exclusively through Walmart. Along for the ride is Raphael in disguise sporting his trench coat and hat. This Raph is a scaled-down version of the quarter-scale figure, which is also just the regular movie Raphael, but with a coat and hat. It’s a fairly iconic look for the character that deserves a proper action figure and bundling him with Casey Jones makes perfect sense. I suppose there are some out there who would have preferred he come with another all-new sculpt, (April? Tatsu?) but I can’t say I feel cheated or anything.

Let’s talk about Raph first before getting to the main event, of sorts. Raphael is the exact same figure released previously as part of a four-pack of Turtles as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive and also released as a single-pack through GameStop last year. NECA has taken the movie line from GameStop to Walmart, in case you were wondering, and the previously released figures should start showing up any day now in two-packs as well. In comparing the figure with my SDCC edition, his face looks a touch lighter to me with a little more yellow mixed-in with the green. The eyes on my original Raph were kind of screwy as well, but this new one looks fine. It might have been neat if he could have had a new head, perhaps one with more teeth such as when he rescues April in the subway, but this is a good likeness of the character. His default mask “tails” is a new piece that diverts the tails around his neck instead of off to one side. He comes with the other two pieces, one going left and one going right, should you wish to swap it out, but I think the default one looks best. The coat is a soft goods coat and it looks really sharp. There’s one loose string on my Raph’s left shoulder, but otherwise the cut looks great. The buttons are non-functioning, but the belt and pockets are real. His hat is soft plastic and there’s a little hole for the knot of his mask. You could, if you wanted, pop out the tail piece and re-insert it through the hat to possibly get it stay on better, but he looks good no matter what you choose to do there. He also has his backpack, which is made of more soft plastic. It’s the biggest hindrance to getting the coat off and I suspect you would either need to cut the straps or pop his arms off to do so, but why would you?

Underneath that coat everything appears to be the same. All of the spots and battle-damage on Raph’s shell all look to be there. This also means all of the articulation is still in place as well. Raph will be restricted by his coat to some degree, though the cloth nature of it means it’s not as restricting as you may have expected. Raphael features a nice, tight, ball-joint at the neck. The default mask tails restricts his mobility a bit, but that’s what the other parts are for. He has ball-joints at the shoulders and elbows, plus hinges at both as well. There’s a forearm swivel and wrist swivel plus a hinge at the hand. Underneath the shell is a torso ball-joint that provides a little movement, but the shell (and coat) don’t allow for this joint to do much. He has ball and hinge joints at the thigh to go along with double-jointed knees. His feet are on a hinge, but there isn’t much movement there. It can also rock side-to-side a bit. This was plenty for the standard release, though for this version I wish the feet had more range of motion as the added bulk of the backpack makes him a challenge to stand. I can get him to stand in some poses, but ultimately I think I’ll use a stand when I place him on a shelf.

As far as accessories go, Raph seems a bit light compared with his box-mate. That’s fine since Raph really doesn’t need much aside from his outfit and trusty sai. That outfit is the star, of course, since it looks and feels fantastic. Despite not featuring a wire inside it, I found the coat easy to move and position. It can be bunched up in places to gain more range of motion at the arms, or allowed to conceal as much of this big turtle in a trench coat as possible. I was even able to get him to properly hold a baseball bat without much hassle. Raph also comes with both sai, even though he was down to one when he met Casey. He comes with gripping hands affixed to his arms, and optional open palms and finger-pointing/optional sai grips as well, just like the standard figure. NECA also tossed in a slice of pizza for good measure since I guess you can never have too many of those, though I kind of wish they had stuck a hole in the middle for his sai even though he didn’t do that until the second film. Or maybe a chewed up apple would have been fun.

Raphael is pretty sweet, but he’s also a variant of a two-year old figure. What collectors are really excited for is Casey Jones! Casey stands at about seven inches making him roughly half an inch taller than Raph, which feels about right. He’s in his first-appearance attire which includes a non-removable hockey mask. Underneath the mask is indeed a face that vaguely resembles Elias Koteas (you’ll have to search online to see for yourself), but the only way to get it off is to chisel it since it’s glued on. The mask also features pegs, and the straps are part of the sculpt, so your figure will look pretty stupid without a mask. NECA was unable to secure an agreement with Koteas to use his likeness, which is why there’s no unmasked head included. Though let’s be honest, basically everyone is displaying this guy with the mask on anyways, even if he only wears it for a small part of the film. Koteas confirmed on Instagram recently that he has actually given his blessing to NECA to go ahead and do a figure with his face on it, so don’t be surprised if we get an unmasked variant down the road (or a quarter-scale version with a removable mask) as part of another two-pack.

Sounds like we can expect a variant of Casey in the future.

Casey’s sculpt looks to be pretty damn accurate to the screen version. He has a white t-shirt with a vest over it that’s actually a shirt with cut-off sleeves. Both the shirt and vest are a soft plastic, though the sleeves on his arms are sculpted. He’s got his gray sweatpants on and black high-tops to go along with fingerless gloves for added bad-assness. The mask is the star of the show though as it looks great. It’s a thick plastic with a glossy paint-job that looks great. The decision to sculpt it separately with a face underneath also means his eyes looks menacing and the slits over the mouth could be actual cuts in the plastic rather than painted lines. If anything appears to be a touch off, it’s the hair which looks heavy as opposed to the more frizzy appearance it had on film. Hair is notoriously difficult to sculpt though so this barely registers as even a nit-pick. The knees also a look a tad odd, but again, that’s because NECA is trying to recreate a soft cloth like sweatpants in plastic form. NECA opted to make the plastic of the thigh go over the lower leg rather than do a kneecap. It’s tough to say what would look better and I bet the sculptors were left wishing the character had sported knee pads in the film. I’m curious if the expected quarter-scale version will experiment with soft goods for the sweatpants or stick with plastic.

