Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Revenge of 31 Days of Toy Terror: Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates

    During the first year of 31 Days of Toy Terror I reviewed quite a few action figures from Playmates' Nickelodeon TMNT line. While that line sadly went downhill a year or two into its run we still have the largely excellent line of vintage action figures to look back on, so today I'm checking out a pretty terrifying alligator man: Leatherhead! Released in 1989 as part of the second series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, Leatherhead was billed as the "Swamp-stompin', Ragin' Cajun Gator" and provided a new enemy for the turtles who also both wanted to defeat them and eat them. What was with all of the TMNT villains wanting to eat the turtles? I mean, even Shredder wanted to dine on turtle soup. What gives? Anyways, let's check out this terrifying backwoods creature after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 3 3/8ths inches

Articulation: Balljointed hips, swivel tail, swivel shoulders, swivel neck, and a hinged upper jaw.

Accessories: Shotgun, 2-piece trap, and belt.

Original Retail Price: $4-$5 dollars

Year of Release: 1989

 The Positives:

* I've always loved Leatherface, particularly because of his cool proportions. He's shorter than most figures in the TMNT line but he's also longer. The packaging bills him as being 12'4" and 871 pounds although he seems a bit smaller than that. Still, he looks like a fearsome foe for the lean green ninja teens.
 *  I love the sculpt on this guy. You might find it odd to compare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with G.I. Joe figures but I really like both because the sculpts were nearly always unique and were covered with cool little details. Not only is Leatherhead a super well designed character (Alligator man meets Crodocodile Dundee) but he's covered with cool stuff like a swamp hat, a furry vest, and a Bowie knife strapped to his shoulder.

* The headsculpt is awesome. Not only is Leatherhead covered with his detailed skin but he has fearsome teeth, creepy red eyes, and... yellow eyebrows? Do alligators even have eyebrows? Still, they look cool here and give him an excellently unhinged expression.

* I dig the tail as well. It's a solid sculpt here and really helps to make Leatherhead stand out from the pack.

* One of the best things about the vintage TMNT line was the plethora of crazy cool accessories with unique names. First up is the Jumbo Gumbo belt, a bright orange belt that fits around Leatherhead's midsection and carries lots of bizarre stuff around. There's a coin pouch, a crayfish, a tiny turtle, some bullets, and maybe some extra bait and random weeds, too. You know, all the stuff a gator man might need for a night out in the bayou.

* The second cool accessory is billed as a Swamp Gun. It looks like a shotgun and it features some really cool details that make the "wooden" stock look more elaborate and well designed. Perhaps this is some sort of family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation in Leatherhead's family.

* Not only is the Swamp Gun pretty cool but it fits perfectly in the Jumbo Gumbo Belt. How do you like that? If you're terrified of alligators, doesn't the thought of one toting around a 12 gauge seem even more terrifying? That'd be like someone afraid of snakes imagining a copperhead carrying around an Urumi or someone afraid of bees imaging a swarm of bees who also are members of a prison gang. It's just more intimidating that way.

* Last, and kind of least but still cool, is the Turtle Trap. This is a two piece"trap" that features a closing jaw. I always have liked this accessory as it was kind of unique (not many action figures have come with traps like this). I always wanted to stick the trap in Leatherhead's mouth, like some sort of crazy false teeth, but his jaws don't open that wide.
 The Negatives:

 * As I just mentioned, Leatherhead's jaws don't open that wide. I wish they opened wider but they don't.

* The paint work on Leatherhead's shirt, suspenders, and pants is a bit messy. I know that this is an older figure and there is a bit of paint wear on mine, but this is all original to the figure.
   Leatherhead is one of my favorite vintage TMNT figures. He's a solid design that manages to stand out even among the wacky cast of TMNT mutants and he has some great accessories. A swamp soaked utility belt, a shotgun, and a bear trap? Sign me up! This guy might not be your typical movie monster or spooky specter but I think he works pretty well for The Revenge of 31 Days of Toy Terror, don't you? He's a Great and a 1/2 action figure and a gem from a line that is a true treasure trove of mutant madness.

If you're a Leatherhead fan check out my review of the 2012 TMNT Leatherhead as well.

This is actually the first vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure I've reviewed! If you're interested in more reviews from the line, let me know!


  1. For the most part the original TMNT line from Playmates had some great sculpts. Loved having this figure as a kid. Nice review!

    1. Thanks! They really did have some creative, unique elements on each figure. They're fun to look back over to see all of the crazy details present.

  2. I don't think Bayou Billy was blonde but if he was, I'd be willing to imagine that he was mutated into Leatherhead.

    1. I think he was kind of a dirty blonde, right? Sort of like Paul Hogan?

    2. Or brownish-blonde, unless I'm much mistaken. I would've said Black Gator mutated into Leatherhead but he's not blonde.

  3. This guy was my first ever Ninja Turtles figure as a kid. :)

    1. Not a bad choice for a first. My grandmas bought me the figures from the first series, so I was in on the ground floor. One grandma bought me most of the first series but only let me pick one turtle (she thought they all looked the same) so my other grandma took me back later and bought me the other three.

    2. And Casey Jones was my second. :D

    3. Casey Jones is one of my absolute favorites! Maybe for December I may do a month long series of reviews of random toys from older toylines. It's not necessarily Christmas themed, but I think it could work!

  4. Vintage TMNT sculpts are things of wonder and beauty, every single one of ‘em.

    1. Absolutely. I'm hoping to check out a few more of them over the winter when there is less new stuff released.


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