Thursday, September 29, 2016

Toot! Toot! It's Tugboat!

Mattel sure has been on a role as of late with figures from wrestling's past. Some are wrestlers who have not seen figures in years, others are making their toy debut. Yet others, like the figure that we're looking at here, is a man who has seen several figures but is a character who has not. This character, debuting roughly 26 years ago, was one who saw some popularity, but would've been a smash hit just a few years earlier. If Tugboat had debuted smack dab in the middle of the "Rock N Wrestling" era, he would have been a gem of the LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars line. If he had lasted a bit longer, he would've been included, as originally planned, in the Hasbro WWF figure line. Thanks to Mattel, we can finally "toot" alongside a figure of the massive sailor.

Tugboat makes his debut in the Mattel "Elite" category as such a figure should. I'm still liking the "new" packaging on these figures, although it seems as if the company is changing the design yearly. Tugboat definitely does not "float" in the bubble, even without a separately packaged accessory. It should be noted that although Tugboat had never before seen a regular figure release, an asterisk does belong next to that claim. Tugboat did see a small, non-poseable, mini figure as part of the legendary Remco WWF Superstars Shoot-Out tabletop hockey game. The Tugster was the goalie of the "good guy" team, with his then-future partner Earthquake as the "bad guy" counterpart. Until Mattel decided on producing figures of the "three faces of Fred Ottman," Tugboat was doomed forever as only a game piece.

One thing that I noticed even while the figure was in the package was that Mattel got one important aspect of the man right: his height. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting "Uncle Fred," you may have noticed how immense the man is. While his weight was the stat pushed in his wrestling days, his height completely blows me away each time that I see him. The billed height of 6'3 on the back of the package seems very low to me. Mr. Ottman is a giant of a man with an equally big personality and heart. The latter definitely came through in his guise as Tugboat.

The sole accessory here is the hat. It is removable, as it should be, and fits on nicely. I may go as far as to say that it's a snug fit. You can hold the figure upside down and it doesn't fall off. It's produced of a soft, pliable plastic and has a small rim on the inside front that works with the figure's hair to help hold it on. I can't really think of another accessory that would have made sense if included. With so much original tooling on the figure, it's very acceptable that only the hat is here.

Speaking of the tooling, Tugboat's body type was captured perfectly. Though he was undoubtedly a massive man, in the Tugboat outfit he never looked grotesquely large. He always seemed to have some muscle mass. The arms, though reused from other "big man" figures, show that mass and work very well. The paint detail on the striped shirt is very good, although a tad sloppy on mine. The facial likeness is good, though I'm not sure that it's my favorite ever done for Ottman. I would have preferred a more congenial look on the Tugboat figure, but I see why they used one likeness for all of his figures.

Fan of Tugboat? Grab it. I can't see another one coming unless somehow a "Three Faces of Ottman" set is made. I don't see that necessarily happening, but I wouldn't have thought that Mattel would be producing figures of Tugboat, Typhoon, and The Shockmaster anyway. Now that they have the figures produced, it's plausible that a repackaged set of three could be done in the future. Figures of larger wrestlers such as Tugboat are not usually produced in the "Basic" sets either, so that would seem to be out of the question as well. In the meantime, head on out with a big "toot" and find a Tugboat. And you better yell, "I think that's Uncle Fred!" upon finding it...

No comments: