#1812: G.I. Joe Keychains



Hey, you guys remember when I looked at that G.I. Joe keychain a while back?  Wasn’t that pretty cool? I sure thought so! Here’s another four of those. 


These four were released as a boxed set as part of Fun 4 All’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection in 1998.  They used the same molds as the single-packed keychains, but in alternate color schemes.  Like the previously reviewed Action Marine, all four “keychains” are fully articulated figures with a removable keychain attachment.  And, just like that figure, all four of mine are missing said attachment, because I didn’t really buy them to be keychains.


The most standard member of the team is the Action Soldier, a member of the US Army Corps.  This one in particular is wearing MP gear, showcasing a slight variant.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  The Action Soldier features a few parts in common with the previously reviewed Marine.  They share a head, pelvis, and upper legs.  The other parts are unique to the Soldiers.  For whatever reason, the Soldier actually has a slightly smaller build than the other three figures, despite the original 12-inch Joes all using the same basic body.  But, I guess a little bit of variety isn’t the worst thing.  The sculpt is a decent offering, though he’s definitely on the softer side detailing-wise.  His paint is the main defining part of this releases.  It’s okay, but rather on the simple side. He lacks any sort of paint on his torso, not even on his web gear or grenades.  Also, what paint he does have is rather prone to chipping, though the Soldier has held up the best of the four in this set.


The pilot is one of the more intricately designed of these figures; unlike the Marine and the Soldier, he and the Diver are actually based on fully decked-out Joes with parts from some of the supplemental sets.  He’s seen here in his full pilot’s gear…or he would be if mine weren’t missing a few pieces.  The Pilot is sporting an all-new sculpt, and while it’s still not quite up to Hasbro par, it’s certainly a stronger sculpt than either of the other two I’ve looked at, and is perhaps the strongest in the set.  The details are more numerous, and the overall construction is a bit less rudimentary.  He also gives us our only true look at the “standard” Joe head, which is a decent replica of the old 12-inch figures.  His paintwork is fairly decent, and certainly better spread out and more complete than the Soldier’s.  The blue/yellow combo is another non-standard look, but it works well, and it’s slightly less situational than the others in the set.  The Pilot was the only one of these to actually include an accessory, which was a removable helmet.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost mine, which is a real shame.


Like the Pilot, the Action Diver is a more intricately designed figure, also patterned on a fully kitted-out 12-inch Joe.  The frogman get-up is actually one of my favorite classic Joe designs, and by far the most distinctive of the Navy looks.  The sculpt is rivaled only by the Pilot in terms of quality.  He’s got one of the most organic sculpts of the bunch, and definitely the one with the sharpest detailing.  I also really dig that clear visor on the goggles; it’s a small touch that really helps the figure.  Unfortunately, the Diver has one main drawback: he’s the member of the set most affected by the low quality plastic used for these figures.  On both versions of the Diver own, the front piece of the pelvis has broken off; it’s a minor issue, and still leaves you with a workable figure, but it’s annoying to say the least.  The Diver is actually the only figure in this set to get more paintwork than his single-carded release.  Since he’s molded in orange (an alternate color scheme that actually hails form Adventures of GI Joe, the less military-themed precursor to Adventure Team), all of the straps and such are actually painted black, whereas the regular figure was just molded in black and thereby left them unpainted.


The final piece of this set is the one figure I’ve looked at before, more or less.  These keychains were based on Hasbro’s commemorative 30th Anniversary figures from 1994, and while those figures included alternate color schemes for both the Pilot and the Diver, the Marine and Soldier didn’t get second releases, so these had to be made up.  The Marine gets a desert camo look, which certainly makes him quickly identifiable as distinct from the standard release.  Also, for whatever reason, he swaps out his lower legs for those of the Soldier, giving him tucked-in boots.  Not 100% sure why, but it certainly works.


As I noted in my Marine review, it was these keychains that introduced me to 3 3/4-inch Joes.  This set was actually the last of the keychain offerings I procured.  After finding the standard releases of the Diver, the Pilot, and the Marine, I was quite thrilled to find this pack at the KB just outside the town where my family vacationed over the summers.  At the time, I was in the midst of quite a G.I. Joe kick, and these really hit the spot.  Admittedly, they aren’t the greatest offerings.  They’re fun, but definitely lower quality than a lot of figures from the same era.


