Review > April O’Neil (TMNT, NECA)

Most casual fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will remember April O’Neil as the buxom reporter who somehow retained her high-profile TV news job despite never changing out of her yellow jumpsuit (perhaps her inability to button it up all the way had something to do with it, I don’t know). But in the original 1980s comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, April was quite different.

The original April was a computer programmer and research assistant working for mad scientist Baxter Stockman. She got mixed up with the Turtles when she discovered Stockman was using his “Mouser” robots to rob banks.

It’s been more than a year since I reviewed NECA’s Ninja Turtles back in April ’08. Since then, the line has been declared dead several times. But April popped up at SDCC, and soon she’ll be available in specialty stores in green or yellow outfits (the yellow outfit hopefully drawing in casual fans who only know the cartoon).

It would have made more sense to make the SDCC outfit green and release the comic-accurate blue and cartoon-style yellow ones to retail. But perhaps I’m over-estimating how much fans care about April’s outfit color (particularly the all-important casual fans).

Packaging: April comes in the standard clamshell packaging we’re used to seeing with NECA figures. The graphics are mostly from the original comics.

Design & Sculpt: Like the Turtles, April was sculpted by the Four Horsemen, and as usual, it’s excellent. As I read on a forum somewhere, the 4H managed to make her prettier than she did in the comics  (particularly the earlier issues–the image at the top of the page is from the series’ second issue, but Eastman and Laird’s art improved dramatically over the series’ run) while still keeping her distinctive look from the comics.

Since the figure is done in a comic style, there’s not as much detail to show off in the sculpt, but I do want to point out the hair–it’s very well done.

Plastic & Paint: As with the Turtles, the paint work is one of the best aspects of the figure. A matte blue paint is used for most of the body, with black lines in the folds of clothing and so forth to give it that line-drawn comics appearance. The wash on the hair looks great.

Articulation: April has some interesting articulation. She has ball joints at the shoulders and hips, but no swivel joints at the hips. Her elbows are hinged and have swivels, which looks OK when moved to the side since her upper arms are fairly cylindrical. The lack of swivels at the hips limits her articulation somewhat, but since she’s not really a martial arts fighter like the Turtles it’s not too much of a problem.

She also has a ball jointed neck, a swivel waist, swivels at the wrists and the cuffs of her jumpsuit, and hinges at the knees and ankles.

Accessories: April comes with two Mousers. Both have–hallelujah!–articulated jaws. Both Mousers have a black drybrush to represent wear and tear, and the “battle damaged” Mouser’s leg is off. Unfortunately, the leg’s peg can’t be fitted into the hole in the side of the mouser, meaning you really only have one good Mouser with an articulated jaw. Fortunately, the heads pop off easily, so if you have last year’s Mouser 3-pack exclusive, you can do a head swap. [According to Poester JediCreeper, this doesn’t work because the articulated head’s peg is smaller–presumably to make room for the jaw. So no, I didn’t actually try it, I just assumed when I was able to pop the articulated one’s head off so easily. My bad.]

My favorite part of the Mousers–well, aside from the articulated jaws–is the great paint work inside the mouth. I always liked the blue glow in the Mousers’ mouths in the comics, and at the right angle it’s very easy to reproduce with the toys.

Quality Control: One of my figure’s ankle hinges was a little warped. Fortunately, a quick heat-up with a hair dryer and some pressure and I was able to fix it.

Overall:

11110

OK, so April’s not the most exciting character for the first non-Turtle figure, and the Shredder probably would have made a better choice, but I have a hunch April was further down the production pipeline when NECA decided to put the line on hiatus.

Still, she’s a great figure, and no doubt many fans will be pleased to finally have Mousers with articulated jaws.

25 Comments »

Comments now closed (25)

  • hoorays!

    how's he scale when compared to other 6 inch figures?

    I ordered mine off Amazon back when she was available for preorder.

  • It didn't occur to me to compare her to other 6" figures…the comic book styling is so strong, I don't know if she'd look right next to any other 6" figures, particularly more realistically-styled ones.

    I do think she (and especially the Turtles) are closer to a 6.5"-7" scale than 6".

  • Well the turtles are around 5 feet tall, while April should be more of 5'6''

    From your pics she looks more like the same height.

  • I think one thing that NECA might have a problem with is that the turtles themselves are nigh impossible to find and no one would want to start a line if they didn't already have the turtles. So for any casual fan who didn't catch the turtles last year but sees April next month, the fact that they won't be able to find the main turtles will be a problem.

  • I'd kill for a rerelease (especially since my Donny has a broken leg).

    Unless they release April in a case assortment like 3 Yellow, 3 Green, and 2 of each turtle.

    I'll buy all the variant Aprils just to get more mousers….

  • Honestly, I'm OK with April's height, but she does seem a bit petite next to the Turtles. On the other hand, I have no idea how tall/big she's supposed to be.

