The bodiless, burbling brain
Released in 1989
There’s something about Krang that I find very relatable as I get older. Really think about the old cartoon, what did Krang want? He wanted a body, to return to Dimension X, and complete and total control over the planet Earth. Really, is that too much to ask?
Krang’s figure does a great job of capturing his animated counterpart’s likeness. Not that that is much of a challenge for Playmates toys. Krang is basically a one-inch, pink plastic ball with arms. Personally, I have no problem with this because, according to Krang’s portrait, he’s just over a foot tall, and a pile of brain matter. What else would you expect?
Where this figure truly shines is his mechanical walker, complete with a domed top to house the brainy villain. While not entirely accurate to the animated series due to some color swaps, there’s just something about this walker that makes Krang look a bit unnerving. Kind of like those robot dogs that the military keeps developing. You ever see one of those run, it just doesn’t look right. That’s the eerie vibe that Krang gives off; you take a look at him, and you just don’t know what to expect. Add to that his rifle that is designed to remove the brains of anyone stuck in his path (via suction cup!), and you have a villain that cements his place within the Turtle’s Rogue’s Gallery.
I just wish the same could be said about his android body.
Krang’s Android Body
The bad brain with body armor
Released in 1994
Now let it be known that I understand that Krang is an iconic character, and his android body is a big reason why. But honestly, this figure works better on paper than he does in plastic. If you’ve ever seen the first season of the ‘87animated series, you’ll remember that Krang is begging Shredder to build him a new body, as his own was taken from him when he was banished to Earth for his crimes. While it’s never explained what his crimes were, and his original body was never seen, it was a great hook to make you invested in his character. When you finally see Krang’s new exoskeleton-like armor, it’s actually kinda cool. Sure, it looks like he’s cosplaying as King Kong Bundy, but he towers over the Turtles, his strength is unparalleled, and he is even able to morph his hands into various types of bladed weapons, AND he can fly! Thanks to his armor, Krang is transformed from a wannabe world conqueror, to a veritable war machine.
While the figure sports the standard seven points of articulation, thanks to the figure’s sculpt, his range of motion is severely limited. While this is a side-effect of this series that I can easily overlook, with this figure, it just stands out more where it doesn’t on virtually every other figure in the line. With that being said, this figure perfectly recreates almost every detail found in the 1991 release of a Krang’s Android Body figure that measured up to just over eleven inches tall. Seeing as how I don’t have the 11-inch figure anymore, I can only compare the 1994 figure to it’s much bigger brother released in ’91. But I don’t think that’s very fair, so I won’t. What I will say is that the Android body figure released in 1994 towers over every character in the toy line at five inches tall, which perfectly captures the look of Krang’s armor from the cartoon, a detail that I appreciate very much. At the end of the day, however, Krang’s Android Body was always kind of a joke in the animated series (both in 1987 and 2012), and this figure perfectly captures the gonzo sci-fi elements found littered all over TMNT lore. So it’s great to see that his figure follows suit.
Krang is awesome. From his banter with Shredder, making them look like less of a dynamic duo, and more of an old married couple, to his design that looks right at home in a 50’s-era, sci-fi B-movie. There is something seeing this ball of brains putting his co-workers in their place that is just satisfying, and these figures, in their own strange way, kind of emulate that perfectly. The Krang figure released in 1989 has this smile on his face that tells you that he is in control. Sure, he’s only a foot tall, but that all the taller that he needs to be. Recently, the 2012 animated series seemingly tried to improve upon these formulas with characters like Krang Prime and Krang Subprime, but to me, it has come across as forced and over the top. While I may be biased, I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that Krang, and his various figures, made an impact that is still being felt today.
Turtle Trivia: In the 2016 TMNT: Out of the Shadows film, voice actor Pat Fraley, who voiced Krang in the ’87 animated series, was originally supposed return to voicing the character for the film. But he had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. But he did suggest that actor Brad Garrett to producers to voice the character in his place.