Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Basic: Leo, Raph, Mike, Don action figure review

I'm not ashamed to admit I grew up on Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. I had every single one.. and some that didn't even exist until I made them. Well it's 2012 and Playmates has brought back the four shell-heads in a brand new series. These are the 5" tall basic series and also have April, Shredder, Splinter, Krang, and a Foot Soldier in the assortment.

Sculpting is NICE. I mean really nice. I mean NO-RE-USE-PARTS nice. Each of the four TMNT turtles have different skin textures, different hands, arms, and feet. They have different toe-prints! Don's are swirly while Leo's are leathery. Mike's shell is smaller than the others, the front of Don's shell is taller and wider than Leo's and even the forearm sections are unique. The gauze wrap has a different texture for each turtle and their pads are all scuffed differently, believe me I checked.

2012 TMNT figureWith this level of detail I was shocked to see "Playmates Toys" on the package. Playmates has just set the bar for 'kids toys' which these are of course aimed at. The facial expressions on the brothers are excellent. Michelangelo's gin, Raphael's grimace, Leo's cocky sneer,  and Donatello's stoic faces are just perfect for each one. Yes, they have three toes. You will quickly forget this however and an avid customizer could easily Apoxie-sculpt the two together.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012Articulation is far beyond what I was expecting. These guys have amazing ball jointed heads that can tilt in any direction for great expressive poses. Ball shoulders/elbows/knees, and swivel wrists. The hips aren't truly ball but move up and turn like the Gargan Venom figure so they can sit or run. It works just fine for ball-style hip range however. These are similar to the ball-in-cup Marvel legends style and work the same way. The 'groin' part of the front shell is a floating piece that moves so they can get into a sitting pose. The range on the elbows and knees can be tweaked by removing some pad-strap-plastic inside the elbow or just heating them up so they can get a full 90 deg.

Paint application is really nicely done. Each skin color is molded in color and uses a nice matte plastic. The bandanas, eyes, pads, and gauze are all painted with very little slop tho I did see a Leonardo on the pegs with white leaking on to his mask. Pick the best ones. The range of plastic colors here is really amazing as even their belt colors are slightly different.

Accessories abound in this series and are styled like the vintage TMNT figures, all attached to little sprues. Clip them free and you get a truly amazing assortment. Each turtle comes with their signature weapons but have alternate versions. Raph has half-sai, Don has a 3-piece bo staff, Leo a samurai sword, and Mike a chained kama. But they also get two throwing stars and secondary weapons. Leo has three great looking Kunai knives you'll want duplicates of.

Scale is a little under 5" tall but works for these figures as the turtles have always been short, stocky little guys. They look just fine against a Marvel legends 6" character but I'll have to see how the taller humans in the series stand up against the 6" scale. Considering how nicely these TMNT figures are done you can display them all by themselves against a cool backdrop or one of the Young Justice rooftop displays (Red Arrow or Robin has a nice one).

So what's the verdict? Go out and buy these. RIGHT. NOW. Get yourself what have to be the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures since NECA's take. The three-toed feet might take 5 minutes to get use to, tops. Then you'll forget all about it. Customizers take note, all the heads swap. Their primary weapons store in the back as well which is a nice feature. And you get a ton of highly detailed weapons for just $8.99. In 2012 where your average figures are pushing $16 that's a deal. Our sponsors Past Generation Toys and  Big Bad Toy Store  have them so snag these turtles up!


Matthew Ingraham said...

I'm shocked that this is coming from Playmates. NO parts re-use, great textures... along with the awesome articulation coming from the classics series, Playmates really stepped up their game.
I hope they show up in Canada soon and not at a much higher price.

clark said...

I agree that for the most part the articulation works well. I do wish they had kept the double-hinged knees of the prototypes, but that is not a huge loss. I also think there was a lost opportunity by only making Raphael's right hand capable of holding a sai between his first and second finger; again not a big deal.

The sculpts are what really impress me with these figures. Each one has tons of personality oozing from them.