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Mousers three-pack

by Rustin Parr

Army-builders are pretty much the coolest things ever; I love 'em! So when NECA first showed images of their comic book-based TMNT April O'Neill figure from series 2 I was equally thrilled and heartbroken to see she was coming with some Mousers. On one hand I was excited to have a little army of these guys to harass my turtles, but on the other, I didn't want to have to buy a bunch of Aprils. Enter San Diego Comic Con 2008 and its exclusive Mouser 3-Pack!

April O'Neill will come with one normal Mouser and one battle-damaged Mouser, so it was looking to be quite a feat to build an army, but fortunately the normal Mouser is available in triplicate here.

Similar to the rest of the series, the Mouser is fully painted, here with a grayish-white. Over that is an aqua-blue for its eye and of course, all of the lines are traced in black - this comicbook-inspired line's trademark. The sculpt is as faithful as I imagine it could be, with all the little segments to the legs and necks sculpted/painted and even a little bottom cap in no way analogous for a biological feature used to eject the remnants of whatever has been consumed - in this case probably mice.

The Mouser has four points of articulation - the hips, a swivel at the base of the neck and a ball-and-socket at the top for the Head. The hip joints work nicely, just as one would expect, but the neck is a bit of an issue. The swivel works fine, and is kind of nice because the neck is sculpted with a bit of an arc to it, so theoretically it allows for a head-bowed-down or a head-bowed-up position. Unfortunately, though, the ball socket on the head is too tight to allow for radial turning - it can only easily pivot forward/backward or side-to-side. As a result, the head can't rotate around the neck meaning that it is effectively stuck at whatever angle (to the neck-arc) that it was attached at - which gets pretty annoying. You can get it to turn with a great deal of effort, but that's not playability.

As a pack-in, the figure is pretty awesome, as a headlining feature is very underwhelming. The main thing missing here is an articulated jaw. For a machine that does nothing but bite things I'd say that's pretty crucial. In fact I'm tempted to say I'd rather have a Mouser with an articulated jaw than articulated legs. And speaking of legs, the design has several points of articulation drawn into it that aren't utilized here, as little as hinged ankles would add a lot more personality and poseability to the figure.

Granted, this exclusive had a fairly short term of turnaround so they had to use the same molds as April's accessories eventually will, but with only three mousers and an exclusive manhole cover, this set feels like a jip at $20. Were it $15 it would be pretty fair (and I would have gotten several sets, most likely), but I'm effectively paying $6 a Mouser, which is pretty steep for a 2" figure with limited articulation.

But, as I mention, the set isn't only Mousers, it also includes a street base and an exclusive, removable manhole cover. The base is identical to that which comes with two of the Turtles, except that its is missing its extra bit of flair (pile of wood or sewer cover), which gives us a good view of the peghole for said flair. In its stead comes a much more realistic-looking manhole cover than what comes with the Turtles, and in a cool bit of fun-ery it has "San Diego" written across it. On the flipside of the cover/disc is a sticker/photo of Eastman and Laird early on, presumably at SDCC. Odd. Honestly, the whole thing has a sense of "fridge magnet" to it - which is neither bad nor good.

The "San Diego" is a cool touch, but I can't help but be a bit bugged by the different look and city name when added to the rest of the comicbook-y display, so it will most likely be left out. And speaking of which, on the plus side, the base lines up perfectly with other bases helping to extend the street scene. On the down side, with no sidewalk section this portion of street is doomed to always sport a recessed strip of pegs meant to connect with that other section of base. If the Series 2 display at SDCC '08 is to be believed, the three bad guys will all come with sidewalk sections while only April will have street, so this base could be incorporated into that scenario deftly, but it would still leave an odd number of bases.

Again, as is, the figure is a great pack-in and will be more welcome and useable than the ninja-claw hands that came with the turtles when it arrives with April, but for this set it really would have been nice to either work in some more articulation or, more probable all things considered, lower the price. Perhaps at some point down the road we'll get a wide release of the Mousers with added articulation. Battle builders are fun for collectors and virtually garaunteed big sellers for vendors, which must be quite welcome in today's market.


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