A Look Back At My Classic Ninja Turtles Toys

AKA Vintage TMNT toys exhibit!
February 11, 2016
The Super Bowl was on this weekend, and being American, I of course HAD to watch it! Plus, I'm from NC, so the home team was in the big game! Woohoo! Too bad we didn't do too spectacular... but hey, at least we've made it to the Super Bowl twice now! Woohoo!

Amidst the enjoyment of the games and commercials (I watched for both, my wife just watched for the commercials!), I saw an advertisement for a new Ninja Turtles movie. I was pretty surprised, because I thought the last one was a flop. I really don't like what they've done with my childhood Ninja Turtles, but I guess Hollywood begs to differ. I much prefer actual hand animation to CG, but I'm pretty sure that's a thing of the past now (sadly).

With such a successful franchise, there's always been a steady stream of toys. I was pretty fortunate in that my parents spoiled me, and I ended up with a HUGE collection of Ninja Turtles toys! I didn't really want any other toys, with the exception of Ghostbusters toys. I played with those things like crazy! I had my favorite ones that I'd take around with me, and then I had tons that I'd stash under the bucket seats in the back of my Dad's conversion van:

He loved that van so much, but I didn't really appreciate it. I remember shopping with my parents for it at first and was so excited because the options included a toilet in the back! And the backseat folded down into a bed... thinking back, it was actually a pretty awesome van. But I digress!

I know there are people who collect toys, but, for me, they never stood a chance! As soon as I got them home, I ripped open the package and started slamming them into other Turtles toys to "make them fight", inevitably resulting in a broken arm, broken leg, lost sword, bent and chewed up sickle, so on and so forth. I'm sure they'd be worth a pretty penny now had I respected them but, hey, I was a kid! Anyway... so on to the main feature! Behold, the Turtles toys I had (that I remember!)!


There they are! The fearsome foursome of Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. Led and trained by the old, wise rat Splinter, and best buddies with the local news reporter April O'Neil. Together, they took on the Foot Clan, filled with Foot Soldiers and led by Shredder and Krang, many times working with two of the main "henchmen", Bebop and Rocksteady.

I think it actually took me a while to get the whole original set of Ninja Turtles. Splinter was one of my first ones, and I heard stories later from my parents that the search for the April O'Neil toy could very well have been the inspiration behind "Jingle All The Way" with Ah-nold! It seemed to be the hottest toy around at the time! I can't say I understand it. She was a pretty minor character, but hey, whatever! I just know I was super psyched to get it. I always really liked the Foot Soldier for some reason. Maybe it was the mask and the forearm guards? Not sure. I also remember using April a lot too, and having her beat up Shredder! There was no reason for her to be a helpless damsel in distress in my imagination.

Ahhh, the various weapon accessories.... My nunchaku for Michaelangelo was short lived unfortunately, as that tiny piece of plastic holding the two handles together didn't stand a chance with the way I played with them! However, it wasn't as bad as it could've been! All the toys came with accessories, and I don't think it was too terribly long before I had another nunchaku! Or I'd just make him "borrow" another turtles' weapon. Michaelangelo with a Sai? Why not?! I remember one of my favorite weapons came with either Splinter or the foot soldier (it was brown, so I'm thinking Splinter; seemed brown weapons were with the good guys, grey weapons for the bad guys), and I had to search Google to find the name - a katar. It just looked so vicious! And it fit perfectly in all the figures' hands. I think I recall April O'Neil had a piece that locked around a gun, letting it pull double duty as either a camera or a gun. I liked all the weapons actually, but I never quite understood the mace-like thing the foot soldier had. I don't think I ever saw it in the cartoon... but maybe! Bebop and Rocksteady's weapons were both really cool too. And Krang in his walker was always beaten up on. He was the mastermind after all! One toy that I didn't have for Krang was his humanoid robot guy that he'd be in most of the time:

But that was ok... I couldn't really complain!


(Not too original, but it's such a smorgasbord that it seemed fitting!)


Undercover Donatello I managed to hold on to the mask and briefcase for him for quite a while surprisingly. I think I may have seen this disguise once or twice in the cartoon, but I can't recall with certainty. I liked it though! The overcoat was a nice change.

Storage Shell Donatello Nothing really spectacular here, but it was kind of fun to try and cram as much stuff in his shell as I could. I thought of him as a mobile supply locker.

