The Second Wave of 80’s Crossover Nostalgia…Fresh From The Sewers of Hawkins!
With the recent announcement from IDW Publishing about a TMNT/Stranger Things comic crossover coming this summer, Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Stranger Things Upside Down Remix packs that hit stores late last year suddenly doesn’t seem so random as everyone made it out to be.
The first wave of figures included Leonardo/Eleven and Raphael/Hopper. The newly released second wave includes Mikey/Dustin and Donatello/Lucas. Both Stranger Things and TMNT are no strangers to toy licenses. Besides the absurdity of the crossover, one can see the difference in styling of these toy designs: with our believed Turtles harkening back to Eastman and Laird’s original 1985 Mirage Comic appearances. As for the Stranger Things characters, they sort of walk the line between true likeness and animated stylings. Which, all in all, makes these toys unique in their own right…and a “must-get” for Turtle and Stranger Things fans alike. But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?
Compared to the first wave, Lucas and Dustin’s sculpts have a more true-to-form likeness of the actors that portray them on the show. And the details are there, from Dustin’s graphic tee, vest patch and hat to Lucas’s sweet kick and 80’s shorts.
As for the Mikey and Donnie, not much can be said apart from Raph and Leo from the previous wave. Playmates does a good job at capturing the intimidating look of Eastman and Laird’s ‘85 run (complete with little turtle tails). The Turtles sculpts are solid…yet redundant…mostly because they’re missing the little flairs that make each turtle individuals that were implemented for the animated series. They have their appropriate weapons, scowls, red bandanas, and belts. Skin Tone is the same dark aqua-like green. Great figures for diehards that want a set of Mirage toys that won’t break the bank, but probably confusing to many casual fans.
What’s overlooked here is the figures overall presentation and included accessories. Both properties have their adorning logos (with TMNT having the original Mirage logo and art) and the packaging needing to be “flipped” to view each character. A great gimmick alluding to Stranger Thing’s “Upside Down” adventures throughout the series. The box also gives a quick synopsis on why this crossover is happening to begin with (besides dollar signs of course):
“The Turtles have tracked TCRI’s latest illegal experiments from NYC to Hawkins, Indiana, where it’s trying to harness the power of the upside down. The half-shell heroes must team up with eleven and her friends to try and stop TCRI’s next experiment before it succeeds.”
Another overlooked aspect of the figures that actually sounds pretty great for what it is. And we’re hoping that is the basis for the upcoming comic series as well. There’s also a lot of little on theme accessories included with the sets like cassette decks, spray cans, backpacks, 80s tech, and Eggo waffle ninja throwing stars because why not? If I had to go out, it would definitely be by way of a waffle throwing star.
In conclusion, Playmates toys has been using the Ninja Turtles to crossover in every way they can the past couple years, whether it be with Cobra Kai, Street Fighter, and Stranger Things. They make for interesting collectables. Nostalgic, yet a sign of modern pop culture. The Mirage inspired TMNT figures are great to have for the diehard Turtle fans, and the Stranger Things figures are solid in their own right. There’s a strong chance of overlapping fandoms all things considered and these look great in the box and out. My only question is will there be a wave 3 in the future?
Perhaps Mike and Splinter? Max and April? Will and Shredder? Kraang and the Demogorgon?
Only time will time, dudes and dudettes. Stranger Things have happened. Comment below and let us know if you collect these Playmates TMNT X Stranger Things figures!
The second wave of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Stranger Things Upside Down Remix is exclusive to Target stores and retailing for $39.99. You can also pick up the first wave for a little cheaper if you want all four Turtles.