Gosh, I haven’t posted a new edition of Five Random Action Figures since… well, since last year’s Halloween Countdown. I don’t know what my problem is. I have plenty of old toys, and these are easy enough to write. Hopefully this is the start of a brighter future. If not, I’ll see you next year.
Because it’s the Halloween season, I’m exclusively featuring SPOOKY figures in this edition. (Are McNuggets dressed like clowns spooky? I think they are.)
McDonald’s McNugget Buddies (1996)
This one’s from the final wave of McDonald’s Halloween McNugget Buddies, which was definitely the weirdest wave. That was the set where you had McNuggets dressed like octopuses and Godzilla. And also Ronald McDonald.
Ronald isn’t the “coolest” figure from that set, but he’s still my favorite. While the logical explanation is that some random McNugget chose to dress like McDonaldland’s top dog, my headcanon states that this is the actual Ronald McDonald, who through a series of mishaps mutated into a Chicken McNugget.
The McNugget looks cute with the wig and shoes, but when he’s naked, that clown mouth is pure terror. I keep waiting for him to pull a Poltergeist-style scam on me. I’m not stupid, Ronald. The second I look away, I know you’re gonna kill me.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
I’d have to give it more thought, but Pizzaface might the strangest figure in the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection. If I have it right, he’s meant to be half-human, half-mutant pizza. Or maybe it’s half-human, half-mutant kitchen equipment? I dunno, dude’s a mess.
Arguably the grossest character in the series, Pizzaface spits slime, blood and teeth. He’s a hundred atrocities rolled into one. I bet Playmates worried that kids wouldn’t want another human figure when there were so many cool animals to choose from, so they just kept fucking with him.
I’ve grown quite fond of Pizzaface, because as nasty as this figure is, there’s something undeniably artful about it. (Also, pour one out for getting that many paint apps on a cheap toy. You don’t really see that anymore. He has shirt stains in three different colors!)
PS: The cleaver is supposed to be in his hand, and that thing in his hand is supposed to be his leg. I march to my own beat, what can I say?
The New Adventures of He-Man (1989)
I’ve only become acquainted with The New Adventures of He-Man cartoon in recent years, in part because my life was all about Krang when it debuted, but also because it aired at like, 8AM weekdays or something.
I was always into the toys, though. You shouldn’t sleep on them, even if you’re not big on He-Man. The bad guys from that series were just incredible, resembling bizarre background aliens from 1970s comic books.
Take Kalamarr — better known as “Slush Head” — for example. He looks like a frog cosplaying as a spaceship. Kalamarr’s helmet contains real actual water, which is a nice touch. (I should note that the helmet isn’t removable. The figure arrives with the water already in his helmet, so that isn’t water from my sink or anything, it’s vintage Mattel water. Score!)
I never want to know more about Kalamarr than I already do. Same with the other non-Skeletor villains from that toy line. It’s much more fun to develop my own origins for them. Kalamarr might be a bumbling enforcer on the cartoon, but here at Castle Matt, he’s a respected scientist who eats bugs.
Bjorn the Fat!
Troll Warriors (1993)
It’s easy to dismiss the assorted troll-themed toy lines of the 1990s as lazy cash grabs, but the truth is that most were very solid. In the case of Troll Warriors, the level of quality was on par with TMNT figures, which at the time were the gold standard.
Bjorn the Fat (Get it? Born fat?) isn’t even close to the best figure from that series, but he’s still great. Don’t get so lost in his orange hair that you overlook the other details, like his bugged-out eyes, too-tight shorts and Al Molinaro nose. (Not to mention his weapon, which is literally taller than Bjorn himself!)
Troll Warriors figures used to be super cheap on eBay, but they’ve really jumped up in the last year or so. Then again, everything has. The pandemic led to quarantine, quarantine led to mindless online shopping, and now it’s a new world where goddamned Troll Warriors cost more than a sushi dinner.
The Slime Monster!
Slime Monster Board Game (1977)
Only an “action figure” on a technicality, this is actually the centerpiece of Mattel’s Slime Monster Game from 1977. If you wanna know more about it, my bud Pixel-Dan did a video on the subject.
The key point, though, is that the game came with this ludicrous plastic monster. Guy looks like a cross between Man-Thing and one of the tripods from War of the Worlds. You were supposed to fill him with slime, which then slowly oozed from his mouth towards unsuspecting player pieces.
While I didn’t have that game as a kid, I can still apply my childhood rule: If a board game had any figural pieces, it was a-okay to treat them like “real” toys. I did that with pretty much every game I ever owned. Hell, even those tiny people from The Game of Life ended up somewhere in Castle Grayskull.
Thanks for reading! It’ll be a while before the next edition of Five Random Action Figures, but hopefully it won’t take a whole year this time!