Yes, Shellheads, we have been living in a new golden age of amazing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures as of late, but believe it or not, it is about to get even BETTER. Yep, Super7 has officially landed on the scene via the ULTIMATES! line to bring us new collector-grade action figures based off of their vintage toy looks. It has been an agonizing wait, but their first offering comes in the form of their “Stay-at-home-ic Con” exclusive “Bug Zapper Blue” Baxter Stockman.
Last week’s virtual version of the San Diego Comic Con was a necessity, but it just wasn’t the same. I know that is trite in the face of everything else right now, but with everyone stuck at home, and many of the “show” exclusives selling out online in mere seconds, it was kind of a rough go. Super7 was most certainly a highlight, though, and their daily video presentations were informative and funny, but also light, so it it kept some of the angst at bay. The best part was that their exclusives went live in the online shop, and remind in-stock for several hours, so most anyone who wanted to partake had a good window to close the deal. It was almost a relief when as was said and done, even though I still scrambled to get my Baxter order in within the first minute or two. I have been conditioned, I guess.
I did NOT want to miss out on this because not only did it look like a fun and logical variation of a figure, but it was also going to land ahead of any of the other TMNT ULTIMATES! offerings, even though series one looks to be shipping any day now. After imagining and waiting since the line was first announced via a placard at Toy Fair in 2019, my body has been fully ready for these to start hitting. NECA has been KILLING it with figures based on the TMNT original cartoon, movies, video games, and comics, so a line dedicated to updating those classic action figure looks (much the way Masters of the Universe Classics did for years) has been the last big space of need for me. So, to be clear: if this figure is the indication of what we are going to be able to expect from TMNT ULTIMATES!, this line is going to a total blast.
You have to be cautious when composing a review when you are wanting and anticipating liking a figure before you get it. That was a bit of the case here: I have liked everything I have seen of this line thus far, other ULTIMATES! releases have been fantastic, and the anticipation of the property has been big as TMNT and MOTU are my two favorite lines from my youth. So, I was careful when this figure arrived late last week, because I did not want enthusiasm to lead, it needed to come honestly from the figure and experience itself. So, I took a few days to live with this new fly guy, and I wanted to be able to bring this without any part of it being off the cuff or inaccurate. That said, I LOVE this figure. LOVE it. It is not 100% perfect, but it is an overall amazing offering.
First and foremost, this is a variant that is actually hitting ahead of the standard figure. Baxter in his vintage toy deco is coming soon in series one, so this type of variant is perfect for a convention exclusive. It is not something that is REQUIRED for most collections, but it is a lot of fun, and it makes sense as a look for the character. This has been imagined as Baxter in the Technodrome’s incinerator unit that caused his transformation into fly man. So, this is mid-zap, and the color scheme is really, really cool, and I will get to that in a minute. The scheme is bonkers and high-contrast, so it is pretty great for a “zap” effect.
The big part is that this figure (and accessories) has a delightful BLUE glow-in-the-dark feature, and let me tell you – it is SERIOUS. After a quick charge, this figure glow BRIGHT blue, this might be the brightest GITD figure I own, even surpassing my recently-acquired Toxie. The kicker is that, after I charged this figure the night I got him, I left him on my nightstand (as one does) and when I woke up the next morning (more than 7 hours later) it was STILL glowing strong. I was shocked, and very pleased. So, expect that this guy can keep it going all night (if you know what I mean), and I don’t know if I have any other glowing figure that can claim that. It is very well done.
The paint scheme on Baxter also helps to support the whole “bug zapper” theme, and the color choices are very striking, and can totally be construed as a zap/electrocute/radiate effect. Indio, red, silver, and iridescent white dominate the palette and Super7 was not a all afraid to go bold with the tones, either. The red really pops out at you and it is definitely the most foreign to Baxter’s conventional colors. The silver is not limited to the syringe and ring, and I love the accents on the organic parts, particularly the toe nails and the fins on the fly arms. Like I said, the individual color choices are bold in and of themselves, but they all somehow come together to make the scheme work remarkably well. Plus, the iridescent quality to the jacket is subtle, but it really works to help sell the overall theme. Plus, as we all know, PlayMates has never been/still is not strong on the paint applications, so this line gives us a chance to see enhanced details never before given a chance to shine.
Now, I think when considering the figure past the paint, the sculpting speaks for itself. Like most (if not ALL) ULTIMATES! releases, Baxter and the TMNT crew are being handled by Four Horsemen Studios, and this pleases me immensely. Not only are they incredibly talented, but his also helps to bring a sense of continuity between properties in the ULTIMATES! releases, and for a guy who also loves MOTU, ThunderCats and others very much, this is such an exciting time. The fact that Baxter, Skeletor, Toxie, and Jackalman can all hang out and be relatively connected via scale and style is a hell of a thing. I collect mostly 1:12 figures, but at the same time, I don’t expect for all of them to be able to be compatible from a scale perspective, but with one design group and product manager team being in sync through all of these, it is already showing connective strength from one line to the next.
