Category Archives: NECA

NEVER COMPLETE – The Collector’s High aka SOME OF MY FAVOURITE TOYS OF 2017

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It never ends.

You collect a thing, grow bored of it, sell it off, buy it again, retire it, recycle it, repeat it.

Buy it sell it move it break it junk it eat it. Collect-ology.

over 9000 dr evil vegeta money
PRICELESS

CYCLES AND FLOW

The perfect collection eludes us. While some folks will complete a particular line, a particular year of toys – for most of us it never ends.

Something is always in storage. Something is always about to be sold or traded. Or given to the op-shop.

Something else we are just about… thinking about… *MAYBE* selling…. because it means we can get something new shiny and different in its place.

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Something is always on display, until it gets crowded and gets downsized or upsized, or sold, or put in storage. Or we move house, start or end a relationship, whatever.

The perfect collection eludes all but the most rich and spacious among us, or those of us with more modest choices and restraint in what we collect and how we display it.

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My own style is more Gonzo than anything. I have little if any restraint, if I want something I buy it even when I have no damn space for it. I’ve never been a completist. I buy whatever interests me, and if I lose interest in something I move on to something else.

The best I can do sometimes is “Desire Substitution” = I can pass over some collectible in favor of something I really want, switching in something I want EVEN MORE, thus using the money that would have gone on one thing, for another.

I could have bought more third party pricey Transformers recently – but instead I went with NECA 1990 Movie Mikey and have no regrets there. I enjoyed that super-duper-bodacious-impressive figure so much that I even sold off some old N64 video games to assist in buying the other figures – as I simply could not afford to buy them outright – at least not before all the old stock goes worldwide from this limited run of amazing figures that trump just about anything else I’ve seen in the last decade of toys.

big mikey playmates neca movie toon comparison sideways

Some items I can pass over purely on price, while others like the large scale TMNT 1990 Movie Turtles are so amazing that the large price tag feels justified, the quality is high and I can gladly sacrifice some smaller purchases in favor of a few bigger purchases.

That the big NECA Movie Turtles replicate the most realistic looking live action turtles from the 1990 movie gives it that added emotional connection for me, elevating it from simply being an amazing sculpt and details, to really looking like the character walked right off the screen and into my home.

 

KEEPING THE 1980’S ALIVE – ONE TOY AT A TIME

My biggest purchase of the year (in size and dollars) was Fan Toys Omega Supreme. Omega is in my all time personal TOP 5 Transformers characters that Rock to Infinity and Beyond. If you disagree he will laser pistol-whip you into next week faster than you can say SARCASM: UNAPPRECIATED.

Sacrificing other smaller purchases to bring home this big bad BOSS BOT was absolutely worth it. I planned to put him on a shelf of his own but didn’t get around to buying that shelf before Omega arrived. *Whoops*

So I re-arranged this mad lot and stuffed him next to Fort Max and Metroplex, and it’s pretty amazing to see these three iconic toys/ characters together. Only took me an hour. And YES his wings are wedged slightly against the roof. Which works in his favor as like his giant robo-brethren he is topple-worthy. and yes this is the top of a closet and I climbed up down on a rickety chair about 30 times, and also while holding one of the heaviest transformers of all time with extended arms. I live to live dangerously?

omega 3 IS GOOD FOR YOU
MISSION: Obtain the last Omega Sentinel. SUCCESS: IMMINENT

Lately I’ve been wanting to set up more active interesting displays, rather than random groupings of unrelated toys – with a particular theme or scene and Mega Bloks / Mega Construx has been a boon in that regards.

Except for the random shelf…

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Not so Random Shelf

I can set up a microcosmic little scene of tiny figures and have all kinds of cool fun stuff going on, and it’s really easy to re-arrange them into a different configuration without too much fuss. Just don’t drop them or their weapons – they are so tiny they bounce away and are hard to find on the floor.

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Smell ya later Shred Head!

