Saturday, January 18, 2014

Michelangelo is a party dude

I discovered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one random day in 1989. I was hanging out in the toy aisles of Ames department store while my parents were on their weekly shopping trip. Other than toys, the electronics section is the only other area of the store I would visit. Mostly I would check out the video games, and mentally mark down which ones I wanted for Christmas. I honestly can't think of a time when I bought an NES or SNES game for myself. Yeah, I was a spoiled little brat. Anyhow, since games were usually out of my price range, barring an all A's report card or a bunch of birthday money, most of my allowances were spent on action figures.

So, I entered the toy aisle, trying to figure out what piece of poseable plastic I was going to buy with my hard earned money. G.I. Joe was my usual target, but this weekend, something else caught my eye. I was scanning the aisles, top to bottom, when my eyes caught a bunch of  figures with crudely drawn art on their cards. I sauntered over to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle section, and I was immediately enamored with what I saw. I checked each figure out, looking over their weapons, and reading their bio's, and trying to figure out which TMNT figure was going to be my first. As I was trying to make my decision, my parents came through the toy section to let me know they were ready to check out. I only had a few more seconds to make my decision, and in the end, I chose Michelangelo. I'm not sure why I initially settled on Michelangelo, but it must have been the nunchuks. I was always a fan of Bruce Lee and his skill with the nunchuks just fascinated me. I guess I figured any character that used the same weapons as Bruce Lee must be awesome.  By the time I got Michelangelo home and started taking his weapons off the plastic rack, I was hooked. G.I. Joe now had some serious competition when it was allowance time. I'm not sure how many TMNT figures I ended up with, but it had to be in the dozens.

Fast forward to Christmas Day 2013, when I happened to unwrap this little fella:

It seems Chelsea was paying attention when I mentioned Michelangelo was my favorite of the Turtles. I've wanted at least one of the new TMNT figures ever since they appeared in stores. But, I still find it hard to be seen in public buying toys at my age. Nobody bats an eye when you throw a box of flavored condoms on the conveyor, but set a TMNT action figure up there and the eyes start rolling.

Like the Michelangelo of old, the current version comes rather well armed. He's equipped with a pair of throwing stars, what look like a pair of bigger throwing stars, a kusarigama, and two pairs of nunchuks. When you have more weapons than hands, then you're definitely a force to be reckoned with. Mikey's articulation really allows for some great poses, much more so than the original figures. Unlike a lot of newer figures with increased articulation, this figure still feels pretty sturdy. His huge also help keep him standing up, though any poses that change his center of gravity too much will probably result in him falling over

Just as I was looking at this picture, I noticed all the little dings and pockmarks that were molded into Michelangelo's shell. It's a neat little detail, since real turtle shells aren't perfectly smooth either. I love that Mikey's belt can still hold his nunchuks. I never really cared that the Turtles had so many loose weapons, so long as I could keep their main ones on them all the time. I am a little worried about those stress marks that appeared the first time I slid the nunchuks into his belt. I guess I better be careful how many times I pull these things in and out.

Ultimately, I think this is an amazing update to Michelangelo. They've improved everything about the original figure, without compromising its purpose as a toy. Now, if they could just find a way to curb his appetite for pizza..

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