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Fishface Figure

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Nickelodeon
Fishface
5 Inch Scale
By: Playmates
$8.99

We’re finally back to reviewing some stuff here at Infinite Hollywood. November is sort of “Ninja Turtle November” because we’ve got quite a bit of Turtles action to get to. First and perhaps most importantly, is the awesome new Fishface figure. Fishface is one of the two new core “hench mutants” on the show. In a nutshell, he fills one of the “Rocksteady and Bebop” roles. Although up to this point, Fishface has only appeared in one episode and in his human form as a streetwise thug, named Xever. He’s scheduled to reappear this week, so perhaps he’ll get turned into a mutant then.

Fishface TMNT

One thing I do like about the character thus far, is that he’s been presented as a tough, no nonsense type of guy. This could translate into him becoming one of the Turtles’ more prominent foes, but it’s hard to say at this point. From an action figure standpoint, this is Playmates at it’s best. Here is where we see that removing some of the strict limitations that Peter Laird imposed on the 2003 cartoon, leads to more exciting action figures. Fishface is a mutant piranha with robotic legs. It’s brilliant and screams old school Ninja Turtles.

Fishface TMNT

Another nice part, at least from my perspective, is that Playmates hasn’t went overboard here. Fishface looks and feels like a classic TMNT character, but he isn’t covered in needless garbage and funk that often adorned vintage Ninja Turtles figures for seemingly no reason other than to add in a “gross out” value. I’m glad to see it’s gone. Fishface looks to me like one of the Archie Ninja Turtle characters, had they been made into a toy if taken straight from the comic models… If that makes any sense. Unfortunately finding Fishface has not been easy. He’s part of a Wave 1 1/2 revision, which includes Dogpound and Metalhead. Those two can be found very easily, but Fishface is much more elusive.

Packaging:
There’s nothing here we haven’t already seen before. I’m not going to go over it too much. I still like the colors and even though these have been on the shelves for a while now, they still stand out.

Probably the only thing that’s really worth noting here is that the back of the package is starting to reflect the vintage toys, more and more. The division of the ranks between good guys and bad, as well as the logos and such. It’s a nice touch. The photo of Fishface from the actual cartoon looks much worse than the figure, too. And I should note that I got a tad bit of warping on the legs and top fin. It’s hard to tell if the top fin is supposed to be bent or not.

Sculpt/Paint:
Let’s get down to brass tacks here… This sculpt is fantastic. For some reason I’m reminded of the fish Zoanoid from one of the Guyver movies when looking at this guy. That’s a great thing. Fishface is truly an inspired and creative concept. Playmates have turned it into a figure, which as I mentioned above, that looks better than the material it’s based on.

Ninja Turtles

The sculpting is really top notch, with a lot of intricate little details throughout. He’s got scales upon scales. The big teeth and the ridges all along the various parts of his body, truly stand out as some fine work.

Fishface TMNT

He’s got a nice scale, although I have no idea if it’s accurate to the show or not. He looks like a relatively small character in the few snippets I’ve seen of him in action, so I assume that means he’s pretty decently scaled. I like his height in relation to the other figures, so that’s good enough for me.

Fishface Ninja Turtles

There are tons of fun details, such as what looks like a gas tank port on the back of his legs and even sculpting on his feet. Playmates is doing some great work with the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles line and I am so happy to see them rise from the ashes as it were, to show that they can still be a force in creating fun toys. For the past few years Playmates just hasn’t been able to find their groove, but it’s clear that with the Turtles, their mojo is back.

TMNT Fishface

A lot of people will no doubt immediately point to what’s not painted as a glaring flaw. Yes, Fishface has several areas on his wrists that are sculpted as if he had robotic parts there. They are not painted. He has had a significant amount of paint applications cut from when we first saw him previewed. Personally, I don’t care. In fact I actually think the unpainted wrists as an example, make the figure look better. The simple divide between purple body and silver legs is much more stark in contrast this way. Cutting paint applications is not always a good thing, but in the instance of Fishface, I think it may have improved him.

Turtles Fishface

And let’s face it, the color scheme here is magnificent. The ridiculous bright orange breathing tank, the dark maroonish purple skin tone, the basic silver robotic legs. It all works. If I had one complaint, it would be that mine has a little paint slop around the mouth. But it’s typical mass market stuff. Nothing to really whine much about.

Articulation:
But now the real test… How is his articulation? So many of the Turtles auxiliary characters have had their articulation needlessly stripped away.

TMNT Nick Figure

Fishface has very good articulation in my view. Yes, he could be articulated out the ying-yang like some sort of Revoltech… But that’s an unrealistic expectation for a $9 children’s toy. For my money, Fishface is one of the best articulated Ninja Turtles figures yet. He has great range of motion in his arms, wrists and legs. The additional swivels at his face, tail and waist really allow you to get a great deal of personality out of him.

Fishface Figure Fight

He also benefits from what I call the “Kenner effect”, which is to say that his arms and legs are bent just right. Allowing you to pose him and get the range that you need from him, without having hinges at the elbows or knees. Kenner was the master of this. They often made 5 POA figures, but because of how they shaped the arms and legs, you rarely felt like you were missing hinges at the elbows or knees. Playmates did this in the 80s-90s as well to great effect and it’s nice to see it back in action here.

NICK TMNT Fishface

I’m certain that articulation junkies will disagree with me, but I find Fishface’s articulation pretty much exactly what I need. Would more be great? Sure. But it’s not necessary for me to enjoy playing with the figure. That to me is the litmus test of articulation in a toy. Of course, you’re welcome to disagree.

