The aero-dynamic adventurer
Released in 1989
So finally we have come to possibly the best figure in the Playmates TMNT toy line; ladies and gentlemen, Ace Duck.
I can’t tell you exactly why Ace Duck is such a favorite of mine. He certainly doesn’t have the most visually interesting design, like say, King Lionheart or Mutagen Man. And his accessories are somewhat bland, compared to most figures, with his semi-realistic military grade hardware. And it’s not like he’s a fan favorite character from any series of TMNT cartoons. He was only in one scene (in the background) of the ’87 series, and he was treated like a bad joke in the 2012 series (really guys?). Aside from being in the Archie Adventures series of comics (in name only), and the fact that his backstory in the ’87 series didn’t seem to line up with the portrait on his packaging, you would be forgiven if you had never heard of this figure, much less his character at all.
But if you’re willing to pay attention to the lineup of figures, you’ll find a character worthy of his place next to the heroes in a half shell. Ace’s sculpt accomplishes the daunting task of simulating the natural texture of a bird’s feathers. While he is wearing a jacket and jeans, his exposed chest, hands and head all very nicely display ruffled and windswept feathers that show off the balance of clothing to an organic material.
Speaking of his sculpt, Ace’s webbed feet are a godsend to a collector like myself, as their wide design make standing the figure a breeze, as opposed to someone like Shredder or Scale Tail.
I know I said that his accessories were bland, but that is only in comparison to the rest of the line. I really appreciate the eye for realism seen with Ace’s .45 service pistol and pilot’s cap. Heck, even his bomber jacket is reminiscent of a Flying Ace in World War two…wait a minute…Flying “Ace”…OH MY GOD!!!!
In addition to his accessories, Ace comes equipped with “Egg Grenades”, just to prove that the spirit of the TMNT shines through, and most importantly, he comes with adjustable wings that plug into the figures back. The wingspan of this figure is huge as well, spanning almost twice as long as the figure stands. The fact that the wings are removable is a stroke of genius seeing as how if the wings were in place on Ace’s back, he would be impossible to seat on a vehicle of any kind. And seeing as he is the resident pilot of the Turtle Blimp, it would be a crime if he didn’t fit. Finally, his articulation is cause for some serious conversation. Now to me, articulation in an action figure isn’t much of a selling point. If I like the design of a figure, you’ve got my money more often than not. But this guy’s articulation fits his accessories, and his character, perfectly. On top of standard seven points of articulation, he has ball joints at his shoulders that allow his arms to run parallel to his wings, making for more dynamic flying poses than your average figure of the time (Google the Superman figure from the Super Powers toy line).
The only real down side to this figure is his pilot’s cap. It has a peg on the inside that plugs into Ace’s head, which is nice, but the cap is just right of center on the figures face, making it look lopsided. Maybe it’s just my figure that this happened with, but it’s a small enough detail that, while I noticed it, doesn’t take anything away from the overall appeal to the figure. But I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this. At the end of the day, Ace Duck is a figure that is sleek and simple, while being dynamic and instantly recognizable. Sure, the word duck is in his name, but if you never saw a Walkabout figure, would you be able to pick him out in a crowd if you only knew his name?
Now (stands on soapbox), can we please get an Ace Duck miniseries? I’m talking to you IDW Publishing. This guy, somehow, is truly one of the great figures that has yet to live up to his potential. If Wyrm can make a comeback, so can Ace Duck.
Turtle Trivia: In his one, and only, appearance in the ’87 animated series episode “Attack of the Big MACC”, Ace Duck is an action movie star worthy of his own movie marathon.