It seems like an eternity since “The Croaking” episode of the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first aired. This was the episode that saw the debut of the classic 1987 TMNT cartoon characters: the Punk Frogs.
Playmates Toys announced that they would be producing two of the characters from the Punk Frogs: Atilla the Frog and Napoleon Bonafrog. Both figures have been difficult to find in my area but I happened to catch Napoleon while he was in stock on Toys R Us’ website.
Napoleon comes packaged on the newer style blister card featuring all four turtles in the top right corner with a yellow and green background.
The Good: Another great sculpt by Playmates Toys. The arms, legs, hands and feet are dead on with what a frog’s limbs should look like. Napoleon’s head/face is also show accurate due to his signature buck tooth, eyes, nostrils and the mud and twigs on top of his head. The white paint under Napoleon’s neck is a nice touch as well, indicating the underside of a real frog.
We get a sculpted bracelet, an ankle bracelet, knife and holster, and a fanny pack on this figure. The fanny pack also has a zipper and what appears to be pocket openings in the sculpt. I am glad to see Playmates completely paint the fanny pack strap as well. This may seem like a small detail but we have seen instances where features were not painted all the way around (ex. Tiger Claw’s eye patch).
It is nice seeing Playmates paint the eyes blue along with adding pupils, especially when you consider how small the eyes are due to Napoleon squinting. In addition, the unicorn on Bonafrog’s shirt received several paint apps that really add nice appeal! The yellow horn on the unicorn fits perfectly within the white, pink and blue.
Napoleon’s buck tooth contains some black paint on all sides. The darker paint makes an almost shadow like effect around the frog’s mouth. A nice touch, I must say. Leaving a green leaf sticking up out of the mud on Napoleon’s head spices things up a bit too.
Napoleon Bonafrog comes with one accessory: his trusty spear. I am very glad that Playmates packaged this figure with an accessory. It seems like we haven’t gotten nearly as many accessories within this line as we saw in previous TMNT lines by this company.
Swivel hinged shoulders, swivel hinged hips, rotating waist and a tight ball joint head/neck rounds out the articulation for this guy.
The Not So Good: The articulation on this figure is seriously lacking. Some of my previous complaints about articulation on other figures, although warranted in most cases, were not as big of a deal as this one. Napoleon can’t even hold his spear like the card image indicates due to the terrible range of motion in his shoulders and the non-existent wrist articulation. There are only a few cool poses that Napoleon can make with his spear…unless you like the “Beaver Bonafrog” pose above.
The stiff arms, out to each side makes Napoleon look like he has little man syndrome. Perhaps this was on purpose to help Napoleon look buffer than he actually is? Hmm…some theorists believe Napoleon Bonaparte did have little man syndrome so perhaps we are onto something?
Moving on down the body of Napoleon, you may notice that there isn’t articulation in the knees. To me, that is not a problem. However, it may contribute to the difficulty of getting this figure to stand upright (I think it’s more to do with the feet though). You literally have to place Napoleon’s legs in a pigeon toed position in order to keep this figure from falling over. He looks great when this is done correctly but it would be nice to be able to have some options here and not have to tinker so much with his legs to keep him from falling.
I am OK with the bumps and belly being unpainted but the ankle bracelet just looks terrible unpainted! It sticks out like a sore thumb and bothers me every time I look at it. I feel like it gives the appearance that it was accidentally skipped while the figure was being painted, rather than done on purpose, but I know better.
Have a look at Napoleon Bonafrog’s more colorful past life. I also need to mention that I loved Jon Heder being chosen to voice this character. The design, and obviously the character’s personality, fits Heder so well. I’m sure this was all on purpose of course but it’s worth noting!
I have mixed feelings about this figure. On one hand I love the way that it looks. But then I pick it up and the limited articulation in the shoulders puts a damper on things. I do think that the figure, when discussing appearance, is better without elbow articulation but not being able to even bring the arms down to the sides is frustrating. Wrist articulation would have alleviated some of this problem.
With that in mind, I think that the pros outweigh the cons for this particular figure. For $7.99, Napoleon Bonafrog is worth it and you get what you pay for: an awesome sculpt that depicts the character nicely, comes with an accessory, yet lacks shoulder articulation and contains a few unpainted details.
I am pleased that Playmates chose to produce Napoleon, along with Atilla, and who knows…maybe down the road we will get another member of the Punk Frogs in this line? Hopefully they return onscreen sometime after the Space arc, which would increase these odds. Thank you for reading and be sure to let me know what you think of Napoleon Bonafrog!