Accessories:
Fishface doesn’t come with much, but what he comes with makes sense in context of the character. His human form, Xever, is obsessed with his butterfly knife. So Fishface comes with that.

Fishface TMNT

It’s actually a pretty good sculpt for something so simple. I don’t think anyone would mistake it for anything other than a butterfly knife. I haven’t seen many butterfly knives in toy form, but I do think this one is pretty solid. Particularly when you consider the demographic it’s aimed at. In fact the entire concept of a thug using one of these is pretty intense for a kid’s show. I approve.

Fishface assault

He also comes with a ridiculously huge “sword” that looks like a giant butterfly knife.

Fishface Weapons

I suspect this is some sort of callback to when Playmates would often include “mutated” weapons into the vintage line. Taking something normal and turning it into some sort of outlandish weapon. It’s kind of neat in that sense, but it’s awkwardly gigantic and a bit useless.

Personally I would have had him come with some sort of blaster. I always like the generic blasters that Rocksteady and Bebop would use in the old cartoon and it seems to fit Fishface for some reason. Then again, perhaps I’m projecting a lot of this onto the figure. I don’t actually plan to use this figure as a singular character, but instead as a race of fish people, like a cross between the Utroms and Triceratons. Fish people who developed robotic leg technology to allow them to be mobile beyond their own aquatic home world. So there’s that.

Value:
It’s hard to say anything other than that these figures are a pretty good value. There’s really nothing else out on the market that’s even comparable. Ben 10, perhaps? But even that has so many different levels of price point that it’s hard to compare. Basically, this is one of the best toy lines in the stores right now and if they can continue to deliver strong figures like Fishface into the market… I suspect it’ll continue to be a success. Playmates has done a bang up job.

Fishface TMNT
Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Butterfly Knife, Butterfly Sword
Value – 9
Overall – 8 out of 10

Fishface is my favorite villain figure from the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles line thus far. I know that it’s still very early in the line, but I suspect this one will be a winner in my book for years to come. There’s just something about the design that strikes that gentle balance between completely absurd and downright awesome. Coupled with decent articulation and sculpting, Fishface is a real winner. Now if I could just find some more of them!

14 Responses to Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles Fishface Figure Review

  • Wes says:

    Great review! Fishface started out being the hardest of the new figures for me to find, too, but now that they’re on sale it’s Metalhead (I scored FF and Dogpound last night, but MH still eludes me). And yes, I totally disagree about the articulation… need to find something I can use to replace the legs. Maybe a junker Transformer or something; the thrift store always seems to have ones missing arms/heads/etc.

    And I do agree that the design is cool, but I kinda wish he’d kept the afro. Fishman with an afro — how awesome would that have been? XD

    • Newton says:

      Thanks man! While the afro would totally get in the way of my concept of a whole race of them (then again a whole race of fishmen with afros is equally awesome) I agree that the afro would be cool.

      Seems like something that could be easily customized though. Heh.

      I’ve only seen ONE Fishface to date. Which is the one I bought. I can find the others everywhere. Hopefully he’ll become more prevalent, so I can army build!

  • stack32 says:

    I’m glad you like these, but I think people seem pretty eager to ignore the flaws in these figures. I just don’t see how a figure can have “very good” articulation with no elbow or knee joints. It’s a shame because I really do like the design of this guy.

    • Mark says:

      Sometimes too much articulation can ruin a figure.

      • stack32 says:

        I agree, and I’m no articulation junkie, but this guy doesn’t even have hinged elbows. That’s a little too vintage for me.

        • Newton says:

          Understandable. I am much more lenient than a lot of people on articulation. Not just here, but in general. That said, I think the bent elbows really helps this. Likewise, while I do think the articulation is quite good, it’s not necessarily because of the traditional points. He has the added tail cut and bonus face cut which factored into that too. Some hinge elbows would have been great, but they’re more easy to overlook in this figure, IMO.

  • Toasthider says:

    Nice review, I especially found your comment about the “Kenner Effect” amusing, and pretty astute! This is one of the figures I’ve really been looking forward to from this line, though I watched “Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack” last night and that’s kinda put me off of ambulatory sealife!

  • Blayne says:

    I’m curious about this:

    “Here is where we see that removing some of the strict limitations that Peter Laird imposed on the 2003 cartoon, leads to more exciting action figures.”

    I did some Google searching, but couldn’t turn up any other info on this. What were some of the limitations Laird placed on the 2003 cartoon?

    • Newton says:

      Well it’s not like there were specific things necessarily, but just in general he put the kibosh on lots of stuff. Which for the most part was a GOOD thing, from a storytelling standpoint, but not so much for toys.

      Basically in a nutshell, he didn’t want mutants created via ooze. So you couldn’t just get random mutants. Playmates often pitched characters, even returning mutants from previous lines, but Peter wouldn’t allow it. He didn’t want things to end up like they did in the Fred Wolf toon.

      I understand why he did it and approve in a lot of ways, but at the same time, his strict hand with the Turtles also meant that some of the toys and concepts that are a lot of fun (and we’re exploring in the new toon/toys) wouldn’t have been possible back then.

      • Blayne says:

        Cool, thanks for the info. I really loved TMNT as a child, and really got back into TFs/GI Joe, etc. in the past few years — but the Turtles were always a blank spot in my pop-culture memory. It’s interesting to learn about the different version of the Cartoon/toys that have come out since then. I’d love to see a retrospective write up somewhere on the various toy series & lines, with commentary / tidbits about the creators. :)

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