The battering vigilante sportsman
Released in 1989
If you’re a fan of the Turtles, then this figure needs no introduction. Casey Jones has been a part of TMNT lore since the beginning. Making his first appearance in the Raphael one-shot comic back in ’85, Casey Jones was introduced as a bit of an extreme example of where a hothead like Raphael could go if left unchecked. Casey is a young man driven towards vigilantism, not out of revenge or loss like so many others, but because he grew up watching way too many cop dramas and vigilante films.
Eventually, this fan favorite character made his debut in the first animated series with the season three episode “Casey Jones: Outlaw Hero”. While he was that big of a character in the ’87 animated series (having only appeared in five episodes), he was given a figure in 1989, just in time for his TV debut.
Unlike some figures in the toy line, his sculpt is pretty spot-on when compared to his small screen counterpart. He wears ripped sweats and a shoulder pad, green sneakers and his iconic hockey mask. As with most figures in this line, it all comes down to the details. His wild hair is streaked with blue highlights; his right hand is taped up while he wears a brown glove on his left. The only real complaint about this figure is just the fact that his design is incredibly simple. At the end of the day, Casey Jones is not a mutant. He’s a pumped up man who is obviously on a budget. While his musculature is fairly accurate, he does seem to lose a bit of the personality that is just plain obvious with virtually any other figure in this line. But to all clouds, there is a silver lining, and the supposed weaknesses of this figure are its greatest strengths. While Casey’s design is simple, you only really need to get two elements right; the hockey mask and his golf bag full of weapons. Casey’s mask is a pitch perfect rendering of the one he is seen wearing in the Mirage comic books. It is better represented here (arguably) than in any other figure released since. Apparently, this figure was supposed to come with an alternate head with no hockey mask, and while I would’ve appreciated it, I know that I just would’ve lost it when I was a kid. And it makes sense as to why he doesn’t come with an unmasked alternate head, seeing as how the character never took his mask off in the animated series.
I haven’t spent much time talking about accessories yet (I’ll get to them later), but it should be known that a Casey Jones figure that doesn’t have a golf bag and at least one hockey stick is not worth getting. While he does come with said bag and stick it is a shame to not that the two baseball bats that he comes with a molded as broken bats. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, I just would’ve liked to have seen a couple of proper baseball bats come with the figure.
Seeing as how there were so few human characters in the first TMNT toy line, Playmates could have easily skipped this figure all together given his small role in the animated series. But instead, possibly thanks to Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, we were given a figure that is instantly recognizable to any fan of this series. The simplicity of this characters design works to its benefit; a fact that we’ll see less and less of as we move further and further into the line. While there are some characters that boast more streamlined designs, we’ll soon see that Playmates Toys may have gone a bit overboard with the amount of…stuff on the majority of their figures.
Turtle Trivia: Casey Jones’ character and design was based on Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton from the film “Big Trouble in Little China”.