I started collecting the original Playmates TMNT figures as a kid and I’m still working my way to completing up to the third or fourth wave now. Back then I had collected a few villains, some Turtles for xmas and birthdays, and picked up a few other odd ones several years later from a friend.
Of the original two waves I had collected all the figures above crossed out in red.
Since getting back into collecting the same toys I started out to get some decades ago, I have now picked up the ones crossed out in green below.
Which brings us to Scumbug, likely the next figure I would have bought in stores – if they had not stopped selling the product. While the line would continue on for several years, most stores don’t stock any toy line past the second or third year as it usually doesn’t sell.
Which meant that as a kid when I walked or push biked 30 minutes to the store to get a figure, after saving up three weeks pocket money – I was met with lifes eternal companions – Confusion, and Disappointment – being met with an empty shelf where my beloved TMNT toys once lived.
Along with Wyrm, Muckman and Mutagen Man, Scumbug have been on my want list ever since he first appeared on a card back. He’s also one of the most disgusting toys in the line, being a giant cockroach with bulging eyes, pincers, and spiky bits.
The sculpt has all sorts of horriffic details like little roaches crawling all over him, ripped clothing, one human arm and foot, with the other limbs horribly mid-mutation. His accessories include a weapon, pipes and backpack as the character was intended as an exterminator who gets mutated into the disgusting things he kills and is in regular contact with. I don’t have all his parts, the gun is just a random Transformers gun.
Unlike some later wave oddities Scumbugs box art, card profile and animation model are all rather coherent.
Scumbugs bio card is just a zoomed in close up fo the full figure art on the front left of the package. I don’t have any of his packaging, just the loose figure.
I don’t know what episode he first appeared in, but a lot of lower tier TMNT villains in the Murakami-Wolf era show appeared in perhaps one or two episodes, to at least promote the toy, often with a hastily cobbled together animation model that was frequently different, or inaccurate to the characters core design. Not so with Scumbug.
Some villains turned up repeatedly while others were one and done. Here Scumbug teams up with a bunch of other freaks at the behest of Krang and Shredder in S07e19 Night of the Rogues.
The most divergent look is over in Archie comics, where he has two distinct looks. One is his Archie comic book look and other is the TMNT Universe full page bio, done like the old Marvel character profiles for superheroes and Transformers – a full page illustration and extended biography.
The bio / reference page is more realistic and detailed and in typical comic book fashion, while the in book appearance is more simplified with an animated style to it, but is distinct from the actual show animation model which clearly uses the toy colors for its basis. I like both versions, and that cliche variety is the spice of life applies here perhaps.
I am glad the toy has the fun colors as it’s much more interesting than if Scumbug had just been all brown. Scumbugs concept creator/designer Ryan Brown imagined up some of the best mutants and freaks in the TMNT toyline and Archie Comics, and I still enjoy his work all these years on, and I love to see nice fan art that really shows off those great designs such as this Scumbug picture by DeviantArt artist Real Warner
Scumbug fan art by Real Warner
Scumbug official character profile from Archie Comics TMNT Universe Sourcebook N-Z (1993)