Casey is pretty well loaded with articulation like his little, green, buddy. His head is on a ball-joint and partially restricted by the hair, but nothing that should cause issue. He has ball-jointed shoulders and double-jointed elbows to go along with a forearm swivel and the same swivel-hinge articulation at the wrist enjoyed by Raph. What I can’t determine is if he has any kind of ab crunch as the t-shirt prevents me from figuring that out. He has some waist articulation, but the shirt again prevents much of the movement. His thighs are on ball joints, but he features just a simple hinge at the knee. The ankles can swivel freely and there’s a hinge joint as well that’s quite restrictive. He’s a bit tough to stand as well, especially with the golf bag on, so he’s likely going to end up with a stand as well. He would likely need bigger feet to stand better, but that obviously wouldn’t be screen-accurate. More leg/torso articulation could have possibly helped as well, but then you’re cutting up those sweatpants and shirt even more which would have been less aesthetically pleasing.

The paint job on Casey is simple and effective. The clothing is done with a matte finish, but the shoes have a bit of a shine to him. His laces are painted black as well, which is probably screen-accurate, but I’ve never tried to stare at the character’s shoes. The t-shirt has an understated dark wash applied to it giving it a grimey look which is a nice touch. Casey doesn’t seem like the type who stayed up doing laundry. The only negative with the paint is the hinge piece of the shoulders was left unpainted, so if Casey’s arms are up it will look a bit ugly.

That’s a full bag.

As expected, Casey comes with a lot of goodies. He has his golf bag to store everything in which fits easily over his head and arm. It’s soft plastic so it’s fairly light, but once it’s full of stuff it’s no longer quite so light. The strap is rather thin and doesn’t disconnect so you’ll want to handle with care to not snap it at one end. For weapons, Casey comes with a pair of baseball bats (sadly, no Jose Canseco signature spotted on either), a hockey stick (left-handed, interestingly), a goalie stick, golf club (wood), and of course the infamous cricket bat. The weapons all look great with a paint-wash applied to nearly all of them to give them a weathered look. Most feature athletic tape, and the only one that looks brand new is the golf club. And it should, since that’s from the end of the film when Casey uses it to finish off Tatsu (“I’ll never call golf a dull game again.”) and is a nice touch since NECA could have chosen to omit it given the set is so scene specific. You can also fit everything into the golf bag with some effort, though the giant goalie stick looks a bit ridiculous sticking out of the bag. In the film, he only ever needed room for the two bats and the cricket bat so being able to fit them all wasn’t even a realistic goal, but they pulled it off. Not much to complain about either in terms of screen accuracy. I noted that the hockey stick is left-handed, but it looks like a righty stick on screen. And Casey certainly swings that cricket bat right-handed. The bats also probably could have been lighter in color, but I can’t say either thing is something that bothers me. These weapons are a lot of fun and I’m glad to see that Casey has a full assortment.

Look at all of that stuff!

Casey is going to need some hands to wield those weapons, and he has a bunch. His default hands are simple fists for when he wants to get his hands dirty. He also has two sets of gripping hands. I can’t really tell what’s different about them, the gripping opening might be just a touch larger on one set versus the other, but it’s pretty light. The goalie stick does require a bit more room to wield properly, but I seem to have little trouble regardless. His gripping hands are also really soft so you can bend the fingers around whatever he’s holding. Maybe the extras are just in case of ware and tare? He also has a pointing right hand and a more relaxed open left hand to rest a hockey stick or bat in. It’s a nice assortment and the long pegs and soft nature of the plastic makes swapping them pretty effortless.

Casey Jones is a more than worthy addition to what is perhaps the most impressive line NECA has ever produced. The likeness all of the figures from the first TMNT movie have been incredible, and Casey is no exception. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the fine work of sculptors Trevor Zammit, Kyle Windrix, and Trevor Grove. And no one should be snoozing on the Raphael in this set either. I was a bit on the fence with him and questioned whether or not I would have purchased a single-carded version of the character in disguise, but now that I have him I’m pretty happy to say that I do. My collection would have been lacking if I had a Casey Jones with no Raph to go along with him. As much as I identify Casey with April, a two-pack of them on a porch swing is certainly not nearly as exciting as the confrontation between mutant hero and vigilante.

If you want to add this two-pack to your movie collection, it can be found exclusively at Walmart for $49.99. It just started showing up last week and is still shipping to stores as I type this. Some areas will just start to receive it this week. It was also offered for purchase online, but basically sold out in seconds as NECA’s TMNT product remains extremely hot. Because of that, this set is not the easiest in the world to find, but it can be done. I’m just a blogger so my toys come from the store just like everyone else and I was able to find a set, so don’t despair if you don’t find one right away. And NECA is certain to keep producing these and I definitely expect at least a Casey re-release some day now that Elias Koteas is onboard. And above all, network with folks, make friends in the collecting community, and don’t feed the scalpers! Good luck!


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