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Baxter Stockman

TMNT Ultimates
by yo go re

Could the TMNT license be any more piecemeal? Playmates Toys gets the rights to whatever the current show/movie is, NECA has the Mirage comics and the '90s cartoon/movies/games (but can't sell them all at the same places), and now Super7 is making new toys based on... the old toys. Ha ha ha! Recursive! At this rate, we're a month away from Jazwares announcing they're going to be making toys from the Archie Comics, Moose Toys doing ones based on, like, bandaids and cereal or something, and Zuru releasing a line based on the Turtle Pies. Delicious, delicious Turtle Pies.

click to embiggen

Baxter Stockman, a man with the mind of a scientist and the body of a common housefly, buzzes around town, annoying the Turtles and other decent reptiles. Created accidentally in Dimension X by a malfunctioning disintegrator unit, Baxter flurried himself into an avenging frenzy, ready to fly up anyone's nose. Finally convinced by Shredder that the Turtles were solely responsible for his rebirth as an insect, Baxter now vents his hostilities toward our half-shelled heroes. Armed and winged with the Anti-Turtle Swatter, Baxter swats the shell out of the Turtles. His scientific experiments may break a few beakers, but Shredder can always use a fly with evil ingenuity.

Baxter Stockman appeared in the second issue of the 1984 comic, then wasn't used again for nine full years - it's no wonder the cartoon and toyline felt okay drastically reimagining him. Based on Peter Laird's "Fly Guy" concept, this is a bit more "guy" than "fly," with bushy, orange, human hair on top of the head and a normal smiling mouth in the center of the blue face. The compound eyes are ringed by purple skin, and there are two little nubs on the forehead that are probably meant to be antennae.

Since he was once a maaaaaan scientist, Baxter is wearing a few remains of his old clothes: ripped teal pants, a yellow bowtie, and a white lab coat that's straining at his new, mutated body. He's got a syringe in his pocket, but while Super7 tried to duplicate the shape of the old toy as much as possible, they seem to have missed the sculpted rips by his sleeves - possibly because those were painted gray, not purple like the rest of the visible skin. And seriously, why isn't Dr. Stockman wearing a shirt? Like, what was he doing in the lab before getting crossed with a fly that he's got pants and a coat, but no shirt? We can believe that his shoes exploded off his feet when they turned into these split-toed monstrosities, but there's no way he'd lose his shirt while keeping the coat buttoned.

The fly bodyparts are delightfully gross. It's lumpy and wrinky and has inhuman textures, a lot of which you'll also find on the 1989 toy if you really look at it - the details are crisper and bigger, obviously, but they don't come out of nowhere. His toes, as mentioned, are split into little hooks at the ends, while the three-fingered hands on the arms bursting from his back just have a single large, curved nail on each digit. On the old toy, the arms and wings were a separate piece that fit into a notch on the back; on ths one, they're permanently attached, meaning the sculpt is free to show more of Baxter's back, sir, with more details. That's not the only new creation, by the way - the little spikes on the arms definitely weren't there before (but the slightly pointy butt definitely was).

Today's articulation is so much better than what we got 30 years ago! As a kid, you were lucky to get a swivel head, swivel shoulders and wrists, and balljointed hips. Oh, and swivel wings because he's a fly. Super7 has given him swivel/hinge joints aplenty, at the ankles, knees, wrists (human and fly), elbows (ditto), shoulders (ditto ditto), and wings. There are also balljoints for the head and hips, and a swivel waist. The playability is great! He's about 7" tall if you stand him upright, but he looks better in a squat like the old toy had. And of course, that measurement only counts to his head, not his wings.

The accessories are weird. He's got an update of his Anti-Turtle Swatter ("Splat! Green smears on the wall."), but also a gun the character never had before. And while the swatter now has the tiny turtle mashed into its spikes completely painted, it's flat-out designed wrong: it's supposed to fit over his arm and be partially held in his hand; the "brace" here is too thin to fit on anything, and the handle is too short to fit any of the included hands (he has eight: four right, four left); it seems the intention is that you'll put the swatter onto the gun, and have him hold it that way, but that isn't how it's supposed to be. For something that's all about accurately updating an old toy, this is a weird screw-up.

Plus, he comes with a plastic frame with solid-gray versions of his swatter and gun attached to it. That makes some sense for the other three figures in this series, because Splinter, Raphael, and the Foot Soldier were all in the first series of 1988 toys, and those had their accessories mounted like that, but Baxter came out in 1989, when that was no longer a thing. So it doesn't even add any real nostalgic value to the figure, and it's wasting plastic that could have been better served making his accessory properly. Wait, is that why they did it wrong? Because otherwise it wouldn't have been thin enough to feasibly fit on a parts tree like this? If so, wow, this thing now sucks even more than we originally thought it did!

That said, he does come with something else, something that technically makes this a two-pack: a robotic rat trap with an appetite for Turtle, a Mouser robot!

The Mousers were created by the infamous, wickedly winged Foot scientist, Baxter Stockman. These robotic rat traps patrol city streets and sewers, scanning for edibles with their penetrating search-eye. Your typical robot Mouser has a mindless cavity the shape and size of a walnut. Its cast-iron stomach, however, makes a garbage dump look appetizing. Chock full of Turtle pizzas, rodent ravioli, rat cheeseburgers and moused potatoes, these Mousers will devour anything.

With the determination of an exterminator, Mousers employ their neutron-noses to sniff-out and track down rats and Turtles. Their repulsive steel, chomping jaws can chew through anything, including the hardest Turtle shell.

In 1989, the Mouser was sold by itself as a "Wacky Action" figure with a wind-up walking feature. This one is just articulated, but we like that better. It's smaller than the old one, closer to a Mouser's intended size, and doesn't have any stickers, just a red Foot logo on his light blue nose. It's a cute little piece, and unquestionably ups the value of this set.

Like the Toxic Avenger, being a Super7 release means Baxter Stockman gets really stylish packaging. He's in a plastic tray in front of a brick-red background, a color that really makes his blue-and-purple body stand out. That rests inside a trapezoidal box that's patterned like dark blue bricks, presumably a dark sewer. There's a bit of graffiti on the bricks, and the window cutout is shaped to match the bricks. That's then covered by a removable sleeve done in Foot Clan purple, with a grey manhole cover graphic in the center (featuring Baxter's face in the middle of it). That whole thing is then placed in a plain mailer box, and that's inside an actual box to be mailed. So it goes figure > plastic > tray > box > sleeve > box > box. I really feel like that last box should be in a box to keep it mint. And then maybe wrap that last box in plastic. And put it in another box.

Just like with Toxie, Super7 announced a glow-in-the-dark variant of this figure after I'd ordered it. And not needing two of the same thing, I was again forced to pass. (Of course, as an SDCC exclusive, it sold out super-fast, so it's not like I had a huge opportunity to get it anyway.) And also just like Toxie, we say that Baxter Stockman costs about 50% more than he should. But despite a few inexplicable choices, this is an amazing update of a classic freak. Seth Brundle would be proud!

-- 08/15/20

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