Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5 Inch Scale
I don’t think I feel more connected to any toy property over the years, than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a kid growing up, as soon as I was introduced to them I fell in love. One of the early figures I quite liked but didn’t own, was the Fugitoid. The Fugitoid, Triceraton and a handful of other characters didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the characters and were dark, gritty and otherworldly. Playmates had gotten the idea for the characters from Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman’s comic books and drawings, but they never appeared in the cartoon. That’s because the original Fred Wolf TMNT cartoon was a wildly different story than that of the comic book Ninja Turtles. When Peter Laird launched a Turtles revamp in 2003, he brought with him the entire Mirage universe to the table and once again Playmates made a Fugitoid figure. This time though, Fugitoid was a feature character in the TMNT cartoon.
It was a dark and stormy night far across the universe when the most brilliant scientist on the planet D’Hoonnib, Professor Honeycutt, received a distress call from his worker robot, Sal. Honeycutt, still wearing his parapsychological Mentawave helmet (a device for boosting mind powers like telepathy and telekinesis) from an experiment-in-progress, ran outside in response to Sal’s call. While disentangling Sal from some conductivity coils, the two were struck by lightning, destroying Honeycutt’s body… but not before triggering the Mentawave helmet and transferring the Professor’s mind into Sal’s robotic body!
This tragic turn of events was witnessed by the warmongering Federation General Blanque, who had been spying on Honeycutt in order to learn about the peacenik professor’s Teleportal device – an invention capable of transporting beings from planet to planet as a means to promote peace, not war… and certainly not the General’s Federation soldiers, nor the Triceraton forces warring with the Federation! Sal/Honeycutt goes on the run and is branded a fugitive from both Federation and Triceraton justice – and thus the Fugitoid is born! But it’s not until the Fugitoid hooks up with the space-hopping Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that the real action-adventure begins!
Fugitoid has a special place in our hearts here at Infinite Hollywood because Fugitoid was featured on our original banner and has appeared off and on in various forms throughout our tenure here. Surprisingly I’m not a huge Fugitoid fan or anything, I just think he’s a cool character and fits with the sort of motif we have here at Infinite Hollywood. But enough jabbering about Fugitoid, how is his figure?
Thank these 2003 Ninja Turtle packages for this website. Well, not entirely the packages per se but it was this line that got me back into toy collecting. I gave up toys in the late 1990’s and didn’t get back on board fully until 2003 when the new TMNT line hit. I decided very early on that I would not let these toys pass me by as so many Turtles had in the vintage line.
Say what you want about Playmates, but they know how to make a package. From the very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figure, Playmates has nailed the ideal toy package. In their 2003 line they offered up a unique card for each of the turtle four and a basic card which featured all the turtles for the villains and other characters. Fugitoid comes on this more “generic” card, but it’s still an excellent package.
The back of the package shows you the other figures in the wave and also includes a bio card. The TMNT bio cards are awesome and again it’s something that Playmates consistently gets right. Even if you never bought another TMNT figure, you have enough bio here to understand the entire plotline around Fugitoid.
Another thing that Playmates gets right is that they point out details in the sculpt and pass them off as “features” about the character and toy. Pointing out stuff like the “all gravity grip boots” and the lightweight “Lairdlar armor coating” just show the extra love and attention on the packaging that have endured so many fans to Playmates toys over the years, especially the Turtle brand.
Surprisingly the original 1980’s Fugitoid wasn’t that far off from what Fugitoid needed to be. However, if you look at Laird’s original 1988 drawings that he sent Playmates… You’ll see this EXACT figure, it’s nearly identical to Laird’s Concept Fugitoid Toy. Playmates did everything Laird wanted in 2004 when they made this figure, a full 15 years after he had sent them this original concept art.
The only thing that wasn’t included on this Fugitoid was the vacuum metalizing process. Which to be fair, Playmates did eventually do (sort of) and I’ll be reviewing that figure in the weeks ahead. Anyway, the entire sculpt, right down to the slightly turned legs is from the original Laird toy pitch.
When Playmates made this guy in the 1980’s they felt that he was a bit bland and added some extra detail to the figure. In hindsight that wasn’t a terrible idea, but it’s pretty awesome to see this Fugitoid look so perfect. He has all the minimalist details that the character is known for.
