Jab’s Reviews: TMNT (Scratch & Hot Spot- The Overpriced Duo)

Welcome back to more TMNT commentary! This time I tackle the two most ludicrously overpriced toys in the entire line, infamous because not only are they hideous figures, but they’re worth an absolute FORTUNE! It’s a very funny situation that pops up due to the quirks of the toy collector industry: Great toys from forgotten lines are worth only a pittance, while lame toys from ultra-famous lines can be worth scads of money since nobody paid for them the first time around.

He’s been sentenced to nine life terms; he’s busted outta jail nine times – now this flea-bitten feline is free to frolic with the fetid Foot Clan. Scratch is the meanest street cat you’re likely to meet. And, if you perchance to run into this Mutant mongrel, run him over before he scratches you senseless! But beware – cuz Scratch is the master of trickery. That’s how he gets outta jail all the time! He may fool the fuzz by offering them a piece of his criminal cake gun. Then it’s SWIPE! SWIPE! – and Scratch is off runnin’ with his swindlin’ sidekick, Jail Bird. Together, they torment and terrorize the Teens by bumpin’ off banks and teamin’ up with Shredder. Scratch has got his felonious fish club, too, to batter up the Turtle Teens. And no matter how he flips to fight, Scratch always lands on his feet. So don’t cross Scratch’s path – or he’ll cross you out!

SCRATCH:

-Among the most-obscure TMNT toys, Scratch is only notable because he reflects one of the oddities of the Toy Collector Subculture: Even shitty toys can become ENORMOUSLY EXPENSIVE if they’re rare enough, and come from a popular enough toy line.

See, common Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys are worth a pittance, even with all of their gear. Most of the first 3-4 years of the toyline’s figures aren’t that expensive, either ($12-20 is normal for even a complete one- barely more than they were when they were new). The more popular the figure was in his day, the cheaper he probably costs now- if a million kids owned a Donatello, then chances are the figure is still common 25+ years later, and so there’s no reason to be jacking up the prices on one of several thousand vintage figures.

But Scratch? This weak-ass toy from 1993- six years after the toyline debuted? Scratch was unpopular, underproduced, and wasn’t in the cartoon, so he didn’t sell very well. But therein lies the secret to his fame: most lame toys from his era are worth barely anything, but because he’s A) exceptionally-rare (if nobody bought him, then not many are around), and B) from a toyline that people actually CARE about, he is now worth a FORTUNE online. A quick search of eBay shows various figures selling for between $1,000-2,000!!!! For a SINGLE TOY. The only one more expensive is a Kraft Dinner mail-away for an all-black & silver Super Shredder- people charge around $10,000 for one of those sealed in his original packing envelope.

But it’s just this funny look at how things work. There are rarer figures, but if they’re from obscure toylines, nobody cares. The Trash Bag Bunch, Barnyard Battlers, Food Fighters, etc? Nobody cares. The rarest Visionaries guy (Reekon) is easily-damaged and came with the top vehicle in the line so he’s pretty rare, but even then he’s less than $80 because the line was not that successful. But since the damn TMNT were so huge, their forgotten baseline figures are just worth inordinate amounts to completist and the collectors of rarities. The only things more expensive for less were M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, and that’s mostly because an obsessive weirdo or two were jacking up the prices by paying literal thousands for weird-looking random plastic figures with no coloring on them.

-Scratch was initially called “Hallocat”, and his creator altered his name and used him for the toyline in 1993. The character basically went nowhere, but appeared in one Game Boy video game as the very first boss. Nowadays, he’s ONLY known for being the massively-pricey figure he is, to the point of controversy- doing a quick check, I found a forum of TMNT collectors complaining about how over-priced he is, and how lame his toy is in comparison (like, he’s SIX TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE than even Android Body Krang, which is a MUCH better toy!).

Ruff, ruff! Hot Spot is not only man’s best friend – he’s the Turtles’ canine companion. This likeable, lickable lad won’t roll over and play dead, cuz he’s armed to the teeth! Yes, that bone can break bones, if used just right. But that’s only a last resort. This piebald pal really likes to get the Foot Clan clean by dousin’ ’em with his trusty, rusty, squirtin’ fire hydrant. And if it’s a four alarm Foot fight, Hot Spot’s got his power-packed Foot-fightin’ fire axe and anti-gaggin’ gas mask – so he can go right into the thick of things. The Turtles know that if they ever need the help of this dalmation dude, all they gotta do is sound the alarm – and Hot Spot will be there, ready to roll.

HOT SPOT:

-Hot Spot, like Scratch and a few other characters, is a weak-ass Late In The Toyline character, which as usual, means that he kind of sucks, has a silly concept, and is mostly forgotten by everyone. He’s a Dalmatian Firefighter, which is a natural stereotype for the dogs that famously used to hang out as fire station mascots (I’ve never seen anything like that in person, however). Of course, nowadays Dalmations are more known for the Disney movies, and for being really bad pets, as the breed is notorious for inbreeding (and associated problems with that), and for being high-energy and thus rough with the children that whined at mommy and daddy for a cute spotted puppy. He naturally had no appearances in the cartoon, or any later continuity either. Like Scratch, he is worth a TON of money, probably the second most valuable figure in the entire line on the secondary market- he’s on eBay for over $1000 sometimes.

Hot Spot’s toy is REALLY bad, too. At least Scratch and Sandstorm are defensible, if boring. THIS GUY? His eyes are all messed-up and pointing in different directions, and holding a bone in his mouth just makes him look stupid. Like, medically-so.

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