April O’Neil

Donatello the Playboy

Think you’re seeing double? Think again.

April O'Neil Variant

It has come to my attention that Playmates has released a variant of the April O’Neil figure in the new Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles line. The variant is a simple paint variant and I have no idea if this is as a result of a simple factory error or change in material or if this is a “correction” as the first batch of Aprils were slightly off color model.

Which is the real April O'Neil?

The changes are minor, but you’ll notice that in my April O’Neil Review that my April had reddish orange hair and a slightly dark, muted yellow shirt. The newer Aprils that are shipping out have a more brown color hair and a brighter yellow plastic shirt.

Different Aprils

Given that the color of the shirt has changed (and that requires more than just simply swapping paint) I’m going to assume that Playmates felt that the first run of April O’Neil figures were off model. There are several other changes to the figure that seem to confirm that as well.

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As much as I love the NECA Ninja Turtles, I think the 2007 TMNT (movie) Turtle toy line was actually quite good. People tend to overlook them, since the NECA ones are definitely superior. However, that last Playmates crack at the Green Machine wasn’t bad at all. Dare I say, to me it was probably the most fulfilling of the Ninja Turtle toy lines because it actually covered every major character from the film, had decent articulation and even added in a few characters that weren’t in the movie but were essential to the Turtles mythos.

I have been planning for some time to work on a little figure comic utilizing some of these figures. While doing a little research on said project today, I came across this awesome stop motion video using the 2007 TMNT figures. It kicks all kinds of ass. Check it out:

And of course, there’s also a vintage 1990 TMNT movie inspired alternate ending as well.

I love pretty much everything about this.

NECA has released details and pictures on how the non-SDCC exclusive versions of April will look. Surprisingly both variants will come with a mouser and a battle damaged mouser like the SDCC exclusive. There are two colors to choose from. Three if you count the SDCC exclusive.

The Yellow version seems like a no brainer. April wore yellow all through the original cartoon. Of course these figures are supposed to be based off of the Mirage comics, but April in yellow is probably her most “famous” look.

Interesting. Wasn’t expecting the green. There is a fairly rare green jumpsuit April that came with the Channel 6 news van back in the day. This pays homage to the original Playmates figures as there was a yellow one and a green one in that series. Now to paint a Channel 6 news badge on her.

Of course if you’re looking for the truly comic accurate April O’Neil you’ll need to track down the SDCC exclusive version. One has to wonder why the most accurate version is the exclusive as I imagine it would sell better than the green one, but that’s NECA’s call not mine.

I may end up picking up all three just to support the line, but we’ll see. While I appreciate NECA giving us an update on April, I really want some news on the Shredder and the Foot. With Playmates cancelling their comic inspired line, I definitely want to get my hands on the NECA stuff.

So there are two schools of thought when it comes to April O’Neil from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You’re either a Judith Hoag person or a Paige Turco person. Myself, I’m a Paige Turco person. See in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies there were two actresses who played April O’Neil.

The first was Judith Hoag. She starred in the first live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. She got to wear the iconic yellow jumpsuit, she got to fall in love with the masked vigilante Casey Jones and well, all the important stuff. But Hoag didn’t want to do another turtles movie, in fact in later interviews she basically said she thought the whole thing was ridiculous.

So along comes Paige Turco who starred in the next two Turtle movies. She got to meet Keno? Watch the Ninja Turtles dance with Vanilla Ice and… well have a bad haircut in Ninja Turtles 3.

Still, both women had a shot at April. The question at hand is really, which one looked more like April. To me, Paige Turco did. For starters Paige was attractive and even at 6 or 7 years old I found Judith Hoag absolutely fugly. April in all her previous incarnations had been somewhat busty, youthful and voluptuous. But Judith Hoag? She ended up with a butt chin, gangly limbs and far too many freckles.

When Paige came along I breathed a sigh of relief because April appeared to be somewhat attractive. A lot of fans rag on Paige’s version of April as inferior to Judith’s and although I think that should have no baring on which is the more definitive April, I will say it’s a bit of an unfair comparison. Judith was given a great role with April, but by movies 2 and 3, April was reduced to largely just standing around and laughing at the turtles hijinx and getting kidnapped. Hardly fair. The writers wrote the first April a good script.

In comparisons to the early artwork, obviously Paige wins. April was drawn to be a sexy lady, not a river skank troll. Of course looking back at a lot of the old April drawings by Kevin Eastman it’s pretty obvious at times he’s drawing B-Movie actress Julie Strain or at least channeling her. Luckily for Eastman he ended up marrying her, so I guess it pays off.

The Real April O’Neil?

Actually Kevin Eastman has floated around the idea that April may not have originally even been intended to be a white woman. And sure enough, if you read the first comic she appeared in, she does have a few features that could make her be some other ethnicity than Caucasian. Although why she isn’t colored in dark like Baxter Stockman doesn’t really gel with that vibe. I think Eastman probably just made that up to sound cool, he does that sometimes.

For my money though, Paige Turco is the definitive live action April. She looks better. Unlike Judith she’s never slammed the turtle movies in the press and let’s face it she went on to have a much bigger career than Hoag and yet she still enjoys her time with the boys in green.

So what say you? Are you a Judith or a Paige April fan?