Monday, December 22, 2014

Action Figure Review: Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates Toys

     I just reviewed Bebop the other day so here comes Rocksteady! Yup, the rampaging rhino is back in toy aisles as part of Playmates Toys' TMNT line based off of the current Nickelodeon animated series. Rocksteady is the same as Bebop in that he's currently a Wal-Mart exclusive, will mutate into his animal form on the show this coming January, and has already appeared in the show in human form. When I was looking at Rocksteady I was really intrigued by his choice of a hammer and sickle for weapons due to their connection to communism and the Soviet Union. A closer study revealed knuckle dusters on his hands that also feature the image of a hammer and a sickle. It turns out that Rocksteady is the mutated form of Ivan Steranko, a Russian weapons dealer who has appeared in the series as an old business associate of Shredder. Interesting stuff and I can't wait to see how it plays out. Of course, right now we'll be looking at the toy. Ready?

The Facts:
Height: 4 3/4 inches tall

Articulation: Swivel hips, swivel waist, swivel shoulders, swivel wrists, and a swivel neck.

Accessories: Removable harness, a sickle, and a hammer.

The Positives:

*Right off the bat I can appreciate the visual ties to the vintage version of the character. Other than this being an action figure of a anthropomorphized  giant rhino, the camouflage pants, tank top, and green pouches on the hips (reminiscent of turtle shells) immediately call to mind the vintage toy. Rocksteady is just a good design all around and the detailed sculpting on his head and skin really capture the wrinkly, armor-like texture you'd expect from a rhino.

*There are also a fair number of paint apps on this figure, too! This has been Playmates' weakness in this new TMNT since the second series of action figures  but Rocksteady came out with most major details covered such as his shoulder pants, some of the camo on his pants, his horn, and his side pouches.

*The little nods to Rocksteady being a former Russian weapons dealer definitely make this guys stand out from the pack. His hammer and sickle accessories along with the hammer and sickle on his knuckle dusters and the star on his removable webgear make this guy feel a bit dangerous. This Rocksteady isn't just a common street punk with a camo fetish: He's a hardcore former Soviet weapons dealer who probably wants to hang out with your Ivan Drago action figure. This guy has got some major league street cred, that's for sure.

The Negatives:

*The biggest thing that bothers me about old Rocksteady is that his articulation is severely limiting. His shoulders and hips are just simple swivel joints! Not only does that prohibit more interesting poses but it makes him difficult to stand correctly because his hips are a swivel V-crotch. I'm quite surprised that Playmates gave Rocksteady a v-crotch. Really? A v-crotch? I know Playmates made an entire line of action figures devoted to the v-crotch (their Star Trek line/s) but this seems like a really odd choice for Rocksteady. He's tough to keep standing and you can't really do much to pose his legs at all.

      While Rocksteady's limited articulation is my only complaint about the figure, it is a pretty huge one. He's far less fun to play around with than other figures simply because he is so stiff. Seriously, swivel/hinge shoulders would have done wonders for this guy. He looks really intimidating, has some unusual accessories, and feels like a solid, chunky toy, but the fact that he just can't mover or fight really inhibits the fun factor. Overall, I'm giving him a Good. Just a simply change would have done so much to improve this guy. I'm going to say it: Swivel/hinge or ball jointed shoulders are an absolute must on pretty much any modern action figure. You're going to buy Rocksteady: You know it, I know it, and Playmates knows it. It's just too bad he wasn't a bit more articulated.

I've reviewed the following TMNT figures:

Battle Shell Leonardo
Battle Shell Raphael
Baxter Stockman 
Casey Jones
Cockroach Terminator
Dojo Splinter
Mikey the Elf
Ninjas in Training: Leonardo & Donatello
Ooze Scoopin' Donnie 
Ooze Tossin' Raph 
Raph the Barbarian
Rat King
Shredder #2
Shredder (SDCC 2013 Exclusive) 
Spider Bytez 
Stealth Tech Donatello 
Stealth Tech Leonardo
Stealth Tech Michelangelo
Stealth Tech Raphael 


  1. I have this guy too. I need to review him soon. I really like him, even though he's not perfect.

    I'm still on the fence about Bebop - I want to see both color variants side by side before I make a decision on which (if either) to get.

  2. Eric, what is this Bebop variant you mention? I haven't heard of this before.

  3. I can't bring myself to buying this guy or Bebop.Right now there are only a few baddies that I like from the line but I think they could have done a better job with the two most important villains In the series.BTW-Love the site,just what i needed to ring in the new year!I'l be adding to bloglist ;)

    1. Glad you like the site!

      I definitely think most of the figures could have been done better but I'm OK with most of them being that this line is inexpensive (comparatively), available at retail, and targeted towards kids. TMNT really reminds me of the toylines we all collected as kids: It's diverse, has playsets and vehicles, and is fairly easy to find. Few (if any) other lines can boast even one of those features today.


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