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Classic TMNT Toys: Ray Fillet and Storage Shell Michelangelo


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


Ray Fillet

clip_and_collect_profile_ray_fillet_back

This is another “early” figure for me, and also from early in my developing vocabulary. I originally read/pronounced the character’s name “Ray Fill-eht” rather than “Ray Fill-ay.”

I remember recognizing the similarities in this character, and a character in one of those “storybooks” that were out in the early 1990s, that I later learned were actually based on issues of the Archie-published TMNT Adventures. This Ray Fillet was the character appearing as Man Ray and one of the “founders” of the Mighty Mutanimals. There’s a much different-looking version appearing in contemporary IDW-published TMNT comics.

TMNT_cards_ray_fillet_front

Like many of the other figures, this was another “goofy”-ish mutant, rather silly and hardly anything “deep.” I’ve more recently learned that apparently a number of creators that were part of Mirage Studios at the time were encouraged to create/submit characters as possible action figures when the toy line hit it big, which certainly explains some of the random-ish characters.

As for me, I certainly appreciate that many of them were incorporated into comics that gave them more depth, even beyond anything granted in “an episode” or so in the animated series.

TMNT_cards_ray_fillet_back

I haven’t a clue where “Fish Stix” wound up, but I do remember making the connection that this was apparently a Glublub…though it was Bubbla that made the impression in the comics.

class_tmnt_ray_fillet

Here’s the actual figure! One of the ear pieces is broken off, and the color-change elements of the chest and “shirt” are long since faded/gone-screwy. But it’s my genuine, original copy of the figure, still around to this day some 25+ years after getting it!


Storage Shell Michelangelo

clip_and_collect_profile_storage_shell_mike_back

I’m particularly interested these days whenever I see the spelling “Michaelangelo” from this time period. Apparently Eastman and Laird goofed on the spelling–It’s actually Michelangelo–but their error was picked up and carried through half the character’s existence, I believe only eventually corrected as of 2001 or so when Laird relaunched a TMNT comic series.

I remember the Donatello with Storage Shell figure as the first/only of the turtles with that feature…then later the other three got the treatment. This was one of the ones that at the time I did get a “complete set,” really appreciating the molds/paintjobs (though I wouldn’t’ve had the phrasing to describe it as such back then). In retrospect, I suspect it was that the figures were pretty standard-ish–no fancy costumes, no externally-weird “theme” or variant. If one didn’t know the shells opened, the figures just look like slightly brighter/better-colored versions of the standard characters!

TMNT_cards_storage_shell_mike_front

To this day, I can’t begin to explain the “storage shell” notion for the actual characters. As toys that come with a bunch of miniscule accessories, I can appreciate that this was a way to have a little storage compartment to keep a bunch of them handy for play time…but showing the character in action with a shell open on a hinge is just kinda creepy…especially after the story in the IDW comics a couple years ago where Donatello was horribly injured when Rocksteady sledge-hammered his shell…

TMNT_cards_storage_shell_mike_back

I miss the days of these individualized cards with figures. The fronts are customized to the specific figure, as is the back–detailing included accessories (that I believe were quite visible through the bubble on the front) as well as the profile section.

I also miss having large multi-wave assortments displayed, to see what’s (been) available and exists out there. Contemporary toys showing the 4-6 figures within the same/current “wave” is ok-ish, but there’s something pleasantly rich about seeing so many allies and villains chaaracters just on the card…and it certainly did wonders for making me want more figures as a kid, giving me something (always) to be “hunting” for!

class_tmnt_storage_shell_mike

Here’s the figure itself. Probably my only real “complaint” to the color scheme and such is the pink gums to the exaggerated grimace this version of the characters had. It just makes it seem all the more exaggerated, though at least definitely served to differentiate from the “original” version of the standard figures…especially since there was no special “costume” or such to otherwise set these apart when the shell is closed into place.


I think it’s safe to say that these are two of my favorite figures at this point, in looking back. The sculpts on the storage shell turtles, and Ray Fillet (though I prefer the Man Ray version of the character).

Next up, to wrap up this mini “series” of posts, I’ll show off TMNT II character Rahzar and what I consider to be a “later” random mutant, Walkabout.

Did you ever have any of the “storage shell” turtles? While I don’t recall if this concept was revisited during the run of the toys based on the 2003 animated series, “storage shell” versions were released a couple years ago for the 2012-present iterations of the characters.

Are there any classic TMNT toys of characters you’d want to get just for the sake of having the character?

Respond in the comments section for this post!

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