Retro Toy Review: Chief Engineer Michaelangelo & Chief Medical Officer Raphael (Star Trek TMNT)
In one of the weirdest amalgamations in the history of action figures, Playmates Toys merged two of its most popular licenses, Star Trek: The Original Series and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to capitalize on the expansive fan bases that both enjoyed during the early 90's. Leonardo donned Captain Kirk's uniform, Donatello became Spock, Raph merged with Doctor McCoy, and Mike adopted Scotty's persona. Being a huge fan of both TMNT and Trek, I had to pick these up, so I recently scored Raph and Mikey MOC. Are they as awesome as the sum of their properties, or abominations that need to be euthanized?
Year Stamped: 1994
Company: Playmates Toys
Size: 4 1/2"
Price: $10.00 for both, carded from eBay
These guys are pretty much just Ninja Turtles in Starfleet uniforms. Mike has Scotty's hair and red shirt, complete with the Engineering/Support Services insignia and Lieutenant Commander rank stripes on his sleeves, but maintains his Ninja Turtle anatomy (along with Michaelangelo's dark green flesh color), mask, knee/elbow pads, and Trekkified Turtle belt buckle. And I love the Turtle shell details showing through the taut Starfleet shirt.
Raph keeps the same Turtle features as Mike (as well as his Raph-specific light-green flesh), but dons McCoy's hair and medical short-sleeved shirt along with its Sciences insignia. Raph seems to exude more of the look and feel of his character than the other Trek Turtles. He has those wonky McCoy eyebrows and the cheek line on the right side of his face really seems to bring out the McCoy character.
The only problem with the look of these figures is their reuse of parts. Raph and Mike share legs and torsos, which not only homogenizes them, but also creates screen-accuracy problems for Raph: the collar of the shirt is that of the standard Starfleet uniform rather than McCoy's medical shirt.
Mike has swivel neck, shoulders, right elbow, and left wrist, as well as ball-socket hips. Raph has the same articulation, except he has a swivel left elbow instead of the wrist. Although it's not the hyper-articulation that's so common today, it's still a good range of movement for figures from this time period.
Raph and Mike each come with a Trek phaser, tricorder, and communicator, as well as Turtle-specific sci-fi ninja weapons,. Add to that really cool Trek/Turtle stands and nifty collector cards, and you have Starfleet Turtles that are ready for any spatial anomaly!
I got this set for $10 carded. The Trek Turtles are like some vintage TMNT figures in that sellers often think they're worth more than they really are so they set insanely high minimum bids; but rest assured, if you stay frosty, you can get them on the cheap.
The idea of Star Trek Ninja Turtles was fraught with danger and could have easily blown up in Playmates' collective face. But the execution was just right so that the figures ended up super-cool rather than super-lame. It's like Raph and Mike decided to go as Starfleet Officers for Halloween.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Star Trek: The Original Series. Two great tastes that taste great together. Rather than being a sick abomination of two disparate licenses like something from the island of Dr. Moreau, these figures instead combine the coolness of the two properties into one wave of action figure awesomeness. I wish they made TNG-era Turtles. I can imagine: Leo as Riker, Don as Data, Raph as Worf, and Mike as Geordi. Maybe even a Borg-assimilated Shredder!