thrift store finds: a teenage mutant ninja turtles puzzle

The key to shopping at thrift stores is knowing you need to buy something the moment you clamp your eyes upon it. Thrift stores are not the type of establishments that forgive the wishy-washy. If you see a hat that you like… you damn well better buy it, rather than putting it back on the rack and giving it a night to think it over. For all you know, that hat will be gone by tomorrow and when it comes to secondhand shopping, there is no reordering. One it’s gone… it’s gone.

This is why I did not hesitate to buy today’s thrift store find, a 100 piece Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles puzzle. According to the copyright information, this was made in 1987 by Random House.

In general, I stay away from buying puzzles and board games from thrift stores. I don’t know how all stores operate, but our St. Vincent de Paul tapes their games and puzzles shut before shelving them for purchase. This absolutely makes sense, but I’m left to wonder how complete the puzzles are when I buy them. I wouldn’t want to shell out my hard-earned quarters to buy a puzzle, spend hours assembling it, and then find at the end it to be missing several important pieces. That would be awful!

I took a gamble on the TMNT puzzle because of the following reasons:

(1) As you already know, I was a great Ninja Turtle fan as a child.

(2) The puzzle only cost fifty cents. If it was missing any pieces, it wouldn’t be a great loss.

Here she is. I’m not bothering to count each individual piece. I’m just going to start putting the sucker together and see what comes out.

So far, so good. All the border pieces are included and in good shape. Confession time: I don’t normally put a puzzle together by starting with the border, but I thought I’d give it a whirl here.

…and here’s a chunk of the middle. Interesting to me and probably no one else, this puzzle illustrates an early moment in the Ninja Turtle continuity. Ace reporter April O’Neil is being attacked. These are not just anonymous thugs however; as you may be able to tell by their costumes, these guys will eventually become (with the help of some mutagenic ooze) Rocksteady and Bebop. It’s interesting that the artist who drew this puzzle decided to use the pre-mutated version of Bebop and Rocksteady, as the warthog and rhino versions would have been far more visually interesting. Then again, given the style of artwork, I’m guessing these were made before the Ninja Turtles fad got into full swing.

…and here’s the final product! No pieces were missing and I guess this was two quarters well spent.

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