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Casey Jones

TMNT Ultimates
by yo go re

Hey, guess what preorder I forgot to cancel!

Like all psychos, Casey Jones, the masked sportsman, wanted to be a legend. Armed with broken bats, shattered dreams and one golf club, Casey turned his ambition toward crime-fighting. Modeling himself after his favorite vigilante cops show, Casey decided to take the law into his own mitts. Outfitted with cast-off sportsgear, Casey challenges every criminal who dares to go out of bounds. Teaming up with our beloved Turtle Teens, Casey strikes out with a special vengeance against Shredder and the Foot Clan!

Super7 Ultimates are done as true preorders: a lot of companies will make a bunch of toys, then while they're being shipped from the factory, offer "preorders" that are really just pre-sales; Super7 has an open period when everyone can place their order, then takes those numbers to the factory and begins production. As an easy metric, remember that it's literally impossible for a preorder to sell out, whether it's 500 people or 500 million, because the toys don't exist until the orders are in. Obviously, this takes a lot longer, which is why the preorder window for this figure ended over a year ago. Back then, finding a NECA Casey Jones seemed like a pipe dream (and the animated one still is), so I ordered this one as a replacement. Couldn't have imagined then that I'd end up with two NECA Caseys before this one shipped!

I always dug Casey Jones' low-rent, DIY approach to heroics as a kid - who needs specialized tools when you have everybody objects you can repurpose to something useful? Like, what better way to both conceal your identity and protect yourself than with a hockey mask? But I certainly never got the joke of how his filecard was running him down, mocking his choices and methods and even the scope of his plan.

The hockey mask is almost the only protection Casey wears. There's a single pad covering his left shoulder, but then that's it. Like, shinguards are a thing in soccer, right? And elbow pads in baseball? Nope, all he has are some normal sneakers, a tattered pair of gray sweatpants, and a teal hoodie he's turned into a sleeveless crop top. Yeah, good work, Case, that'll stop a bullet. Or a knife. Or a rock. Or a punch. Or harsh language. You're totally safe. Of course, if you were as well-defined as he is, you'd probably be showing off your body too. He's wearing a fingerless glove on his left hand, and has tape around his right.

Playmates was always notorious for skipping paint apps on their Turtles toys, but the 1989 Casey Jones was pretty simple to begin with, so there really isn't the huge room for improvement here that a lot of the other Ultimates have displayed. About the only things that are really "upgrades" are the eyelet on his shoulder pad, and the fact that his shoes have painted soles and laces. Even the shadows on his mask and the highlights in his hair are lifted straight out of the '80s!

One thing that's absolutely been improved is the articulation. In the distant days of yore, Casey Jones had a swivel neck, swivel shoulders, swivel forearms, and balljointed hips, a small selection that left him in a permanent squat. Today, he has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The waist joint seems too long: the stomach sits too high above the pelvis, leaving a noticeable gap. The peg needs to be only a few millimeters shorter than it is, but at this scale (the toy stands about 6⅞" tall, which puts the reportedly 6'2" Casey Jones closer to Mythic Legions size than NECA's 7") it's too much.

The accessories have been similarly upgraded. The original toy had his golf bag, one club, and two broken baseball bats. That's it. All the art showed him with a hockey stick, but the toy didn't have one. Well, this one finally gets his hockey stick! And his golf club, and three bats, and three hockey pucks! The stick is taped up, the club appears to have an actual wooden shaft and string tied around the head for some reason, and the bats come in three stages of disarray: one intact, one with a broken tip, and one that's nearly split down the center. Even the pucks get some white apps to suggest tape on them. It's really neat! The golf club and hockey stick do get slightly warped in the tray, though, and his golf bag is a little small for him - like Bebop's weapons, it's barely larger than the vintage version. It does get a more detailed sculpt and even some paint apps for the zippers and other hardware, but it's so tiny you'll have a better time getting it onto his shoulder by starting at the feet and working up. Good thing his legs are so skinny!

The set also includes that idiotic "weapons tree" thing, even though those were done with by the time Casey was released in 1989. It's neat that they made the frame look like a goal net - love thematic design like that - but it doesn't keep this from being an utter waste of plastic. Having painted weapons and extra hands to hold them? Good. Having a useless piece of garbage that's a throwback to something that never existed? Not good. As long as we're imagining things that never were, why not do an alternate unmasked head? It wouldn't be any worse than this.

If I'd remembered to cancel my Casey Jones preorder, I'd have been fine with that - no, I still don't have NECA's animated one, but the two movies ones I have are more than enough. But the cool work Super7 did on the accessories really does a lot to elevate what would otherwise be an utterly lackluster release.

-- 02/10/22

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