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Old 09-19-2019, 08:41 PM   #1
mikey0
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Favorite 1991 to 1997 Figures

What were you favorite action figures released from 1991 to 1997? It could a be some basic wave figures, turtle variant figures, ally variant figures, and villain variant figures. Which ones did like from that time frame and why? You can simply post names, share memories here, and discuss the toys and history of the toy line further.

Although it wasn’t Playmates’ best, I kind of liked when the original Playmates toy line went through its’ second identity crisis phase with the 7th basic wave in late 1991. The 7th basic wave was the first ever assortment with movie characters (Super Shredder, Tokka, and Rahzar respectively), popular character variants (Make My Day Leo, Hose ‘Em Down Don, and Skateboardin’ Mike), characters exclusively featured in the Archie comic book series (Tattoo), and even a character from the TMNT magazine under a different name (Sgt. Bananas). At the same time, it was an extension to the 3rd basic wave because of the characters Zak The Neutrino and Space Usagi. Going by the second series of the mini Kidrobot TMNT vinyls, the 7th basic wave of the ‘88 TMNT line was the last basic assortment of importance to children of the 80s [children of the 90s (young Millennials) collected them past this point]. The 8th wave had a few good necessities in it for TMNT fans of all ages as well (Movie Splinter and Foot Soldier), but the new allies and villains were nowhere near as memorable as Zak, Space Usagi, and Sgt. Bananas.

Chromedome was my only favorite figure from the 6th wave of basic figures because TMNT toy collectors could have a square-off between Chromedome and Metalhead. The extension to the 3rd wave figures was what made the 5th, 6th, and 7th basic waves work for me. Chromedome was the only third quarter short basic assortment figure made after 1989 with ties to the third wave. Of course, that could be because Playmates worked on the 4th wave immediately around the time the 3rd wave came to toy store shelves in 1989.

Is anyone else surprised that we got a Chromedome, Robotic Bebop, Robotic Rocksteady, and Robotic Foot Soldier? That’s a robotic version of every villain from the first wave. A Robotic Splinter and Robotic April would have made better variants than April The Ravishing News Reporter and Ninja April. A toy line of robotic characters within a toy line made to spoof another toy line. That’s brillant!

Walkabout seemed two years overdue at the time. The Australian craze of the mid to late 80s died either shortly before or during 1990 and TMNT fans then had a Cajun gator (Leatherhead) already. Walkabout has a hilarious name and action figure, but the articulation makes it stand out too much from the figures before it. Walkabout really looks like a Cheetahmen action figure (despite being a kangaroo), if such a toy existed.

I wish Playmates did not include the turtle variant sub-waves with the basic assortment figures on the back of ‘91 and ‘92 cards. That’s one of the reasons why ‘88 to ‘90 TMNT toy collectors do not go near the 6th to 11th basic waves.

Of course, the Movie Star Turtles variant sub-wave was the best out of them all. Those versions of the turtles were the last ever turtles figures that resembled an actual turtle with an anthropomorphic body (the first being the 1988 Leonardo). I’m not sure why the Movie Foot Soldier was not in the 7th wave with Super Shredder and Movie Splinter in the Movie Stars Turtle sub-wave, but it added more depth to the original toy line by Playmates holding off on having the movie turtles in the 7th basic wave with Super Shredder, Tokka, and Rahzar. Some TMNT fans might argue that ‘88 to ‘90 was the first stage of the toy line, but others could extend it to 1991 because that was the last time the first wave turtles and Shredder were the central characters in the toy line. The Movie Star Turtles variant figures changed the direction of the line completely. After the Movie Star Turtles caught on, there was the Ninja Grapplor vehicle, Movie 3 line, Giant Movie Stars line, Giant Movie 3 figures, Shogun Turtles, Movie Star Turtles re-releases, and Stretch Turtles.

The first TMNT movie is the highest grossing independent comic book film of all time, but the characters in every 90s film of the series could not carry a toy line that an identity different from that of the average film toy line. Playmates should have spun-off the Movie Stars sub-wave completely. Super Shredder, Tokka, Rahzar, Movie Splinter, and Movie Foot Soldier really had no place in any basic assortment of the original toy line. Oddly enough, those basic wave SOTO movie figures worked because the toy line from the beginning to the end was for TMNT fans in general. Not to mention, Mattel got away with having Saurod, Gwildor, and Blade in their final basic wave for the 1982 MOTU line and that was only four years prior to the Tokka wave being launched.