Another fun thing about the Mega Bloks figures is their size means you can use them with various small scale playsets – like the Micro Mutants Garage sets I picked up on clearance on a whim. Turns out the scale works quite well with the Mega Bloks figures.

Garage TMNT 1Garage TMNT 2 utrom

The sets are simple and cheap plastic that clip together, but they do have some nice details, the wall below for example will look even better with a lick of paint to highlight the pipes and ducting (when I get around to it).

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Likewise another of my favourite repurposed toys I got in 2017 (from my Dad while on holiday in NZ) is the Batman ’66 Diecast Batcycle. It’s not made for any type of figures, but Mega Bloks Mutants don’t care about rules, they steal whatever pleases them.

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It’s one way to travel in style to their side gig as bouncers at the KTV Bar. Another toy thing I repurposed was this knock-off brand of Lego…thing. It looks good and it was cheap (and the pizza themed one is still yet to arrive).

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1/2 Price Mutagens on Saturday Nights lures in the crowds

So the Mega Bloks figures are great fun, and I really dig them. The Small scale means you can mix and match a few different things with ease. Until I buy too damn many and my shelf runs out of space.

Well I still have one designated spot to fill with an entire new shelf partly reserved for more Mega Construx and other TMNT stuff. And what a delightful headache it is – the toys that argue for dominance and pole position on that theoretical shelf that  currently exists only in my mind.

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Many times I have laid awake at night choosing what will go on each level. The bottom levels are reserved for book and comics, while all upper levels are game for collectibles, with the very top reserved for anything truly titan sized that won’t fit in other places, and might look damn imposing towering over you as you walk into the room. It’s a good kind of problem, a fun problem to have – unlike real world everyday problems.

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Also at the smaller scale end of things are Transformers from various lines, united in their Mischief Making abilities. Mucking about with Sharkticons and their *unofficial* new tiny leader was tremendous fun, I spent a couple weeks tinkering with display options until I settled on having the loose theme of claws, jaws and mischief makers together, the smallest scale and the largest in one fun display.

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Once I had the idea of what I wanted, I moved this unruly lot to the shelf. Then I added in a decepticon faction logo above the Energon Cube Throne. Chucked in some TR and RID mini-figues, some bootleg Kremzeek toys, light sabre and axe for the bigger Sharkie guards.

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And the mighty Trypticon towers over them all, with various small scale toys on his back and underneath him. Despite the silly Q.C issues, Trypticon was one of my fav toys of 2017, just for his dino-display potential.

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With his mouth stuffed with Energon Cubes, he’s all set to gorge himself.

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Other small scale toys I really enjoyed were the Penny Racer (aka Choro-Q) style Rescue Bots toys, a nice little nod to the old Takara-TOMY style mini-vehicles. If you have 1 and 3 step transformers, then these are ZERO step Transformers. Just tilt them up and they go into bot mode, tilt them down and they transform themselves back to vehicle mode. It’s a neat simple gimmick that I really like, and I plan to get a few more of them yet.

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If there is one thing I’ve enjoyed more than anything else lately, it’s mixing up different toys and putting them together. It’s that kind of simple play most of us enjoyed as kids. Toys were not segregated like in Toy Story 3, they played together joyfully like in Toy Story#1.

Of all the toy photos I’ve taken over the last couple years, the one that always brings  a smile to my face is that small movie Spider-Man and G1 Beachcomber riding a KO Alternator Hound getting irate at the inconvenience of an animal crossing.

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On the dining room table. No fancy background, no tricky lighting – just a quick snap with a camera. It always makes me laugh. For anyone paying attention, there’s a tiny Soundwave driving.

ANOTHER SUBTITLE HERE, OR IMAGINE YOUR OWN WITH SHOTGUNS FOR LEGS AND MACARONI FOR BRAINS

While partly I’ve been aiming to have a more cohesive collection in terms of things that go together – some things do not go together, and that’s where you’ve got to make your own fun. I love Dinosaurs and TMNT since forever.

