Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Action Figures

A few years ago I spotted a Craigslist ad selling original Star Wars and Ninja Turtles action figures. This was before my interest in Ninja Turtles, so I went thinking I would buy some of the Star Wars action figures.

When I went to the lady's house she had a bunch of her son's old toys laid out for sale. I pretty much ignored the Star Wars figures and was drawn to these four fellows and I think a couple more early TMNT figures. I even picked up the Turtle Van, but it wasn't in the best of condition so I have since moved it out of my collection.

But these guys are in excellent condition. They are missing their weapons, and Raphael's belt isn't perfect, but someday I'll be able to replace those issues.

The best part is that all these guys are the soft-head versions of the Ninja Turtles. I didn't know it at the time but the soft head versions of the TMNT figures are the first release versions.

It's near impossible to imagine that there was a time when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a gamble, but that was the case when Playmates released the first series of action figures they were just that.

So to cut costs and potential loss, Playmates released the Turtles and other wave one figures with soft rubber heads.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a huge hit (no surprise there, right?) so later releases of the first few figures were made with solid plastic heads.

I have a soft headed Bebop and Rocksteady too (which may have come from this same Craigslist purchase) and I believe Shredder, Footsoldier and Splinter also each came with soft rubber heads. I'm not sure if April did too or if she didn't appear until wave two.

Other than the initials on their belts and the colored masks/pads, these first few ninja turtles are actually far more influenced by the original comic artwork than their later cartoon designs.

They are also just wonderful classic, basic action figures.

I'm glad I ignored the Star Wars stuff and instead bought up these guys!


  1. Ive searched ebay for a cheap lot of these figures to no avail.I do have the hard headed Bebop and Rocksteady,though.

    1. I got lucky. I was nabbing these up before the big nostalgia wave really hit. Prices are up and ability to find original TMNT stuff (in good shape) is down recently.

  2. Eric,

    Odd question, are the belts pretty tight around their waists? I picked up one of the Toys R Us reissue Michelangelos, and the belt moves pretty freely. I just remember them being pretty snug on the originals.

    These figures are some of my new favorites. I liked them when I was a kid, but I absolutely love them now. Funny how that works, isn't it?

    1. They seem snug enough, but Mike's does feel the loosest and slides around a little bit. But it isn't too excessive.

  3. I need a belt and sais for my Raph and another nunchuc for Mikey.

    1. I got the 25th Anniversary release of Mike, Raph and Don from Ross for $5 each five years ago, planning on just swapping out the broken bits to have all refurbished originals. I'd still need to refurbish Raph though, so I might pick up one of the 30th anniversary releases to do so.