Toy Review: Fishface and Metalhead (Playmates TMNT 2012)

I'm really impressed by the new Ninja Turtles cartoon and after experiencing the awesomeness of its figures I've been eagerly awaiting the next wave. Wave 2 includes three new figures: Dogpound, Fishface, and Metalhead. I opted to skip Dogpound, who looks like a Street Sharks reject, and just get Fishface and Metalhead. Do they continue the awesomeness established by the first wave? Let's take a look!

We'll start with Fishface, a character that's new to the TMNT universe. As an anthropomorphic mutant fish with robo-legs, he certainly looks like something that Peter Laird would design, so much so that I browsed through Peter's Playmates toy concepts to make sure he didn't. Nope... looks like he's an all-new character. We haven't seen him in the cartoon as of this published date, but you can catch a brief glimpse of him in the intro:

Here's the action figure:

As with the Turtles, I actually like the action figure's design more than the cartoon's. The figure is more realistic and sinister with detailed skin textures, a more robust skull, more humanoid musculature, and reptilian eyes. The paint detailing is sparse, and some washes would have really made the sculpt come alive. But I dig Fishface's look regardless.

Fishface has limited movement: swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel hips, and swivel tail. The character's design doesn't lend itself well to lots of articulation, but I would have loved for his jaw to be able to open so that he could munch on the Turtles with his weird teeth.

Fishy comes with a sword and a dagger. The sword is awkwardly huge... and what's the deal with that handle? The dagger works better, if only because I think he looks creepy enough that he would prefer to use a dagger a la Chucky.

Switching gears (so to speak), we also have Metalhead! You might remember Metalhead from the original cartoon, which inspired both the classic action figure and his appearance in the TMNT arcade game. We've also seen Metalhead in the new cartoon, as shown in the following screenshot:

And this is the action figure:

Unlike many of the TMNT figures, Metalhead looks very much like his cartoon counterpart. Playmates captured the look perfectly in the sculpt with lots of nifty little detailing like the tummy wiring and the manhole cover shell.

Unfortunately, the paint apps are tragically limited. The flatness of the gray plastic really needs some color variation to make the figure look interesting. Silver brush swipes like those on Kraang would do a lot to make him look less flat. But even more egregious is the fact that there's no paint detailing on the side of the head and torso, which means that his yellow bandana and tummy wiring aren't completely painted. It's just plain lazy.

Let's not forget that the cartoon Metalhead is significantly smaller than the Turtles, whereas the figure is more or less the same size. I don't mind all that much because this scale interacts better with the other Turtle figures, but it would have been nice for Metalhead to be more show-accurate. Maybe if he was smaller, he could have come with more accessories to offset his reduced size.

Speaking of accessories, Metalhead only comes with a "projectile" flame blast for his right arm. I put that in quotes because there isn't any firing mechanism in his arm, so don't expect any sort of projectile action here. The Turtles came with an entire tree of accessories, while Metalhead only has that non-projectiling flame. This is especially disappointing considering the character's accessory potential shown in the episode. I mean, look at this:

Any of those weapons would have made great snap-on accessories. (My favorite is the toaster.) At least he should have come with a controller for Don. With the lack of cool accessories and a non-functional missile arm, a lot of coolness potential was wasted.

Fortunately, the figure moves pretty well with a ball-socket neck, hinge shoulders, hinge forearms, swivel-hinge hips and swivel-hinge knees. As with the Turtles, the articulation is enough to make the figure fun to pose, but not so hyper-articulated that it ruins his playability.

One other thing: at a little under $8 each at Wal-mart, both figures are reasonably priced.

I didn't think I would have said this before I had the figures in hand, but Fishface is the winner in this wave. Even though his articulation and accessories could have been better, I really dig his sculpt and design.

Unfortunately, Metalhead is a disappointment with lazy paint apps and seriously lacking accessories. At least his sculpt is cool and his articulation works well. But as with MOTUC Scareglow, the problem with Metalhead is less what the figure is and more what he could have been.

After the home-run of the first wave, this wave seems less inspired. It just seems like Playmates didn't try as much here as it did on the hero Turtles. Hopefully the next wave will have more of the Turtle Power that made the first one so awesome.

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  1. I have yet to see Metalhead in my area but i have seen the other 2 new ones.

  2. No Metalhead in my neck of the woods yet either. I'm glad to hear you're digging the new cartoon! I think a lot of people were really against it when it first came out, particularly fans of the original 80s cartoon that never bothered to stick with the fandom beyond that . But now that we're six episodes in the haters seem be shutting up and the positive buzz keeps growing as more people discover the show.

  3. None of the 2nd wave figures have seduced dollars from my wallet yet, sorry to say. Metalhead came close, but I've back-peddled a bit for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

    In particular the regrettable lack of accessories with a figure that demands abundance. It bothers me more because the original came with a computer backpack, radar dish and a variety of interchangeable weapon arm attachments.

    Playmates has never been very faithful with scale, but I sure wish they would have gotten it right with this one.

  4. I really like the new Turtles because of their great articulation and superb assortment of accessories. But these new figures seem to lack both...

  5. The fact that Metalhead's bandana is not fully painted is, as you said, just plain lazy. But the episode he was in has been one of favorites thus far. I will be picking him up when I see him. The limited articulation is what has prevented me from buying any of the other figures. They don't have to be super-poseable, but knees that bend would've swayed me to purchase Shredder and Splinter(I still may buy Splinter, as he is the Turtles' sensei). The designes look good, but I guess I'll just have to see them in person.

  6. @Shezcrafti: On a similar note, before the 2012 cartoon was released, I was surprised at the number of fans who were saying how incredible the 200X series was and how this series can't possibly live up to it. It was like a time machine... back in the early 2000s, everybody was saying the same thing about the 200X series and the original cartoon.

    @Jason: I agree knee joints would have helped Splinter, but the plastic robe would get in the way. They should have used soft goods for the bottom part of the robe, too.

  7. As an addendum, I discovered (thanks to Infinite Hollywood's review) that Fishface's neck can also rotate. The face also swivels, but I'm not sure if that's intentional or not because the top fin conflicts so much with the movement. Although the neck joint is a much needed one, neither it nor the rotating face will change the score.

  8. Hello, I'm currently at the fence on this figure and was wondering how tall is he, in terms of inches/cm to have a better sense of scale compared to other lines? Thanks!

  9. I really liked the design of Metalhead. I'm not normally a toy collector but I did go out and purchase this guy, looks pretty good on the shelf. Thanks for all the detailed pictures.

    Anyone notice on Metalhead's box the Michelangelo misprint?

  10. I'm glad you dig the pics! And I've never noticed the Mikey/Raph figure switch. Good eye!

  11. I have Dogpound, Fishface, Metalhead and all the turtles. (Excluding normal Raph. I have the motercycle one.) I don't have Master Splinter, or April. And, yesterday I think I helped nickelodon. I told a lady who said she worked for them and had a call confernce with the head office. Mismarked packs. Odd.