When I first started reviewing vintage TMNT toys, one of the first figures for which people requested a review was Metalhead. So by popular demand, here's our favorite robo-turtle! I don't remember much about him from the cartoon, but I definitely remember him as a cool boss from the TMNT Konami arcade game. "I'm going to mangle you green slime balls!" So how does the figure compare with the awesome video game boss?
Year Released: 1989
Size: 4 1/2"
Price: $4 loose complete from eBay (C6, in a lot with the Toilet Taxi)
This Metalhead is a bit rough but he's in good enough shape for the review. I love the angular 80's styling of Metalhead's sculpt. No modern curvilinear shapes here, he's all blocky goodness. And like other great Playmates Turtles figures, Metalhead's sculpt has tons of cool little details with nifty robo-joints, wires, panels, electrical work, etc. He even has BRAAAAINS!
The color scheme brings his score down a bit, though. The gray of the limbs works better for his roboticalness than Fugitoid's black/gold. But I'm not a huge fan of the gold vac-metallized torso. I like vac-metallized toys as much as the next guy (perhaps even more so), but because that gold isn't carried over in the limbs or head, his body parts look inconsistent. I think he would have been better either all-gold or without any gold at all.
Another thing to note: his teeth are bronze, which I find to be super-cool for some reason.
If you have classic TMNT figures, you know the drill by now: swivel neck, swivel shoulders, swivel forearms, and ball-socket hips. It's a great range of movement for a figure from the late 80's.
Metalhead comes with Portable Party Pack (not "Portable Potty Pack"), Radical Robo-Chucks, Radar/Foot Blaster, and Utility Belt. The backpack is cool (and it's fun in that you can attach the chucks and radar to it) and the Utility Belt has plenty of neat goodies on it. But the radar, being just a radar dish, is a bit dull on its own. It's a pretty big leap to think of it as a "Foot Blaster", that's for sure. And are the Robo-Chucks supposed to look like nunchucks? They look like handles to a drill to me. I would have much preferred a ray gun or something that looks more obviously like a weapon.
Also, URS mentioned that Metalhead's accessories easily broke back in the day. I can definitely see that. The Robo-Chucks and Party Pack in particular have weak spots that look like they can snap.
Metalhead is one of those TMNT figures that sellers think is more valuable than he really is. Regardless, you can find him on the cheap. In this case, I paid $4 for an auction that included a loose complete Metalhead and a Toilet Taxi. If Metalhead was in great condition, this would be a 5 score, but he has some significant paint rubs. A mint Metalhead will probably be more expensive.
I love evil robotic versions of heroes like Mecha Godzilla, Cyborg Superman, and Evil Bill and Ted. I suppose Metalhead's not technically evil, but he started out as evil, and that's what's important. Also, his eyes glow when you shine a light in the top of his head. (A trick that I thought originated with POTF2 Jawas. Who knew?) All Metalhead needs to cement his awesomeness for all time are opening panels (see Fugitoid).
EDIT: Another cool thing that URS pointed out is that the forearms can be popped-out and switched with the Robo-Chucks. At first, I wasn't sure if my sample actually had removable limbs because trying to pop them out took so much effort that if they weren't removable, the arm pegs would most assuredly be torn apart. I can't imagine kids being able to do that themselves, so I'm guessing that my sample are really tight from lack of use. Or, the muscles in my upper torso are atrophied from lack of use. Regardless, it's a cool feature, but something more along the lines of Trap Jaw would probably have worked better, like a claw and/or a laser rifle. Also, keep in mind that it's really easy to break the flimsy chucks ripping them out of that socket.
Metalhead just eked out a 4 rating. Although the robo-turtle concept is awesome and Metalhead's sculpt is fantastic, the somewhat disjointed look of the vac-metallized torso and lack of cool weapons brings the figure down. Give him a ray gun and a color scheme like this sweet custom Metalhead, and you have a truly awesome figure.
And for fans of the Konami arcade game, check out this YouTube video. That brought back memories!