Talking Donatello This was pretty cool. He was sticking his tongue out and said a few prerecorded things, so it was fun to hear my toys talk! It Knowing me, I likely had conversations with it.

Swimmin' Donatello This was a cool concept, the idea of Donatello being able to swim around in my bathtub! However, if I recall correctly, it didn't work quite as advertised. I think the toy was too heavy, so he just sank down in the water and kicked, holding onto his personal watercraft thing. Since it's original function wasn't working like I'd hoped, I repurposed him. By turning the little crank on the side (or back, can't recall) that made him kick, I could make it look like he was kicking his feet at a ridiculously fast speed. Chun Li lightning kick, meet Donatello's version! HOO-AH! A little research showed this to be from the "Wacky Action" line of toys. A little MORE research showed that I actually had a LOT of these! To be revealed in time...


TD Tossin' Leo I think my aunt or grandparents may have gotten this one for me... It was a cool novelty, and I did like the spring action on his arm to allow him to toss the football, but it would usually just be thrown to the ground. Not gonna get many touchdowns that way Leo! I think it was possibly because the football was too heavy, and it was also a pain in the ass to balance on his hand. So, as with my Swimmin' Don, he was repurposed! I used him to launch any other accessory that seemed like it'd work! It may have been an odd combination... the classic Raph, Don, and Mike toys alongside Leo dressed in a football player's uniform, but hey! It was still pretty friggin sweet!

Sword Slicin Leonardo Another Wacky Action TMNT toy! This one worked as designed though! You'd fit a weapon in his hand, then wind him up, and he'd start spinning it! This particular one spun the whole arm around. Since the hands and accessories were pretty much universal, I had him swinging swords, bos, sais, and anything else that tickled my fancy. And, as with the Donatello offering, if I pushed the crank in the opposite direction of winding, then he'd have fists of fury, slamming his weapon into his enemy 1 bajillion times per second!

Leo, the Sewer Samurai I remember really enjoying this toy. I was big time into all sorts of martial arts, and samurais and ninjas were the coolest martial artists I thought. So, when I saw Leo in Samurai gear and helmet, I knew I wanted it! It looks a lot like what I remember the Turtles wearing in the third movie. It looks like this toy was released before the movie, so maybe it was an inspiration of sorts?


Head Droppin' Raphael It was just a silly fun toy. You could push his head in then squeeze his legs to pop it back up. It wasn't the most exciting feature so, me being the creative genius I was, decided that it would be Raphael's super duper ultimate ultra spectacular secret move - MEGA HEADBUTT! And man did it work well! I'd stand one of the bad guys up on the edge of a table, push Raph's head in, put it in front of the bad guy, squeeze and POP! The force it came out with was enough to knock the toy off balance, making them fall MILES (or so they were in my imagination) off the skyscraper to their death!..... until the next battle, when they're resurrected and as badass as always!

Breakfightin' Raphael The Wacky Action offering for Raph! You'd push the manhole cover into his back, wind him up and set him down, and he'd spin around on his back! I definitely had fun with this one, either in the midst of battle or just because it was cool.


As an aside, Michaelangelo was probably my favorite Turtle. It was between him and Donatello. He was by far the funniest one of the group! Anyways, onwards with the toys!

Sewer Surfin' Michaelangelo Bodacious! Tubular! Bitchin'! Ok, not bitchin because that was profanity and I couldn't say it when I played with these toys... Michaelangelo was definitely a California surfin' dude stereotype, which may be why I liked him so much! So I played with this toy a LOT. I never really understood the crab (I think it could be pushed in his chest somewhere), so I never did anything with it. Of course, that was one of the few accessories I was able to keep until I finally retired my toys. The surfboard was cool though, complete with a spinning sawblade thing that actually spun pretty well if I recall.

Rock N Roll Michaelangelo Wacky Action strikes again! This time, it was his forearm or wrist that spun. That seemed to make the most sense of all the toys, because that's how you'd use nunchakus - spin them around and hit people! I think this was the WA toy that I got the most battle usage out of. I'd disregard the cloth colors on him and turn him into whoever I wanted. He was versatile!


