The Mean Munitions Mutant The Militant Mutant Mole
Released in 1991 Released in 1991
I felt the need to put the spotlight on these two figures all at once because like so many other characters in the TMNT universe, they’re part of a duo that has yet to be separated. The first animated series was a great showcase for villain duos. Outside of greats like Bebop and Rocksteady, Tokka and Rahzar, there was another duo that I had never heard of until a couple of years ago with Groundchuck and Dirtbag.
Making their first appearance in the episode “Planet of the Turtleoids”, Groundchuck, a mutant bull, and Dirtbag, a mutant mole, briefly worked for the Shredder before striking out on their own to take out the Turtles and…get rich, I guess. I don’t know, 90’s cartoon villains either wanted money or world domination and these two seem like they wanted the former based on their looks.
Groundchuck is one of the few mercifully flatfooted figures in the line that happens to (to me) a complete mishmash of ideas. He’s a bull colored red from head to almost hoof that is something of a marksman that is also part cyborg for whatever reason. But he’s got a bullseye on his chest, just so you know where to aim. Honestly, he’s not a bad figure, but he’s full of metal limbs, spikes, horns, skulls and chainmail that he’s almost too much to take in upon your initial viewing. I mean, you know he’s a bull, but he also has a green Mohawk and purple and silver horns because…why not, that’s why. He looks like the designers over at Mirage studios and Playmates toys were daring the animators of the cartoon to draw the most complicated character they could think of.
Where Groundchuck is incredibly busy from a visual standpoint, his bestie Dirtbag really leans hard into his visual motif.
Moles burrow underground, right? So of course they’re going to make a mutant mole a miner. What else would he be; a murderous insurance salesman? Dirtbag is a great looking figure that really pushes the limit on how far you can go with painting a figure in various shades of brown. I mean this guy is one crossbow blaster away from being named Chewie. While not exactly flatfooted, he makes up for it with an articulated tail that makes standing the figure on display very easy. He comes equipped with a mining helmet, jackhammer, pick axe and backpack that do everything they can to remind you that Dirtbag is in fact a miner. They sculpted fur is colored nicely, but also, due to its dull shades, hide details like bit marks, stiches and open wounds that he’s flat out ignoring.
One detail that the manufacturer didn’t want you to miss was his heart-shaped “MOM” tattoo on his right shoulder. It’s cool that he has a tattoo, but it makes me wonder why he’s got tattoo as a part of his mold when a figure that came out the same year that’s actually called “TATTOO” comes with stickers.
And the tattoo itself makes no sense. I mean it’s obviously a tattoo, but it has fur as a part of its sculpt. So did he paint it on his fur? And if he did, why is the lettering for “MOM” textured? So is it a patch? Again, why does it have fur?
I don’t understand these figures. They’re cool, and I am by no means saying that they’re dumb or terrible to look at, but why am I asking so many questions about them. Why is Groundchuck named after a primal cut of beef? If Dirtbag loves his mother so much, why doesn’t he ever mention her? Is it in her memory? Why is one part robot? Does Groundchuck ever take off his armor? Why does he have a Foot clan brand if he’s just going to defect? If Dirtbag is a miner, is he union? Did he steal his tools? Why were they so underused, or were they overused? Why am I questioning logic so much when these are characters from a brand called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Turtle Trivia: This is the weirdest review I’ve ever written.