Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
4 Inch Scale
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these Flashback Friday reviews, but with TMNTmania running wild here at Infinite Hollywood, I thought now would be a good time to do another. Today we’re taking a look back at one of the middle of the run Ninja Turtles characters and perhaps one of the strangest to the entire line. When looking back at this classic Playmates toy line, that’s actually saying quite a bit.
In the 90s there were two Pizzafaces. One appeared on the Nickelodeon show, All That and the other, was a twisted character who terrorized the Ninja Turtles. Pizzaface is an odd character indeed, only ever really appearing in the classic toy line. A villain pizza chef seems like a natural concept for the Turtles, though.
I can’t remember if I liked Pizzaface as a kid or not. I think I went back and forth on thinking he was the dumbest character in the whole line and one of the coolest. One thing is for certain, I didn’t get this crazy monstrous chef until long after I was past the point of playing on the carpet with action figures. These days I find Pizzaface very endearing and one of the more remarkable characters in the classic toy line. In fact, Playmates really did some unique things with this guy.
Those classic Turtles packages rocked. Pizzaface is featured among a variety of other characters that just shows you how powerful this toy line was. They were not only pulling characters from all sorts of different TMNT mythos, but they were straight making guys up. You really don’t see that in toy lines today. Another interesting note is that the pizzas shown on the back of the package are two different colors, while the final version just includes two red ones.
Pizzaface’s bio is pretty strange too. He apparently worked for the Shredder in an evil “Ninja Pizza” parlor where he decided he would roast himself in an oven with some mutagen and become some sort of super chef. Clearly this guy had psychological problems. I mean, why get into an oven? When had ooze ever been proven to make someone a better chef?!
Regardless of his nefarious plans, the Turtles actually SAVED Pizzaface and as best I can tell, left him mangled and mutated as a result. This really pissed Pizzaface off, because now not only was he hideously deformed, but he was likely a worse chef. So he tries to kill the Turtles now and finds work wherever he can, making pizzas and such, I suppose.
The classic Playmates Ninja Turtles line is always sculpted to the hills with unique little parts here or there. Playmates would often take a Mirage sketch and then “grossify” it with a bunch of random bugs and grossness. Sometimes this adds to a figure like Pizzaface, but other times, it would knock a figure down a few notches in my book.
Thankfully all the gross stuff works for Pizzaface and his sculpt is really pretty intense. I should also mention right out the gate that there are two versions of this guy. One which includes the knife on his apron painted green (like mine) and one that’s not painted. While some will tell you one is more rare than the other, they’re both pretty even in my experience. I prefer the extra paint application, so I went for this one.
Pizzaface has scars, bugs, ooze, pizza sauce and just about anything else you can imagine all over his body. He even has a “Mom” tattoo. Most of these items have very minimal paint applications and some don’t even have paint at all.
That was pretty much par for the course in the era and particularly of this brand. I’ve seen people repaint this guy, with all the detail you could expect from a modern figure and it’s really stunning. Even in this very basic version, Pizzaface is pretty neat looking.
“A face only a mother could love?!”
Believe it or not, originally Pizzaface was supposed to be even more grotesque. He was going to have a removable chef’s hat, which revealed a second head growing underneath. I assume this was a result of the mutagen. However that was cut from the final figure, likely because it’s pretty freaking horrific, even for the TMNT line.
Other things were removed as well, such as his missing finger. It’s still there, but there’s no paint application. Clearly this was done so that they could tone down some of the freaky nature of Pizzaface.
He also has a very strange right hand. It’s supposed to be like… Actually I don’t know what it’s supposed to be. He can use it to hold his shield, and sort of hold the pizzas, but it’s very bizarre.
Arguably the neatest part about this figure is that his meat clever weapon can also be exchanged for his pizza cutter peg leg. It’s a cool way to change things up. It actually makes me wish they’d done more with this. They could have included another pizza cutter, a rolling pin or perhaps even a spatula. Oh well.
Playmates almost always included ball socket legs on their figures, but Pizzaface bucks the trend and has simple cut legs. Well technically, leg, but you can rotate the cleaver/cutter leg as well.
And unlike pretty much every other vintage TMNT figure, he doesn’t have any sort of wrist or elbow swivel. His arms are simple cuts and that’s it. He also has a cut neck. Why the differences? I assume because originally Pizzaface was going to come with that removable hat and bonus head. It’s hard to say, though.
Pizzaface’s articulation is very unique in the vintage TMNT toys. It’s just another reason why this guy stands out amongst the rest. He’s almost like he’s from some other toy line and yet, he’s very, very much in the classic Ninja Turtles formula as well.
As I mentioned above, I think Playmates sort of missed an opportunity to not do more with this guy. His leg could have provided a lot more weapons than it did.
He does come with a few things though, as TMNT toys always have accessories. He has two pizzas with gross ingredients (including a turtle trying to get away) as well as his cleaver and a shield that’s made out of a pizza box.
I’m not really sure how much protection a pizza box shield could have given him, but again, Pizzaface doesn’t strike me as the particularly intelligent type. Once again, there’s tons of great sculpting on the shield, but no paint application. Only the cleaver has paint and it’s clearly the best weapon as a result.
The pizzas can be thrown as weapons, but they don’t really fit in his hand that well. I assume that his wonky hand is sculpted to use these in some way, but it’s not the most useful.
These were between $3-$6 when they first came out. Pizzaface is a fine figure for that amount. If you’re trying to find him on Ebay or swap meets these days, he’ll run you somewhere in the same neighborhood. If you’re looking for a MOC version, you’ll pay closer to $15-$20 depending on the day.
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 7
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Cleaver, Throwing Pizzas, Shield
Value – 6
Overall – 7 out of 10
These Flashback Friday reviews are sort of done through nostalgia goggles. I’m not sure Pizzaface would appeal so much to me these days if he wasn’t a classic TMNT figure and one that’s sort of off the beaten path. Regardless of that, he’s a pretty solid and unique figure. There was such a basic formula for the Playmates classic Ninja Turtles figures and it’s pretty cool to see one who’s a little off kilter.
Pizzaface is a little small to fit into the new Nickeloden Ninja Turtles toy line, but I’m still squeezing him in. Who’s to say he’s not just a short dude? Plus he’s all mutated and crazy. I think he works in a twisted way, but your mileage may vary. Maybe we’ll even see a new Pizzaface in the current line. Stranger things have happened, though they don’t come much stranger than Pizzaface!