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Ahh, the good ol’ days. It was 1988 when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy line came to fruition and it would be that same year that I discovered them. My first TMNT acquisition was also my introduction to the TMNT. My brother walked to the store with my great grandmother (who did not drive), which because I was considerably younger, was not allowed to do. Often when they would go, he would have her pick out toys for my cousin and us. All three of us stayed with my two grandmothers during the summers.


This would be not only where I first discovered the TMNT, but it would be the only time for decades that I would see a Shredder figure. They stopped into a place called Wicklows, which had once been Gillam’s World. There he picked up a figure for each of us, from the brand new Ninja Turtle toy line. My brother got Leonardo, which became his favorite Turtle. I got Mikey, who became my favorite. My cousin ended up with Shredder. My cousin hated this, enough that I actually recall him crying about it. We quickly convinced him that Shredder was really cool and as it turns out, Shredder was pretty darn cool. He was also impossible for me to find.


The cartoon had not aired yet in our neck of the woods. I recall it airing shortly after we had the figures, but we learned of the TMNT through the back of the package bios. It was great. It showed you just how cool that toy line was. Sure, Shredder may not look like much now… But back then? That was one of the coolest action figures I had ever seen. Of course, I was really glad I had gotten Michelangelo, but I couldn’t help but think how cool Shredder was too.


Of course what made Shredder legendary in my mind was the simple fact that I never saw him again. I had a TON of Turtles figures as a kid. Shortly after those original purchases, I was able to get Rocksteady and Bebop. Eventually along came Baxter Stockman and a whole host of other characters. Shredder and the Foot Solider were figures that I so desperately wanted, but always eluded me. This was a repeating theme in our household as we always seemed to never have the main villain. Not having the Foot Soldier? It wasn’t a huge deal (and that’s really a story for another time) because I had tons of bad guy figures and mutants… But not having Shredder?!


The Turtles without Shredder was like a sandwich without bread. This meant that Baxter Stockman had to be promoted to leader of the bad guys in my TMNT world, since clearly Rocksteady nor Bebop were equipped for the job. Heck, I wouldn’t even get Krang for many more years as well… So it was hard times. Eventually I made a makeshift substitute as documented in a previous post (Meet Shredder Circa My Youth) and it seemed as though my cousin was intent on never bringing Shredder around when we would play. He always had some excuse. I think he did it just to torture me.


And then of course, when he did bring him around, he was missing his head! I wrote about that before, but suffice to say, I was even envious of headless Shredder. Around 1993 or so I would finally get a Shredder… Super Shredder. It was bittersweet at best, even though I really like that figure. I still wanted that original Shredder.


Eventually Ebay would come around and sure enough, Shredder would be mine. As it turns out, this is a fairly below average figure. His body is contorted in such a way that he can’t do a whole lot of posing. Hell, just STANDING is nearly impossible for this guy. And he’s missing a shirt… I don’t know why.


I guess it could be worse. When Playmates first started tinkering with their 25th Anniversary re-release of the figure, they nearly omitted his pants!?

[For the record, the 25th Re-Release did come with pants, but why they actually used a non-pants proto on the back as opposed to using the classic figure is a bit of a mystery.]


It’s a strange figure, though. The spine is all contorted and he sort of looks like Zelda from Pet Semetary from behind. The blue armor doesn’t do him any favors, either. Of course this figure was repainted into Toon Shredder and that figure actually looks a billion times better, just by having a more accurate paint job.


It seems that Playmates would pay tribute to that pronounced spine in their late 90′s release of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Shredder figure.


Interestingly, that Shredder figure would become my favorite for many years. Although I don’t think that design has aged particularly well either. C’set la vie, Shredder.


Whatever the case, I have fond memories of this Shredder figure. Even if I never really had him as a kid. He was a big part of my childhood, without ever actually being in my collection. I’m glad to have him now, even if he sort of sucks outside of that time capsule. Now if you excuse me, TONIGHT WE DINE ON TURTLE SOUP!

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15 Responses to Spotlight On: Ninja Turtle Shredder 1988 Figure

  • clark says:

    I remember seeing the first commercial for TMNT toys, and didn't quite understand what I had seen. Then I got the toys. If I remember my first three figures were Leo, Mike and Shredder. My sister got Donatello and Raph, and for some reason my brother just didn't want any. We had the toys for a while before we actually saw the show. My parents ordered the first few episodes on Beta Max tape. I remember it was the first time I saw a company put a Beta tape in a VHS box, and just had a piece of styrofoam to fill up the rest of the empty space. Anyway, after we fell in love with it my parents got us a few more tapes. We rarely saw the show on TV, because I could never figure out what time it came on.