#0938: Action Marine



Marine1 (2)

1994 marked the 30th Anniversary of the original G.I. Joe figures. At the time, G.I. Joe was in a bit of an odd spot. The 3 ¾ inch line had started to die down, but the 12 inch line had not yet come back in full force. To celebrate the anniversary, Hasbro sort of combined the two, releasing the original 12-inch Joes, but this time in the smaller scale. Four years later, Fun 4 All, perhaps one of the only not-Hasbro-companies to ever do G.I. Joe toys, made use of Hasbro’s molds to produce a line of keychains…sort of. Yes, they had the key chain bits attached, but by-and-large, this felt like an excuse for Fun 4 All to produce a set of G.I. Joe figures. And why not? Well, let’s have a look at one of the “keychains” they produced, the Action Marine.


Marine2 (2)The Action Marine was one of the four keychains offered in Fun 4 All’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection – Keychains line, offered starting 1998. All four keychains were fully articulated figures, which a detachable keychain piece (which is missing from my Action Marine. You can clearly see my main interest in these). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The sculpt of this figure is a slightly altered version of Hasbro’s Action Marine from 1994. The only real difference between the two (apart from the slightly lower quality of the plastic used by Fun 4 All) is the addition of a loop between the shoulder blades to allow for the keychain’s attachment. The overall sculpt isn’t bad. He’s more or less on par with any of the vintage 3 3/4-inch Joes. Some pieces of the sculpt seem a bit more rudimentary, most noticeably the shoulders, which don’t mesh together organically. In addition, the lower quality of the plastic means that some of the finer details from the original sculpt are lost, which gives him all around simpler look. Still, he’s far from horrible; certainly better than some other figures in the scale. In addition to the step down in plastic quality, there’s also a step down in the quality of the paint. It’s still not bad, mind you. The colors are appropriate, and the level of detail on the camo is decent. However, the paint has a tendency to chip, especially on the hands, and the application is rather on the sloppy side. The Action Marine included no accessories (beyond the detachable keychain, if you’re inclined to count that). A rifle or something would have been nice, but these were relatively low-price, so it’s not a shock.


When I was younger, I went in and out of periods of being into G.I. Joe. The earliest Joe I can remember getting for myself was actually one of these keychains, but it wasn’t the Marine, it was the Sailor. I ended up getting the Marine a few years later from a KB Toys (KB pretty much kept these guys in stock until they went out of business). I never really had any particular affinity to him, but he just sort of stuck with me. He actually got left at my Grandparents house for several years, and I found him a few months back while doing some cleaning. He’s not one of my favorites, and he won’t really be winning any awards, but he’s got a certain charm to him.

#0499: Keychain Minimate



While Minimates’ bread and butter tends to be making tiny versions of popular licenses, that isn’t exclusively what they do. One of the big things in making Minimates a success is just getting the brand known to as many people as possible. Enter the Promo ‘mates. These guys are free Minimates, who come bagged and are handed out to attendees of the conventions attended by Diamond Select Toys. Usually, these are just blank figures in various colors, with maybe a logo. However, DST will occasionally go the extra mile and do full detailing. Such is the case with today’s feature, the keychain Minimate. (Okay, that’s not his official name. He actually doesn’t have one!)


The Keychain Minimate was a cross-promotion between DST and frequent Minimate supporters Action Figure Xpress. The figure was given out at the AFX booth during San Diego Comic Con 2009, and then all remaining stock was sent out with orders over a certain amount on AFX’s online store. The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Technically speaking, the ‘mate is based on the Hunt Minimate character, created for 2007’s scavenger hunt contest. The main contrast is that this figure is clean shaven and sports a pair of sunglasses. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, along with a new piece for the keychain. This is a different piece than the one that recently showed up with the TMNT Minimates; the loop that connects the piece to the figure is metal, like the rest of the chain, as opposed to the fabric loop we saw on the TMNT version. The newer version works a little better, but this makes for an interesting prototype for that idea. The rest of the figure’s detail is done with paint, which is decent overall, though not perfect. There were four possible colors to the t-shirt; mine’s the blue one, if that’s not immediately obvious. Generally, the paint is pretty cleanly applied. The front and back of the shirt have some nice work on the logos, and the pants feature a fair bit of detail work. The face has a minor issue with the mouth’s placement being slightly off. It’s just enough to be noticeable that it’s off, though it isn’t the worst thing ever. Odd mouth thing aside, he’s actually got an uncanny resemblance to actor Billy Zane. The shoes are probably the biggest point of contention. When the original Hunt ‘Mate was made, Diamond had somehow wound up with the rights to Chuck Taylors, so that figure had very specific, very well detailed shoes. This one had to settle for more genericized versions of the shoes, which are not as well done. The bottoms of the shoes don’t wrap all the way around and the white paint on black plastic results in some iffy looking paint. They aren’t terrible, but they pale in comparison to what came before.


