I've heard several collectors use of the term "Holy Grail" when talking about an item they really want. A figure/statue or whatever that for some reason, a ridiculous price, a lack of availability - like an exclusive wave, Mattel - or just plain bad luck, they can't get. And I like the idea of different collectors having their own, personal Holy Grails.
But I also like to use that term in every single line I collect. I believe that every line has not only its Holy Grail, but also its Ark of the Covenant and three or more Sankara Stones. Every line has a figure that's more difficult to get (sometimes impossible) than the others. For example Hal Jordan would be JLU's Holy Grail, Volcana the Ark of the Covenant. And Big Barda, Obsidian and Deadshot (previous to the re-relase) the Sankara Stones.
Well, sometime ago, I was lucky enough to find an auction on ebay for a lot of Ninja Turtles figures, in that lot there was the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and one of the Sankara Stones of that line. I was missing those three. So I went for it... And won!
True, with that lot I got several figures I already have and a lot of variants I don't want. But I'm going to try to sell those to get back some of the money I spent. It's a good deal. Even without that, the money I spent in the whole auction was less that the money that costs just to get a MOC Holy Grail.
This is Scratch, he was released in 1993 and, as any vintage TMNT collector will tell you, he's the Holy Grail of the collection. A MOC version goes for 350, maybe 400 bucks on epay. I got mine for waaay less.
Without the fact that he's one of the rarest figure in the line (since I don't want them, I'm not familiar with variants, so there maybe some figures that are harder to find, but not the ones I want), the toy itself is average. Not the greatest Playmates figure at all. He's pretty dynamic and the expression of the face is very well done, but if you consider the rest of the line he's just OK.
Still, every time I see my TMNT display with Scratch in it I do a little jump of joy... My dog thinks I'm nuts.
And speaking of dogs...
Hot Spot was also released in 1993, I guess that by then the Ninja Turtle madness was starting to wind down and Playmates made less of these, I don't know.
In terms of availability he is the Ark of the Covenant. The figure is fun, but again, not the greatest figure. I like how he was sculpted with a bone in his mouth, like he was chewing on a toothpick or a cigar (I doubt it, since he's a firefighter after all, and they don't smoke, right?)
And finally this is Sandstorm (from 1992). I must admit that this one was just a bonus for me. I called him a Sankara Stone, but that is relative. He's not that hard to get in the US and not near as expensive as the others. But it's incredibly hard to find one in Argentina (the only one I've ever seen here had no arms, so someone replaced them with the arms of Mon-Star from the Silver Hawks... Really).
In a strange turn of events, he's the best figure of the three, the sculpt is really dynamic, as usual, one foot has mutated and the other one hasn't. like Scale Tail, he has a different body structure than the regular figures, with a hump and all.
These figures are in perfect shape and still are a great example of the fine job Playmates was doing in the 80s/90s: Great and original sculpting, original not reused body molds, vibrant colors, silly puns for names. What's not to love?
Until next time. Now, go and boil your bottoms, you sons of silly persons! (I had to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail somewhere on this post right?)