Of course, toy companies don’t do that anymore. The 1993 Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line is the wedge between the analog age of the 20th century for toys and the digital age of the 20th century into the 21st century (1996 to NOW).

So, the 7th basic wave (with the exception of the turtle variants), HeadDroppin’ Leo, HD Don, and Movie Star sub-wave are the ‘91 to ‘97 figures that I enjoy looking at as an action figure fan time and time again. The turtle-like sculpts of Headdroppin’ Leo and Don are up there with the ‘88 Leo and rubber skinned Movie Star turtles. Both the 5 and 11 inch Krang’s Android Body should have had extending torso, arms, and legs like the 1986 Extendar action figure from the 1982 Mattel MOTU line. A remote control 11 inch Krang’s Android Body (like the piece the artist The Beast Is Back did a while back) would have been neat for that time also.

Having Scratch and Hot Spot in the 10th basic wave was perfect for cartoon fans in general at that point in the 90s. Like a reverse Ren and Stimpy (cartoon characters that were toy shelves at the same time). The creation of Sandstorm, I’m guessing, showed Playmates’ competitive edge against Mattel which had the license for Disney’s Aladdin at the time. Half Court could have been made to team up with Slam Dunkin’ Don in stop motion TMNT home videos. I imagine Mona Lisa looks nice next to every ally and villain that appeared in the CBS Saturday morning FW show.

The final basic wave consisting of the Robotic Foot Soldier had to be confusing to fans at the time. Everyone who has watched the 1987 mini-series knows the Foot Soldiers were already robotic before 1994. Still, it’s cool to know that the wave one turtles, Splinter, and April have robotic first wave characters (Chromedome could substitute for Robotic Shredder) to battle.

With turtle variant sub-waves like Dino Turtles, the original TMNT toy line was the ultimate 90s action figure line. Playmates touched on every toy and movie trend that we know the 90s for. There will not ever be another wacky and fun toy line like the original TMNT toy line.

I’m curious to hear what members of this board has to say about the ‘91 to ‘97 figures. Please tell me everything you think about these. Would the unreleased figures have made the line better? The flocked Rahzar figures was insanely furry, wasn’t it? Would you have made changes to any figures? Should any basic wave figures have looked like how they did on the back of the packages? What might you have added to any of the basic and sub-waves?

Last edited by mikey0; 09-19-2019 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:56 AM   #2
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I've always loved the Mutant Military figures, Universal Monsters, and especially the Warriors of the Forgotten Sewer set. Really bummed we never got Knight Mike, Battlecat (or whatever they called it), and Wizard Splinter.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:05 AM   #3
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I've always loved the Mutant Military figures, Universal Monsters, and especially the Warriors of the Forgotten Sewer set. Really bummed we never got Knight Mike, Battlecat (or whatever they called it), and Wizard Splinter.
Apparently, Midshipman Mike was good for customs: http://community.fortunecity.ws/tato...r_kitbash.html

Did you also like the Mutant Military 2 figures from 1992?

I never understood why Don as Dracula had the bandana on the actual figure and not the art on the front of the package. That was a first for the original toy line to feature a turtle on the packaging without its mask on. Regardless of all of that, Playmates achieved their purpose with the Don as Dracula figure. Hilarious. That was a Turtles variant sub-wave that made sense. It’s a shame the first Universal Monsters set did not come out one year earlier when there was a lot of promotion for the Universal Monsters movies being on VHS from places like Pizza Hut and companies like Pepsi. The second Universal Monsters Turtles wave is rare because the Turtles were not on many toy buyers radar in 1994 like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were.

The Warriors of the Forgotten Sewer sub-wave could have been much larger, beyond the released and unreleased stuff, but Playmates was putting out so much for the last two quarters of 1994. Unfortunately, by the time these reached stores, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers craze was really going strong.

