I recently picked up Playmates’ new Bebop and Rocksteady basic figures from the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows movie. As a note, I really detested the first movie, and I expect this new movie to be more of the same, but I am looking forward to one thing about it, or, more appropriately, two things: Bebop and Rocksteady. Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I have confidence that if the Michael-Bay-created TMNT universe can get any characters right, it’s these two, which would finally make up for us getting stuck with Tokka and Rahzar 25 years ago in Secret of the Ooze. Now, I’ll have to wait until June to be sure they got it right, but, according to the trailers, so far, so good for Bebop and Rocksteady. The casting for Bebop and Rocksteady looks very promising and the look for Bebop and Rocksteady is pretty much perfect (actually, from here on out, please assume any positive remarks about the upcoming Turtles film pertains only to Bebop and Rocksteady). It appears as though the new movie not only drew inspiration from the original cartoon, but from IDW’s ongoing TMNT comic, which, for those of you not reading it, is excellent. The Bebop and Rocksteady one-shot, which introduced IDW’s take on the characters, is funny, brilliant and, as a life-long TMNT fan, it made me fall in love with Bebop and Rocksteady all over again. So, now that it’s clear where my biases are (IDW=good, Michael Bay=bad), let’s get on with the review!
The sculpt for this toy is pretty good, more detail and texturing here than I would have expected. His skin (or is it fur?) is nicely textured as is the clothing, with little spikes and stuff all over it. His boots are nicely detailed as is his jacket. The face is pretty good, though the jaw is a separate piece which looks a little conspicuous. His glasses are a soft, bendable material. In fact, most of the figure is a softer, more rubbery plastic, except the torso, which seems like a thin, hollow piece, giving the toy a somewhat ‘cheap’ feel to it. I feel the mohawk is a bit strange; it runs down his back but is below his belt and is cut off at the neck line. I’m not sure how it looks in the movie, and this may be the only way to portray what’s in the movie, but it looks a little odd on the toy. He has joints at the shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists, waist and knees. All of which is great except the knees are limited in their range, and look a bit awkward. As a side note, it’s my opinion that since the Turtles relaunch, Playmates has the unfortunate habit of making inferior non-Turtle toys (this was not the case in the 80’s/90’s toy line). They are often too small, under-painted, under-articulated, under-detailed and often don’t hold up against the very well made Turtles themselves. That being said, I think, overall, the sculpt of Bebop is surprisingly good.
The paint on Bebop is not great. It’s inconsistently applied to about half of the spikes on his pants and armbands. His eyes are also unpainted, which isn’t a huge deal due to his glasses, but it is noticeable from some angles. The orange paint on his jacket is bleeding onto the body and the necklace he has has a poor paint job. The legs and boots are all black, with just a few spikes painted on the upper leg and not a single paint app below the knee. The saving grace for the paint job (if there is one) is that the face is overall pretty good. His hair and mutton chops are painted, as well as the nose ring, the mouth is unpainted though, which is forgivable. He does have a tattoo though, which is a nice detail. My biggest issue though, which is not reserved to this toy or even just Playmates, is the fact that Bebop is not black. Bebop, as you probably know, is African American and warthogs are brown. The classic cartoon and toys had him as brown, as does IDW’s current comic, yet pretty much every toy, from Playmates to Funko and even Kidrobot have him as a pale, Caucasian color. Bring back black Bebop!
Accessories for Bebop are also lackluster. He comes with an unpainted chain and a crowbar. I’m happy with the crowbar, but what I’d really like is a chainsaw, which is his signature weapon in the IDW series.
Overall, I do recommend this figure only because, despite its flaws, it is still the best Bebop figure to come out since the Playmates TMNT Classics line a few years ago. And, if you have the talent to give the toy a custom paint job (I don’t), and if you find a decent chainsaw accessory (the classic TMNT Killer Bee toy came with an awesome one), you could actually have a pretty cool toy.
For me, Rocksteady is too small. I also thought Bebop was on the small side, but he tends to be a different size in every incarnation, and, given that he’s a warthog, it’s more forgivable for Bebop, but I want Rocksteady to be massive, and this just isn’t. A quick history lesson for those interested: Back in the original toy line, Playmates had a rule that no toy could be bigger than the Turtles themselves, which is why the original Foot Soldier and Shredder, who should be taller than the Turtles, are leaning over. I’m unsure if the same rule is still in effect now or not, but Rocksteady should definitely tower over the Turtles. Aside from the size, the sculpt is quite good, even better than Bebop in my opinion. His skin is textured to look like a leathery rhinoceros’ skin and his clothing is well detailed. On the downside, due to the long snout, the seam for the plastic is right down the middle of his face, which isn’t ideal. The legs are also similarly awkward to Bebop’s. The “cheap” feel is a bit worse in Rocksteady, the articulation is all the same as Bebop, as is the material, but the joints seem a little loose and shaky right out of the package. It isn’t terrible, but it’s defiantly there and I doubt it will age well.
The paint is better than Bebop, but still not great. He has his pants detailed with camo and his boots are painted a color different from his pants. His jacket is pretty nicely detailed, with most of the spikes painted as well as some other detailing (none on the back is painted though). His goggles and helmet, which are an awesome nod to the original, are unfortunately all one solid green color. His bracelets are unpainted as are his teeth. There is some nice detailing though in his tattoos, as there are three with pretty intricate designs, and his gold chains look pretty good. Again, he’s another toy in need of a custom paint job, but there’s much less work to do on him than Bebop.
Accessories are good for Rocksteady: A bat covered in barbed wire (Lucille?) and, a nice treat for IDW fans, he comes with his signature IDW weapon, a sledgehammer, which is named ‘Roberta’. Roberta is incredibly important in the IDW series, especially the sold-out issue #44.
Anyway, Rocksteady is a pretty good toy too, better than Bebop, but still with problems. Overall, despite my nitpicking, I am pretty happy with these toys and am even still considering picking up the 11” versions of them. They also sell them with motorcycles, and slightly altered sculpts to include helmets.
These toys can be found pretty much anywhere now for less than $10.
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 1:26pmDespite Hollywood's best efforts, the TMNT franchise is still standing. And the designer toy world is definitely getting their fill. Kidrobot, The Loyal Subjects, and now Unbox Industry have all put their own twists on the iconic reptiles.
Friday, October 14, 2016 - 2:01pmI don't often venture outside of The Block. But when I do, I make my way to Bandai's booth.
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 1:46pmWhile Toy Tokyo mostly clogged The Block with lines for the latest cookie cutter Fuko Pop! figure, they did at least bring four amazing pieces to NYCC.