Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nickelodeon TMNT: Foot Soldierin' It up

Robots?  Humans?  Doesn't matter!  They've always been the backbone of the Foot Clan - and by "backbone" I mean having them broken - so you know there's gona be a fight whenever these mooks are around.  Er...there's gona be fight that's completely out of their favor, I mean. 

By the sound of the card though, I think these guys are humans this time around.  That has it's advantages and drawbacks.  As humans, they can be given dialogue and could provide some funny background stuff every so often (though the Battle Droids in Star Wars still seem to pull it off anyway) but the drawback is that they can't be hurt - you know, keeping things "nonviolent" and all....meaning that they can't be cut or anything.  They can still be violently beaten! 

Problem with this, of course, is that most of the turtles are carrying weapons that they can't use!  On top of that, the turtles that didn't have sharp weapons have now been given sharp weapons, so the guys who could beat on bad guys easily enough now can't (unless they're using the blunt stuff).  So when the Foot are humans, the turtles end up having to do a lot of knockouts - and you know, that's not a bad thing.  I don't need them cutting people up, and I don't need blood 'n guts.  Still: Cutting things up is more fun, and that's why I prefer robots!  You can chop 'em up all you want and the action doesn't take a hit, nor does it get any more bloody (though you're still getting the same violence...).

Same went for my toys back in the day; I always seemed to gravitate toward robots, because they could possibly take a beating and make the fight longer.  On top of that, you can lose arms 'n such and it's not such a big deal!

Still, they end up with good fights one way or the other...I mean, the 2003 toon did a fine job!  Just throwin' out some light commentary on fights in cartoons and why I like me some robots.

Now before I get into this I want you to know that my main guy here has an error:

The one on the right is your standard Foot Soldier.  The one on the left is the first one I bought, and he's sporting two left arms.  I noticed it when I got him, but it's a positive error for me!  With the left arm on the right side with the right forearm, the whole right arm is straight!  You know, like your arm might be when you're....oh I dunno, slashing a sword!

Somehow Playmates always thinks the best way to slash a sword is with your arm bent.  Granted, you can turn the wrist and have the sword face outward, but in most cases TMNT figures have awkwardly bend arms (the bad guys anyway) so that they are ready to stand there more than they are ready for battle. 

Still...though you'll see me use the straight arm one a lot in here, I still think this is my top favorite Foot Solider of all time; regardless of the bent arms of the normal one.

Alright!  Swords and stars seem to be the name of the game for this toyline so far, and the Foot Soldier is no exception.  He's got the same sword that comes with Shredder (but in black) and a short sword and two ninja stars.

He holds them all well in either hand and they fit snugly enough on his sheaths on his back.  There is a variation among the two that I have, though: The sheaths tend to fall off the back of the normal one, while they click in and stay on the one with the two left arms.  Don't know which one is the fluke, but I might as well base my review on the best of the two, so lets say that there's a good chance it's supposed to snap in nice and tight.

So lets talk articulation!  You can already see the Playmates standards, but as I stated with Shredder: They seem to be getting better.  The turtles fair better by far, and though Playmates isn't ready to give the badguys the same treatment, they still gave them possibly the best articulation that at least Playmates can muster for a badguy. 

Next to him you see the previous movie Foot Soldier, and much like the movie Shredder....he looks awesome, but plays terribly.  Worse than movie Shredder.  Do no be fooled by his cool looks.  The hips are useless, the shoulders are only cut joints, and his arms are bent like always so there are very few poses to get out of this guy.  The articulation points were just wasted money on the part of Playmates, because there's barely anything to do with them.  Maybe someday I'll show you what you can do with camera angles and support from objects and hands outside the frame, but for now I'll just tell you to skip that one and remember that it only looks good standing there like that.

The reason I was happy with him at all was because he wasn't crouched, bent, and useless like most Foot Soldiers through the years!  The Nickelodeon one finally gets most of these problems out of the way, while still working around some of them.  For instance: The outwardly moving legs and arms help A LOT when you take away knee and elbow articulation (and no, cut joints in the elbows do no count as articulation, I'm sorry).  I don't need the knees so much as long as he looks ready for action, and this one does.  That, and the hips allow for side kicks 'n such, so he helps with the action.

Of course, Playmates MUST sabotage things where they can, so of course one of the feet is posed with his toes bent, making him hard to stand (though if you've been collecting TMNT toys then you should be used to most of that).  If his other foot had been flat it would have been easier, but...ah well.  Then there's also the bent arms, since my straight arm one is a fluke.  The bent arms once again irk me, but not as much thanks to the outwardly moving arms.

