Casey Jones is a character a lot of fans identified with in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Looking beyond the fact that he’s one of the only main non-mutant/alien characters, he’s also an everyman.
No super powers, no family fortune to buy those wonderful toys, just his street smarts and a baseball bat. That’s all you really need to kick some criminal butt!
I think we all love a good vigilante, someone who stands for justice and goes where the arm of the law can’t reach and provide some good ‘ol fashioned street justice.
I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of Casey Jones in the Mirage animated series or even the live-action films but I loved the toy. The figure stood out to me even amongst all the mutant monsters which I believe is a testament to the strength of the character design.
So how does Nickelodeon’s new take on Casey Jones stack up?
Carrying over various elements from the vintage figure design this new Casey is very intimidating. Usually you can determine whether someone is a good guy or a bad guy based on the colors he’s wearing, especially in cartoons. I guess the rationale being they want the viewer to immediately pick up on who heroes and villains are. Heroes typically wear bright, vibrant colors which you can see coming mile away while darker colors are usually reserved for villains.
Casey Jones bucks that trend he’s decked out head to toe in mostly black and gray – a far cry from a ripped green sweat-shirt, and tied cutoff purple sweatpants of the vintage figure! The new Casey carries over a few visual elements from the 1989 toy, such as the right shoulder pad/pauldron, the strap running across his chest and of course the intimidating hockey mask. The rest is completely new. Casey is decked out in a hoodie with the sleeves cut out, a long sleeve shirt, pants, and what looks to be some sort of codpiece sculpted over the crotch. He’s got kneepads on both knees, a shin guard on his right leg, and rollerblades on his feet.
In addition to the pauldron Casey also has some hockey gear for protection. I have to admit I had no idea what they’re called, so thank you Wikipedia for a quick education! On his left arm he’s got a blocker with spikes on it and in his right hand a trapper.
Finally, Casey is wearing his signature hockey mask. I don’t care what else they changed about this guy; if he’s not wearing a hockey mask he is not Casey Jones. The mask itself of course somewhat outdated bearing no resemblance to modern goaltender masks. Despite not being used by hockey players the design is still a well-known hockey icon and of course synonymous with Jason Voorhees of the Friday the 13th film series.
1989 Casey Jones’ mask was plain white, whereas in 2014 Casey has added a few personal touches to make his look even more menacing. The design on the mask itself reminds me of the mascot for punk rock band, The Misfits who released the album “Horror Business” in 1979 featuring a skeletal figure inspired by a poster for the 1946 film serial The Crimson Ghost. In addition to the mask Casey’s face is also painted, which adds a different element to the figure, though I think he should leave the make-up that to Marilyn Manson.
Let no one ever say that Playmates does not have a keen eye for sculpting detail, however their paint applications, as always, leave more to be desired. He’s got ruffles in his clothing, keys on his belt and the aforementioned codpiece sculpted right on to his crotch. On his feet he’s got rollerblades over his sneakers. Casey doesn’t have a lot of paint to speak of; he’s mostly molded in black and two dark shades of gray.
The paint shows where Playmates budget must have cost out. For instance the chest strap is colored brown on the chest, however if you turn the figure around there’s no detail at all. It’s a minor detail but kind of annoying. He’s got some white on his sneakers too if you want to count that. Casey’s head is cast in all black with white face paint added and by contrast; the hockey mask is cast in white with black paint detail.
Casey is probably one of the better articulated of the recent TMNT figures, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but why be a Debbie Downer? Swivel head, ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, cut waist, ball jointed hips, and combination hinged/swivel knees. I would have liked to see a ball jointed head for better range of motion, however the hoodie already inhibits poseability and I’m not sure if a ball joint would make it any better. Cut biceps would have been nice too —although sometimes they’re tricky to work out through clothing folds, there are two points right in the sculpt which would have easily lent themselves towards that articulation.
Casey comes with two accessories, a baseball bat and hockey stick. Both are solid white and have no paint apps. Both weapons can be carried on his back.
I have to admit; I am less than thrilled with this toy. It’s lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. I don’t think it’s the design or sculpt, that’s fine. I think it just doesn’t have that same pop as other figure in the line.
Casey was initially unveiled via a contest for the TMNT Fan Club and they showed a flyer featuring a gorgeous painted prototype of him all done up nice. I’m no newb and I understand that painted prototypes are always going to have more detail than what ends up on shelves, but I think case I think it’s a massive letdown on the part of Playmates. You can clearly see where they did not paint the elbow pads or his forearms and they did not paint the weapons. I’m not a very picky collector but I think this is where I am drawing the line. I still think he’s a solid figure — I’m just not exactly thrilled with the way it turned out. Even as I type this I am contemplating having a friend of mine paint him up for me.