Slice N Dice Shredder The Wacky Action figure for Shredder! Despite the more refined look, I actually preferred the classic Shredder. But, the motion was pretty cool with him! You could push blades into his shoulders and wind him up in the back and they'd start rotating! How intimidating! A muscular, mean looking Shredder with moving saw blades! Run Turtles! Oh.. wait... That's right.. these turtle boys don't cut him no slack! GET 'IM!


Now, outside the core toys, some of the toys got really strange, and a lot of the characters I don't even remember from the cartoon. Maybe they had cameos, but they were far from recurring characters. Interestingly though, some of these toys became my favorites! Either the way they looked or felt would be really cool, so I'd play with them as much, if not more, as I did the originals. Here we go!

Triceraton I liked how big this toy was compared to the others. Plus, he was a triceratops! How cool is that? Triceratops was one of my favorite dinosaurs. Also, I thought the color scheme for this toy was pretty awesome. The silver breastplate, teal pants, and blue guns were really cool looking.

Slash Possibly one of my favorite TMNT villains! He looked like the Turtles' evil, further mutated brother! That intimidating grimace... those claws strapped to his wrists! The spikes on his knees! And as if that wasn't enough, his accessories were these twisted, wicked looking things! He reminded me of an evil Raphael/Vega (Street Fighter 2... hopefully you knew that) hybrid. I played with this toy a TON! I don't recall seeing him in too many episodes of the cartoon though.

Scumbug This was like Baxter Stockman's roach offspring But again, with that evil, bug eyed look and the torn clothes and pincers, combined with his backpack and the various cords connecting to his body, he was super cool! He received plenty of beatings. He was so ugly! And ugly enemies are FAR worse than regular looking enemies!

Ray Fillet I don't know if he ever showed up in any episodes or not, but I love this toy! the silicone/plastic feel of his wings was so smooth and cool feeling, and I liked playing with his.. err.. antennaes? I guess it's supposed to be the front part of a Ray's mouth, but they're disconnected so who knows what their purpose was? The texture on the shirt was cool too and, if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure it changed color when wet! I think it may have turned a red/purple color. Maybe someone else out there in RJ world can recall with certainty!

Rat King This was another one of my favorite figures, again because not only did he look evil, but his costume has so many cool textures on it. The centipede under his shirt (or in him?), the rat on his shoulder and arm, the spider on his headband, all the wraps around his pants and shirt, plus the roadkilled cat and snake belt. To top it all off, the neon green accessories were really cool. I'm pretty sure his crossbow got passed around to LOTS of figures! I don't remember the rat being on it though... I'm gonna chalk it up to me having lost that accessory pretty quickly, because I do remember the hole in the crossbow, just not what went in it! For some reason, I always wanted him to ride the Footski. More on that later!

Rahzar One half of a group of villains - Tokka and Rahzar. I remember seeing the Tokka toy, but I never really thought it was that cool. Rahzar on the other hand.. woo! He was like a werewolf! The chestpiece was really cool too, along with the bits and pieces attached to him. As I'm looking at that picture, I remember the Skull/Spine handle. I didn't think much of it then, but now... that's pretty twisted! Perhaps Rahzar trained with Sub Zero? Ooooo.. mind boggling! Another fond memory of this guy was in the second TMNT movie. When the Turtles were outside the warehouse (or maybe it was the club with Vanilla Ice... GO NINJA GO NINJA GO!), there was a big cage. Once it opened, out came Tokka and Rahzar, and I went crazy! I always thought Rahzar was an awesome enemy, and there he was in all his crappy CG glory! They could've made him less dumb though... in my mind, he was pretty smart!

Panda Khan Another character I have no recollection of being in the cartoons, but maybe he was! I think I liked having him, Samuari Leo, and the Samurai rabbit (see below!) teaming up together. They had similar color schemes and looked like they were in the same time period. I think I used to give him a gun because the index finger extended seemed to be perfect for a trigger finger.

Miyamoto Usagi I don't remember him in any cartoons either! But I certainly remember this toy. I don't know why, but this was actually one of my all time favorite TMNT toys. It just felt really well built, and I think it was heavier than the others as well.The texture on his shirt felt really cool too. He definitely got tons of use! Thinking back to Transformers and GI Joes (which I never really played with), I don't think they had so many different textures on their toys. I recall them just being smooth plastic. But, I could be wrong...

The (Photoshopped) Samurai Trio!

