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Wrath of Krang

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
by yo go re

"The set does not include Krang's robot body (sadly), but that just means there's still something for NECA to make in the future, right?"

Right, past me! Good work as always!

Brains plus brawn make a calamitous combination in Krang's evil android body! The evil warlord from Dimension X has been banished to Earth. Living deep underground in his terrifying Technodrome, this mechanical monstrosity has real rampaging robot power! Just don't call him when he's in the shower.

In the original TMNT comics, there was a race of aliens known as the Utroms, little pink blob-aliens who rode around in cyborg bodies. The cartoon took that entire race of neutral beings and turned them into a single, evil individual, Krang. While the Utroms had always just looked like brains, Krang had lost his original body at some point and needed to build a replacement. Well, more specifically, he needed Shredder to build him a replacement, because he didn't have hands any more. He did provide the blueprints, though.

Krang's android body is... not what you'd call inconspicuous. Ol' Lifeguard Luke here looks like King Kong Bundy playing Dark Knight Returns' Mutant Leader. His head comes to a point at the top with an Inhuman-style tuning fork sticking out of it (packaged separately), his neck is super fat, and he's wearing sunglasses despite not having ears.

The body's proportions are way off, too. Its arms are so short they don't even reach its waist, its torso is longer than its legs, and despite standing about 7'5" tall, its feet appear to be the size of a normal human being's. To say nothing of the visible cockpit residing in its stomach. Suffice to say, no one is going to be mistaking this for a real human being when they see it walking down the street. And being so top-heavy with such small feet, it can be hard to balance the toy, even with all the usual articulation: ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck (plus balljoints for the two little control sticks in the belly). The joints were stiff but not stuck, but he still needs to be posed carefully lest he fall over and take everyone with him.

The bald, bad-bellied behemoth's "clothes" consist of gloves, a speedo, and shower shoes, all in red, then gray suspenders with big shoulder pads and matching bracelets. There appear to be gills on its chest and a large vent on the back, plus a port of some kind right at the base of the spine. The yellow cockpit "belt" has large red rings on the sides, a handle on the back, and a few screws to hold it together. While the body does have some anatomical details, like wrinkled elbows or shoulderblades, the head and legs have big seams on the sides that betray their synthetic nature.

Like all NECA's cartoon-style TMNT figures, the paint is designed to mimic the old animation, with a "natural" color on the front and darker "shading" on the back - at least, on the tan and yellow parts. The red seems to be lacking. Cleverly, the interior of the cockpit is entirely the darker shade of yellow, since it would always be in shadow.

As you may expect, this set does not require you to already have one of NECA's Krangs to complete it - it's not just the body, it's the body plus its pilot. What you may not have expected, though (I know I didn't), is that the Krang here would be an entirely new sculpt! When Playmates made Krang and his 11" tall body back in 1989, both brains were the same. Even a casual glance at this one will tell you it's not the same released before.

The first Krang had an angry expression, with his mouth open like he was yelling at his underlings. This one has his mouth closed, and while his brow is still knit, it's more a look of determination or concentration - piloting a big robot with just two little joysticks has to be hard! Even the ridges running over the top of his head are different from the last one, and his tentacles are curled more tightly, so yep, everything about this is new. He's bigger, more bulbous, and most importantly, pinker. (Though if you do have the prior Bubble Walker version, this new one still fits in there. Pro!)

Krang is too big to just fit through the hatch on the stomach - yes, that's how he got in and out of the body on the cartoon, but a "real" Krang would be squishier than a plastic one. So how do you get him in there to hold the little controls? The upper part of the body is removable. It's held to the belt by three wide tabs that fit into slots on his front and sides. You have to kind of jimmy the bits around to get them all lined up, but they hold securely when they're in place. If you're having trouble, try squeezing the waist a little to make it flex so you can get one tab started. With the upper body removed, you can just plug Krang onto the circle designed to hold the toy in place. Once he's on, you could turn the toy upside down and shake it, and he wouldn't be going anywhere!

Beyond Krang and the antennae ("Rotating Brainwave Rader"), there are accessories aplenty. In addition to the wide-open hands, we get two fists and two for holding things. He doesn't really have anything to hold, but there are plenty of accessories in the other sets you might like to lend him. On the cartoon, he could transform the robot's hands into various weapons and tools as needed, so after you pull the hands out of the wrists, you have the option to replace them with laser blasters, spiked morning star flails, a two-headed axe, or a spinning buzzsaw. The blasters and flails get pluralized, because there are two of each: the maces because they seem like something he would have dual-wielded at some point, and the guns because... the animation model would flip depending on which arm it came out of? Maybe? The flails have real chains, which is neat, but it might have been cooler if at least one of them had a pre-posed plastic chain, so they could do more than hang straight down. Additionally, the buzzsaw appears to have been assembled incorrectly: it looks fine at first, until you realize the part of the blade facing the inside of the weapon has a paint app the side facing out dows not. Basically, it's just a question of black in the recessed areas, something you could paint yourself. Definitely beats trying to get the blade off and back on the peg without breaking it.

Moving on to things that don't plug into his wrists, we get the payoff to the "shower" joke from the bio up above: in the Season 2 episode "Splinter No More," Shredder calls Krang while out on a mission, only to find he's interrupted his boss's bathtime. To re-create that, the figure includes a "soap on a rope" necklace, a shower cap that has a hole so his antenna can still fit through it, and a baby blue softgoods towel to wrap around his legs. How ridiculously fun! The shower cap is designed wrong, though. It has a piece hanging down the back, rather than just covering his scalp, so it ends up looking more like a turban than anything else. I wonder how hard that would be to cut off?

In season 3's "Leatherhead: Terror of the Swamp," Shredder happens upon a mutagen-filled pond that acts like a fountain of youth. He trips and falls into it, turning into a toddler. As a bonus, this set includes a Baby Shredder! It's just 2" tall, but is still decently articulated for the size: swivel/hinge shoulders, a balljointed head, and one big hinge for the hips/waist. He looks furious, and is pointing his right finger for emphasis, just like when he yelled at Bebop and Rocksteady to help him out. If you think it's hard to beliece that mutagen would make his clothes change style, too, just remember that the cartoon isn't the only time that happened.

Finally, the set includes paper blueprints of the android body, like the ones Krang used to direct Shredder in building it. Well, his body, and the Foot Knucklehead vehicle. Sure, why not!

The packaging for this figure is designed to look like a VHS tape, with cartoon-style art on the front, NECA logos that look like the old FHE ones, and "screenshots" (photos of the toy) on the back. The insert behind the plastic tray inside the box represents the interior of the Technodrome, but it's not entirely ideal for displays: it's made from a very thin cardboard that starts curling as soon as you take it out of the box, and it's got a glossy finish, so it reflects too much of its surroundings. Of course, changing those problems might have meant the toy cost more than its current $35 pricetag.

Krang is, like all the cartoon-style figures, a Target exclusive (in the US, at least). Fortunately, it feels like Target and NECA have finally gotten on the same page with this one, because he started appearing all over the country at pretty much the same time - no more delay than any other specific toyline's rollout, where the west coast starts reporting sightings a month or so before the east coast. And when he was spotted in a store, there seemed to be at least a solid case of him, sometimes two. With six Krangs per case, that might sound like a recipe for shelfwarming, but I can tell you I've seen Krang at two different Targets, and those figures had completely sold through by the next time I was there. Krang and his Android Body are proving as popular as expected, but at least for once the demand isn't wildly out-stripping the supply.

-- 02/10/21

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