"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 themes—there 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 sailor—he 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 others.

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 Raphael—with a few modifications, of course.

I did not write the below biography, but I'm including it for the sake of completeness.

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 deck—all 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!

Sailor Michaelangelo (Kitbash)

Michaelangelo Chows Down (from "Green With Jealousy")

Sailor Michaelangelo (with Grappling Hook)

Midshipman Mike (Left) and Sailor Michaelangelo (Right)

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This Page Created: 1/19/2011
Last Updated: 2/8/2012
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Clockwise From Top: Sailor Donatello; Sailor Michaelangelo; Sailor Leonardo; Sailor Raphael