Retro Toy Review: 11-inch Krang's Android Body (Playmates TMNT)

As a Mirage TMNT kid, one of the culture shocks I had to endure while adjusting to the classic Fred Wolf cartoon was the weird transformation of the Utrom into Krang. Sure, they resemble each other in that they're both brain aliens controlling androids from the robots' stomachs. But the two personalities are diametrical to one another. The Utroms comprised of a race of "brain-people" who crash-landed on Earth and disguised themselves as humans in robotic exo-suits while they built a tranmat device to send them home. In contrast, Krang was a dastardly evil alien from Dimension X who commanded an army of rock soldiers in his rotund robot. Not only that, but the exo-suits are radically different. So, as much as I loved the Utroms from the TMNT comic, Krang was a hard pill to swallow at first. But he's a colorful and fun character independent of his Utrom origin, and I learned to appreciate him for what he was.

The Utroms and their exo-suits in the Mirage comic, from which the design of Krang was loosely translated.

There were a few Krang figures in the vintage line: Krang in his bipedal walker; a smaller Krang with his Android suit; and Krang in a super-sized 11" tall Android suit. Since Krang could increase his size in the cartoon via his Molecular Amplification Unit, I opted to get the latter for my collection. And bigger is better anyway, right? Let's check him out!

Year Stamped: 1991
Company: Playmates
Size: 11" (Android Suit)
Price: $40 for a loose figure on eBay
Packaging: Boxed

Let's start with the brain-boy himself. Krang has a cool sculpt (that was reused from the previously released Krang w/ bipedal walker) with an appropriately diabolical expression and lots of disgustingly fun details like blood vessels and brainy folds. However, the figure isn't really representative of either the cartoon Krang or the Mirage comic Utrom. Krang wasn't a literal brain but a bulbous, veiny blob with a few tentacles. And the Utroms were more like jellyfish with toothy faces. But while the added brain detailing doesn't make the figure more source-accurate, it does add a lot of awesome to the figure and makes his appearance that much more distinctive and grotesque.

Like Krang himself, his Android body has a lot of extra detailing that detracts from cartoon accuracy but adds so much more interest to the figure. The face doesn't have the brain-dead expression of the cartoon's Android, but a snarl that's sure to strike fear in the shells of Turtles everywhere. And there's some nifty electronic detailing and stitches on his limbs that give him a Frankenstein vibe.

Also, there's some reflective paper in the Android stomach that helps to lighten the space so you can see Krang easier while he's piloting his body.

Paint apps on both Krang and his Android body are limited. Krang is missing the blue veins from the previous release, and Android has only a limited number of paint colors. It should be noted that the set did come with stickers for the Android body that weren't applied to this sample.

Android Krang with a 200X Utrom

Krang himself has only two points of articulation on his tentacled shoulders. That's okay, considering he's just a brain. Android has 7 POAs, all swivel: neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips. The lateral extension of the Android arms makes their movement at the shoulders ineffective, and the cut of the hips is awkward for leg movement. While 7 POAs is equal in number to other TMNT figures like Casey Jones, the position of the points and the lack of ball-socket hips make the Android's articulation much less useful.

You could say that Krang comes with his Android body as an accessory, or that Krang's Android body comes with Krang as an accessory, but I think that both Krang and his body are integral to the singular figure of Krang's Android. In that sense, the set doesn't really come with any accessories, which is disappointing. (Unless I have an incomplete figure, but I don't think that's the case.) The smaller Krang's Android Body came with crab claws that fit over the hands which would have been crazy awesome at this scale. Or, maybe his hands could have popped off to be replaced by laser guns, a la Trap Jaw. Oh well.

Krang with a new Android body commands soldiers from the Glyos Dimension!

The 11" Krang Android is difficult to find on the cheap, and I had to dole out $40 for a C8 sample. While I have willingly paid that much for Japanese Godzilla vinyls of similar size, the fact that they're imports helps to justify the relatively exorbitant price tag. Android Krang's price is particularly difficult to stomach given the bargain-basement prices that you can usually get TMNT toys for.

One thing to watch out for is discoloration on the Android's skin. The vinyl plastic (if this is vinyl) seems to pick up all sorts of paint rubbings from other figures, so it can be difficult to find one without significant discoloration.

Another thing to watch out for is that the flimsy antenna on the top of his head tends to break off easily.

I love toys that are cross-genre, and Android Krang fits well both in the TMNT and kaiju universes. Not only is he a towering, formidable menace to the Turtles, but he'll also look great duking it out with Mezco Kong, Banpresto Godzilla 2000, and DST Stay Puft. I also love the feel of hollow vinyl toys, and I think they're the most fun and toylike of toys.

It's rare that a figure looks cooler than the character it's supposed to represent, but Android Krang nails it with lots of great robo-detailing on the exo-suit, a nasty Android expression, and hideously veiny brain folds on the Krang mini-figure. And the Android's molecularly-amplified size not only makes him the star of a TMNT shelf, but also puts him in scale for a cool display with other giant monster figures. Tragically, Krang's poor articulation, lack of accessories, and high price tag all conspire to bring down his overall score, but if you're looking for a Krang for your TMNT collection, this is by far the coolest.

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.