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by yo go re

The rule around here has always been "one release, one review": if a figure comes by itself, review it by itself; if figures come in a multi-pack, review the whole multipack. It gets a lot easier when all the figures in the multipack are the same thing.

Baxter Stockman is the creator of the "Mobile Offensive Underground Search Excavation and Retrieval Sentries" called Mousers. These highly intelligent robots are programmed by Stockman to search for items around the city and steal what is valuable. They are trained to defend themselves by using their strong jaws to chew through anything that comes their way. The Turtles have their hands full with these little fiends roaming the city.

Although they seem like something that would have been invented for the 1987 cartoon series, the Mousers come straight from issue #2 of the original comic. Although, in the new series, I guess that would technically be M.O.U.S.E.R.S., since it's an acronym - but we're just going to keep calling them Mousers, because we're lazy, and that's easier to type.

The Mousers are tiny little figures - only about 1¾" tall - but that's accurate to the cartoon. The toylines have always had a tendency to make them larger than they should be, because otherwise they're not a very good value. Heck, the first one ever released (back in 1989) was nearly as tall as the Turtles themselves! To make up the difference, Playmates has included seven of these little buggers in this set.

To keep the multi-pack from looking boring, there are three different colors of Mousers: three a light, silvery gray; two in a darker, dingier grey; and two black. There hasn't been any variation in the colors of the Mousers on the show, but it's not hard to make up excuses for these toys. The silver ones are factory-new, the darker ones have been out in the world for a while, and the black ones are a new stealth version. All the Mousers have a single red eye on top of their head, while the black ones get the added benefit of red apps on the inside of their mouth.

Why just on the black ones? And why just on the lower jaw? All seven Mousers share the same mold, including the lines sculpted inside the mouth. On the cartoon, those lines glow the same red as the "eye," so really, shouldn't all of them get that painted? The sculptural detailing is very simple overall, but it suits the source material.

The Mousers have swivel hips, a hinged jaw, and a balljointed head. That's not much, but it's all they really need. A balljointed head is a huge key in giving a pose some personality, and even with nothing but hips, you can get some good "walking" action. A hinged jaw should be mandatory for every Mouser ever, but it hasn't always been.

This M.O.U.S.E.R.S. seven-pack has proven massively popular with army-builders, to the point that it's one of the hardest releases to find: they just keep buying multiples and setting them up in neat little rows. For me, one set is enough (and the fact that I got it during Target's recent sale meant that each Mouser only cost a dollar, and that's an amazing price), but if Playmates were smart, every single TMNT figure they've released would have come with a Mouser pack-in, adding a little more value to their (largely disappointing) toys and giving all fans access to them.

-- 01/05/14

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