They say that every family has a black sheep. For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, that has
to be Venus and the TMNT: the next mutation show. So when Playmates decided to start
re-release the Turtle Tracker from that line, quite a few people were, less than thrilled
shall we say. But is it really as bad as people make it out to be? And if you are like me
and have the original, is it worth buying the new one?
Packaging - 5/10The Turtle Tracker, like all the vehicles so far, is packaged in a windowless box with images of the vehicle and TMNT logo on the front and sides on the same orange background as the figures. The bottom is mostly blank save for the legal fine print. The top has the TMNT logo and vehicle name. The back shows the vehicle with it's features as well as the entire line of Fighting Gear figures. I'm not a fan of the background design, but it isn't as distracting here since the image of the vehicle is quite large. It doesn't have the same feel as the original line's comic drawings on the front of the packaging, but I suppose these days, that just isn't cost effective or realistic anymore.
Sculpting - 7/10The sculpting on this vehicle is pretty good but doesn't really fit in with the cartoon line. This is a straight reuse of the TMNT:tnm Turtle Tracker which was patterned after a real world vehicle since the show was a live action show. (Though were the Turtles found a Humvee sitting around in the sewers is beyond me.) The result is the overall feel of vehicle isn't quite right. That being said, it is far from a bad sculpt. There is a lot of detail in the body panels that do a great job of giving the sense of the materials that would be used in a real Humvee. And for once they didn't skimp on the interior details. There is actually a command center sculpted onto the roof and a full dashboard. The only area that isn't sculpted is the back seat.
Paint - 4/10There aren't many paint applications on the vehicle but they do look good. There is a black wash on the turtle shell texture areas of the roof and hood. And the turn signals on the sides are painted red and the hose on the roof to the cannon's mount is painted black. The rest of the details come from stickers. The stickers do look good and fit well. The one thing I can't get over is why the Turtles have California plates.
Play Value 8/10Often larger vehicles like this seem to stress the size and forget to make it fun. And worse yet, they often still aren't large enough to accommodate everyone. Fortunately, neither of those short comings are a problem here. There is room for all four figures inside, though you may need to use the fighting gear Turtles to pull that off. Their added leg articulation allows them to fit inside better and even then they look like four sardines once inside.
They made use of the bottom of the roof by making a computer command center. Unfortunately the figures have a hard time using it as the platform for them to stand on is too narrow. The engine is another play feature. It can be pulled up from the rest of the hood and fires five disks via a lever on the passenger side. The mechanism works well and since it is not connected to anything else, such as the wheels turning, it doesn't interfere with the vehicle when not in use. There is a winch on the back, under the rear bumper which is hand activated. It has a hook on the end so that you can drag figures behind the vehicle. There are two spring loaded bos on each side where the running boards would be that pop out when the steering wheel is pressed down. The spring loaded bolo-missle launcher has been carried over from the TMNT:tnm release. Though for some reason they redesigned the mounting post. The original That I have has a plain peg that the launcher sat on. This version has a peg on the launcher that plugs into a round mount on the roof. The final feature which is just a left over from the TMNT:tnm version is a pull out ramp on the back. It was included on the old version for use with the Thunder Thrasher skateboards. It doesn't serve much purpose here unless you want to use the skateboard that came with the Extreme Sports Michaelangelo. The two hooks behind the roof to hang the skate board have been left from the old version too.
Value - 7/10The Turtle Tracker is selling for the same price as the Battle Shell; between $20 and $25. If you are just a fan of the new cartoon, or if you still hold a grudge against the Next Mutation line, this may not be the toy for you. But as a toy, especially a larger vehicle, which aren't very common these days, this a great deal. There is a lot of play value and it one of the few vehicles that can actually fit all four figures.
Happy Hunting:I found the Turtle Tracker at Toys R Us in Madison, WI. It should be showing up at TRU stores and Amazon. I believe that it will begin to show up at other stores like Target or KB Toys in the near future, but that may depend on when and if they are able to clear out the existing stock of Battle Shells.