Action Figure

Retro or Remake: Which Shredder is Better?

We’ve talked about the action figures of a few side characters, but what about our main characters? The Shredder is perhaps one of the most important characters in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe, and he’s seen at least a few different iterations in toy form. With that in mind, we’re going to compare and contrast both the original 1988 Shredder figure and his 2012 counterpart.

Despite their differences, these two action figures prove that Playmates Toys has always been a master at their craft. Both toys manage to impress in various ways, making it difficult to pick one over the other. Nostalgia can sometimes leave the fans blind to the improvements made in later iterations of a character or an action figure, but we’ll try to do our best of making a case for both the retro and the remake.


Retro Shredder Pros:

  • Cool Comic Book Pose
  • Variety of Weapons
  • Purple Cape Accessory

Retro Shredder Cons:

  • Shirtless Character Design
  • Lack of Maneuverability
  • Not Based on Cartoon



Remake Shredder Pros:

  • Design Based on Cartoon
  • Nice Variety of Weapons
  • Much More Maneuverable

Remake Shredder Cons:

  • No Purple Cape
  • Fewer Weapons
  • Unimpressive Pose



There will no doubt be some fans who feel that the original is just too contorted and not interesting enough, while others will feel that the new Shredder is too bland and lacks his traditional cape. While it’s true that the 1988 Shredder isn’t easy to maneuver or play with, it’s worth noting that this pose looks very similar to one we previously saw in the comic books that started the franchise. In other words, this design was probably directly influenced by the comics that created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe we know today.

Although it’s nice to see this kind of call back to the origins, it’s worth noting that this is supposed to be an action figure, and it’s somewhat difficult to perform many actions with a toy like this. In the area of actual play features, the new Shredder toy is simply better. Not only does the 2012 Shredder come with his own Katana and throwing stars, but he’s also much easier to play with. Sure, maybe he doesn’t come in an awesome default pose, but at least you can do something with the action figure.

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly an easy decision to make. Each toy has their equal strengths and weaknesses, and the only thing that really sets them apart is a cape, which is why…


Although he doesn’t really wear it in battle, the 2012 Shredder does in fact have a cape in the animated series, so why isn’t it included with that toy? If they could include it with the 1988 Shredder action figure despite the fact that it seemed to be based more on the comic book character than the cartoon, why couldn’t they include it with the 2012 Shredder figure? Honestly, I can’t think of a reason other than saving money, and that just seems cheap.

Much like the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, this Shredder figure was a bit of an amalgamation of both the comic book character and the cartoon character. In this case, the purple cape may actually be the only thing tying the toy to the cartoon. The fact that the character also came with a cool variety of weapons didn’t hurt. Despite lacking the menacing armor of the 2012 figure, his pose reflected an understanding of martial arts that genuinely made him look like a force to be reckoned with.

What do you think? Is the Retro Shredder better than the Remake, or do I have this all wrong? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

The Author

Justin W

Justin W

My name is Justin Wren and I love to write about the TMNT! I've been a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan since the late 80's. Back then, I would watch the original animated series and play with the Playmates toys all the time. I have been following the boys ever since I was a kid, and I'm very happy to see them back in the limelight after all these years. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of the team on this awesome TMNT Fan Site!

Previous post

Laura Linney's Role Captured for Ninja Turtles 2

Next post

TMNT – “The Deadly Venom” Review