Back in the late 90s there some ridiculous toys released called “Cave Turtles” that rode on big Dinosaurs. When I found these cheap Toy Story small scale dino toys below, well one thing lead to another…

POOP ‘N SCOOP DINO RIDING DON

Mixing things together is its own kind of fun. If there is one thing that is really driving my collecting habits more this year – it’s toys themed around 1980s and early 90’s cartoons and media.

I’m keen to pick up some Thundercats Classics figures (a modern toy line) and a few modern He-Man toys – mainly the villains – if I can find them for reasonable prices that is. Plenty of other collectors want the same toys, which drives the prices up.

With my focus shifted from purely Transformers to 80’s toys, there is a danger I may just bull all sorts of stuff I end up selling. But I feel confident that I can focus on having just the main characters of say He-Man and Thundercats sharing  display space with Ninja Turtles and a select few Transformers- keeping the 1980’s alive one toy at a time. I care about the CHARACTERS and their stories and personalities, more than any specific toy.

 

MIXING MISMATCHING MESMERIZING

I don’t care to keep everything in its own little section, so my mega bloks mix it up with Lego. Mega Bloks movie Leo is in a Lego van slicing up pizza, Mike’s enjoying a nice slice with a Minion, the Punisher is about to shoot shredder from the top of the turtle van.

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…and rock star Lego Batman is hiding stealthily in the corner rocking out, with Raph doing a one armed pizza gymnast routine.

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…and Gladiator bootleg Lego Hulk is on a rampage

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…and I don’t really know what’s going on here, but that dog looks suspicious. Not a fairy Batman meth lab for sure.

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I’m not done with Transformers yet, but I get the impression a year from now I will be. Power of the Primes is coming up in 2018 in Australia. For sure I’ll get the Dinobots and Terrorcons and Predacons, the various femme-bot and Leader Optimus Prime / Orion Pax, and no doubt a couple of others. But apart from them and G1 Overlord, there is bugger all else I really want in my TF collection. The odd amazing third party… thing perhaps. But fewer of them, and less often thanks. I’m keen to some toy repaints, but I need to find a dedicated space in this Dust Palace where I can not get paint on everything.

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ALL IN DISORDER

In 2018 I’m done with having more than say 3-5 pre-orders for things that take 6-12 months to arrive, or NEVER arrive at all – thank you third party, and thank you dodgy Australian online businesses that take money but #NEVERDELIVERS and won’t refund #ILLEGAL #WHOOPS #FUCKOURCUSTOMERS. No, I’m not mentioning the details here –  but many Australian collectors will know exactly what I am talking about and the less said, the better.

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In 2018 I’ll be focusing even more on TMNT, both modern and vintage lines of Playmates toys. The few I have picked up in recent months have brought me so much joy, in a way the never ending parade of Genericon Transformers toys just hasn’t.

There are key characters I want to own in Transformers, and I’d rather step back now and focus on those MICRO displays of key characters (such as the 1986 movie main Autobots) rather than just buying anything and everything that takes my fancy.

In 2018 I’ll be steering away from dodgy collectible retailers who run their businesses mainly on pre-orders and focusing on those ones that ACTUALLY DO DELIVER the product you pay for. Chasing refunds for missing items for six months or so is not fun, and by the time you get the refund, the toy you ordered a year ago has sold out everywhere, so you miss out. Those fuckers.

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I don’t regret buying any of the Transformers I have bought but I have no more space for them, so they all go into storage tubs. And I’m out of space even for storage tubs – which means I have to be more selective in what I get next year, and also let go of some under-appreciated toys due to space constraints. Refine and simplify. Find new ways to enjoy toys like taking photos and writing more blogs, and buying less total toys obviously.

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If there’s something I’m steering toward in 2018, it’s away from mindless acquisition of the new and the shiny, the mundane and ordinary and I’m heading towards more selective choice cuts of the meaningful and amusing, the whimsical and satisfying toys like Funko’s Disney Afternoon series, more vintage Playmates 1990 era TMNT toys.

