Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Figures Review!

The new Playmates TMNT figures have been (barely) sitting on the shelves for a few months now, and I've been eyeballing them real hard. At a glance, the style is fresh without being FRESH! and the character design is cool without being WAY COOL! You would totally expect an over-the-top TMNT line of figures, but these hover right at the top letting the kids take it to the next level with their imagination. Or you can just buy the deluxe figures, which are a pretty good example of over-the-top.

I went out with my 3 year old son Leon (whose favorite turtle is not Leonardo) and told him that we would share these figures with one condition: Donatello is mine. We eventually picked up 6 figures and a vehicle, and let me tell you… it was difficult. Getting all 4 turtles took three different stores. I found Metalhead in a few stores, and it took waiting a few days and going back to find one enemy, Shredder. In the frustration of trying to find an enemy we bought the Turtle Van, and now I'm spent and I've been to every store in the area.

I'm going to talk about a few things in this review. Specifically the design, the articulation the accessories and the van.

The Design
These are coming directly from the new Nickelodeon cartoon series, which has a light and fun style that looks like like it's right out of a video game. It's not overly stylized to the point where it would be a love it or hate it thing (like Zelda: The Wind Waker) but it might be enough to keep some old heads away. The figures take that digital design and soften it down a little. The 4 turtles themselves look pretty amazing, each with a nod to their character in the face sculpt as well as their very nice varied coloring. Each has unique battle damage as well, with cuts and chunks taken out of their bellies and shells. Probably the most interesting characteristic in both the show and the figures are their massive flat elephant feet. They've taken this style outside of the turtles too with Metalhead and Shredder. Metalhead simply looks amazing, but Shredder is a bit of a softie. Everything about his sculpt is on the soft side. From the looks of the other characters, they are quite varied. Some are huge and detailed like Dogpound, and others are sleek and sexy like Kraang. The style does look a little inconsistent outside of the turtles, but I'm just looking at images and cannot confirm any of them actually exist. 

Also, the packaging is hot. It really pops on the shelf.

The Articulation They have jammed these guys up with joints and you wouldn't even know at a glance. Each arm has 3 points of articulation, allowing for great poses. Everything spins, twists and turns, while staying very durable and sturdy. The turtles themselves are about 5" tall and medium weight, but they are built very well. The grand comparison is always Palisades Muppets, a line that nailed BOTH sculpt and articulation without compromising either. And these obviously took a few notes from that model. The turtles all share similar articulation, but Shredder is a little different. It looks like they were ALMOST going for an action feature with him, as his legs to not bend at the knee.

The Accessories
What would a TMNT toy line be without accessories? OBVIOUSLY each turtle comes with his signature weapon, but each also comes with a classic sprue rack of other weapons, many of which are modified versions of the signature weapon. How about sharpening the end of Donatello's bo? Awesome. There are tons of throwing stars and other accessories to keep things interesting for a little while. The characters hold most of them well, but you do need to pry their fingers open a little at first.

The Van
The Van was a little bit of an impulse buy. My son really wanted a bad guy, but we couldn't find any. So we looked at the vehicles. He wanted any and all of them, but most were on the cheesy side. Motorcycles, go-carts, a HUGE Oversized skateboard. I think these all would be fine, but the Turtle Van was calling our name. It's the only vehicle that matters if you ask me, and it's only a little more expensive than the others. We scored it for $25 at Walmart. 


So the Van is huge, but only on the outside. You can cram the turtle, and more inside, but they'll mostly be laying on top of each other (and it suddenly becomes a different kind of van). It has some silly action features like a pole for the turtles to spin on (still a different kind of van!), but none work that well. The doors tend to fall off, but my son doesn't even care. He plays with or without the doors. I still think it's pretty cool. The one warning… there are a LOT of stickers. Hope you enjoy squeezing your fat fingers into and around every part of this Van. Some are nearly impossible to reach. I gave up on a few and placed them as close as I could.

Final Thoughts
While these looked amazing on the shelf, I'm happy to say they are just as nice outside of the package. I'm thrilled with the 4 turtles. They have a nice solid feel to them, and a surprising amount of articulation. Metalhead is right there with them, being an awesome character and done so well. I'm disappointed with Shredder. He's a little small and way soft. I'll try out some of the other enemies (IF I CAN FIND THEM!), but if anything I would suggest getting the 4 turtles. As for my son, he will not let go of them. The first night he packed all of the toys into the van and fell asleep cuddling with it. It's safe to say they went over well with the kids.

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