Look, I am going to be perfectly blunt here. There really is no better action figure line available on the market today than NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles assortment.
In recent years, Randy Falk and the team at the New Jersey-based collectibles company have done a serious deep dive into the radical world of the Heroes In A Half Shell – which has allowed a literal landslide of classic characters to be available to consumers as never before.
From Rat King to Wingnut, each of these beautifully updated action figures look as though they’ve quite literally jumped right out of the TV screen and into collections across the globe. Featuring modern design techniques and scores of updated articulation, these fantastical figures bring all your childhood favorites back once more – and trust me when I say that whoever takes up the torch after NECA have had their fun with this beloved IP will have some of the biggest shoes to fill since Hasbro dared to take up the Marvel license from Toy Biz!
There is just so much love and care put forth here. Even the faceless fodder of the Foot Soldier has been upgraded to all it can possibly be here in 2021 – and the end result, complemented by the recent release of the slick Deluxe version, is one of the coolest castings to hit retailers this year.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Anatomy Of A “Deluxe” Foot Soldier
Crafted in 7″ scale, the new Deluxe Foot Soldier is based off of the character’s appearance in the beloved 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
Like the countless Gorilla Soldiers, Stormtroopers, and Sweeps before them, the main purpose behind these masked minions was to essentially serve as punching bags for Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo as they crusaded across the Big Apple in an effort to stop the vile Shredder once and for all.
Now, while I did refer to this figure as new, the fact is that it is actually more of an updated take on a figure that we have had for a few years already. That said, this is still a must-own for fans as it takes everything we loved about the first release and dials it straight up to eleven!
The Foot Soldier comes to fans in NECA’s beautiful ultimate style window box packaging. The five-panel design is plastered with all sorts of gorgeous artwork certain to please even the pickiest of mint in box collectors – while at the same time drawing the eye of those just as eager to release this fabulous fiend from its plastic prison for some much-needed playtime. Or, in the case of this photographer, some sexy snapshots courtesy of my small arsenal of camera equipment.
As with previous releases in the line, the packaging is also adorned with some f.h.e. inspired logos that effortlessly call to mind those beloved VHS tapes of yesteryear. This really does an excellent job of tying the whole boxed aesthetic together really nicely, however also makes it difficult to throw them away once opened.
Fair warning here, folks. Even before you pop the top on this one, the nostalgia hits hard as even the recyclable materials ooze more charm than a Domino’s Double Cheese!
Army Builders Unit!
The Deluxe Foot Soldier is the third deluxe figure to see release in the TMNT line. However, while we had to wait for both Metalhead and Krang before this bad boy saw the light of day, there really hasn’t been a shortage of Foot Soldier figures since NECA hit the ground running with this totally tubular brand just a few years ago.
In 2017, we got the Foot Soldier as part of an exclusive set through San Diego Comic-Con. After that, they became available as part of the first wave of Target exclusive multipacks. Wave 2 gave us dedicated Foot Soldier two-packs that allowed fans to quickly amass an impressive army of the artificial assailants, while battle-damaged variants came along shortly after.
This begs the question, with so many different Foot Soldier figures available, why did the folks at NECA feel it was necessary to give us yet another take on the classic character?
Well, ever hear of Alpha-1?
The Foot Soldiers Are Revolting!
One of my most favorite episodes of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series was titled The Foot Soldiers Are Revolting! Here in Canada, it hit airwaves in December 1990 and focused on a super-intelligent Foot Soldier named Alpha-1 leading a rebellion against the likes of Shredder and Krang respectively.
With his enlarged cranium and frightful metal face, Alpha-1 really stood out from the rest of his robotic brethren and presented the character as something much more than just another blindingly obedient drone.
And therein lies the secret trump card of this new Foot Soldier figure.
Not only do you have the option to add yet another recruit to the ranks of your Foot Clan army, but you also have the choice to change him over to Alpha-1 with a simple head swap! Now, thanks to the release of this new Deluxe figure, fans can choose to add Alpha-1 to their shelves – and lead a revolt against The Shredder.
And yet, that is just the tip of the iceberg!
We Can Rebuild Him!
The new Deluxe Foot Soldier figure also features a few subtleties in the engineering department. There are now ball-peg hips, which allow for a much freer and more fluid range of motion. This is certain to sit well with fans and collectors, whose biggest gripe with the initial Foot Soldier figures seem to lie with the overly tight hips.
That said, the new hip design does make the figure prone to doing the splits while posing. This is something easily remedied with a little patience and perseverance.
