As you’re hunting toys in the wild (or online) you may come across a figure or accessory that you recognize but you’re not sure which version it is. Reissue or Vintage? Came with the single figure or vehicle driver? This “Collector Guide” series will focus on a single item that has been reused or has multiple similar versions to help with identification of various toys. Today we’re looking at the TMNT Sewer Shield.
In the first year of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline, the evil Rocksteady came with a shield fashioned after a City Sewer Manhole Cover. The Manhole Cover is such an iconic image in the TMNT world that it has been used for figures stands, vehicle wheels, figure shields and has been incorporated into many of the toy packages over the years. It’s no wonder that the Sewer Shield has been reused a couple of times over the course of the vintage line.
Throughout the years of collecting TMNT figures, I’ve come to find out there are 6 different uses of the Sewer Shield and most of the time when I asked anyone about them, they just told me the colors were different. Grey, Light Grey, Silver, Pink, Red, ect… After looking closer I noticed there are actual mold changes to most of the different versions. Mold changes are super helpful because if you come across one of these parts, you usually don’t have another to compare the colors to.
Here we have the four different mold variations for the TMNT Sewer Shield. Starting from left to right, the four columns are:
Gags, Jokes & Crazy Weapons
Cheapskate (I & II)
Movie Star Leo (Original and Re-release)
Starting with the original Rocksteady release, there are variations in color and the words. In both of the previous pictures, you can see that there are darker and lighter grey colors and the letters are slightly different (most notably the C in City is either rounded or oval shaped) From what I can tell, these are all vintage Rocksteady Sewer Shields. One may be an earlier release, or maybe was made in another country, I’m not sure, but they all came with Rocksteady.
While not pictured, I have also noted that the two latest re-releases of Rocksteady (The 25th Anniversary & the Classic Collection figures) appear to have rounded C’s like the left shield but have a center indention like the right shield.
Now for all of the other versions, Here is an easy graphic pointing out the main differences:
ROCKSTEADY SEWER SHIELD:
There is some light damage on the edges of the shield. It’s not always exactly the same. Out of the four samples I have, only two have the exact same dents in the exact same places. (and these two Shields are different colors) The shield that I believe may be the earliest example, (the round C) looks like the dents were pushed in after the fact by hand. Those dents are in the same approximate area as all of the others. (2 dents left upper corner, 2 dents right lower corner, 1 dent top right, 1 dent bottom left)
The full shield is rounded as if it bubbles up in the middle. The round C version is dome like, while the other versions appear to have a depression in the middle
The words “City Sewer” on the shield have no lines above and below them. Rocksteady and Movie Star Leo are the only ones with no lines
There are three rings of squares that go around the shield. the innermost ring will have six squares above City Sewer and six squares below the words.
CHEAPSKATE I & II
The two versions of the Cheapskate vehicle came with Sewer Shields. The first thing you’ll notice about the Cheapskate versions is that they are smooth around the edges. There should be no damage at all.
The Cheapskate versions are also the only ones that are completely flat on top, there is no dome-like effect in this sculpt.
The words “City Sewer” now have sculpted lines above and below them. This is typically, the main thing to tell you this shield goes to the Cheapskate.
The innermost ring here has 6 full squares and two partial squares above and below City Sewer
GAGS, JOKES & CRAZY WEAPONS
One of the Gags, Jokes and Crazy weapons accessory packs included a Sewer Shield. Like the Cheapskate Shield, this one has many different small details.
The edges have the same amount of damage as Rocksteady’s shield, but the damage is a little more pronounced. I only have one example of this Sewer Shield so I don’t know if the damage is exactly the same on every Gags version.
This version has the dome-like sculpt, also the City Sewer words are raised higher than any of the other Sewer Shields
Like the Cheapskate, there are lines sculpted above and below the words.
The Gags’ innermost ring has only four full squares and two partial squares above City Sewer. The lower innermost ring technically has five full squares and one partial one. The two squares that are typically cut off are only slightly cut off here. (This is why I primarily look at just the upper innermost ring)
MOVIE STAR LEO
Lastly we have the Movie Star Leo Sewer Shield. Most of the details here are just like the Rocksteady shield, with one main exception.
The damage on the edges are very deeply sculpted and slightly different from all other damage versions of the shield. The left upper corner only has one dent instead of two like all of the other Sewer Shields with damage on the edges.
That’s all of the TMNT Sewer Shield knowledge I have. If you know more about these, by all means let us know! (Especially if you can confirm the Rocksteady variations) Hopefully this guide will help in your hunt for these shields.