Playmates new line of Ninja Turtle figures are a real mixed bag when it comes to quality. The initial 4 turtle figures were great but some of the incidental characters from wave 1 were less so. In each subsequent wave I’ve continued to find the figures of the supporting cast to be largely underwhelming. Not only are they lacking in articulation but some of the designs are downright awful. But every time I think I’m done collecting this line I stumble across another pretty cool toy.
I was browsing around Toys R Us the other day when I found a lone Newtralizer figure amongst a sea of turtles and crappy villains. I had never seen this figure before nor had I even heard of the character it so it caught be by surprise. I snagged him from his peg just to be on the safe side; the non-turtle figures TMNT can still be pretty tough to find in my area. If I didn’t grab him then and there god knows when I’d see him in the wild again.
Most of the modern TMNT toys I’ve bought are new versions of old characters I liked when I was a kid, like Leatherhead, Metalhead, or Mutagen Man. I don’t usually care much for the new characters like Fish Face or Dogpound. The one new character figure I did pick up, Cockroach Terminator, turned out to be a real dud. But unlike the other new characters Newtralizer had a few things going for him that appealed to me.
First off he’s a newt. I’ve always loved salamanders. I use to go into the woods across the street from my house and collect salamanders from under the rocks. I would build little habitats for them in my fish tanks. I’ve always been fascinated by lizards and up here in Atlantic Canada you don’t come across lizards very often, if ever. Catching salamanders was as close as I came to owning a pet lizard when I was a kid. Newtralizer is painted in a color pattern very reminiscent of the salamanders I hoarded back in the day with his dark body and speckled orange belly. Another neat thing about the paint job is the obvious nod to the Punisher’s skull on Newtralizer’s belly.
Secondly, his design is simple. He’s a relatively realistic looking newt with a belt and some shoulder pads. Many of the other new characters are overly stylized and really lean. Newtralizer is a good solid figure.
Thirdly, he’s a good guy, sort of. I was quite surprised to see him on the good guy side of the figure checklist when I looked the back of the package. He sure looked like a bad guy. When got home I read his brief bio on wikipedia and it turns out that he’s an assassin and criminal who’s an enemy of both the turtles and Kraang. I always think it’s cool when you throw a few lone wolves or new factions into a well established conflict like Destro and the Iron Grenadiers in G.I. Joe or the Evil Horde in Master’s of the Universe.
Lastly, his name is Newtralizer and he’s a newt. You can’t beat that.
I really like the look of this character but the figure wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. It’s lacking in articulation which I’ve come to expect that with this line but I really wish Playmates would step up their game for future releases. Neutralizer swivels at the neck and he has ball joints at the hips and shoulders. I’m not a fan of the way the legs attach to the body; its like they’re just tacked on. Also, his legs are sculpted with bent knees and it appears that if the legs could be straightened out they wouldn’t be the same length.
Newtralizer comes with 2 weapons; a knife and a round bladed disc. They’re pretty plain accessories sculpted in solid gray plastic with no paint apps. With a name like Newtralizer and a nod to the Punisher in his design I would think this guy should be much more heavily armed with loads of guns and weapons. Apparently he does all his neutralizing with a jackknife. weak.
This figure isn’t great but it’s pretty good. If I owned this toy when I was a kid Newtralizer could have lived in a swamp (my aquarium) where he’d rule over a legion of salamander warriors. It would’ve been fun. 6 out of 10.