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Casey Jones and Raphael (in Disguise)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
by yo go re

Gotta love when it's easier/cheaper to import a release from overseas than to get it from the store down the street.

In Central Park, daredevil Casey Jones drops down on a couple of hoodlums from an overhanging tree branch. He wears a hockey mask and carries a golf bag on his back filled with clubs, bats and sticks... makeshift weapons in the war against crime.

When NECA first found a retail partner for their live-action movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was GameStop. That was a terrific choice, because not only is GameStop ubiquitous, you could walk into any store, put five dollars down on deposit, and preorder the toys you wanted with no problem. Eventually NECA switched those exclusives over to Walmart, which meant they never showed up. Even when they were online, you couldn't get them. They did eventually learn their lesson, but it was too late for this set by then.

Casey Jones was conceived as a riff on the "unpowered vigilante" archetype so popular in comics ar the time - but unlike Batman or Daredevil, he didn't have any training or tragic backstory, he'd just watched too many episodes of The A*Team and enjoyed beating people up. So instead of any special protective equipment, his costume just comprises a hockey mask and sweatpants. He's wearing black high top sneakers rather than fancy boots, and while he does have gloves on, they're fingerless batting gloves to help him hold his gear, not something to prevent him from leaving prints. Whoops! The toy's vest is sculpted as a separate piece over his short-sleeved white henley, and it's a darker grey than his pants.

Movie Casey was played by Elias Koteas, though you wouldn't know it from this toy - the angular goalie mask is molded as a separate piece from the rest of the head, but it's not removeable, and there's not really a face sculpted beneath it. We know NECA's sculpted one - Koteas has confirmed it himself - but so far there's been no indication of its release. [Wrongo! Coming soon as a Walmart exclusive --ed.]

Casey's whole shtick is that he uses sports equipment instead of anything more high-tech - there's just something cool about the imagery of a dude carrying a golfbag full of weapons. Casey's got his bag, plus enough Sports Authority overstock that you can barely fit it all in there! He's got three bats (two baseball, one cricket), two hockey sticks (one regular, one goalie), and even a single golfclub. The shaft of the club has to be incredibly thin at this scale, so be careful you don't bend or snap it with your giant, clumsy fingers. There are alternate hands to hold all the stuff, one pair of fists, and one pointing hand. The figure moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles.

It's masked vigilante vs. undercover turtle! Casey puts up a good fight, but the ninja-honed reflexes of Raphael eventually prevail. Frustrated by Casey's brain-damaged put-downs, the amphibian throws a trash barrel over him and calls it a night. Humans are the strangest people!

This set is based on the scene where Casey and Raphael first meet, Raph having just come from the movies in his "disguise" (though the description of the scene, which we cribbed from a movie trading card, doesn't get the end right). Here's a fun trivia question for you: do you know what movie he went to see? We bet you don't! Because it depends on which version you're most familiar with. In the actual movie, he went to see Critters; in the comic adaptation(s), Batman; in the junior novelization, ET the Extra-Terrestrial; and while the full novelization did have him going to see Critters again, it also had him wishing he'd seen 1982's Ninja Wars instead.

This figure is basically the same as the regular release, but with a trenchcoat on. No shame in that, that's what the movie gave us as well. The coat is softgoods, so the articulation is still useable, but his fedora is a sculpted piece. There's a notch in the back that can squeeze around the knot of his mask to help hold the hat in place. Because Palisades' Muppet magnet technology has been lost to itme.

In addition to the coat and hat, Raphael has his sais, some alternate hands, and alternate mask ties, because that's a thing. Plus the ubiquitous slice of pizzas. He's also wearing a green backpack, possibly thinking that would help disguise the giant lump of his shell under the coat? It can be removed by sliding it off the arms. In fact, all the mew clothes can be removed, leaving you with a plain Turtle. Or letting you lend the disguise to someone else. Your choice!

I wanted this set because it's the only way to get Casey Jones - Raphael was just a necessary evil. Because it wasn't available in any easy way, I ended up having to buy it on Singles' Day, which is going to seem really foolish as soon as NECA announces an "Ultimate" Casey Jones release with both masked and unmasked heads. (And when they do, this pair will be up for grabs, so feel free to try calling dibs now.) Raphael is just a coat-delivery system, but Casey, and his bag full of weapons, are the real draw of this pairing.

-- 08/26/21

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