I love Turtles
Dark Beaver and Attila the Frog had really dampened my enthusiasm for the current Playmates TMNT figure line, in fact I’d go so far as to say they’d put me off it, almost completely. I’m still greatly enjoying the cartoon but the toys were starting to feel me with nothing but irritation and disappointment, and then…
To fit in with the new theme of series 4 of the current Nicktoon cartoon series Playmates are branding some of their standard TMNT action figures with ‘Dimension X’, I’m not sure if this is officially a ‘sub-line’ ala Cyber Samurai or Mutations or whatever but I’m including it in the title just to be sure. Two such figures, released recently-ish (February to March 2016) are bad guys Lord Dregg and Mozar, oh, that’s what this review’s about, how fortunate then that they were both marked down as part of an Easter sale in Smyths Toys and I now own them.
Mozar has the longer history with the franchise but I think I’m going to start with Dregg because I think he’s (just) the weaker of the two. Lord Dregg was created specifically for the Murakami-Wolf-Swenson cartoon series (the one from the 80s and 90s) because it’s chief rival, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, was changing its main villain also, to Lord Zedd, and any similarities in the names Lord Zedd and Lord Dregg are entirely accidental, it’s not like they’re both also warlords from space…oh, wait. Anyway he debuted in ‘The Ultimate Ninja’, the first episode of season 9 and stuck around until the end of season 10, which was the end of the series as a whole. He’s a little bit less powerful in the current cartoon, he still rules a race but is a little less warlord and a bit more gangster, he’s also been VERY redesigned (to actually look like an insect, rather than Mother Brain in pyjamas).
Dregg came too late to receive any merchandise so this is his first figure and that made me REALLY FUCKING EXCITED, despite being a TMNT mega fan I’m really not that fond of the original cartoon, and by ‘not that fond’ I mean ‘hate most of it’ but I really enjoy the ‘Red Skies Seasons’ where they began to draw more influence from Batman: The Animated Series (no, really) and Dregg was a major part of that, yeah it’s in his new design but FINALLY my shelf can have Lord Dregg on it. But I liked the concept of the last three TMNT figures I bought, it was the execution that let them down and put me off the line, happily Dregg is executed way, WAY better. Firstly he doesn’t look cheap, I doubt he’s using different plastic but he just looks and feels higher quality, he also has a nice amount of articulation – hinge/swivel combos at the shoulders, a swivel for his wings and tail and ball joints for his second set of arms and legs, more importantly he’s rocking two see-thru sections, this isn’t just my undying love of transparent plastic here, it also adds to the overall ‘more expensive’ feel. His chest and wings are both transparent and inside his body you can see weird alien organs, that is seriously cool – however all promotional images show his arms as being transparent too (as they are in the cartoon) but, well, they’re not, they’re solid purple and have some really ugly paint apps on them, they look like they were painted by a 3 year old with poster paints, they’re downside one. Downside two is that he has no neck articulation despite his head being a separate piece; I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t give him a swivel joint there. Downside three is that his wings are really just ‘a wing’, they’re one piece so although you can move them around (appreciated) you cannot flare them out, that’s just fucking cheap Playmates. BUT the articulation he does have all have a great range, I always appreciate articulated tails because it allows for so many more poses and can really help with stabilizing the figure, the paint apps on his head are all perfect and his wings ARE see-thru, so he kind of… evens out at good. Of course he has no accessories but y’know, he’s a completely new tool with a see-thru chest, those sort of things eat up the budget.
Mozar, a military leader of the alien Triceratons (his rank changes per incarnation, I think he’s a Captain this time around) goes back even further that Dregg, all the way back to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #5 in 1985, well, maybe, see his name was mentioned but it was never made explicit which Triceraton he was, personally I think he’s the one referred to as ‘Sir’ in TMNT 5. His role was greatly expanded in the 4Kids cartoon along with a new design where he first became battle scarred and a cyborg, he notched up repeat appearances and even betrayed Emperor Zanramon, allowing TMNT ally Traximus to take over. He’s back in the new Nicktoon though without the depth and honour of the 4Kids version, instead he’s just a massive bastard and I like that just as much.
I think Mozar may be the best figure in this line so far (title previously held by Casey Jones), I am very biased towards the Triceratons yes but he is a mass of detailing from the texture on his
swimsuit space suit to
all kinds of little unpainted details (including his ‘cheek spikes’ which I
initially thought were missing). He has himself 8 points of articulation –
swivels at the neck, wrists and tail, ball jointed arms and swivelhinges for
the legs, they’re a bit of pain as they make it somewhat difficult to stand him
thanks to his huge platform shoes, I’d’ve preferred they swapped things ‘round
and gave him ball joints there instead of his arms but it wouldn’t be a modern Playmates
design without one silly design choice. Nor would it be a modern Playmates toy
without paint apps applied by blind sweatshop workers with Q-tips for roughly a
14th of a penny per figure. They haven’t done bad this time around – his eyes
are good, his metal mouth piece is surprisingly good and they’re sort of hit
the right places on his head and body, but seriously they didn’t even use
enough paint to get into the holes of the boots, I actually think it looks
good, like the boots are dirty, but Playmates really are the cheapest bastards
and they really must think no one will notice or care. But overall he does look
good, he looks very much like a toy so if you’re one of those people who
doesn’t like their toys to look like toys (so about 60% of Hot Toys’ mailing
list) then you won’t like this, stick with NECA. No accessories of coruse, I would have liked a blaster for him at least, but he is an all new tool and Playmates are, as just discussed, horrendous cheapskates.
Concluding paragraph? Two figures that were so good they restored my faith in the line. It is kind of sad that all they needed to be considered ‘so good’ by current TMNT figure standards is to be as nearly competent as other figure lines out there and even next to the likes of Imaginex or Mega Blocks they still look cheap, but as modern TMNT figures they’re some of the best you can buy.