I tend to skew more towards technical teams like The Brainbusters, Hart Foundation, Midnight Express, etc., but for some reason I liked The Natural Disasters. Earthquake completed his feud with Hulk Hogan and was about to be scuttled down to irrelevance and Tugboat was treading water. Pairing the two was a smart move that paid off.
I was ecstatic when Mattel released Earthquake in his solo attire as I hoped that meant a Natural Disasters version was a possibility. Mattel surprisingly was very aggressive in getting all of Fred Ottman’s gimmicks done in a year and I was thrilled at the first reveal of Typhoon.
The Natural Disasters are part of the Wal-Mart exclusive Then, Now and Forever line. How I get them didn’t matter. Now it’s time to review them and prepare my collection for the aftershock.
Packaging: The Then Now Forever packaging is different from the standard Elite packaging, but not so much to annoy MOC collectors.
There’s a gold trim for ‘Then’ aka Flashback stars, but the best part of this line is the excellent bios that fully explains the character and their importance. It only makes me annoyed that Mattel doesn’t do this with all the lines.
Likeness: Earthquake is a repainted version of the Elite 35 figure. Not a problem since I liked that figure. Typhoon is not a simple repaint, which makes sense as a Tugboat repaint would have just been sloppy. I appreciate that Mattel didn’t just use the exact same Earthquake body for Typhoon to help differentiate them some.
Typhoon does get the same Tugboat head sculpt. For the sake of reuse that explains why we didn’t get a more jovial Tugboat head sculpt and a meaner Typhoon sculpt.
Scale: Earthquake was billed at 6’7” while Typhoon was listed at 6’3”. Looking at old pictures, the difference is hardly that noticeable between the two. Typhoon’s bigger head helps the illusion that he’s taller, but they’re about the same height.
I still think these guys are a smidge too thin — but just barely. They definitely look thicker than the average Mattel figure like The Bushwackers, which is most important.
Paint: White remains a challenge for Mattel to properly apply. Typhoon’s outfit has some problems with the white paint not fully taking and some missed paint on the singlet. The lettering on both outfits came out well. Earthquake’s remaining few strands of hair atop his head didn’t get painted right so both have a few problems, but nothing major.
Articulation: Being two massive, burly brawlers, the Natural Disasters don’t need the most flexible bodies. All the same, the Elite bodies allow for creative posing with the two behemoths.
They’re much easier to pose on that front than say The Rockers and there wasn’t a viable move they did I couldn’t re-enact save Earthquake’s camel clutch.
The Natural Disasters have:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: The Natural Disasters come with a pretty sensible accessory — a classic tag team title. That’s all they needed really. The straps are the same we’ve gotten previously with the nice soft leather material and shiny gold applications.
Mattel doesn’t go overboard often with accessories, but it would have been pretty cool in this instance if both Earthquake and Typhoon came with extra cloth jackets for Jimmy Hart. One could have been a solo Earthquake appropriate one and the other could have been a Natural Disasters jacket.
Worth it? These guys are clocking in at $19.79. I wouldn’t trust this series to make it to clearance anytime soon especially now that the holidays are over. That’s the going rate for Elite figures though and they’re definitely worth that for tag team collectors.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
These guys would get a perfect score with better paint apps. I appreciate Mattel knocking out another classic tag team and hope to see more in the Then, Now and Forever line.
Where to get it? As a Wal-Mart exclusive, that’s your first bet. Eventually, secondary sellers will put them up on Amazon for inflated costs.