    Anyway, the turtle figures were my favorite, along with the foot soldier. It always bothered me that Shredder didn't look like the cartoon. I distinctly remember showing him to my dad and saying that he looked sick, because he was so skinny and his face looked weird. So, although I had him, he did not get a lot of play from me because I thought he was pretty lame for a character that should have been cool.

  • tarman13 says:

    I don't know what PLAYMATES toys was smoking when they made this god awful figure, 1. he never looked the part, 2. the color sceme is all wrong on the Helmet, 3. NO SHIRT!! and 4. what's with the funky lame pose??? the figure was almost impossible to stand and was everywhere because i figured nobody wanted him. when i got the TURTLES figures The Turtles themselves was accurate but PLAYMATES never took the liberty to make these guys right– the weapons were these lame brown color and Mikey's Numchucks were prone to break– the April O Neal figure was the highlight of the line… give or take about the "PRESS" fiasco

    RockSteady was Very good but the Head was NOT accurate to the Cartoon and PLAYMATES never made a decent ROCKSTEADY– Bepob was Perfect and the Foot Solder was OK– PLAYMATES was at it's Infancy so the FIGURES were acceptable to many children under the age of 15 i just wish the were made a whole lot better.

  • wesitron says:

    I had him and I never liked him, his weird starving Iggy Pop body just always threw me for a loop as a kid. He was Shredder of a sort, but not my Shredder from the show. Besides, in my eyes no one could ever compete with my Casey Jones anyway. That figure was crazy boss.

  • clark says:

    Casey Jones was awesome, unfortunately I never saw him when the 25th anniversary characters were out. Starving Iggy Pop body is correct. There's just so much wrong with this figure, that doesn't match any version of Shredder that had ever existed before. Luckily I got a Slice N Dice Shredder a couple of years later, and I loved him. He became my standard Shredder, and a substitute for Super Shredder (which I wanted but never got) at the same time.

  • wesitron says:

    I loved my Super Shredder. Since I hated the original so much, he was always my default. He was like a He-Man figure for the Ninja Turtles. Plus he had that awesome spiked mace. He was one of the few movie figures I owned, but well worth it.

  • jestergoblin says:

    One thing about Shredder's weird pose – at the time, Playmates wanted all figures to be around the same height. Of course, this didn't really make sense since Shredder towered over the turtles (which also doesn't make sense that he would be a giant Japanese guy). So the awkward hunched pose was created for him to be a "bigger" figure but still be near the same height at the turtles.

    I love these old figures. My original Leo I got in 1988 is one of my most prized possessions. Sure, he's scuffed to hell, missing all accessories except a single sword and one of his fingers snapped off but he's my Leo.

  • Mecha-Shiva says:

    Lol,If I had this guy as a kid ,i'd get a long gray strip of cloth with a hole in the middle and put it as his shirt and clasp it closed(like some old bootleg ninjas) with his belt,it'll bulk him up and hide his sinewy look.

  • We used to do something similar to that. We'd just use the cape material, but sort of flesh it out so it looked like he was wearing a top. His belt was helpful in this. I'm not sure why Playmates didn't do something along that style.

  • Haha, that's too bad. In my child eyes, I didn't think he looked as bad as I think now. Although I really do think a repaint makes a big difference. Toon Shredder, to me, looks pretty good, despite all the same flaws.

  • Poe Ghostal says:

    This was always one of my least favorite TMNT toys. He was the big bad guy, so you had to have him, but he was just so disappointing…pre-posed, hunched, looked nothing like either the comic or the cartoon versions, etc.

    Super Shredder was far superior (though I never actually owned him). I wanted a "real" Shredder figure so bad that I jumped on the 2003 revamp when it came out: http://www.oafe.net/poe/tmnt_shred.php

  • Bill says:

    This is the type of post I really love. I really enjoy hearing how the "action figure infection" hooked others like myself. I'd really like to see more of this type of article on other action figure sites, as opposed to a review of the same MOTUC review of a figure that dozens of others have reviewed.

    Just my personal bias. Well done, Newton!

  • Mecha-Shiva says:

    Yeah,they did it with Splinter.They probably tried doing it with him but they opted for a cape since they probably wanted to make his muscles visible like He-man toys.

  • I owned Super Shredder and although he was superior, he doesn't look a whole lot like Shredder IMO. He looks like a squatted version of Super Shredder. His shoulder blades and such were cool, but they really went over the top with that stuff and he just didn't quite fit the Shredder bill to me.

    Of course, when I got this Shredder to myself, I pretty much felt the same way.

  • Thanks Bill! I love having these types of posts when I can. I think that's what makes the hobby the most fun. Those personal connections.

  • Monte says:

    For my twelfth or thirteenth birthday, I got to go to Toys R Us and buy, in one glorious swoop, all four Turtles, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang.

    I hated the Shredder, and I maintain that there has yet to be a decent Shredder figure.