While searching through the archives at the Virtual Ninja Turtle Museum for really cool Ninja Turtle outfits, I came across a ton of really, really awesome action figures that I couldn’t mention due to the limitations of the list parameters. Therefore, it’s time for another list focusing on only the side characters released via the toy line. The rules are very simple here. The only figures I’m considering are figures that aren’t the four Turtles, April, Splinter, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, or Krang. So basically, any figure that isn’t considered part of the main cast. That said, here they are, and we can thank the original comics for a bunch of these.
An anthropomorphized triceratops is pretty cool, but give him some powerful looking blasters and metallic body armor and we’re set for a winner. I had a Triceraton in my collection of action figures and found it to be a perfect villain character since it looked tough and could fling Turtle figures using its horns. Also, anyone who read the original Mirage Comics run of TMNT can attest to how brutal the Triceratons can be, so what better foe for the Turtles to battle? Also, you could pop off his tail, leading to some epic battle wounds. Sold.
I’d never heard of Hothead until Tournament Fighters for the NES, a staggeringly bad fighter with pitiful few fighters and terrible controls. Of the seven fighters, one was Hothead, a dragon. I was never lucky enough to get the Hothead action figure as a kid, but just look at him! It’s a dragon action figure! That’s sweet! And from the looks of it he’s a shogun-style dragon, giving him a classy quality. This is a figure that could work as both a friend or a foe, or even neither, making it versatile. Really though, any figure could go either way, and that’s what made these Also Rans so needed.
8. Doctor El:
We jump from a dragon to an elephant? Yup, and he’s a witch doctor at that. Late in the action figure line was a breeding ground for some truly bizarre additions to the Turtle clan, allowing something as strange but perfect as Doctor El here. It’s the concept here that sells me on the figure, as a witch doctor is a unique character to throw into the mix of already strange characters. Now I had a reason to take Safari Mike into the jungles, or more specifically, I had either an ally or an enemy for him to fight once he got there. Plus, just look at that headdress. Pure win.
7. Monty Moose:
Like the Triceraton before him, Monty Moose was a beast of a figure with antlers. True, seeing a moose dressed as one of the Mounties is incredibly silly, but it resulted in an action figure with vibrant colors and striking features, so I was totally okay with it. Besides, a moose was absolutely not the first option you’d think of for new animals to mutate, so having one appear and be excellent was a treat. Now the mountain-related missions had a perfect addition to the cast, and with action figures, more is always better, no matter how silly the combination.
6. Ray Fillet:
Oh yeah, this guy was one of my favorites as a kid. Let’s begin with the name as a starting point for why. Just say “Ray Fillet” a few times. Doesn’t it feel good to say? Okay, maybe just me as a kid, but then comes the second aspect of the figure: He’s a manta ray and therefore has something resembling wings. Sure, mantas are most at home in water, but I didn’t let that stop me from saying Ray could glide through the air on occasion. I even had a Turtles book with this side character appearing, and it was one of my favorite books just because I hardly ever saw the other characters appear, so it was always a treat when they did.
5. Mondo Gecko:
Skateboards! Yes! The majority of my plotlines revolved around Mike and his trusty sidekick, Mondo Gecko, fighting the Foot Clan all by themselves and foiling Shredder without much trouble. The Mondo/Mike team-up made so much sense to me back then and just as much sense to me now seeing as how Mondo appears very much like the outward appearance of Mike’s personality, assuming Mike was a gecko instead of a turtle. Mondo would stand atop his skateboard and cruise around, even gaining flight when it felt like the right thing to do. I have pictures somewhere of me adding Mondo Gecko to Turtle scenes, purely because I considered him the Fifth Turtle instead of that lame Venus chick that showed up in The Next Mutation.
4. Usagi Yojimbo:
If you haven’t read any Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Saki, go rectify this error right now. You’ll see a Comic Book Club about the series soon, but for now, SAMURAI RABBIT! Usagi Yojimbo is what makes the Turtle action figures so great, allowing for a crossover to happen mid-comics and then yield wonderful action figures as a result. Usagi is a ronin who travels the land kicking all of the butts with samurai skills, and here is no different. It really is tough to think of something cooler than a samurai rabbit. How can that be topped?
3. Space Usagi:
How about a SPACE SAMURAI RABBIT?! Once I got Space Usagi I felt that Shredder was no longer fit to be an ultimate villain character, at least not while Space Usagi upstaged him in dramatic capes and helmets. He even came with a carrot gun. That’s just- there are no words for how great that is. I’d spend hours just looking over the standard Usagi and then to the space version, noticing the differences and similarities. Pretty much this was just a reskinning of the other version but I didn’t care, Space Usagi was radical.
But then along came a robot with attachments galore. Fugitoid first appeared in the comics alongside the Triceratons as an intergalactic fugitive on the run for…something or another, I forget what. In my day-to-day plots, Fugitoid was just a seriously cool robot with a chest that opened up, allowing you to plug in a blaster to the open chest cavity. In fact, you could place the special chest blaster in the chest, plug in his other accessories to the pegs jutting from his arms and legs, and still allow him to hold a space pistol. He also moved unlike any other figures I owned, making him feel special for some reason. But even Fugtitoid couldn’t quite live up to the single greatest figure ever created in the Ninja Turtle toy line.
1. Ace Duck:
He’s a duck. With a bomber’s jacket. And a removable pilot’s hat. And a revolver. And a belt with egg grenades. And he has wings. WINGS. What have I said about action figures that can fly? I hate heights, but I could never get enough of toys that I could make fly using just minimal effort via imagination. Ace Duck looks like he should have had his own comic series, TV show, and action figure line. I want to know more about this character. I only saw him once in the cartoon, and that shot was little more than a TV cameo. I wanted more! But sadly, I’d never get more, save for the adventures I invented in my bedroom. Ace Duck gets my seal of approval for Best Action Figure Ever.
So which figures did I leave out? Did you have some favorites from the classic toy line that you played with over and over again? What about Genghis Frog? Or Metalhead? How about Wingnut? Tell me your favorites. In the meantime, I think it’s about high time Ace Duck flies again. Away I go!
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