Dirtbag is a mutant mole, who is also a miner. I’ve always felt like that’s a little on-the-nose, even for the early-1990s Ninja Turtles toy line. But, such is the way if children’s entertainment, sometimes.
Dirtbag was always just another mutant from a line full of them, but I remember one of my cousins messing around with this toy when we were kids, and he said, “I dunno, I just like this guy’s muscles.” And ever since then, Dirtbag has always had a special place in my collection. It’s such a dumb memory, but I think we all have those random moments lodged in our memories about some off-the-cuff line being kind of life-changing to our young minds.
Along with his buddy Groundchuck, whose toy was released in the same wave, Dirtbag had a few appearances in the original 1987 TMNT cartoon. Specifically, the episodes that had to do with the Planet of the Turtloids.
Ol’ Dirtbag even got to appear in TMNT III: The Manhattan Project on the 8-Bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Sadly, he hasn’t really been seen since, but that’s okay. He’s still a cool toy. With cool muscles, I guess.
Rather than the camouflage look of the original toy, I thought it would make sense to paint up Dirtbag more like someone who actually worked in a mine. I gave him drab green overalls, a yellow hardhat, and just the dirtiest, grimiest fur I could muster at the time. I made the belt the same color as the helmet to break up the green in the overalls. Actually, thinking about it years later, I probably should’ve made his single boot brighter, like a Timberland or something.
My final product isn’t as colorful as the original, but there’s no questioning what this guy did before he was mutated. He was a miner. Named Dirtbag.
Way to live up to your namesake, buddy.
Dirtbag, Groundchuck, TMNT, and all related characters were bought by Nickelodeon in 2010, so they own that stuff now.