    Besides, the comic art fluctuates enough that it's difficult to just say, "No, Leonardo is REALLY 5' tall, and April is REALLY 5'5", and if they're not perfectly in scale it's wrong!" The Turtles comics have never been as obsessed and consistent with this sort of thing as, say, Marvel or DC has with its superheroes and Who's Who books and character encyclopedias and so forth (check out all the varying heights on Leonardo's TMNT Wiki page–it varies from 4'9" to 5'8", depending on the particular incarnation).

  • Good call on the Mouser head swap. That's exactly what I'll do once I get April

  • I'm looking forward to picking up April & mousers! Given my druthers, I think I'll opt for the yellow jumpsuit. Hopefully she'll do well enough and we'll get Shredder & a Foot. Think Casey Jones is out of hte question down the line?

    @Nicholai: I've seen plenty of TMNT around, at least at my local Newbury Comics. They have the individual figures with the accessories, and a few of the tube turtles.

  • @Nicholai: I've seen the Turtles for sale at Newbury Comics and the Toy Vault just this week, so they aren't too hard to find. In fact, I've always been surprised at their lack of secondary market value and continued availability.

  • sadly, one of the first things I tried to do was a mouser head swap, but you'd need to completely swap the neck peg, rather than just pop the head off at the ball joint.. the articulated jawed ones have a ball joint that is MUCH smaller than the original ones, making it impossible to put the new head on an old body.

    there might be a way to swap the whole neck, since that appears to be a separate piece also, but I'm afraid of risking it.

    still.. it's nice to have at least ONE perfect mouser.. I just put him at the front of the pack..

  • Thanks JC–I admit I didn't try it, I just assumed when I was able to pop the head off the articulated one so easily.

    It makes sense though, because they had less room to work with with the smaller lower jaw piece than the entire head piece of the non-articulated version.

  • How good is the range of motion for the hip balljoints?

    Can she, out of the clamshell, no mods, do the "sitting in a chair, reading the paper" pose?

  • Perhaps it is regional then as I have a friend who was trying to get a complete collection of the four turtles recently here in the Twin Cities and they are nowhere to be found. He is specifically looking for them individually with the accessories and bases. I'd love to get them with the street bases and accessories, but I can't stomach the huge secondary prices.

    So if you can find them, especially with the bases and accessories, you've got a huge market for them online….unless you'd sell them to me!

  • @Nicholai, hrm… 😉 Actually, the Newbury Comics prices aren't that great, I think they're $16-$18 or somewhere in that ballpark. I haven't looked at 'em for a while, except for when I forgot which Turtle to display with which base, cuz I'm that anal…

    I'll check out the prices next time I'm in a NC. Overall their prices are generally higher than other stores, which I guess is common among most secondary market stores. For instance the NECA Terminator figures, insead of being $14 like they are at TRU, they're $17-$18 at Newbury Comics.

    The store I frequent, in Avon, Ma doesn't seem to move a lot of product as far as action figures are concerned. They still have a NECA MOTU Four Horsemen Snakeface staction, amongst a ton of other Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Marvel, and DC stuff. They do get new stuff in somewhat regularly, but it seems like I see the same exact stuff on the shelves for months at a time.

  • Seems like the broken Mouser is really pointless BTW. I thought they had fixed it so you could put the leg back into the socket. A real waste of plastic otherwise.

  • Yeah, Newbury Comics does have high markups. But they carry a lot of neat stuff, that you might not find otherwise.

  • My local comic shop has similar markups. DCUC regularly go for 17 and most DC Direct figures are 17-20 though the new History of the DCU figures are only 13.

  • @MegaduceFlare: I tried it, and no, she definitely can't sit in a chair. Again, it doesn't but me too much, but it'll be annoying if/when I try to use her for figure photos or something.

  • Wooooooooo! Mine shipped from Amazon early! And I only paid $19.99!

  • > Poe

    I figured that was the case, thanks.

    By any chance, do you know what angle the peg for the leg to hip joint is at? Is it at a 90 degree angle (like DCUC), or is it at a 45 degree angle (like Hulk Legends Doc Samson)?

  • > To those want to swap mouser heads:

    you have to swap the head along with the the neck joints. It's really easy to do and that's how you get the end results. Don't bother popping off the head. Just heat up and pop them off at the base of the neck

    hope your review on OAFE can add this bit of info as well

  • no sidewalk base in the package?.

    no thank you. it brakes the continuation in the line

  • a sidewalk base would have been nice, yes, but its not a make or break deal for me. if buying one april o'neil gets me one step closer to shredder, i'll gladly pay up!

  • mmm probably you are right but if shredder, or the foot soldiers comes with no sidewalk base at all, for me the line ends with April. I can't believe NECA is so careful about this. the turtles are almost sold out around the world and they are saying they weren't too successful. come on. they more willing to do that twilight series shit at any cost. I want continuation!!!!