Retro Toy Review: Pizza Tossin' Leo (Playmates TMNT)
Year Released: 1994
Price: $1 carded from eBay (but can be regularly bought for $10 or less carded)
I love wacky figures from this time period, but this dude's wackiness is over-the-top even for me. Leo's expression is so crazy that it doesn't fit particularly well with the other Turtle figures in the vintage line. The figure is also out of scale with the rest of the line, which further contributes to its disjointed style. (This may be attributable to the pizza-tossing play feature.)
That said, like other figures in the classic TMNT line, this Pizza Tosser has some interesting sculpting details. They really put some time and effort into the Turtle's skin texture and hands, as well as the pizza toppings on the shooter. There isn't as much going on with the sculpt as there is with some of the other TMNT figures like Pizzaface, but there's enough to hold my interest.
Like many classic Ninja Turtles, Leo has 7 points of articulation: swivel neck, swivel shoulders, swivel wrists, and ball-socket hips. For some reason, the hips are practically immobile, which really hurts its posability. The pan handle also limits the mobility of the left arm when you attach it to the pizza pan.
Pizza-hurling Leo comes with a bunch of accessories: a "Garlic Grindin' Powder Blaster", a "Crusty Katana", a pizza pan handle that hooks up to that katana, a "Smelly Pizza Belt", and six pizzas that can be shot out of his pizza launcher. The blaster is okay, but I don't really think of garlic when I look at it (more like an alien ray gun from a 50's sci-fi flick). The katana is a requirement for any Leo figure, but this one is so skinny that it barely passes as a ninja sword. And the pizzas are just discs with pizza stickers. But the belt is really cool, sporting a pizza carrying case with turtle munching details (it can hold one pizza). It's that type of sculpting detail that makes me love this line.
It's difficult to give any figure that costs $1 anything less than a 5. But if you see an auction for a carded Pizza Tosser for $10, drop it down to 4. That's still a good price for a vintage figure and you certainly get a substantial Turtle in the deal.
The pizza tossing play feature is pretty fun! You load all six pizzas into a slot in the figure's back, then pull the figure's right arm backwards and Leo blasts a pizza out of his pan! The pizza actually goes pretty far, about 3 feet.
But the disjointed style of the sculpt, along with the meh katana and blaster, take away some of that coolness.
I like wackiness as much as the next guy, but you don't have to smash me over the head with it, sledgehammer-style. And the figure is so weird and out of scale that he doesn't quite go with the rest of the vintage line. Still, there's enough about this guy that I like that will make me display him proudly. And whenever I feel the need to blast some toys, I can load up the pizza tosser and fire away!