My most favourite recent toy that I just adore is the Disney Afternoon’s McDuck. It’s a simple toy but it’s the bright cartoon colors that really bring it to life. It has a nice non-glossy finish that makes it a joy to look at every time, and brings out the animated Duck Tales style it emulates.

I don’t care so much about Baloo, Chip and Dale – mostly just McDuck and Darkwing Duck are my thing. But these figures are so impressive I may end up collecting the full line. With their small size and cheap price, there is no good reason not to.

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A good toy or memorabilia collection need not be varied or monotone in the
collection itself or how its displayed. What matters most to me in any type of collection is the personal meaning attached to the items in the collection.

Take these toys below for example that all turned up on the same day. There is a vintage Playmates Tokka from a dude in a Facebook TMNT OZ group, an old Cookie Monster toy from ebay and a Powerpuff Girl from TOYS R US that I found today at retail after many months of searching with no luck.

Treasures of the Day 2_1_18 tokka powerpuff cookie monster
C is for “Chomp” and “Claws”

I’m an unashamed fan of Sesame St. While I have not watched it for many
years, if I watch a clip of any episode now – I enjoy it. Old or new episodes, Sesame St does some of best the writing and comedy in television. PERIOD.

People assume I’m joking when I say that, but I’m not. I love the Muppets and Fraggle Rock and anything Jim Henson or Henson workshop related (hello live action 1990 TMNT Movie Magic). The characters are as timeless and iconic and memorable as any other fiction or childrens entertainment. The Henson stuff to me is a cut above, it’s more intelligent, it works on multiple levels and its engaging. It’s just plain better than a lot of other mindless soul-less entertainment made for kids.

Recently I found a mixed lot of Sesame St toys going on ebay quite cheap. I bought them as there were no other bidders, but I mainly wanted the lot for a couple of the old BP Sesame St toys that I used to have the full set of as a kid, and would very much like to collect and enjoy again.

The other Sesame St toys I don’t want from that lot I will most likely pass on to my partners younger nieces, after I check that they are safe and clean etc. Can’t be giving no crack addicted Bert and Ernie to kids ya know. They gotta be clean.

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While I enjoy the odd upmarket fancy pants bullshit collectible, I PREFER TOYS TO BE TOYS, so my aim is always to have fun with collecting toys – be it Transformers, Ninja Turtles or whatever. The RID line has been great fun with some wicked transformations and I’m sad to see it die along with the RID show in 2017.

While I missed out on the Masterpiece Soundwave I ordered about six months ago that never turned up due to a dodgy Australian retailer who had ripped off many a collector – (and all my Alf Stewart fist waving and shouting of FLAMING MONGRELS both on and offline accomplished little)  – I did *finally* get to enjoy Titans Return Leader Class Soundwave – and I picked up the Repro sticker set for him which looks great, but mainly I got it for the Dancitron Base Mode stickers which emulate the nightclub Starscream and Soundwave took over in an old cartoon episode called Auto-Bop.

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Here’s to the end of 2017, and a bright and shiny and New and Old and Dusty and Vintage 2018 to enjoy and look forward to. Eight days into this new year and I’m already swamped with new and old Turtle toys, TAK MALL Ginrai and some other junk that do doubt I will ramble on about soon enough. Still waiting on my giant non-Transforming Megaton, Fans Hobby Scourge / Black Convoy and some other dirty bastards.

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Oh and here’s my favourite toy of 2017. It’s an Australian Koala and her baby in a tree.

Koala’s are amazing, I’ve seen a fair few in the wild and they are incredible animals, and yes super-cute. I’m not fucking about, I think it’s brilliant and if you don’t agree then you Sir are cold and dead inside, and quite possibly a monster or a hideous disgusting mutant robot. If you ARE a voo-doo robot monster… I’ll find out.

