By ďPixel DanĒ Eardley
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been a dominant force in the toy aisles pretty much ever since they debuted in stores back in 1988. This is a franchise that has had the luxury of reinventing itself every couple of years with new cartoons and movies that in turn allowed for new toys. This has worked out quite well for the Heroes in a Half Shell, because they have remained popular with just about every generation that has come about since the 80ís.
As a result, there are hundreds of Turtles toys that span from mighty mutants, fearsome Foot Clan members, and wacky variants of the Green Teens themselves! With so many different figures from nearly 30 years of release, you might say someone taking on the task of naming the 10 best is a crazy person.
Hi. Iím Pixel Dan. Iím a crazy person.
Ok, so itís near-impossible to pick out only 10 TMNT action figures out of every single release and call them the definitive best. And like all ďTop TenĒ lists, itís completely subjective. Everyone is going to have a different take, and thatís awesome! There are so many GOOD Turtles toys out there, and they deserve to be acknowledged. But with that said, Iím going to attempt to list out 10 TMNT action figures that I consider to be my personal favorites of all time!
I didnít put too many rules on myself, with the only exception that I tried not to include the Turtles themselves too often. They have so many versions that I could probably make a list entirely about cool Turtle variants (mental note for later!) So with that out of the way, letís get started!
ďThe Picnic Punk with a Four Fisted Punch!Ē Iíll admit it Ė Iíve always had some sort of fascination with anthropomorphized ant characters. Something about the look of an ant turned warrior has always been really cool to me. This figure is proof of that! Four arms! Awesome sculpt! And it also helps that he features a primarily purple and black color scheme, a favorite of mine. This is one of my favorite action figures from the original TMNT toy line, and one that I feel is often over looked. You just donít seem to hear anyone talking about this guy. Thatís a shame. Letís raise Antrax awareness!
The only entry on this list from the current TMNT series, Fishface (aka Xever) was released in the first wave of the new Nick line and still remains one of, if not THE, best mutant figure in the whole line. The overall design of this guy is very cool. Heís a fish with robot legs and a blade for shanking Turtles. His design almost feels like it could fit right in with past Turtles lines, unlike many of the more stylized mutants we get now. Also, since he was one of the early figures, he benefits from having a better paint deco and more articulation than most all of the villains in this toy line. That definitely helped edge him onto the list, but regardless I just love his design and think he makes for a very fun toy.
Everyoneís favorite Evil Turtle from Dimension X! We can all agree that Slash is awesome, right? Even as a kid I was really drawn to the specific action figure. Doppelgangers of heroes is a pretty common thing to see, yes. But there is just something so cool about a Ninja Turtle that wears a black bandana and has spikes on his shell. He even came with twisted and spikey versions of some of the Turtleís familiar weapons like a crooked Sai and nunchuks with a barbed chain. This dude is an evil kind of rad!
Casey Jones (2003)
Iíve always been a big fan of Casey Jones and his relationship with my favorite Turtle Raph. I also have a feeling that some of you are disagreeing with my choice of Casey action figures. I wonít argue with you, because the Casey Jones from the vintage line is awesome. But the 2003 figure is my favorite Casey action figure released thus far. Maybe itís because I really liked his portrayal in the 2003 animated series. But also, the accessories are wonderful on this one. He comes with a golf bag complete with a baseball bat, hockey stick, and golf club, removable pads AND a removable hockey mask. Yep, this is still my ultimate Casey figure.
Another Doppelganger Turtle makes the list! This robotic ninja from the original TMNT line from Playmates Toys is a seriously cool toy. First of all, heís shiny! Thatís easily one of my favorite features on a toy. Those chrome gold bits definitely help add to that robotic feel, but in addition the figure also features a really rad light piping feature that makes his eyes glow red when under light! Add to that an interchangeable hand that you can swap with weapons and you have one seriously sweet toy!
At this point you have probably noticed that the original TMNT line is dominating this list. I canít help it. That original line is so good, and has so many wonderful figure designs! Wingnut here is another that I have absolutely adored since I was a kid. Heís a bat thatís dressed like Batman who has wings that are so small he built his own giant mechanical wings. Just look at the sculpting on those wings and you can see all of those details. The vintage line is full of wonderful little details in their figure sculpts that sometimes go unnoticed due to the lack of paint. Wingnut is one of those figures that have a lot going on with it, and I love it! Plus, he has a little mosquito sidekick named Screwloose. I love the little buddy figures!
S.H. Figuarts Turtles (2016)
The first figures of the Turtles to make my list! Yes, technically this is more than one figure. But since these Turtles are practically all the same, I feel comfortable counting them as one entry. These are brand new, but already have jumped into one of my top spots. Do you know how long Iíve waited to get proper figures of the Turtles that looked the way they did in the original cartoon series? If youíre a Turtles fan, you know exactly what I mean and thus know exactly why these are so exciting! Tamashii Nations really nailed the likeness with these, finally giving us toys that feel like they jumped straight out of the cartoon series. The also feature a very clever used of die cast metal bits on the legs that keeps the figures perfectly balance, and blends together with the wonderfully painted plastic parts seamlessly. Add in some interchangeable parts and lots of articulation and you have the best cartoon Turtles weíve received to date!
Remember when I was talking about all of the little sculpted details on Wingnut a little bit ago? Well thatís nothing when compared to Muckman! This is a figure that I could just sit and study for extended periods of time just to see what new little details on noticed in his sculpt. Spider! Various bones! Mushrooms! Even a bottle and other assorted trash! This dude is covered in crazy details! And if thatís not enough for you, he has an action feature that allows him to vomit slime! Iím still hoping to see Playmates release a new version of this character in their current line, but letís be honestÖthereís no chance itíll come close to being as awesome as this original figure.
Mutagen Man (1990)
Man, 1990 was an awesome year for TMNT! At least as far as Iím concerned. So many of my favorites were released this year, including my all-time favorite figure from the vintage line: Mutagen Man! This guy was always my go-to baddie when playing as a kid. He featured a hollowed out, translucent body that allowed you to see his guts! On top of that, he came with several tiny little pieces of plastic that looked like bones and such. You can put those in the hollowed out body, fill him with water (or ooze!) and suddenly his insides are floating around! This has got to be one of my all-time favorite figure designs.
NECA Mirage Comics Turtles (2008)
Here I am again including four figures into one spot, but once again Iíll make the argument that the figures are so similar they shouldnít take up more than that. Did you ever wonder what TMNT figures sculpted by Four Horsemen Design would look? Did you ever dream of owning action figures based on the original Mirage comics that predated the cartoons? NECA Toys beautifully took care of both of those scenarios with their Eastman & Laird Turtles released back in 2008. Simply put, these figures are gorgeous. Capturing that dark and gritty tone of the original comics, this was the first time we really got Turtles figures made by anyone other than Playmates Toys, and done so with the adult collector in mind. It was absolutely amazing to see these original designs brought to lie in plastic form for the first time. And while there have been so many great Turtles figures over the years, to this date this set from NECA Toys remains to be my all-time favorite action figures of the Heroes in a Half Shell!
So there you have it! Ten tubular Turtles toys that I consider to be among the all-time best the franchise has to offer! Of course, that is not to say that there arenít many, many more that are deserving of these slots. It was quite the impossible task to narrow this down to only ten entries! So, now itís your turn! What are your favorite TMNT action figures? Do you agree with any of my entries? Did I miss any that you feel are more deserving?
Sound off! Have fun! And until next time!