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Classic TMNT Toys: Mutant Military TMNT


It’s kinda hard to believe that toys I remember getting new off the pegs in stores like Hills, Best, KMart, Toys R Us, Children’s Palace are now considered vintage. Harder still to believe that I still have some of the cards around, as well as the figures.

This is the second in a series of posts sharing these cards/figures, much as I’ve done with the newer 2012-present line.


Lieutenant Leo

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I was all about the characters in the late ’80s/early ’90s, and if I couldn’t get unique characters, I chased after “variants” of the main characters. In many cases I only got one or two (where they even had “full sets” for a singular theme), but the “Mutant Military” set is one where I got at least three, and current have three; I don’t recall if I ever had the Donatello figure.

I find this particular line a bit more questionable as an adult, particularly given life the last 15+ years and the way my views on the (U.S.) military, military stuff in general, and the subject of “war” have changed and developed.

I’m not fond of just tossing these characters into “military gear” and pushing military “stereotypes” or such, when very real people risk their lives serving their country. But then, NOT being military myself, I have no idea, honestly, if these would actually BE appreciated or not.

TMNT_cards_lieutenant_leo_front

Somehow I find it highly doubtful figures like this would get made nowadays. And having fictional characters like this shown waving a United States flag, with the red/white/blue and white stars theme to the packaging?

Yeah, not all that likely these days, I don’t think.

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Unlike some of the other card backs, I find it interesting that the other figures shown are nothing but turtles variants. No non-turtle allies and no villains.

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The figure itself, decked out in military gear.


Midshipman Mike

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As a military-themed figure, and this one apparently being the Navy figure, I’m probably least thrilled with it. My dad served 21 years in the U.S. Navy, and my grandfather was also U.S. Navy.

The language with this figure strikes me a lot more as “pirate adventure” than something reflecting a contemporary (even in the early 1990s) U.S. military thing.

TMNT_cards_midshipman_mike_front

The eyepatch puts me in mind also of “pirates” and/or playing off the notion of Popeye.

I also stand by my statement on the Leo figure that having the turtles waving a U.S. flag would, sadly, probably not happen today, nor the color scheme of this packaging.

TMNT_cards_midshipman_mike_back

I’m somewhat interested at seeing the “mini figures” that were included as accessories with regular figures–this one had the Sewer Sea Gull, which is rather generic…compared with more important/significant “accessory” characters such as Joe Eyeball with Muckman, or Screwloose with Wingnut.

Also note that–keeping consistent for the wave–all other figures shown here on the card back are turtles variants.

Finally, this is a figure whose card even retains the peg-hole piece, apparently never got completely separated from the card. I understand this is a definite rarity, and a coveted thing in modern toy collecting with figures that are typically sold/displayed from pegs in stores. Other than “noting” that, I’m not getting into that matter at present–it’s not a thing that I myself care about with buying toys!

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The figure itself is a bit odd for one of the turtles…the legs seem to be on a different sort of connector to the body, with more of a forward/back poseability rather than the more rounded “ball” joint the regular figures tend to have. I suppose it lends itself to the figure looking like he’s walking across a ship’s deck or something, but whatever.


Green Beret Raph

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The more I “analyze” these cards and truly take in the words and such of ’em as a mid/late 30s adult, the more I am certain these would not be produced today…or at least, certainly not without some huge protest, petition campaign, and other scandal/controversy!

It’s also interesting as an adult to “read between the lines” here at what could be taken from the profile, but also to see how “real life” is glossed over to keep it aimed as it was toward kids.

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Again with the flag and packaging color scheme…as well as the cut-but-unpunched peg-hole on this one. As another figure I apparently got from Hills, I can only imagine I found these sitting on a shelf, perhaps placed there at the time if there wasn’t room on the pegs. (There was once a time when stores had dozens of pegs, seemingly entire aisles dedicated to TMNT product, primarily these figures…and they’d be fully-stocked, not just 1-3 figures loosely placed on each of 3-4ish pegs!)

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And another figure with a mini-character included as an accessory…though again, a rather forgettable/insignificant one…though I’d be rather entertained at having it now as an adult!

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While I can’t speak to the quasi-camo pattern to this figure…at least the character fits the uniform, with plenty of green, and the muted darker red for Raphael.


Next up, I’ll look at a couple of my favorite classic figures, Ray Fillet and Storage Shell Mikey!

If you’re military, or know someone who is–what do you think of these figures? And if you’re non-military, same question?

Feel free to leave a response in the comments section of this post!

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