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Mikey the Elf

TMNT
by yo go re

After finding a copy of the game Mazes & Mutants in the trash, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael decided to get costumes and partake in some live-action roleplaying in the sewers around their home.

Mikey joins his brothers in creating his very own LARP costume. Putting together a cap, table cloth cape and pointed ears, he grabs a bow and arrows and becomes "The Great Elven Thief!" But to his surprise, he's sucked into a maze by an evil wizard. Now with real danger in his midst, Mikey works with his brothers to finish a maze and free the princess, April.

While most of the Turtles' ropleplaying personas are based on their usual personalities, Michelangelo's is not. He's the goofy prankster, the happy-go-lucky joker; and yet he's decided to play the elven archer. Basically, Legolas. Does Legolas seem like a goofball to you? Does he seem silly? Hardly. It's more like the process of elimination that earned Mikey his slot - you've got to hit the big archetypes, and all the others were taken. It's not that he doesn't suit the role, it's just as natural a fit as his brothers.

Befitting his personality, Michelangelo's got a big smile on his face - he's having a blast playing this game! We have no idea where he found those big, pointy ears (did someone throw away a Spock costume?), but since he doesn't have real ears to slip them over, they're just tied with a bit of string beneath his chin (in the show - the toy has them, the string, and his hat all molded in a single PVC piece that's large enough to encircle his entire noggin top to bottom).

The packaging says his cape is made from a tablecloth, but that's clearly not the case - primarily because he's not wearing a cape. For the most part, his costume is just a discarded employee uniform from "The Official Royal Weenie" (it's not painted on the toy, but in the cartoon, you can see the logo on his paper hat during closeups). Over the orange shirt, he's wearing a green tabard - maybe that's what the card was referring to? He's got a black sash across his chest with a bird medallion in the center, and a quiver of arrows on his back. And that's in addition to all the usual accoutrements, like his belt, the pads on his joints, and all that fun stuff!

From the beginning, the Turtles have pretty much all had the same articulation, and things aren't changing now. Michelangelo gets the benefit of a balljointed head, swivel wrists, and swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. The left elbow on my figure is a little bit loose, but that's unlikely to be a common problem. The prototype figure looked like it was going to have plain swivel shoulders, but the final product has a full range of motion.

Unlike the other figures in this little sub-group, the production paint here is not significantly different from the stock promotional photos; at a glance, the only change is that the medal on his sash is black rather than silver. But even ignoring the fact that the shirt should really be a paler orange (it had some kind of pattern on it in the show), his mask is so dark that it almost looks red, the wraps around his fingers are totally unpainted, and the little bit of his shell sticking out the bottom of the shirt is the same dark orange as the shirt - the entire torso is molded in that color, so his scutes really needed some paint. Additionally, the "string" on the head is the same color as the ears, rather than being white.

Rather than his nunchucks, Mikey comes with a bow. No arrow, though. None of the ones in his quiver are removable, and he doesn't include a loose one to hold. Is that bad, or would we just be complaining about his inability to aim if he did come with one? In the cartoon his arrows all seemed to be made from plungers, for improbable suction-cup action. The wraps around the center should be painted, rather than just molded in brown. Oh, and where's his +1 ring of awesomness? He needed a new right hand.

One of the things that made Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline the toys of the late '80s was the wild, weird variations the company made of them. Cowboys, cavemen, costumes, superheroes, samurais, sports, monsters, musicians, military... lots and lots of different turtles, is the point. These four LARP TMNT - Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael - feel like a throwback to those days, and if you don't mind all the absent paint apps, these are a lot of fun.

-- 10/31/14


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