Rocksteady Inspired By The Original TMNT Animated Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. 91080 No. 91086 Manufacturer:Playmates Includes: Gun, machete, helmet, sewer stand Action Feature:n/a Retail:$19.99 Availability:November 2013 Other: Toys R Us claims exclusivity, this does not appear to be accurate
The slow - very slow - burn that is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Collection keeps things interesting with only six total figures since the line debuted in 2013. Rocksteady and Bebop were the two 2013 offerings, with no Shredder just yet. The 20 points of articulation are fundamentally the same as his warthog buddy, which is to say it's good for posing the figure on the display stand. The double-jointed knees and restricted hip joints don't do him many favors, but the bend-and-swivel wrists and double-jointed wrists are great for holding his weapons.
Standing over 6-inches tall, the squat figure doesn't seem to really accurately capture the original 1988 action figure nor the cartoon design. Nor Archie's comics. What's worse, it doesn't really look like the prototype as much as it should - the tank top on the figure is missing a key paint operation around the neck, so it looks like he's wearing some sort of sleeveless turtleneck. It's a problem that would've taken about four cents to fix and likely was the result of a factory error, and it really doesn't help the figure any in its current state. Oh, and it's also barely as tall as the turtles - making it less menacing and probably proves that these figures were designed by different people than the last batch.
Rocksteady's head looks nothing like the original designs, with smaller eyes that are more animal-like. The big nose horn is somewhere in between the cartoon and the original action figure, but the 2013 release totally lacks the paunchy pot-bellied look of the original cartoon. The original era of TMNT made sure that these two goons were dumb - really dumb. It's not that this guy looks smart per se, but there are numerous minor details from the cartoon design that make this guy less a hardened, wrinkly killing mutant and more a misguided but ultimately dangerous oafish one. His shirt matches the tan of the cartoon, but I'm not quite sure where the green pants came from. One area which I have to give Playmates kudos is the removable helmet - the toon usually had him sans hat, but the old toy always had a helmet. Letting fans pick is definitely the best move.
The figure plugs right in to his display stand and he has no problems holding either weapon. Playmates did a great job engineering the arms as functional, muscular limbs for gripping the machine gun with both hands. I personally think they should be a little flabbier, but as a long-time fan what do I know? Each bend-and-swivel hand has a sculpted trigger finger to better hold the firearm, and he has no problem holding his bladed weapon either. Playmates is generally good about making sure their figures can hold their weapons - save for a few Simpsons releases - so I'm largely pleased with how all of the parts fit together.
While the Turtles were impressive and Bebop was on the downside of adequate, Rocksteady barely looks like any interpretation of the character I've seen before. If they changed Darth Vader's helmet this much, Star Wars fans would be screaming bloody murder. I'm sure someone at Playmates said "Whatever man, it's a mutant rhino figure, it's close enough for those dumb kids." Were this for the kid's line and intended as a redesign or modern interpretation of the character, I'd say it was pretty neat - but it's not. It's a "classic collection" figure, and for $20 I'd expect some attention to detail be paid to the source material. If you're a fan of the line, and you want to expand your collection from four to six, Rocksteady and Bebop are worth buying. But I don't think anyone seriously would accept these as some sort of definitive take on the 1980s and 1990s cartoon bad guys. The added insult was that these figures were in short supply, so people might just snap them up rather than criticize them and leave them to the wastelands of clearance racks. Toy Biz' Marvel Legends figures a decade earlier provided more authenticity and articulation at a better price.
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