It’s a mass market toy so there are a couple of mold lines and such, but it’s not too much of a problem. The paint work is almost non-existent, but in all actuality there is a neat glittery effect in the plastic that helps give it a bit of a metallic look. It’s not quite what Laird lobbied so hard for, but the figure is definitely better for it.
Scale is a bit of a conundrum, as Fugitoid’s bio lists him at 5’6″ which would be slightly taller than the TMNT. The final product puts him at about that height with the other figures, but it’s not a great height difference. Personally I think Fugitoid can be bigger or smaller than the TMNT and look good.
He looks great with the vintage TMNT as well. I’m of the belief that since Fugitoid can change his size (a power he was shown to have in Volume 4 of the Mirage comics) it’s not out of the realm to have him with any of your TMNT figures.
Basically what I’m telling you is that no TMNT collection is complete without this figure. Scale be damned!
When it comes to articulation, this is usually Playmates TMNT weakest point. However in the case of Fugitoid, he’s almost perfect. Fugitoid has a cut neck, cut shoulders, swivel wrist and cut legs.
In a perfect world, yes a ball jointed head and swivel feet would have added to the final product. I also think perhaps if he had bendy wire armature inside like some of the Futurama Bender figures have he could be a bit more fun. But do these things ultimately take away from the final product? No, not at all. He’s passable enough.
Fugitoid is sort of a catch-all in that he doesn’t really need accessories. In Peter Laird’s original pitch, he mentioned snap-on arms. In 2003 when Playmates were looking at redoing this figure, they asked for Laird to expand on this idea and he did. Ultimately he didn’t like his sketches and advised Playmates to sort of tinker with it.
That’s exactly what they did. They opted to give Fugitoid a backpack with the extra limbs attached to that. The back pack has a cool futuristic look, but retains that 70’s stylized sci-fi look that permeates most of Laird’s work.
Although we don’t get anything quite as cool as the magnets and LED lights that Peter suggested, we do get a claw arm and a laser beam gun thingy. Both are pretty darn cool.
One of the neater elements of this weapon is that these extra hands fit over the current hands. Inside there is a little ball and the fingers of Fugitoid actually grab that ball to hold it into place. It’s very cleverly engineered and works a million times better than it has any right to. Of course due to the nature of the thin limbs of Fugitoid, you should be careful removing this on and off.
The laser cannon even has a piece that pops off to give it a bit of a different look. It’s nothing fancy, but neat none the less.
It’s crazy that I only paid $6 in 2004 for this figure. It’s a great value at that price and it’s still a great value. Sadly these guys are harder to find these days. I see them go for $20 or so on Ebay, but if you’re less picky you can occasionally find them for cheaper. Heck I scored an extra loose one for $5 the other day. The market for the 2003 TMNT figure line is all over the place, so what you’re willing to pay versus what you’ll end up paying is up to you. I would say though, that Fugitoid is an all purpose figure and a perfect recreation of the character, thus he can warrant a $10-15 pricetag easily.
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 10
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Clip-On Tech Pack with Extra Hands
Value – 9
Overall – 9 out of 10
Fugitoid scores a high 9 out of 10. Why? Well the more I looked at Laird’s original concepts and this final product, I couldn’t help but realize that this guy is everything he should be. He looks right, he’s got plenty of articulation and retains all the charm of the character. Yes, there are individual things that COULD be better about this figure, but ultimately I’m judging this toy on what it set out to accomplish and Fugitoid achieved every one of those things with flying colors.
The fact that he’s a cool character, has deep ties to this website and is overall a great toy just help pad that score out. As always your mileage may vary slightly, but there is no denying that this is an excellent representation for a slightly unknown, but very charming character. Does anyone know if Viacom ended up with the rights to Fugitoid when they bought the Turtles?
EDIT: Hilariously, I just realized that I asked Peter Laird about Fugitoid a while back when the TMNT sale first happened and he gave me the answer. I’ll reprint here:
“Do you still own Fugitoid?”
Nope! Good ol’ Professor Honeycutt’s story was too deeply entwined with that of the Turtles, so he was part of the deal. I will miss him.