Do you think there should have been Giant Size Universal Monsters Turtles for 90s Universal Monsters memorabilia collectors in 1994?
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:37 AM   #4
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T.D. Tossin' Leo (Sports Turtles)
Storage Shell Turtles
Movie Star Turtles
Sewer Scout Raph (Wacky Wild West Turtles)
Cave-Turtle Leo and his Dingy Dino (Cave Turtles)
Ninja Action Turtles
Giant Movie Star Turtles
Creature from the Black Lagoon Leonardo (Universal Monsters)
Giant Turtle Trolls
Sumo Turtles
Raphael (Jim Lee TMNT)
Muta Force Turtles
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:30 PM   #5
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T.D. Tossin' Leo (Sports Turtles)
Storage Shell Turtles
Movie Star Turtles
Sewer Scout Raph (Wacky Wild West Turtles)
Cave-Turtle Leo and his Dingy Dino (Cave Turtles)
Ninja Action Turtles
Giant Movie Star Turtles
Creature from the Black Lagoon Leonardo (Universal Monsters)
Giant Turtle Trolls
Sumo Turtles
Raphael (Jim Lee TMNT)
Muta Force Turtles
Of these, I definitely loved the Cave Turtles. The Jim Lee TMNT were pretty cool, too, though I was disappointed they never made Leo.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:57 PM   #6
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T.D. Tossin' Leo (Sports Turtles)
Storage Shell Turtles
Movie Star Turtles
Sewer Scout Raph (Wacky Wild West Turtles)
Cave-Turtle Leo and his Dingy Dino (Cave Turtles)
Ninja Action Turtles
Giant Movie Star Turtles
Creature from the Black Lagoon Leonardo (Universal Monsters)
Giant Turtle Trolls
Sumo Turtles
Raphael (Jim Lee TMNT)
Muta Force Turtles
Would a Warrior Metalhead Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo (if they were made) and two Warrior Chromedomes [each in one of the signature ‘88 Shredder colors (dark blue and purple) in metal] (if it were made) have been on your list?

Did you like the Ninja Action figures over the ‘88 originals?

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Old 09-20-2019, 06:37 PM   #7
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Should more of the actual Mini Mutants figures have been made? How about mini Storage Shell style turtles, mini Headdropin’ style turtles, Splinter, Baxter, Wacky Action style Mouser, Rat King, Metalhead, Chromedome, Usagi, Panda Khan, Samurai Leo, Triceraton, Fugitoid, Space Cadet Raph, Undercover Don, Casey Jones, Standard Shredder, General Traag, Toon Turtles style Neutrinos, Genghis, Napoleon, and Leatherhead? Would anyone on here have scrapped the idea of a Polly Pocket influenced sub-wave altogether?

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Old 09-20-2019, 07:04 PM   #8
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I did not care much for the miniatures. I had the Microverse MLB set and MMPR set too, but there were too small to keep up with and do much with. It had nothing to do with "oh, that is like Polly Pocket, a girl's toy".

I would have liked a more widely available Mouser figure, perhaps one in the main line set.
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Old 09-20-2019, 07:48 PM   #9
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Dask
Kala
Punker Don
Arctic Don
Doctor el
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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Dask
Kala
Punker Don
Arctic Don
Doctor el
What was wrong with both versions of the Zak the Neutrino figure for you?
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:33 PM   #11
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Would a Warrior Metalhead Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo (if they were made) and two Warrior Chromedomes [each in one of the signature ‘88 Shredder colors (dark blue and purple) in metal] (if it were made) have been on your list?
I don't think so. Those fake chrome variations have never caught my interest.

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Did you like the Ninja Action figures over the ‘88 originals?
What I like about the Ninja Action turtles is that they are closer to the Mirage turtles' proportions and appearance. They even have brown kneepads, elbowpads and wristbands. They are cool but that's it, I don't really like their "ninja action" feature. I would be interested in seeing these turtles in a regular figure, without the "ninja action" stuff.
Better than the '88 originals? I don't know. The originals have become so iconic, I'm not sure the ninja action turtles design would have worked as well.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:51 PM   #12
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What was wrong with both versions of the Zak the Neutrino figure for you?
Nothing. Tbh I had this assumption zak was 1990. Toon zak colors were not my favorite though. I really liked dasks hair and kala was just another female figure when those were all too few.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:54 PM   #13
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Nothing. Tbh I had this assumption zak was 1990. Toon zak colors were not my favorite though. I really liked dasks hair and kala was just another female figure when those were all too few.
I agree. The Toon Zak colors were brighter and shinier than any TMNT figure before that point in the timeline of the original Playmates toy line.

