TMNT by NECA & the 4H

LeonardoThe Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the last great toy fad of my childhood. By the time the Power Rangers rolled around, I was busy dating girls and playing Magic: The Gathering (which, contrary to popular belief, were not always mutually exclusive).

I loved the Playmates figures, and quite a few of them have a special place in the Shrine. But even as a kid, I understood that the cartoon Turtles weren’t anywhere near as badass as they could be–and indeed were, in the original black-and-white comics. Leonardo (my personal favorite) carried a pair of fricken’ ninja swords and he never used them to cut anyone on the show. In the original comics, however, he was only to happy to slice-and-dice his foes.

So even as a kid, I understood that the Mirage comic versions of the characters were arguably much cooler than the cartoon’s. And so I always wanted action figures of the Leonardo from TMNT 1original TMNT. But it was pretty clear that Playmates was targeting children and thus, even in their revamped 2003 line, we got the cartoon Turtles.

Somehow, through some legal machinations I may never understand, NECA has scored the rights to create a line of TMNT action figures based on the original comics. The line is sculpted by the Four Horsemen and will feature some great articulation, accessories, and display bases. NECA has been getting much better in the articulation department (due to the influential success of collector-oriented lines such as Marvel Legends and Legendary Heroes?), and the Turtles not only look great, but they should be able to move around a bit as well.

The general fan consensus seems to be one of approval, though from the discussions I’ve seen online there are a decent number of people who want repaints with the Turtles’ familiar bandanna colors (in the original comic, they all wore red–hence Leonardo’s lack of blue here). Paul of ToyBender is a bit disappointed by the decision to use the design from the first few comics as well as the paint application on the above proto. For what it’s worth, Cornboy of the Four Horsemen stated on Toymania’s ToyBuzz that the “paint scheme shown on that blog was one that was originally submitted for approval. I’m not yet at liberty to say how the paints were changed, but they were.” And here’s Randy Falk of NECA, as quoted on

This is the final sculpt but not the final deco. The paint applications have been revised to better re-create the 3-D translation of the original 2-D artwork. I think when you see the final images and get to see all 4 turtles complete with their unique head sculpts, accessories, and bases you will be very very happy.

I’ll be getting every single figure NECA puts out in this line. As awesome as the Playmates lines were, these are the Ninja Turtles toys I’ve been waiting twenty years for.


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  1. T'Challa

    Yes, in the Mirage Studios comics the turtles still all wear the classic red bandanas.

    The bandana color changes were first made for the TMNT 1987 animated series. Every other medium except the Mirage Studios comics have the different colored bandanas for the turtles.

    The 2003 TMNT animated series is based on the Mirage Studios comics and it is possibly the best American animated series.

  2. Poe

    Thanks for the comments and the trivia, T'Challa! I'd never heard that tidbit about the gangs influencing the colors. Don't they all still wear red in the Mirage comics, though?

    A lot of people seem to hate those early TMNT comics, but I loved them–especially the space adventures with Fugitoid, the Triceratons and the Utroms. But that's me. Shocka over at OAFE recently expressed his…strong dislike of those comics.

  3. T'Challa

    I have been interested in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever since the first movie came out.

    The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics created by Mirage Studios are some of the best comics ever. They are dark, realistic, contain great stories, have character development and incredible villains.

    Originally, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were depicted to all have red bandanas to illustrate that they were united as part of a team. It was not long though before the issue came up that Kevin Laird and Peter Eastman were promoting gangs by having the turtles wear the red bandanas. Therefore the creators decided to give each turtle their own individually colored bandana so that the turtles would not be associated with gangs and to better illustrate the differences between each turtle.

    I appreciate this informative blog about these iconic heroes Poe Ghostal. I thank you greatly.

  4. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed in the decision, more like I was disappointed that I expected something different.

    By the way, I love the cartoon Sauron next to the comment box. I love it so much I want to marry it. Yes, I’m sick.

  5. Poe

    Well, if the line's successful at all, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some more streamlined Mirage Turtles later.

    And yeah, Soaron Sky Sentry is one of those random toys I just loved as a kid…along with the AD&D Warduke, Weed Killer (who will get his own post soon), and the Krusher…

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