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Magic Mike’s aka TMNT Giant Size Mikey by Playmates (1989)

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I still remember the day my Mum brought home the giant size Michelangelo. I assume she got it second hand or something like that, as it was in the boot of her car and had no box / wrapper or whatever it originally came in. It was pretty much in new condition, came with his nunchuks and his fabric belt – which has since been lost.

Fast forward a decade or so and I moved to Australia, leaving many treasured childhood toys and such in storage at my Dads place in Christchurch.

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Fast forward another decade and I had some old items shipped over from New Zealand including Big Mike and the Twins (aka my Transformers G1 Doublecross and old TMNT Playmates figures).

Then I moved from rural Victoria to Perth / West Australia (for the second time) and Big Mike went back in storage for another few years. Unfortunately I left Mike  behind at the last minute when I shifted as the bag he was packed in was too high, obscuring the back window in my car when I drove / moved interstate from Victoria to West Australia, a safety no-no in my book.

And then  last week or so, Big Mike arrived along with boxes of my other old stuff. In the same week I got back my 1989 Big Mike, the NECA TMNT 1:4 Scale Movie Mike I ordered online about a month ago also arrived. What are the chances of both these fantastic toys turning up in my life in the same week? AWESOME!

I’m not good with math and odds, but damn it’s awesome to get both in the same week. And having not seen Mike for a number of years – I had him back for two whole years out of storage, before he went back to storage – and he feels like a new toy again.

Before I took a few pics for this post, I gave him a good rub down (sounds a bit too sexy) with some cleaning wipes, as he had years of dust caked in. Right in those hard to reach dirty turtle crevices and shell curves etc.

DAMN HE’S A GOOD TOY!!

I don’t know what it is, but the simple thing of just taking a basic toy, and upscaling it often leads to a really cool toy at a sensible price. Giant size Batman and Vader for example are two of my favourites  -and there are other versions nearly double the size of these bozos  around.

batman vs vader for the fate of the world
UNBEATABLE

Big Batman, Big Mike, Big Vader, Fort Max, Big  Bebop, Big Spider-Man – I just love larger scale toys.

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I SHALL CALL HIM “MINI ME”

Anyhow, enough of my fetish for large scale toys.

Let’s get back to Magic Mike…

For a simple toy, he has some impressive features. His face has that permanent scowl that is at odds with the animated Mikey – but fits more with the original Mirage Turtles (adding plenty of confusion to my younger self’s TV Turtles obsessed brain).

His nunchucks are the best best of ANY version of Mikey imo, yes even better than the NECA 1:4 Scale figure ones. The NECA ones are nice accessories, but don’t pose so great and look kind of bland in comparison to the big chunky orange Playmates ones that you can legitimately swing around like real nunchucks, even now 28 years after it’s manufactured date.

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The back of Big Mike’s shell has a nice soft texture to it, and looks great. Something about the softer texture just elevates it above the smaller scale figures. NECA Big Mike (on the right) of course has as amazing shell, reflecting the care and detail that went into the Henson Workshop designs. Both versions of Mikey clearly don’t skip their squats.

big mikey playmates neca movie toon comparison rear shell

A quick close up of Mike’s shell, and apparently he’s been branded with an M at the base of his head. He also has a product stamp with his year right on his Turtle butt, but we don’t need to see that. Big Mikey1 rear shell grooves

The proportions of Big Mike’s head always looked bit off to to me, but then the original Mirage Turtles always had exaggerated comical proportions, that was very intentional. The infamous “first turtle” sketch by Kevin Eastman of Mikey is a joke character, you can see how goofy he is.

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When Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird launched their original indy comic – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VOL#1, the Turtles took on their iconic squished head, pointy nose and round joweled sneering mouthed look – and that look carried over to the first line of Playmates toys. In contrast  the Fred Wolf cartoon would refine the look and go with their own version commonly known as Cartoon or ‘Toon / TV Turtles. Later volumes of the Mirage comics would further refine how the Turtles looked, and I have to admit the later versions are what I prefer over their stumpy forbearers.