Like the Shoulder Zombie and Future Wolverine before him, the Keychain Minimate is another product of Luke’s Toy Store’s “Mystery Mate” offer. So far, I’m 3 for 3 on this thing. I was actually pretty excited to find this guy in my latest shipment from Luke’s. I never had to opportunity to get one back in 2009, so getting one now is really cool. Sure, he’s not the greatest Minimate of all time, but he’s kinda fun, and he’s a somewhat important piece of ‘mate history!

#0463: Foot Soldier



You know what I haven’t reviewed enough of lately? Minimates! There have been a few Minimate reviews on the site recently, but they haven’t been from me, so I’ve kinda felt left out of the fun. But, never fear, I’m never too far from a Minimate to review!

A few months ago, I reviewed most of the figures in the K-Mart assortment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. The only figure I was unable to find was the basic Foot Soldier. Well, I found him, so here he is!


The Foot Soldier was released in the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This particular figure is from the K-Mart assortment, but the Foot Soldier was available in all of the offered assortments. The Foot Soldier is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. Like the rest of the TMNT Minimates, the Foot Soldier is based on the design from the current Nickelodeon cartoon. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with non-standard upper arms and upper legs, both of which are shared with the Footbot, as well as a set of straps with a sheath for the sword attached (also shared with the Footbot) and a belt piece that holds a knife. Aside from the belt, these pieces are exactly the same as those on the Footbot. They were pretty great there, and they’re pretty great here. The belt is a rather basic piece, but it works, and it helps to differentiate the two figures. Like the sculpt, the paintwork on this figure is more or less identical to the Footbot. The Footbot exhibited some of the best work of the TMNT Minimates, so that’s hardly a bad thing. Everything is clean and the details are nice and bold. I still really love the way they handled the eyes; the detail is just fantastic. The biggest difference between this figure and the Footbot is the accessory selection. This figure includes a katana, a smaller blade, a switch blade, a clear display stand, and the Kmart/TRU exclusive keychain attachment.


After missing out on him in my initial purchase of the TMNT Minimates, I was able to track down the Foot Soldier at Super Awesome Girlfriend’s local Kmart. While it may not seem like the most exciting figure at first, especially since I already have the Footbot, I was pretty thrilled to get this figure. (Jess can attest to this; I may or may not have been sitting in the front seat of the car yelling “Foot Ninja” when I got this.)

#0411: Mutagen Michelangelo



Okay, here we are. Last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates review! Coincidentally, I’m wrapping things up with Michelangelo again. But, didn’t I already review Michelangelo? Yes, but something that is quite common with toylines, especially those based on the TMNT, is the tendency to release the main characters in wacky variant form. So, without further ado, he’s Mutagen Michelangelo!


Mutagen Mikey is the other of the two figures exclusively available in the K-Mart assortment of Series 1 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. Originally, this figure was slated to be the exclusive in the specialty assortment, but a mix up led to him and Mutagen Raph swapping places. Mikey is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. He’s sort of based on the current cartoon look, but I don’t think that Mikey’s ever been transparent green on the show, so I’d say some liberties were taken. Sculpturally, he’s exactly the same as the regular Mikey. For a breakdown of that, head over to that review. It’s interesting to see what different coloring and a lack of paint can do for a sculpt. Looking at this figure, especially the shell, it seems that any issues with “soft” details on the regular Turtles have to do with thick paint, not actual sculpt problems. Paint on this figure is much more simplified compared to the others. He’s molded in clear green, with paint on his mask, as well as detail lines for the eyes mouth, and freckles. The detail lines are quite clean, which is pretty much business as usual for Minimates. While the figure has less paint overall, it results in an overall cleaner look, which really helps the figure. Mikey includes a pair of nunchucks in clear green, a keychain attachment, and a manhole cover display stand.


Mutagen Mikey is the last of the 11 blind bagged figures I got from K-Mart. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for clear green plastic, so this guy just really appeals to me. It’s also really great to see the turtle sculpt without the iffy paint apps. All in all, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates are a fun addition to the Minimates brand. There’s definitely some room for improvement, and I wouldn’t mind a move to something other than blind bags (there’s already some good news there; seems TRU will be getting two-packs), but these Minimates have been a lot of fun.

#0410: Donatello



Today marks the penultimate review in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates reviews.  I’ve taken a look at three of the four Turtles, and now I’ll be looking at the last one, Donatello.  Donatello ended up being the short packed Turtle this time around, with just one of him for every two of the others.  Hopefully, Diamond will find a way to even things out.  In the meantime, let’s see how the actual figure turned out.


