One thing missing from today’s WWE wrestling scene is friends. When Wrestler A gets beaten down now, there’s no one rushing from the locker room to help them. That wasn’t the case in 1990 when Tugboat arrived in the WWF. Quickly aligning himself with Hulk Hogan, Tugboat quickly became one of the more popular WWF stars. When Earthquake took Hogan out, Tugboat carried the torch for Hulkamania. Sure it was an easy way to get him over, but it worked for me.
I was stoked when Mattel revealed the Tugboat figure. He was the last member of Hogan’s 1990 Survivor Series. That was my favorite Survivor Series and recreating that with all the teams is one of my collector pipe dreams. This is interestingly Tugboat’s first figure. Hasbro nixed their figure when he joined forces with Earthquake to become The Natural Disasters. So by default this is the best Tugboat, but Mattel fortunately didn’t mail it in.
Packaging: Nothing different than what we’ve come to expect from the Mattel WWE packaging. That doesn’t mean I’m not still a fan. The yellow Legends accent on the packaging is my favorite. An actual bio for guys like Tugboat, who didn’t win any titles in this gimmick, would really be useful though.
Likeness: Tugboat was a happier than normal wrestler. He’s one of the few guys I wouldn’t have complained if Mattel opted for a smiling headsculpt. That said, I like the focused serious expression we get. This is the finishing Toot Tooting with the fans and ready for in-ring action Tugboat.
Like Earthquake, the torso area seems slimmer than it should. Tugboat was a super heavyweight after all. But given the option of this slightly slimmer body mold or the oversized one Jakks used, Mattel went the correct route.
Tugboat’s outfit was hardly complex. It was a tank top and pants. It’s not fancy, but it’s sculpted just fine here.
Scale: Tugboat was billed at 6’3”, two inches shy of Earthquake and four inches shorter than Hulk Hogan. The figure is about the same as Hogan, but that seems right based on photos of the two together.
Paint: Tugboat had a fairly simple outfit. Candy stripe shirt and white pants with a red stripe. The color scheme definitely helps him stand out even in the more colorful early 90s wing of my WWF collection.
While it would be an understandable issue, Mattel even went the extra route to ensure the stripes don’t get broken up when you move the torso up and down. I’m impressed Mattel factored that into consideration with the paint work.
Mattel typically doesn’t have a problem with faces, but if you need to be careful of anything it might be the eyes.
Articulation: Despite the bulkier size, the Elite articulation model works just fine with Tugboat. Let’s face it, you don’t need to pull off any 619 or hurricaranas with him in any circumstance.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Tugboat didn’t have any fancy ring wear or have a gimmick weapon. All he brought to ringside was his sailor’s cap. It fits snuggly on his head and remains on even when I turned him upside down. With characters like this with such small accessories, I’d like to see Mattel start adding in random accessories like steel chairs, signs or something.
Worth it? Tugboat is going to currently run you $20. In the game of pricing roulette some WWE Elite figures, particularly Flashbacks, can drop as low as $12 to $15. Given the lack of accessories, that’s a fairer price. The thing is you never know which Flashbacks will drop or double in price so I just get them at $20.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Tugboat was a major figure in one of my favorite years in wrestling. For sentimentality’s sake he was a must-get. Mattel executed this fairly simple gimmick better than I expected. I’m glad Typhoon is arriving soon.
Where to get it? Retail has been slow for new figures. Walgreens and Gamestop are the main spots to find the newer figures right now. Eventually Toys R Us, Target and Wal-Mart will get them. If you’re impatient like me you can grab Tugboat from Amazon.com