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Metalhead

TMNT
by yo go re

So, what, this is a robot that only listens to one specific genre of music?

Built to last; built to blast, Metalhead is a "mutant" machine like no other! Created by Donatello from salvaged Kraang tech, Metalhead is one of the Turtles' most powerful weapons against evil. The turtle-like Don Droid is practically indestructible! Cloaked in impenetrable armor and laser-lancing arm cannon, Metalhead's a force to be reckoned with, Turtle style!

Heh. The original Metalhead (in 1989) was created by Krang and used against the Turtles - the new one is built from Kraang parts, but has been a Turtle creation from the start. Nice turnaround for a beloved vintage character!

The new Metalhead was designed by Derrick J. Wyatt - he of Transformers: Animated fame - and you can still see a little bit of that in the final product. Mainly in the shape of the head... okay, the jaw. He's got a big chin, is what we're saying. It's cute, though. He's got a blocky little head and a big chin, and it's super cute.

Metalhead stands about 4⅛" tall, which is actually quite large - as seen on the show, he only comes up to about the waist on the Turtles. Dawwww! He's actually closer to being in scale with the big TMNT Classics figures than with the animated ones he's meant to be. That's okay, though: better to get him as a full figure than as a glorified accessory, right?

His articulation, like most of the non-Turtle figures in this line, is insufficient. But it's not as bad as most of them: sure, he only has swivel shoulders and forearms, but the head is a balljoint, and his hips and knees are swivel/hinge. Yeah, it's bad news when having knees is a highlight. On the plus side, all the joints move perfectly well. His left foot is molded with the toes bent back slightly, which facilitates "walking" poses.

The design of the figure has changed quite a bit since we saw the in-progress piece at Toy Fair, but it's all in service of being more accurate to the cartoon. His feet and chest are designed to look like the Turtles', but he has a big C-3PO gap in at the waist, with lots of visible wires bundled inside. For some reason, his knees look like skulls - there's no logical reason for that, but they're neat. The arms and legs are segmented rubber tubes, but our favorite feature is his shell: it's made out of a NYC manhole cover, pounded into shape. What a clever idea!

The paint is okay, but you can tell Playmates is cutting corners. The yellow "bandana" around his eyes stops when it gets to the corners of his head, when it should go all the way around. Same goes for the black gap in his abdomen, which stops right at the seam between the halves of the torso - and half the hanging wires aren't painted to begin with! He does have a few extra details painted on his forearms, but there should be more, all over the body. You know how they say a dilapidated house is "a handyman's dream?" Well this is a customizer's dream. Those guys who throw a dirty coat of paint on a figure and make a month's rent on eBay will love it!

Metalhead had all sorts of armaments in the cartoon, but he's only got one action feature as a toy: there's a hole in his right hand that runs all the way through the back of his elbow; plug in the included translucent red missile, and you've got a representation of the flamethrower installed in that arm. It's not a mechanical feature - no springs or even one of those friction-based numbers - so it only fires when you give it a strong enough flick in the back.

With incomplete articulation and disappointing paint apps, not a lot of the new TMNT figures are worth getting. But Metalhead bucks that trend (somewhat), and is a cool little toy.

-- 11/11/12


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