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Toxic Crusaders
by yo go re

Wait, this all looks awfully familiar.

When we reviewed the Toxic Crusaders Junkyard last year, it was just a fun retro thing to do; we had no way of knowing there'd be an even better version right around the corner! And of course we already said everything there is to say, so this will be... interesting.

Whether thwarting Dr. Killemoff's plans to remove the elderly from their retirement home or saving Toxie and the rest of the Toxic Crusaders from Club Fred, Junkyard is one doggone good addition to the team!

When a toy company has a huge success, they'll often do a "flanker brand," something designed to attract more buyers without cutting into the market share of their flagship: that's why, at the height of Master of the Universe's popularity, Mattel also went out and got the Marvel Secret Wars license. But in that example, the Secret Wars toys had a different aesthetic than MotU, so that kids wouldn't get one instead of the other, they'd get both. Apparently Playmates didn't get that memo, because back in the '90s their Toxic Crusaders toys looked exactly like TMNT rejects. In a good way! And now we've got Super7, who would be making them compatible anyway.

Junkyard's clothes say more "redneck" than "hobo." He's wearing a T-shirt under a pair of overalls, which is what you'd wear when you're chilling in your own home territory, not on the move from one place to another. He's barefoot, because his legs are dog legs and those aren't conducive to wearing shoes, and his tail pokes out the back of his pants. There's a length of chain around his right wrist, a studded band around his left, and a thick, spiked dog collar complete with tags around his neck. His fur is given plenty of sculpted detail, but they missed the dog bone rolled up in his left sleeve - they sculpted it rolled, but apparently didn't get the joke, because now it's rolled over nothing.

The toy has the usual kind of articulation you'd expect from a Super7 Ultimate: swivel/hinge ankles and knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips and tail, swivel waist, swivel/hinge wrists and elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a barbell-jointed head. It's way better than what it was. The proportions of this toy are a bit more normalized than the 1991 version, so the head is smaller compared to the body and thus the toy can actually stand securely without falling forward onto his snout. Plus, the tail is shorter, so it doesn't push him over, either.

Vintage Junkyard didn't get a neck joint, because he had a goofy "rubber tongue" action feature. This figure trades that for an alternate head sculpted with the mouth open and the tongue hanging out. This is a way better option! Fittingly, the eyes on the head with the closed mouth look angry, while the eyes on the panting head are more laid-back. The tongue here is shorter than on the old toy, even though the rest of the toy is bigger - a 2" tongue on a 6½" figure. People love to look at the past with nostalgia-tinted glasses, but there is no question at all that toys are better today than they used to be. Anybody who says different is nuts.

Playmates toys were always under-painted, but at least Super7 fixes that. The colors are, surprisingly, even more neon than on the original, and things that were left blank three decades ago actually get picked out now. Like, the back of his shirt is split open, revealing the ridge of spikes along his back; on the vintage toy, that was all just the same yellow as the shirt, but here it's painted the way it should be. Plus, look at his tail and you'll see a patch of missing skin meant to reveal vertebrae that are, here, actually painted instead of being brown.

Junkyard still gets lots of accessories, though. First there's his Junkyard Belt, an orange PVC belt designed to look like a thick chain with a spiked ball buckle and a smiling cartoony insect (roach? flea?) with a knife and fork sitting on the back. The rest of the accessories are yellow-green, including the spiked bone club, a kitbashed gun made from things scrounged up in the dump, and a pair of bones lashed together with a green flag hanging from them reading "take a bite out of grime." Finally, there's a glow-in-the-dark piece, a rolled-up newspaper (the Toxic Times) with a big nail stuck through it. The toy also includes three pairs of hands: holding, open, or fists.

Out of his box, Junkyard could easily be mistaken for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character: even back in the day, it was the same company and the same style. If not for that vibrant Toxic Crusaders packaging (which, side note, doesn't come in a brown outer box anymore? Super7 phasing that out or something?) You could totally see him being set up as the opposite number of Scratch. And now, 30 years after the last time anybody ever even thought about the old line, you can put him in whatever kind of collection you want and nobody's going to stop you.

-- 10/19/23

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