Sunday, February 15, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutatin' Raphael!

Thanks to Playmates, I had a cheap, easy to care for plastic pet turtle.





Raphael here was originally part of  Playmates' 1992 assortment of Mutatin' figures. He was re-released in 1996 with the other Mutations figures to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the TMNT. If you want to get technical, it was only the 8th anniversary of the figures, and 10 years since the Turtles appeared in comics, but I'm not going to nitpick. There weren't any changes in the figure from the 1992 to 1996, but the original release came in a high class windowed box while this one was sold on a cardback. It was a cost cutting measure I'm sure, but those boxes really made the toy seem more expensive. 

Basically, the heroes in the half shell could be transformed from ninja to pet turtle in just a few seconds. Even Shredder got in on the Mutatin' action, though he just changed from his usual angry looking armored ninja to an unarmored angry looking ninja. April turned into a humanoid cat, which still puzzles me to this day. Later waves had some of the characters turning into vehicles, like fire trucks and earth boring machines. Toys that made sense wasn't at the top of Playmates' list of priorities. 



The Mutatin' TMNT's were just a little larger than their non-transforming companions. Part of that was the necessity of housing the extra parts to pull off the mutation underneath their shells. The best thing about them was the fact they looked like a normal figure. Where most action features usually limit a figure's articulation or are very obvious, the Mutations Turtles actually gained another couple of POA in their ankles. The arms and legs ended up having a better range of movement as well. 



Have you ever tried pulling off this pose with one of the original four? It just won't work. As cool as they are, they definitely don't have the range of movement to go side kicking Krang's chewed bubble gum ass around. Oh, and look ma, no hands! I was actually able to get Raphael to balance like that. I must have taken no less than 37 photos of this one shot, because I couldn't believe I was able to get him to keep that pose. I should have played the lottery that week. I would gladly go on record and say that the Mutatin' Turtles are superior to the original figures in every way but one: there's no place to store their main weapons.


Speaking of weapons, they even mutated too. You could slide the middle blade down on Raphael's sais, turning them into..giant hot dog forks? That's the problem with most of the Mutatin' Turtle's equipement. Other than Don's bo staff turning into a pogo stick, all the other guys' weapons pretty much just turned into smaller versions of their normal weapons. Along with their signature weapons, each of the Turtles included a pizza that could turn into a throwing star, a can of turtle food, and a vial of retromutagen ooze. That throwing star pizza always bothered me. I know, I know, in a toyline where there's an android with a sentient brain living in its stomach, and weaponized pizza is the one thing that bothers me. I guess I just don't get how it would work. It would either have to be so stale that the whole thing had become hard as a rock, or the Turtles would be throwing around piping hot pizza, flinging cheese and toppings all over the place. A pizza napalm if you will. Actually, that last one might not be such a bad idea.


Changing Raphael from his ninja form to his pet form was a bit more difficult than I remember it. Some of the steps are a bit fiddly, and it took me a while before I had everything in place. I blame it on my stupid fingers. They don't know how to do. Basically, you open up the back, pull out his back legs, twist his head and limbs around, and voila! You now have yourself a pet turtle.


The end result isn't very convincing, in fact it's downright goofy looking. But how can you resist those innocent little eyes and that cute smile? Added benefit, you'll never catch Salmonella from Raph like you would with a real, live turtle. I've always wanted a pet turtle, so I scooped him up, and set up a home for him in my office.


Now he's got everything he needs to grow back up into a Foot-kicking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. He's got a bowl of water, an Orange Starburst to chew on, and a rack of ninja weapons for when he has hands instead of four ill formed feet. I just need to get my hands on some more Ooze, and he'll be back Until then, he seems content to relax in my lap while I'm watching tv. I might as well enjoy it while I can, because I'm sure he'll be back to his ninja flipping, pizza binging, bad attitude self soon enough.

Kids mutate so fast these days. 

10 comments:

  1. I remember these.He's gonna looooove that Starburst :)

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    1. It was gone within a few minutes, so either he ate it or the dog did. :-p

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  2. Nice ninja form - the turtle form leaves a bit to be desired.

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    1. Yeah, I was a little disappointed to learn the new Mutatin figures use the exact same build. They just changed the style up a bit.

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  3. These transforming versions always seemed too goofy to me when I was a kid but 1992 was about when I was getting into Marvel Comics in a big way, so I guess anything TMNT would have been stupid to me then. Because Wolverine is far more sensible, of course...

    Ace review! Any sign of mutation or developing ninja skills yet?

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    1. The only mutations I've seen include a bad attitude and an insatiable appetite. Damm teenagers..

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  4. Cool concept. Especially love the pizza!

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