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TMNT Classics Collection
by Monkey Boy

Peanut Butter and Jelly. Abbott and Costello. Salt-N-Pepa. [Nobody loves poor Spinderella --ed.] There are some things that just need to go together. One does not simply purchase Rocksteady... you gotta have Bebop as well.

After Shredder's defeat by the Turtles, Shredder and the Krang devise two mutagen experiments that will destroy the Turtles. Bebop and Rocksteady, originally street thugs, volunteered for the experiments and as a result gained superior fighting abilities. The experiments transformed Bebop into a fearless mutant warthog and Rocksteady into a ferocious mutant rhino hungry for revenge. The Turtles better watch out for these mutants.

Bebop and Rocksteady, if you weren't aware, were named after music styles: bebop is a type of jazz, while rocksteady is a precursor to reggae (and, not coincidentally, the title of a No Doubt album). It doesn't have much to do with their character, but is still interesting nonetheless. Both were street punks who unwittingly volunteered to undergo mutation by the Shredder so they'd become more powerful.

Rocksteady became an anthropomorphic rhinoceros, while Bebop became... no, not a pig, a warthog. If you think about it, a simple domestic pig would be kind of a stupid counterpart to a rhino. That's why Bebop's brown, not pink. Incidentally, he was also brown-skinned in human form; Bebop is one of the few African-American characters in '80/'90s cartoons who isn't just a token. You don't think of him as black, just as a villain (mostly because he's been mutated into a warthog).

TMNT Classics Bebop, like Rocksteady, is based on his cartoon appearance more than his original action figure. The telltale signs? Well, he's wearing purple Mole Man glasses instead of the old toy's more standard-looking blue shades. He also has teeth on his necklace in addition to just a skull, and the turtle shell shoulder pads don't feature little turtle skeletons poking out from under them (the original toy was kinda macabre).

He's wearing two grenades on his red vest, and his belt is a chain, but he's not holding it together with a pair of handcuffs any longer. He's got Converse-style hi-top sneakers and ripped jeans, and is rocking a purple mohawk (though unlike the old cartoon and toy versions, it does not terminate in a ponytail). Another element that doesn't jibe with the previous figure or cartoon are his matching spiked bracelets on each wrist, as opposed to normally sporting a linked chain on his left. He's got a nose ring through his septum and wicked looking tusks, but lacks the buck teeth of the vintage toy.

But make no mistake, that doesn't mean he isn't ugly: his head sculpt is appropriately doughy and wrinkled, and like Rocksteady is handled with a level of detail that isn't really present on the rest of the figure. His arms are muscular but lack any real, defined texture. His clothes have a few wrinkles, but are mostly soft. Detail-wise. They're still made from stiff plastic, not softgoods.

He's painted up okay. The edges aren't quite as clean as the prototype figure and, like Rocksteady, he's missing some paint apps since he transitioned to production. It's not as drastic as Rocksteady, though. Going from the ground up, his shoes were shown with white circles (with purple Foot Clan logos in them), while on the figure they're magenta, like the shoe stripes. They were also shown on the inside and outside, not just out like on the actual figure. His proto bracelets also had silver spikes, while they remain unpainted on the figure. That's really it, though.

One more thing, though, before we finish the paint discussion: his overall color, compared to his cartoon model and his vintage figure, is much lighter, almost a tan... not the definite brown Bebop has usually been portrayed. It's a bit strange, and kinda makes his exposed areas look like hairless skin, rather than the fur it appeared to be on screen. It's kinda weird looking at it, though it really bothers our own yo go re - he's kind of a Bebop snob.

Bebop moves at all the same points as Rocksteady, though thankfully none of him is assembled backwards. With his severely hunched back, though, his head can't do much in the way of turning side to side. While all this articulation is definitely nice, I can't help feeling like the joints themselves slide a little too easy, and it makes me nervous that he won't be able to hold his own weapon upright in a few months.

Speaking of weapons, Bebop gets a ridiculous gun with a drill instead of a barrel, just like his old figure. It has the completely pointless scope, just like the original accessory, but now adds an even more useless stock and clip (full of WHAT? More DRILLS?!). He, like Rocksteady, originally had a makeshift shield that isn't replicated here. Bebop's was a trashcan lid. He gets a nameplate manhole cover base, like the rest of the Classics figures.

Of the two, I have to say Bebop's figure is better than Rocksteady's. He's not missing as many crucial paint apps, and none of him came installed wrong from the factory. Originally, I only planned on picking up Bebop, and that probably would have been the better (certainly cheaper) choice. But there's really no way to have one without the other.

-- 12/11/13

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