Donatello was released in the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates.  This particular figure came from the K-Mart assortment, so it was blind bagged and it included a keychain attachment, but other than that it’s the same as other releases.  Donatello is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and he has 12 points of articulation.  He’s been given the design from the current cartoon, just like the rest of the line.  The figure uses the standard Minimate body as a starting point, with a non-standard head, lower arms, hands, and legs, as well as an add-on for his shell.  He shares the arm and leg pieces with the rest of the Turtles, but that’s not a bad thing.  They’re well sculpted and they make the group stand out a bit more.  His head is the three-piece design, with the upper and lower most pieces being shared with the rest of the turtles and the mask being new to Donnie.  It looks pretty good, and the multi-piece nature means that the mask doesn’t slide out of place.  The shell is pretty much in line with the rest of the Turtles.  It’s been given the proper strap and a slot on the back for storage of Donnie’s Bo staff.  The details still seem a little soft, but at this point, it’s more important that he match the others.  Amazingly enough, Donatello’s paint isn’t terrible.  Sure, there’s still a few issues with bleed over or slop, but certainly not at the level of the others.  And look at that belt!  It’s almost entirely straight!  Also, the line work is really sharp, which is great.  Donatello includes his Bo staff, a keychain attachment, and a display stand painted like a manhole cover, which continues to be fantastic.


Donatello is one of the 11 figures I got blind bagged from K-Mart.  As he’s my favorite Turtle, I was definitely happy to get this one.  The fact that he ended up being the best of the Turtles is just icing on the cake.  All in all, Donatello’s improved quality actually helps bring up the others a bit when they’re set up as a team, which is definitely a good thing.

#0409: Kraang



The one known as Kraang would like to initiate a review of the Minimate of the one known as Kraang. The one known as Kraang is empirically the best figure in the line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates featuring the figure of the one known as Kraang. The…. Okay, yeah can’t keep that up, sorry.

So, in case you hadn’t gathered, today’s review is of the Minimate version of the TMNT foe the Kraang, from the new line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. Like the Foot Ninja and the Footbot, Kraang is an army builder.


Kraang is one of two figures exclusively available in the K-Mart assortment of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. However, Diamond has already stated that Kraang will be showing up elsewhere later, so have no fear Kraang fans! Kraang is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The Kraang is based on their depiction on the current cartoon, which is a pretty solid design. The figure is a vanilla ‘mate, so it’s just the standard Minimate body; no add-ons. This means the Kraang is entirely reliant on paint apps, which is a scary prospect, given what we’ve seen so far with this line. Fortunately, the Kraang takes after the Footbot, meaning the paint is exceptional. Everything is very clean, and all of the detail work is incredibly sharp. The Kraang has a fairly unique body design, which is particularly skinny, much skinnier than the standard Minimate body. To simulate this, the body has been molded in clear plastic, with the body being done through painted on details. The end result is rather striking, and makes for a fun looking figure. The Kraang includes a sci-fi gun, a non-robo-suited Kraang, a keychain attachment, and a clear display stand.


Kraang was one of my finds among the 11 blind bagged figures I bought from K-Mart. I was delighted to get him, especially given his (current) exclusive status. The Footbot’s my favorite from the series, but Kraang’s a definite second. I really dig the figure’s retro-ish robot look, and the extra head certainly adds some value.

#0408: Michelangelo



My reviews of the first assortment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates are in full swing. This marks the halfway point, so that’s kinda cool. Today, I’ll be looking at the Turtles’ resident plucky-comic-relief-guy who became even more plucky-comic-relief in the recent show, Michelangelo.


Michelangelo is a part of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates, and this particular figure hails from the K-Mart release, which comes blind bagged and includes an extra keychain piece. Aside from that, the actual figure is the same as the one released elsewhere. Mikey is about 2 ½ inches tall and he sports 12 points of articulation. His design is that of his current cartoon counterpart. The figure uses the standard Minimate body as a starting point, with non-standard head, lower arms, hands, and lower legs, as well as an add-on piece for his turtle shell. The arms and legs are shared with all of the Turtles, but they are new to this particular line. They are quite well sculpted and really help make the Turtles look different from other Minimates. The head is a three-part piece like Raph and Leo; the mask is new to Mikey and the upper and lower most pieces are shared with the previous two. Mikey’s mask is a bit more pointed and symmetrical than the others, which at the very least separates him from the others a bit. His shell is pretty well sculpted; it’s certainly in line with the other turtles, so at least he’s consistent. It seems a little soft, but it’s not horrible. It has slots in the back for storage of his nunchucks, which can be a bit difficult to use, but is otherwise a pretty cool touch. And now, the section I’ve been dreading: paint. To this figure’s credit, the paint is better here than it is on most of the others (barring the Footbot, who is something of a fluke it seems). It’s not without issue, however. The belt on the torso, in particular, has some serious bleed over. That said, the detail line work on the head is still very good. Mikey’s expression is perfect for the character, and it’s nice that they even went so far as to include his freckles. Mikey includes his nunchucks, which are thankfully done with real chains, the keychain attachment, and a display stand painted up like a manhole cover, which has yet to stop being cool.


