Retro Toy Review: Psycrow (Playmates Earthworm Jim)
Playmates Toys from the early 90's had a gold mine in its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline. Because of its success, Playmates produced a number of other toylines using the TMNT template. I guess the mindset was, if kids have a bunch of TMNT toys, they'd be more likely to buy other figures in the same size and style. So, Toxic Crusaders look like they come straight from the TMNT line. And, as I discovered on a recent trip to one of my favorite comic shops, so do Earthworm Jim figs like Psycrow.
Year Released: 1995
Price: $6 at a comic shop
Psycrow's sculpt fits the character well and has some nice detailing in his feathers and in folds of his space suit. But where are the crazy sculpting details that Playmates was known for in the 90's? Psycrow's sculpt is good and it does its job, but it's not nearly as fun as that of Muckman or Headbanger.
The paint apps are pretty sharp with some relatively precise applications on the electronics on his suit. Like other Playmates lines from this time period, there are only about 6 different colors. But the paint apps work better than many Playmates figs because there aren't important sculpting details left unpainted... which might have been a result of the more simplistic sculpt, come to think of it.
Psycrow has the standard 90's Playmates articulation: swivel neck, swivel shoulders, swivel right elbow, swivel left wrist, and ball-socket hips. The hips are insanely difficult to move, though. Maybe that's because he was straight off the card and the hips just need to be loosened up. But if you do manage to move them, the sculpt of the feet renders virtually any pose you put them in as useless.
As I've said many times before, buddy figures are the coolest accessories. And Psycrow comes with Major Mucus, a buzz-cut pile of snot. A buddy figure who's also gross? Bonus.
Psycrow also sports some pretty impressive equipment: a jet pack, a hook handgun, and a hook rifle. I'm not sure what Psycrow's obsession is with firing hooks, but the rifle is especially cool because it has a little wheel with which you can roll up the excess string. This would be an awesome feature on a Batman grappling hook... why didn't Kenner catch on to this? The hook rifle is limited in its playability because of a short string (presumably so that kids couldn't hang themselves with it), but it's cool nonetheless.
I picked this guy up for just $6 at the comic store. That's a pretty good price (especially since I saw a carded Psycrow auction on eBay go for about $13), but you can find cooler Playmates figures cheaper.
A big part of the appeal of Playmates figures from this time period is the sculpting with wacky, weird detailing, and Psycrow doesn't quite live up to the hype. But his space suit, with a clear plastic helmet, is distinctive enough to make up for some of that lost coolness.
Psycrow is a solid figure but falls short on the one aspect that has always made Playmates figures fun: wacky, crazy sculpting. He might have scored higher if I had some experience with the Earthworm Jim cartoon or video game because the figure is a good representation of the character. But as a stand alone figure, he's just okay. Although, given that he is a space bird with a blob of militaristic snot, he's sure to be weird enough to be a standout on the shelf.