Would you say the first Zak should have been in the 2nd basic wave with Krang, Baxter, and Genghis Frog or the 3rd basic wave with General Traag?
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:23 AM   #14
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Would a Warrior Metalhead Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo (if they were made) and two Warrior Chromedomes [each in one of the signature ‘88 Shredder colors (dark blue and purple) in metal] (if it were made) have been on your list?

Did you like the Ninja Action figures over the ‘88 originals?
They did release the dark blue Warrior Chrome Dome.
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Old 09-21-2019, 05:42 AM   #15
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They did release the dark blue Warrior Chrome Dome.
The plastic metal used for Warrior Chromedome was tranquil blue, but I suppose it works as a substitute to a darker blue Warrior Chromedome.

I thought it was great that Metalhead and Warrior Metalhead Michelangelo had Warrior Chromedome, Robotic Bebop, Robotic Rocksteady, and the Robotic Foot Soldier to battle. A Robotic Splinter and Robotic April might have been great editions to this ‘toy line within a toy line’, but those characters were never popular with children the way that the other first wave characters were. The Splinter toy variants left pegs quicker than the April ones (with the exception of the first two wave one April variants), but most children wanted the first wave turtles out of all five of the good guys from the first basic wave.
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:32 PM   #16
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I agree. The Toon Zak colors were brighter and shinier than any TMNT figure before that point in the timeline of the original Playmates toy line.

Would you say the first Zak should have been in the 2nd basic wave with Krang, Baxter, and Genghis Frog or the 3rd basic wave with General Traag?
Well when he came out he had at least been seen in the cartoon a few times. I struggle to come up with a reason why he was the only neutrino until 1993. That seems silly. But having him 3rd wave I guess gave a bit less time between him and his friends.
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:34 PM   #17
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The plastic metal used for Warrior Chromedome was tranquil blue, but I suppose it works as a substitute to a darker blue Warrior Chromedome.

I thought it was great that Metalhead and Warrior Metalhead Michelangelo had Warrior Chromedome, Robotic Bebop, Robotic Rocksteady, and the Robotic Foot Soldier to battle. A Robotic Splinter and Robotic April might have been great editions to this ‘toy line within a toy line’, but those characters were never popular with children the way that the other first wave characters were. The Splinter toy variants left pegs quicker than the April ones (with the exception of the first two wave one April variants), but most children wanted the first wave turtles out of all five of the good guys from the first basic wave.
The robotic warriors were extremely disappointing to me. Incredibly fragile. Like the vac metal was ridiculously brittle.
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Old 09-21-2019, 07:12 PM   #18
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Well when he came out he had at least been seen in the cartoon a few times. I struggle to come up with a reason why he was the only neutrino until 1993. That seems silly. But having him 3rd wave I guess gave a bit less time between him and his friends.
Perhaps, Playmates was unsure of how the torso to Kala should look like in 1991. As for Dask, I think Playmates wanted to try one Neutrino for a basic assortment, so they went with Zak. Zak displayed better with the basic and sub-wave action figures before that point in 1991. Zak and Mike the Sewer Surfer were the only basic wave figures to have sunglasses as part of the head sculpts. Basically, you could not disregard that Zak was an early 90s action figure. The Californian influence on the figures (ignoring Surfer Leo) was last present with the Sewer Spitting Turtles. The Turtles were a hit toy line during the time of the Energizer Bunny, Fido Dido, 7UP Spot, Chester Cheetah, and Ray Charles Diet Pepsi commercials (the very early 90s). So, Zak the Neutrino was the early 90s cool and hip 7th wave action figure. The success of Zak the Neutrino in late 1991 obviously lead to the Toon Zak, Dask, and Kala figures in the mid 90s.

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Old 09-22-2019, 05:47 AM   #19
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The robotic warriors were extremely disappointing to me. Incredibly fragile. Like the vac metal was ridiculously brittle.
Yes. Their joints fatigued easily and were always loose, and the plastic showed stress easily. My Robotic Rocksteady/Bebop figures have tons of white spots on them. The later Warrior Robotic figures had issues with flaking paint, too.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:46 PM   #20
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The Robotic Foot Soldier,Warrior Metalhead Michelangelo, and Warrior Chromedome figures look great MOC in my opinion. The inclusion of the Turtles and Foot symbols after the 10th basic wave and generic card re-releases was a welcome surprise. I didn’t like when the toy line went in a different direction in ‘93. Unfortunately, Playmates tried to save the original toy line from the dead end it was at in the same year that the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers blew up in popularity (1994).

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