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In the later issues of the various comics, you can see some beautiful art that softened the look of the Turtles some, making them a bit more human and less silly angry 80’s ninja parodies. That softer look went on to influence just about every other version of the Turtles we’ve had since. From live action movies to video games, other cartoons, toys etc.

That softer friendlier (more human) face. Less hard edged Daredevil Miller Ninja Parody,  this style helped TMNT became it’s own legitimate multimedia thing, beyond it’s origins as a trashy 80’s pop culture parody. Not to downplay the quality of Mirage TMNT VOL#1, it’s a great series full of cool art and sci-fi concepts with some big action.

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The Jim Henson Workshop gave us some of the most memorable versions of the Turtles in the first live action film(1990) a New Line / Golden Harvest co-production

The Muppet Magic was alive and well in the live action film. I remember watching it in the cinema back in the day and many times since, including just last month. It’s a film that holds up pretty well – melding aspects of the original Mirage Turtles and the Fred Wolf cartoon into a cohesive whole that easily stands on its own with dark drama, competent stunts, amazing costumes and the right amount of humor. The suits and robotics for the heads /eyes combined with traditional puppetry was quite a feat to pull off. Most puppets cheat by having at least part of the puppet off screen, but the turtles had to be seen kicking, jumping, flipping out, fighting and pretending to eat pizza.

If you dig the live action movie, this article by Aaron Couch is a great read with all sorts of wonderful insights, trivia and behind the scenes details on New Line / Golden Harvest / Henson Workshop production.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’: Untold Story of the Movie “Every Studio in Hollywood” Rejected

tmnt untold live action movie 1990 golden harvest jim henson hollywood reporter by Aaron Couch.jpg

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’: Untold Story of the Movie “Every Studio in Hollywood” Rejected

big mikey playmates neca movie toon comparison

Part of what makes the NECA lice action Movie Magic Mike so great is all the skin texture and details, but man that head sculpt and eyes really sell it.

Those eyes and face bring so much personality to the big NECA Movie Mikey, it’s like he walked right off the screen and into your toy collection (and shrank along the way I guess).

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When I was a kid Mikey was my favourite from the ninja turtles cartoon. The fun loving jokester, the party dude. In my teens and twenties, Raph became my favourite character, because of the Mirage comics and the post 2000 animated shows.

Below is a few different Mikey figures, the goofiest face has to go the modern Platinum Dunes Mikey movie figure in the middle, while the most grim goes to the Nick figures (smallest ones)  and the old Playmates Big Mike with his sneer that does definitely not make me think of parties, sewer surfing or any kind of good time.

big mikey playmates neca samurai michelangelo nick classics

It’s a shame I lost his belt years ago, he looks kind of funny without it.

NAKED TURTLE ALERT!

Big Mikey1 rear shell

Here’s a quick comparison with Donnie from the old toy line, (because I don’t know where the hell little Mikey has gotten to) you can see how much they upscaled Mike to make a few more of them fabulous Turtle Bucks.

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CHA-CHING!

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Well that’s about it man. Time for some sewer surfing, pizza and a good monster film. Another post soon on NECA Movie Mike (the big dude on the right in the photos).

 

IMAGE CREDITS

Boxed Giant Size Mikey  image from http://toyworth.com/browse/action/figure/Teenage/Mutant/Ninja/Turtles/86.html

TMNT Original Mike Illustration by Kevin Eastman, image from http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/comic-con-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-co-creator-selling-first-drawing-of-tmnt-for-2-mil-exclusive-1201267835/

TMNT VOL 1 comic art panel from https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/422845852493027255/

Turtle Bucks Image from http://mascotjunction.com/turtle-banners/

World Map image courtesy of  http://geology.com/world/world-map.shtml

Hollywood Reporter TMNT live action movie screen grab from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-untold-785653

Mikey holding cat comic cover image from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo Christmas Special by Mirage Studios