In addition, the figure has also been given a reworked neck joint. Like the aforementioned hips, this allows for a nicer and smoother range of motion – while at the same time, making the task of swapping heads on this new Deluxe Foot Soldier easier than his predecessors.
In addition to these new parts, NECA has also incorporated some rocker ankles into this Deluxe Foot Soldier. These joints further aid in the figure’s overall stability, while at the same time opening up the number of posing options just a little bit more.
The rest of the moveable parts featured here are exactly the same as the previous Foot Soldier releases, and everything meshes together nicely to offer up a well-balanced articulation model that will no doubt set the stage for many more releases to come!
Gadgets And Gizmos Galore!
It is not just the updated articulation that sets this new figure apart from the Foot Soldiers of the past. Another area where this one truly shines is in the accessory department!
Living up to its Deluxe title in a very big way, this figure has been packaged alongside a small arsenal of fantastic plastic that allows for a near-endless selection of display options!
There are three swappable heads – Alpha-1, and a pair of regular Foot Soldier heads featuring both a red and yellow clan symbol respectively. There are also a total of six sets of interchangeable hands – relaxed, chopping, fists, trigger finger, and two variations on the classic gripping hands.
As with the paint applications spread throughout the figure, those used on the hands are top-notch and there are no issues with cracks, flaking, runs, or bleeding. At the same time, the plastic used to craft them is nice and pliable. Thus, the various included accessories can all be handled with ease.
Several accessories from previous Foot Soldier figures make an appearance here. There is the two-handed suction cup rifle done in a gray and charcoal color scheme. The chunky blue laser gun is back, as is the white double-barrel pistol.
Other returning accessories include the blue and purple mutagen canister, the communicator, both the gray and orange throwing stars, and the brown and yellow hilted sword that was part of the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con release. One of the rifles from the Bebop and Rocksteady set also appears here done up in a very nice purple and gray color scheme.
And Then There Is All The New Stuff!
Also packaged alongside this figure is a cop hat, as well as a really sleek-looking folding fan done in a really nice orange and yellow pallet. There is also a very impressive spear that makes for some really nice two-handed melee poses, a second sword with a serrated blade, and a unique handgun specifically for use with the interchangeable Alpha-1 head.
As I said, there is a lot here. NECA has really pulled out all the stops, and I seriously can’t think of anything else that they possibly could have crammed in. Although, I am sure there are some of you reading this out there that could think of something.
At first glance, all this extra plastic may seem more than a little overwhelming, but it certainly offers up some nice variety for those looking to bolster the ranks of their Foot Clan army. As such, I’ve no doubt that there will be more than a few of you out there who’ll be looking to snag more than one of these figures – and I honestly can’t say that I blame you!
He really is that good when all is said and done.
I will say that it would have been nice if NECA had given this figure a scabbard or some holsters so that we could store some of these included pieces on the actual figure itself. This is something that Hasbro has been doing really well with their G.I. Joe Classified line, and I just feel as though this particular figure could really have benefited from some weapon storage.
But, I digress. This is still a very strong figure, and while I do have a few small nitpicks here and there, I honestly don’t feel that they really require mentioning within this review, and in no way do they change my opinion of what is a truly impressive action figure.
Let’s Wrap It Up, Shall We?
So, yes the new Deluxe “Trouble’s Afoot” Foot Soldier may not be a wholly new figure when compared to some of its wavemates. However, what we have ended up with here is a nicely updated take on an already strong figure that gets it right where it counts and adds plenty of extras that make a purchase totally worthwhile!
The sculpting is strong. The paint is flawless. The articulation is plentiful. There is no shortage of accessories both old and new, and even the packaging is certain to hit you right in the feels the moment your eyes fall upon it in person! The Deluxe Foot Soldier is a must-own for fans and collectors alike, as it represents everything that can be truly great about this hobby!
Is he perfect? No. The ball-pegs make the hips a little loser than they should be, and this is a figure that could have really benefited from some included weapons storage. However, as I said above, these are minor gripes at best, and I can’t say they make me view this figure in a negative light. No, it may not be a perfect figure, but it is a great figure.
It ticks all the right boxes from top to bottom and stands as further proof of the love that the folks at NECA really have for this beloved brand!
Rating: 8/10 – “Minor gripes aside, the new Deluxe Foot Soldier lives up to that name in every sense of the word thanks to some properly upgraded engineering and enough accessories to fill a Party Wagon! It may not be perfect, but it sure is great – ticking all the right boxes and keeping the nostalgia feelings strong even before it is removed from the box!”
Special thanks to my friends at NECA for supplying the figure used in this review!