The strength of Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines has always been the variety of its characters. While the original line had more than its share Turtles variants it also had a strong base of unique characters from the comics and cartoon to fall back on.
Nick TMNT’s new take on Wingnut, is a pretty drastic overhaul story wise as well as from a design standpoint. Wingnut was originally an alien bat and lone survivor of his race after Krang decimated his planet. He was joined by his symbiotic partner, a mosquito named Screwloose, and together the two sought refuge on Earth and began looking for revenge.
Fast forward to 2014, Wingnut, erm, Kirby Bat, is actually Kirby O’Neil, yeah, that O’Neil, with one L, as in April’s father.
Kirby and April befriend the Turtles after having been rescued by them from the Kraang. Helping track down a Kraang ship carrying mutagen, Kirby was exposed to mutagen while pushing April out of the way of a falling canister, and as a result turns into a hideous mutant bat! Mikey, searching for a nickname for O’Neil’s mutated form refers to him first a “Kirby Bat” and then “Wingnut”, but Donnie scolds him, telling him not to give Kirby a “monster name”.
Kirby’s mutated form is pretty hideous — and this is a good thing. To be honest I was afraid the line had moved away from the more grotesque creature designs and had gone fifty shades of vanilla. This is why I was never really into the 2003 TMNT re-launch; the figures just weren’t as interesting. Luckily here, Nick has steered the Turtles back to its disgusting roots.
Overall Kirby is okay. His sculpt is interesting to say the least, the first thing you can’t help but notice are the large wings attached to his back. Each wing is a solid sculpt attached via ball joints, but don’t really allow for much motion. Spines run down to the outer edge of each wing with a leathery membrane in between each spine. The wings are purely decorative and really don’t serve any function here; you can move them up and down and back & forth slightly and that’s about it. Kirby’s gruesome head is also attached via ball joint and is pretty ugly too. It’s got a giant vein protruding from his and a bat face and two ears shaped like batwings.
Kirby’s torso is sculpted with different textures showing what appears to be skin meeting fur with another large vein running down lengthwise on his chest and belly. The arms are disproportionate and make him rather asymmetrical. His right arm is mostly normal with a pronounced “Popeye” forearm muscle, and the arm features a swivel/hinge shoulder. His tiny left arm is deformed and molded right onto the torso. Finally he’s got two crooked hind legs with bat feet that have swivel/hinge articulation at the hips.
The paint could be a lot better, but that’s just endemic of this line. Kirby is mostly cast in a tan color with an orange/brownish detail added for fur and green and purple for the veins. The wings have no paint details at all. Playmates gave his head a slight greenish shade and some shading on the eyebrows. Honestly, the colors chosen are nauseating. Nothing really pops about the figure which is really disappointing. Perhaps if he matched the animation model a little more closely this figure would look better.
Kirby Bat is a letdown. I don’t have an issue with the character design as much as the execution of the figure itself. The figure just lacks a certain fun factor that I expect from a TMNT figure. Sculpting the tiny arm right onto the torso feels more like a cost saving measure than artistic license. I’m not confident that a better paint deco could redeem this figure, but it would have gone a long way. Despite being the “bat guy” he has no relation to Wingnut and as a nostalgia driven collector that is a huge disappointment. Cherry pickers will find this an easy pass but even completiests may have trouble trying to justify this purchase.