The Hard-Headed, Horned Hoodlum
Released in 1990
To find the inspiration for the next few figures in the line we have to go back, way back, to the original TMNT comics that started everything. After fighting off both Shredder and Baxter Stockman, the Turtles find themselves in the distant reaches of space while searching for their missing master Splinter. Along the way, they make friends with an A.I. named Fugitoid, and run afoul of the Triceraton army. Of course, hijinks ensue.
I’m not going to pretend to know everything there is to know about these guys. All you need to know is that they are part of an invading army that almost always has ties to Fugitoid and throws hands with the Turtles. And their presence has been felt in virtually every form of Turtles media, second only to the Foot Clan.
While I do think that it’s weird that a race of aliens was boiled down to a single figure, other toy lines in TMNT history have rectified this mistake, so…small victories. Also, if you think about it, the same hand was dealt to the Foot Soldier, and nothing was stopping you from buying multiple figures to build a Foot Army of sorts; unless you had logical parents that said “no”, nothing would stop you from buying multiple Triceratons. I digress.
The figure itself is truly a sight to behold. This figure, while not the tallest in the line, is one of the broader bad guys out there that makes it look bigger than most of the bad guys in the line. His bright color palate, consisting of orange, green and blue, is a nice change of pace that helps to further separate itself from the other villains surrounding him. Honestly, I believe that if you had no idea who this guy is, and you’d be forgiven if you didn’t, seeing as how he’s kind of a niche character, your eye would be instantly drawn towards this Mesozoic mauler.
While he doesn’t have articulation at his wrists like virtually every other figure before or since, this figures sixth point of articulation is at his tail, which I believe helps to balance the figure while posed on your shelf. Be wary though when posing this guy; he was the only figure in the line whose internal plastic joints seized and broke on me, both at the legs and the tail, resulting in me buying a second Triceraton; which works out when you think about it, because thanks to some super glue, and a Shogun Triceraton variant, I now have a Triceraton landing party.
Speaking of which, I know that this whole thing is about the “basic” series of figures, and as such I didn’t want to mention the plethora of variants that arguably dominated the line. But, this next figure is a rare figure that I am proud to own and has a distinct enough personality to separate himself from the Triceraton figure.
The Dentable Destroyin’ Dino Dynamo
Released in 1994
For the serious collector, the Shogun line of TMNT variants is a sought after line of figures since their debut in 1994. Personally, I had never heard of this variant series until a year ago. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to these variants because that’s not really my thing. The breadth of variants in the first line is immense and a serious rabbit hole lined with burned cash. But this figure the Shogun Triceraton figure leans, I think; a bit more on the side of realism than the standard Triceraton figure. The Shogun variant is a deep green with silver armor accents and helmet that emphasize both the regality and size of the figure. Standing with the Triceraton figure, the Shogun variant almost defaults to a leadership position within their ranks. While the sculpts are identical, the added bits of armor and different weapons add a bit more character that make him an interesting figure to own.
But the cost is going to be a factor. I won’t throw numbers out here because that’s not what this is about. At the end of the day, it’s just nice to see more varied enemies for the Turtles, outside of the regular mutant of the week villain type; especially a character that has such deep roots within the Turtles comic book mythology. On top f which, the figures are absolutely massive while staying within the scale of figure that Playmates allowed for at the time. It’s obvious from first glance that the Turtles are out of their league in terms of pure strength. These guys are the size of modular houses and they have the fire power to back up their world-dominating ambitions.
Turtle Trivia: The first appearance of the Triceratons in the 1987 animated series was in the episode Night of the Dark Turtle. Told you I didn’t know much about them.