You can still get some nice poses, but most importantly: it's fun to play with!  The outwardly moving arms get them away from his body, and allow for action - which I believe is what these are supposed to be - action figures!  So I always like it when they can display action (even when some companies try to kill it as much as possible, like with the Justice League figures where they just stand there).  So even though I'm complainin' here, I still have to stick by my comment about these being the best Foot Soldiers yet.

You still can't stand them up and knock them down, but they play better than previous Foot Soldiers, where they were either good for only knocking down or nothing at all (eventually I'll dig that figure out and do a post explaining that comment). 

So here's the deal: For the Shredder I said he isn't that great unless you're collecting most of the line.  You'll want him in the display.  However, I think the Foot Soldiers rate just a slight bit higher than Shredder himself.  Lets say you're only getting the turtles - and for that I can't blame you.  These are the best turtles they've done by far.  Still: rather than just posing them with themselves...why not pose them beating someone up?  How about some Foot Soldiers?

What I'm saying is that I recommend these higher because they play a little better than Shredder, and I think they stand out a little...less.  But in a good way!  Shredder is stylized and obviously matches this line, but the Foot Soldiers look like they could exist in any TMNT toyline, so you're not committing to any one style.  They're great background fodder for anything that needs ninjas, but they're not so complicated that you end up just messing with them the whole time. 

So yeah: I rate 'em higher than Shredder, and I think you could use at least one or two if you're only getting the turtles - but there's no question about them if you're going full tilt into this toyline!  These are the most useful Foot Soldiers that Playmates have managed, even with the usual crippling features that they throw in.  Give 'em a shot!


  1. Those CGI foot soldiers were indeed bitter failures. Luckily, I got four loose from a friend for a song, so at least I didn't pay full price for 'em.

    The vintage foot soldier was my first troop-builder; I bought one for each turtle. I bought a wind-up Mouser for each turtle, too. I went a bit crazy with the Ninja Turtles circa 1990. While they were probably useless, articulation-wise (I can't remember for myself, oddly enough), there was something creepy and zombie-like about the hunched pose of those vintage foot soldiers that appealed to me.

    Now then...

    Photo Request!

    If at some point you could photograph the Nick Turtles alongside vintage Bebop and Rocksteady, I would be very grateful.

    1. Also, I saw this and thought of you:


    2. Yeah, I never had any of the original Foot Soldiers, but I wanted 'em! Friends had 'em, so I did get to play with them. They were hunched and creepy, but they served the purpose of an unsettling humanoid appearance - you know, since they were really robots. They worked well because their arms were mostly outstretched, so you could make some use of them (unlike the original Shredder with only one hand for holding things, and it's bascially hugged to his chest and had only two fingers extended for his pathetic grip).

      Anyway, I'm afraid I'll have to deny your request, as I do not have either of those vintage figures! Never had 'em, actually. In fact, I'd have to dig out most of my vintage stuff save for a few. I've got the smaller Krang robot body out, and two Mousers. The rest I gotta dig for. If you want me to use those, then you'll see them at one point, 'cause I dug 'em out to use them for reviews.

      Oh, and cool damaged Mega Man! I looked up the creator and it looks like he does quite a few Mega Man items that I've seen before; I think I'm getting used to his style now so that I can almost recognize it by the paint work and innards!

    3. How dare you not have whatever figures from 1988 that I happen to request?

      Seriously, though, no worries; I was thinking the vintage figures would look good with the Nick figures, but google image tells me otherwise; I forgot how dated those old sculpts are!

  2. The only Turtle figure I had back in the day was the original Foot Soldier, since my friends had the various Turtle/Shredder/named characters.

    I brought the disposable muscle. He'd also serves as a troll/ogre when I'd turn some Joes into Fantasy (That Black/Yellow Alley-Viper became a Lizardman with his shield a a random sword, sometimes road the JP Raptor into battle).

    Good times. This foot ninja looks to be the best they've made.

    1. Totally know what you're talking about! My toys were actors more than they were whatever they really were. Coincidentally, the yellow and black Alley Viper was my guy for EVERYTHING. He's loose as hell now, an I don't even know where the shield is anymore. Friggin' love that figure; I was really hoping they would make an Alley Viper in those colors as a homage.

      Anyway, chances are I probably would have used that Foot Soldier for similar things if I had had it back in the day.

  3. Oof. I'm going to have to dispute your "looks awesome" assessment of the movie Foot ninja. To my eyes, he looks like what would happen if Trendmasters tried to copy the Sigma Six style. While trying to beat Bayou Billy.

  4. Pretty sure that's the Ghostbusters firehouse.

    1. That is indeed! I used it for just about all the TMNT reviews; makes for a nice alleyway.