BASE FIGURE: MIDSHIPMAN MIKE
MATERIALS USED: HOBBY KNIFE, ACRYLIC PAINTS
FIRST APPEARANCE: "GREEN WITH JEALOUSY"
"On the high seas, it's Midshipman Mike! He
must be looking for submarines!"
Preamble: In 1991, in their continued
efforts to expand the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, Playmates
Toys produced the Mutant Military assortment, featuring everyone's favorite
green teens as members of the armed forces. It was just one of many
different costume themesthere were also Turtles in sports gear, wild
west Turtles, and so forth, none of which were featured in any capacity on
the cartoon show that served, in part, to advertise the toys. Either
by happenstance or deliberate design, though, Midshipman Mike actually did
appear in one cartoon episode...after a fashion. Naturally, since this
is Playmates Toys we're talking about, Michaelangelo wasn't just dressed
as a sailorhe was a sailor with fish and crabs and barnacles crawling
all over his body. I decided it would be fun to collect four of this
particular action figure and turn them into the sailor Turtles as seen in
"Green With Jealousy," the third-season cartoon episode in which the Turtles
appear dressed as sailors.
Construction: The original Ninja
Turtles toy line was infamous for decorating some of the characters in the
most hideous way imaginable, ostensibly in the name of adding detail and
interest to the sculpts, but also probably because young kids were really
tickled by the "gross-out" factor. Samurai Leo had a leech sucking
blood from the back of his hand; Space Cadet Raph had a green tentacled alien
stuck to the back of his space suit. You get the idea.
Midshipman Mike actually
fared better than most in this department, since his tagalong companions
were fairly tame by comparison (goldfish are friendly, or at least they aren't
poisonous; barnacles are still kind of disgusting, and you have to wonder
how long he remained motionless for them to grow on his body, but they're
not "creepy crawly" since they can neither creep nor crawl). I removed
these with my hobby knife, of course, trying to make it look as though the
toy had been sculpted without them. (Cutting the fish off the front
of his body left a large hole in the plastic, so I had to cover it up with
putty.) I also removed his eyepatch, sculpted a new necktie, and whittled
away at the boots to turn them into bare feet. I also carved out the
insides of the sleeves and pant cuffs to make them a little more
three-dimensional. (For the pant cuffs, I actually cut the feet off,
carved out the inside of the pant legs, and then reattached the feet.)
I also did some work on Michaelangelo that
I didn't do to all of them, namely changing the position of his left arm
so he could hold his weapons in a more menacing pose, with his arm thrust
straight out rather than tucked in at the elbow. This improved the
toy's appearance and also helped to distinguish him a little from the
Comments: In an effort to be
historically accurate, I gave this version of Michaelangelo a
grappling hook as well
as a pair of nunchucks, since the third season of the television series was
the point at which parent groups began to notice the show and asked that
the violence be toned down, lest the kids began to emulate the ninja antics
of their favorite hard-shelled heroes. (Where these kids were going
to find an actual, authentic pair of nunchucks is beyond me entirely.) I
used the yo-yo accessory that originally came with Movie Star Raphaelwith
a few modifications, of course.
I did not write the below biography, but I'm including
it for the sake of completeness.
PORTRAIT OF MIDSHIPMAN MIKE
The Salty Sewer Sailor!
Favorite Ship: U.S.S. Pizza
Enemy Ships Sunk: Footski (397 times!)
No shi[p is safe from
sinking in the sewers without Midshipman Mike. He's the salty sewer
sailor who can swim, swashbuckle, and swab the deckall without getting
his "duds" dirty! This briny battle boy is ready for high sea adventure.
Mike will paddle the punks and send 'em all straight to Davy Jones'
locker. Yes, the water ways will always be sewer safe as long as Midshipman
Mike's on the deck. So ahoy, you mutant mateys. And don't make
waves, make way...for Midshipman Mike!