Mikey here was part of the assortment of 11 blind bags I got from K-Mart. He’s the last one I ended up with a double of. He’s my favorite of the three turtles I’ve reviewed, mostly due to the slight improvement in paint apps, but also because the figure really seems to get the character.

#0407: Shredder




Every popular fictitious character has to have their arch-enemy. Batman’s got Joker; Superman’s got Lex Luthor; Indiana Jones has Nazis (he hates these guys). And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have Shredder! Shredder is an important part of the TMNT mythos, and with how much of a cash-cow the franchise has been, it should be no surprise that he’s had his fair share of action figures over the years. Now he has a Minimate. And there was much rejoicing! (Yay…)


ShredderMini2Shredder is part of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. He’s one of the figures what will be in all of the Series 1 assortments, but this particular figure comes from the K-Mart assortment, meaning he’s blind bagged and he includes an extra piece. Other than that, he’s the same for every release. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation. He’s based on the character’s appearance in the new TV show, which may very well be the most imposing Shredder yet. Shredder uses the basic Minimate body as a starting point, with non-standard pieces for the hands and lower legs, as well as add-ons for the helmet and cape. All of the pieces are unique to Shredder, and they all do a pretty great job of translating the design into Minimate form. The cape seems a little flat at first, but it actually works, given the source material. Like so many of the other figures in this series, the paint is a mix of very good and very bad. The detail work, especially on face under the mask, is really fantastic. The scarring is superbly done. They’ve even added little touches, such as the small symbol on his belt, which really help make the figure pop. Unfortunately, a lot of the base color work, especially on the top of his “opera gloves,” is incredibly sloppy. Levels of slop I haven’t seen before. Shredder includes a clear display stand and a keychain attachment.


Shredder was part of the assortment of blind bag figures I grabbed from K-Mart. Shredder is the first one I opened, so there’s that. I really like the figure, but I do wish the paint was cleaner. The poor paint is really holding this line back!


#0406: Leonardo



Ah, yes, Leonardo. Here you are again. I keep reviewing you, but I still don’t really care for you. Yes, part three of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates reviews will take a look at none other than the Turtles leader, Leonardo. So, umm, here goes.


Leonardo was released in the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. This particular version is the K-Mart release, which means he comes blind bagged and with an extra accessory. Leo is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation. He’s based on the character’s design from the current cartoon. The figure makes use of the standard Minimate body, with the turtles head, lower arms, hands, and lower legs in place of the standard pieces, as well as an add-on piece for his shell. The arms and legs are the same pieces used on all of the turtles in this line; they’re pretty well sculpted, and they manage to translate the show look pretty well. The head is the same three-part deal as Raph, but with his own mask piece. The shell is unique to Leo; it has a strap for his swords’ scabbards, which makes is noticeably different from the others. The shell is pretty well done, though the details seem a little bit soft. Sadly, the paint is once again where this figure falls short. The mouth and eyes are good, but everything else is just a mess. There’s noticeable slop, and the colors, especially on the front of the shell, aren’t evenly applied. It’s very sloppy in general, which is a disappointment coming from DST. Leo includes his twin Katana (the same as the one included with the Footbot), which can be sheathed on his back, plus the K-Mart (sort of)exclusive keychain piece, and a display stand painted like a manhole cover, which still remains incredibly cool.


Leo was amongst the 11 blind bagged figures I got from K-Mart recently. He’s one that I ended up with a duplicate of, which is actually for the best, because I’ll need to mix and match some parts to get the best possible paintwork. The undeniable coolness of having these characters as Minimates does a lot to make up for the short comings, but Leo does present a bit of disappointment. Fortunately, he’s one of the characters guaranteed to get another release, so he may get a chance for a better figure. Until then, this one isn’t bad, just disappointing.