With that, figure sculpture itself is wonderful. This line is supposed to be a modern update of the vintage PlayMates figure line, and this Baxter holds true to that in a wonderful way while still getting modern sensibilities and even more detail. Let’s face it, even without a variant, Baxter was going to have the most interesting figure overall in series one, and he is right in the Horsemen’s wheelhouse when it comes to fantastical monster realization. The face, wings, and fly arms are very true to the original, but all of them are pushed up even more with detailing. The 4H were meticulous in bringing the small detail from the original figure to life here, and the fact that they did not skip on his ring makes me mark out hard. That ring is such a long-standing point of intrigue and mystery for Mr. Stockman. Is he married? Was he? If so, what is dinner with the fam like these days? It’s crazy, and its all there!
The articulation is pretty on-par for what you should come to expect from ULTIMATES! at this point, even though the configuration obviously does not match that more standard “He-Man” base that a lot of figure are built from. Baxter’s elbows and knees are singles, just like the rest of the ULTIMATES! figures, but they both get a pretty good range of motion. The wings are on a ball joint, as are the fly arms (each has articulation at the base, “elbow” and wrist), but unlike the original, these are not removable from the figure. I *think* there is a slight bit of torso articulation, but this is difficult to tell due to the jacket, and there is a little bit of movement, but nothing to seriously bring a new posing dimension to the figure.
The ankles on Baxter do NOT feature side to side rocker movement as is per usual with this line. I do not believe this was looked over, but rather a conscious choice. Baxter is BIG and really bulky, and to pose him correctly in his standing position, the knees need to be significantly bent for his proper stance. I think the rockers could possibly work against the weight of the figure in this instance and make it harder to stand him up, and these standard hinges are stronger to support him better. We will see what the rest of the figures feature, but I am going to bet that at least Raphael and the Foot Soldier have the rockers.
Baxter also gets four sets of hands that are kind of the in-between with the figure itself and it’s accessories. There are fists, open, tight grip, and loose grip hands included with this release, and all of them serve their proper purpose. The fists and open hands speak for themselves, but the grips are worth calling out here as the tight grip works better with the swatter, and the loose grip is more compatible with the blaster. This might seem subtle, but it actually goes a long way in terms of posing as that tight grip really limits the natural posing of the blaster, so good on the team for including both.
Speaking of the blaster, it, along with the vintage fly swatter are the weapons of choice included with Baxter. Obviously, these will also join the standard release in their standard colors for series one, but they are also requisite here. The blaster/zapper is a fun inclusion and just the kind of thing I like seeing added to a modern take on the character. As I said, he can hold it well with the loose grip, and as the swatter is really built for the right hand, he keeps this best in his left. The fly swatter is really just what you would expect in terms of a modern update to the signature vintage weapon, and for the most part, it is great. The details are all there and the added paint in the regular release will help to sell it even more.
I will say that if I had an issue with anything concerning this figure, it would be the fly swatter, though. The rig comes in two pieces, the swatter itself, and the arm overlay piece that attaches to the bottom of the handle. The fly starter piece itself is great, except for the fact that when Baxter holds it, there is not enough handle at the bottom to meaningfully attach the overlay piece, so it barely stays on. Plus, the actual part of the overlay that is supposed to sit over the forearm is not big enough to do so. This piece should resemble the vintage stylings and wrap over the side of the arm, but there is only about ¼ inch of tolerance between that portion and the “wall” of the overlay, so this is not going over any arm, and it just hangs there awkwardly. When I was a kid, I think I generally left the overlay piece off due to visual preference, but for this figure, you are not left with much of a choice. It really is a bummer, and like I said, really the only thing that keeps this release from being completely perfect.
Oh, and not only do you get all of the regular accessories, but you also get another set that is still attached to it’s sprue “weapons rack.” These are, of course, unpainted (an on-the-nose recall to PlayMates), and since the weapons also come unattached, it makes this kind of like its own accessory with its own purpose. It is a nice wink to the nostalgia feels as all figures are going to have this, but it is probably not really needed for me past the four Turtles themselves.
The big accessory, though, is the fact that you get an entire friggin’ Mouser included with this figure, and that is something that was it’s own release back in the day, Fortunately, the wind-up feature is long gone, and much like Baxter himself, this one glows delightfully blue as well. The sculpt work is very sharp, and the figure features articulation at the “hips,” neck (swivel), and of course, with the opening jaws. I love this little dude, and I cannot wait for the standard release. The problem is that I am going to need about a dozen of those, so hopefully Super7 will cook up a multipack or something for down the road.
Whew! I LOVE this chunky fly boi! The glowing blue variation is a perfect pick for a convention exclusive, and the bug zapper theme fits Baxter’s history just right. Past that, I cannot tell you how excited this figure has me for the rest of series one and beyond for TMNT ULTIMATES! If Baxter is a harbinger of things to come, the sculpting, size, articulation, and quality are are very much on-point, and this line is going to be a BLAST to collect. Seriously, if you have not already pre-ordered the first three series, find a place where you can do so, because you are not going to want to miss out. NECA has been giving us our dream cartoon, movie, comic, and video game figures, and now the vintage action figure line tribute is here from Super7. What a time to be a TMNT fan and I hope Super7 can get us ALL of the unique characters from the vintage line in ULTIMATES! (and some choice variants) because, can you imagine? Get excited Shellheads, this figure is LEGIT.