I’ve been salivating over the many reveals from this year’s Toy Fair, which collectively guarantee that I’ll have five cents to my name by the end of 2015.
To cool down, I thought I’d take a minute to appreciate what I already have… and stop worrying about how I’m going to afford seventy thousand new Decepticons. Curse my toxic plasma.
Here’s the fourteenth edition of Five Random Action Figures!
Through the years, I’ve been pretty quiet on the Voltron front. I had the big lion set and watched the show often enough, but my ability to retain Voltron knowledge is weirdly horrible. I’ll never understand it.
My silence has been a disservice, because aside from the giant robot toys that everyone thinks of when they hear “Voltron,” Panosh’s accompanying series of standard-sized action figures absolutely RULED.
Here we have Robeast Scorpious, a gorgeous blue demon that was equal parts Darth Vader and Ganon. If you didn’t know that he was from Voltron, you might imagine him to be from some knockoff line sold at 1980s supermarkets. Or possibly the fruit of a six-year-old’s Play-Doh project. I just love him.
I don’t normally include modern figures in this series, but I had to make an exception for Penny, one of NECA’s newer Mogwai figures. Isn’t she adorable? Or am I just biased because I have a cat with exactly the same coloring?
Penny never appeared in the movies. See, after NECA got done making all of the Mogwai figures that did, they referenced some old Gremlins 2 concept art to create new ones. Yes!
The Mogwai figures born of that endeavor are all great, but Penny is by far my favorite. She’s way too cute to have been conceived as a villain, so it’s easy to imagine her as the only Mogwai besides Gizmo who wasn’t a midnight snacking dickhead.
(I’m glad she didn’t make it into Gremlins 2, by the way. My headcanon dictates that Penny would’ve been force-fed by the other Mogwais, and unwillingly turned into Greta. “Penny torture” would’ve made me think twice about naming Gremlins 2 my favorite movie.)
Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, 1986
I think my favorite thing about Five Random Action Figures is the justification to pick up action figures I’ve always wanted, no matter how inconsequential. This random ninja dude? I’ve been after him for almost 30 years.
I’m only familiar with Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos through its toy line, so I’m not sure what role “Ninja Warrior” played on the cartoon. Cursory research suggests that he was a type of villainous stormtrooper, meaning that there wasn’t simply one Ninja Warrior, but potentially thousands.
I can’t say I’m fond of the notion that my super cool black death ninja was just fodder for Chuck’s feet. I see him as more of a sub-boss. He wouldn’t make any major decisions, but he also wouldn’t just stand around like an inanimate object, waiting for someone more colorful to say “get him.”
Madballs Head Popping Action Figures, 1986
Yeah, I know I covered this guy before, but it was driving me nuts to not have him included in this series. Skull Face was one of the original and most iconic Madballs — a skinless, smiling creature who made games of catch delightfully horrifying.
After Madballs grew popular enough to warrant becoming things other than balls, AmToy whipped up a line of Head Popping Action Figures, which are now so rare than even well-worn figures routinely fetch $40 and up.
The figures have little switches on their backs. Push them, and the heads go flying. Push them too often, and you’ll never get the heads back on. (I’m careful with Skull Face, but it still takes twenty tries to get his head on without an immediate revolt.)
Gimmickry aside, these were good looking figures, totally unlike anything we were getting from any other line. With substantial weight, several points of articulation and meticulous paint jobs, it’s easy to see why fans are willing to plop down so much money for ‘em. You don’t have to be a fan of Madballs to appreciate super deformed monsters that lose their heads at the first sign of trouble. That’s just common sense.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1990
I ran several Google searches before including Muckman, in utter disbelief that I’ve published thirteen editions of this series without already doing so. How could I have been so irresponsible? Muckman should’ve been in Part 1!
A villain in the toy line but a decent chap on the cartoon, Muckman would’ve been confusing even if he wasn’t a pile of sentient garbage.
This is one of the few figures I’ve held onto since childhood, but I’ve sadly lost many of the things that made Muckman great… like the banana peel “hat” that completed his head, and “Joe Eyeball,” a small mascot figure that acted as the Yoda to Muckman’s Luke. It’s a testament to Playmates that Muckman looks so amazing even without those things.
You could stare at Muckman for ten minutes and still miss some of the finer details. Check out the frog on his knee! And the frighteningly large silverfish on his shoulder! And the clothespin over his nose, which suggests that even Muckman can’t deal with his stench. If there’s ever an awards show for Best Action Figure Ever, get this guy an entry form.
PS: As revealed at Toy Fair, Muckman will be joining the current iteration of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new figure definitely borrows some notes from the original, as well it should. Muckman wouldn’t be Muckman without disproportionate eyes.
Thanks for reading about five random action figures. For the fourteenth time.