Metalhead I really liked this guy too! Another cool looking toy that felt neat and well done too. I do remember him in a few episodes, and I also remember him making an appearance in the first Ninja Turtles arcade game! He was the boss of maybe level 3 or 4. It was an outdoor stage, and the damn foot soldiers kept popping up and throwing the manhole covers at me and taking like 1/3 of my life bar.. Jerks!

Mutagen Man Don't remember him in episodes either! But I definitely remember this toy, just because it was so damn weird! Kinda disturbing in a way too.. you see all his innards! I remember the purple "costume" could come off and you had to reconnect several hoses I think, but the main appeal I remember with this one was that you could fill it with water. Don't know why they thought that was such a novelty, but I enjoyed it! He, Swimmin' Don, and Ray Fillet were my TMNT bath toys.

Mondo Gecko I think I remember seeing him in a few episodes. I did think he looked cool, but the main thing I liked was his skateboard. It has exhaust on it, so it must be a rocketboard or some such! At least, that's what I thought in my imagination back then! The foot holes were pretty well spaced, so a lot of my other figures could use the skateboard too. I think I mainly liked playing with his tail.

Leatherhead I think I remember seeing him in at least one episode, but not much beyond that. There were a few appealing things about him for me. For one, he was an alligator. Awesome! Also, I really liked how unique the shape was. All the other toys are bipeds, standing straight up. Not so with Leatherhead! His shape was genuinely dinosaur like. He kind of reminded me of a T Rex in a way. He also reminded me of a Nintendo game I used to enjoy playing - The Adventures of Bayou Billy. They wore similar outfits. Finally, I thought his shotgun was really awesome! It was a cool shade of red, and the detail on it was quite well done too. I played with him a ton, so much so he ended up losing his head one day! I was able to reconnect it, but as soon as it moved then it fell off again, so a lot of the time I ended up just using his headless body or sharing his shotgun with other toys. Improvise!

Genghis Frog I don't recall him in any of the cartoons either, but I thought he was cool! He's wearing a Hawaiian shirt kinda thing, so he seemed like a perfect fit for my Surfin Mike and Mondo Gecko. He wasn't one of my more played with toys, but I did think he felt cool at least.

General Tragg I remember him as a rock soldier I think, and I think there was a whole army of them that would sometimes fight with the foot clan. This was another toy that got beat up a lot. He was so ugly and felt so big! Especially how wide his chest and shoulders were. He was probably the widest toy I think I had, so I could hold him and swing him around without worrying about him slipping out and breaking a window or something. It was another solidly built toy. He was definitely able to take some damage! Looking at the pic now, I just realized there's a bloody bullethole on his shoulder! nice.

Casey Jones I wasn't sure if he should've been in the original crew or not, but I ultimately decided to put him in Others! He was an awesome character. A jock who used his sports accessories (the pic doesn't have his original accessories, I think it came with a golf club and a broken bat, both green to match his golf bag) to be a nighttime crime fighter. Woohoo! Since I played baseball at the time, I could relate to him easily, and he was one of my favorite characters to play as when I was playing Ninja Turtles with my friends (actually playing, not with toys). I already had the baseball bat! He was a main character in the first movie, but I don't remember seeing him too often in the cartoon, hence the reason he was placed in the Others category. I did see that he's coming back in the new TMNT (Out of the Shadows) though! Woohoo! Still not gonna see it though... Don't want my childhood memories butchered!

Baxter Stockman I recall him being somewhat of recurring character in the cartoon, so I was surprised he wasn't in any of the movies! I was always holding out hope that he would be. At least he had a cameo in the arcade/SNES game Turtles in Time! And I remember this toy as being a pretty well done representation of the character in the cartoons! I liked his flyswatter thing, and it was kind of morbid to see the smashed turtle on it! I really liked playing with his wings and extra arms. In fact, I liked it so much that in time I lost the Baxter figure, but still had his wings! A few years after that I was rummaging through old stuff and found him though, and they were reunited!

