Retro Toy Review: Rappin' Mike (Playmates TMNT)

My obsession with classic TMNT figures has taken an unhealthy turn.  I actually bought Rappin' Mike from the RockN Rollin' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  And not only did I buy it on purpose, but I actually like the figure!  How can I possibly justify that statement with any sort of logic?  Read on to find out!

Year Stamped: 1991
Company: Playmates
Size: 4 1/2"
Price: $3 MOC
Packaging: Carded

The reason I dig this figure is that he's a perfect product of his time! Mike's sculpt is a caricature of the rappers of the early 90's with a clock necklace (a la Flavor Flav), rings that spell "MIKE RAPS", and Turtle-tastic hightops and hat. Also, there's a "YO RAP" logo on his pants that is more than a little similar to the "Yo! MTV Raps" slogan.  The sunglasses are more "surfer" than "rapper", but overall the look is a great homage to the pop culture of the early 90's.  The paint apps are pretty solid and there's even paint detailing on his back, which is often neglected in the vintage Playmates TMNT line.

Rappin' Mike has the usual TMNT articulation: swivel neck, shoulders, and forearms, and ball-socket hips. It's certainly sufficient for his reptile rappin' needs.

Mike comes with a bunch of rap-tactular accessories: Rappin' 'n Scratchin' Turntable, Kowa-cymbal Shields, and Microphone Nunchuku. I would have preferred his accessories to be more of a blend between musical instruments and ninja weapons. As they are they're way too much on the musical instrument side.  But they're certainly enough to be "chillin' to the thrillin'!"

TMNT is probably the most undervalued vintage line out there. You can get the majority of the figures you want for under $10, which is great for those of us on a toy collecting budget.  And this Mike was a paltry 3 bucks carded! Cowabunga!

There's nothing more period-specific than music, and what better way to relive the 90's than with a music-themed Ninja Turtle? I would have preferred more of an MC Hammer theme for Mike with parachute pants, but Mike's style is still over-the-top retro in the most fun way possible.

Playmates Toys Family Reunion

This review might make a few readers navigate away from this site in disgust. But hey, action figure collecting is all about fun and nostalgia, and this figure is just oozing both. Many of the themed Turtles are inexcusably atrocious, but the concept of Turtles with period-specific music styling works perfectly well for me. Besides, without Rappin' Mike, how are you going to complete your TMNT: Getting Down in your Town Concert diorama? ;)


  1. Great review Nate. I have to say that it really made me laugh at the finicky nature of toys, and specifically collecting toys.

    I agree that Rappin' Mike is a perfect product of his time and I also seem the charm in the figure. However, when I clicked on the back of the card I laughed at the figures collectively. There's such a fine line between offering variations and offering derivative crap. Many toys end up with the latter, which is often a big part of their decline and eventual failure.

    Yet, wait (even a few years these days) and suddenly the older sculpts and figures becoming charming. I think POTF2 figures are already earning some "weren't they charming" nostalgia, even monkey-faced Leia! I can even see Swoop Bike Anakin becoming a "charming" figure one day.

    This isn't a knock on Ralph or any of the toys. It's just funny, to me, that a few years plus some separation from the collection can suddenly transform a lame toy into a fun collectible.

  2. I totally agree. There are a lot of figures on the back of that card that I would certainly categorize as "derivative crap". Truthfully, if I saw Rappin' Mike on the shelves back then, I probably would have thought that it was derivative crap too. But after 20 years, the distinctively 90's style makes the figure a whole lot of fun.

    POTF2 figures definitely have some charm! Maybe it's because they remind me of a more enjoyable time of Star Wars collecting, but I must admit that POTF2 Chewie is my favorite modern Star Wars figure.

  3. Another awesome review! I can't say I'm very impressed with the music theme in general, but it is very well done and it's Playmates so you know it's fun, colorful and nice looking :-)

  4. Wow! I'm completely surprised! I would not have thought you would willingly buy this figure Nate. But I have to say, I'm glad you like it. Truthfully the rocker turtles were pretty cool, and if you got the 4 turtles and the Mondo Gecko with the hippie theme, you could also pick up the tour bus and have a blast, as the bus folded out into a stage! :D Me and my brother had all this stuff, and it would make a neat little display.

    We also had at least one of each gimmick turtle featured on the back of the card, if not more. I can honestly say that all of them are kind of crappy except the Make My Day Leo. The Storage Shell turtles were way cool looking, but were aggravating since their shell backs were always falling off, and the accessories were strangely loss prone. The head poppers, sports, and talkies were all lame action gimmick figures who were prone to breakage or dead batteries. I only owned one of the soldier turtles, and that was Pro Pilot Don...he was lame as could be.

    I know I said I wouldn't throw out anymore suggestions, but my absolute favorite costume gimmick turtles were some of the earlier ones. Specifically Leo the Sewer Samurai, and Raph the Space Cadet.

    There really isn't much you can go wrong with as long as you stay away from those horrid action feature I'm sure you have learned. :D

  5. Why didn't they gold-plate his teeth? That would have clearly put this figure over the top! LOL

  6. Nice review, I'm glad there's someone else buying TMNT!

    In my case, I never cared a lot for variants of the turtles I always asked my parents for new characters instead, the only one I bought, now that I am what you can call a "grown up" is Leo as the werewolf (from the Universal Monsters Cross Over line), he was cheap, he was MOC and he was too weird to pass.

    As for an undervalued line, try Wildc.a.t.s from Playmates. I got most of the series (7 figures) MOC for under 6 bucks each.

    Last week I got four TMNT figures, I'll be porting pics in my blog soon.


  7. And here I was thinking that all of the themed figures sucked, but you've reminded me that this one, as well as the Creature from the Black Lagoon Leo were both actually pretty awesome.