Ace Duck I don't remember this character in the cartoon at all! I think the only reason I picked him up was because he reminded me of Howard the Duck, which was one of my favorite movies as a kid. In fact, I'm pretty sure I never knew him as Ace Duck... he was always Howard the Duck! As I was writing this, I looked up some pictures of the movie to see how similar the two characters were, but I couldn't find anything that really stood out as looking alike to me. I did see this though:

In a kid's movie! Maybe this was one of those movies that appeared on the outside to be a kids' movie, but ended up actually being more adult oriented. I really don't remember much about it. Interestingly though, that is one of my favorite styles of panties to see my wife in, and I totally had a crush on Lea Thompson, all the way up to her Beverly Hillbillies days. On that note... am I the only one wishing these bikini styles make a come back?

WOOHOO! Sorry, getting distracted again..... to the next section!


There were a decent amount of vehicles available for the Ninja Turtles. I had a few of them, but I was more interested in the actual figures for my TMNT play. I stuck with Legos for my vehicle play. So, due to that, I didn't have too many of these. But here's what I DID have!

Pizza Thrower It came with several disc shaped pizzas that you could load into the car and fire! I think it took a whole 5 minutes from the time I got before I was down to a single disc.... so I recycled it! I blame my dog!

Module This was my favorite Ninja Turtle vehicle. It was so cool! A subterranean drilling vehicle that could come up out of the ground anywhere with a brutal, sharp, grinding drill on the front! I used to draw parallels between the Module from TMNT and this:

Look familiar? It's "The Cleaner" from the Labyrinth! What a terrifying scene that was! This loud grinding sound, blades coming at you, Hoggle yelling in a horrified panic "IT'S THE CLEANERS!", and being stuck in a tunnel with no way out! AHHHHH! But they made it.. phew!

FootskiThis was a cool boat like vehicle for cruising through the sewers. I remember this made an appearance in the first Turtles arcade game too. I thought the snakes through the front of the boat and into the middle were a nice touch, and in my imagination there were enough to turn the middle of this ski into a veritable meat grinder. As I'd mentioned earlier, I always wanted the Rat King to ride this. He was one of my favorite toys for one, and I also remember that the figures' architecture made him the most convincing toy in my collection to be riding it.


As I'd mentioned earlier, I was pretty spoiled if I do say so myself! So many toys! I remember Christmas morning when I was really into the Turtles. Because they weren't too expensive, I'd go into the room and find TMNT toys spread all around the den for me! So much fun finding all of them. However, there were two things that I wasn't able to get, I imagine because they were too expensive:

Technodrome Shredder and Krang's hideout, and the root of all evil! This was such a big playset. You can see the scale in the second pic compared to the other figures. I always thought the Technodrome was one of the coolest toys ever. None of my friends had it either I don't think, so maybe it was outrageously expensive? I don't know. But, I had enough other toys that I didn't sweat it too much!

Sewer Playset The Technodrome and this were the two big set pieces in the line as I recall. The home of the Turtles! It looks like it wasn't quite as impressive as the Technodrome, but I still wanted it anyways! It was where my role models lived! I had to have it! It was a drag not to have it. But, I was treated to another famed cartoons' big set piece when I was younger:

The Ghostbusters firehouse! So, all in all, I really can't complain too much. When i was first reminded about classic Ninja Turtles toys a few years back, I went on a journey to refresh my memory, and stumbled across this one:

Foot Cruiser I don't remember that car AT ALL! And it would've been so cool to have! And as I was exploring other memories of my childhood, I saw THIS!

Ecto 1 Now, this one I did have, and I loved! Notice a similarity to the Foot Cruiser? And..

BAM. A 1959 Cadillac. That is my DREAM car. Embarassingly, it was kind of "under the radar" for me until I saw it in Sin City. But when I did, I immediately fell in love and knew that, someday (hopefully) I will own one of those beautiful pieces of machinery. When I pulled out my Ecto1 a few years after seeing Sin City, I was like "WHOA! WTF! IT'S A 59!" I wonder if that had some kind of bearing on it becoming my all time favorite car? Then when I stumbled across the Foot Cruiser, "WTF! IT'S A 59! AGAIN!" I'm kicking around the idea of buying a Foot Cruiser, then having my Die-Cast 59 Cadillac next to my Ecto 1 and my Foot Cruiser. 59 Caddy's all around. It'd be a thing of retro beauty!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the article! There are a few other toy sets I really remember loving as a kid, and if I get a good response from this one, I'll write about those as well.

Some parting words...

As do I my friend... as do I.

Later! Retro Rules! WOO!
More Articles From crystalmethodcaf
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss