TMNT series 4 (part two)

The deluge of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle products continues. After the 4 new figures I reviewed last week, the other half of the series has begun to show up except for Quarry. The four new figures include Leatherhead, Stone Biter and Razorclaw and the Giant Mouser from the TMNT video game.

Packaging - 6/10

As with the first half of this wace, since there aren't any single carded TMNT figures in this wave all have the four Turtle heads on the top. The figures themselves are nicely displayed in the bubble. The TMNT logo is on an insert in the bottom of the card along with a head shot of the character and their name. The Giant Mouser also has the "as seen in the Konami TMNT video games!" sticker on the bubble. But the back of the cards is where these really shine. Each figure has a small blurb at the top, a large photo of the figure with the features pointed out on the left side, images of the other eight figures in the line on the right and a file card on the bottom. The features section is a bit disappointing since they list features that don't exist, such as Leatherhead's eyes switching from Human to Reptilian or leaving off any mention of Turtlebot's opening shell or the fact that the Mouser's missle racks can be removed. The cards really have just about everything I like to see on a card. Unfortunately they still suffer from the two problems which reduce the score. I still don't care for the colors used on the packaging for the new line. And while they have all the basics, none of it really makes the line stand out aside from the color. For example, even on the shelves it is hard to tell the difference between the basic figures and the Mutating line.

It is also worth mentioning that there is another packaging variation for the TMNT figures now. Playmates has repackaged most of the figures from the line so far with one of two DVD's. Each disk has a single episode from the new TMNT cartoon, either "Garbageman" or "Darkness on the Edge of Town." The disks are held onto the card directly behind the figure in a seperate little bubble. The main bubble is also also extented slightly at the top with an arched banner that announces the Total Turtles T.V. Episode Bonus DVD inside. The Garbageman DVD comes in a blue slip case with a red banner. The darkness episode has a red slip case and blue banner. Thus far it seems that Walmart is the only store that is getting the figures with the DVDs.

Sculpting - 4/10

Leatherhead, Stone Biter and Razorclaw all have solid sculpts that reflect the style of the cartoon. But they don't really shine compared to the other figures on the market today. Leatherhead's sculpt is nicely textured but the pose is too nuetral. The legs and arms are sculpted straight at his sides with his hands in an open position that doesn't allow him to hold anything or make a convincing action pose. In addition he has a large button for the action feature sticking out from his waist. Stone Biter follows the same pattern. The sculpt looks decent but doesn't leave much potential for posing other than standing at attention. Razor Fist's sculpt is a little better. The legs are sculpted in a slightly bent standing pose. The arms are sculpted going straight out from the shoulders and then bent at the elbows. His pincers above his shoulders are sculpted with one slightly longer than the other, as if it were extended for an attack. The tail is also sculpted in a nicely proned position. The Mouser has a better pose and matches up to the video game designs well, but it isn't balanced properly. The weight of the large claws forces the Mouser to be positioned staring up in the air in order to balance. And then there is the problem shared by all four figures, poor scale. All four of these characters should be significantly larger than one of the turtles, yet all four of them are just barely taller than the turtle figures. The Mouser especially should be huge compared to the turtles but is only about half an inch taller. Leatherhead, Stone Biter and Razor Fist also share a short coming with Hun, they all have four screw holes in their backs.

Paint - Giant Mouser 4/10 others 8/10

The Giant Mouser simply falls short in the paint department. The paint applications that were done are clean and consistent. But they don't do a decent job of highlighting the detail in the sculpt. I also think they choose a poor color for the body and claws. Rather than using silver plastic to create a metallic appearance like they did with the regular mouser accessories, the Giant Mouser is simply grey plastic. The others have simple paint applications that are well executed.

Articulation - Razor Fist 2/10, others 3/10

Playmates seems to be one of the last companies to start adopting the ever inreasing levels of articulation of companies like Bandai and Toy Biz. But even for them, these figures have pretty basic articulation. Razor Fist is the weakest of the four with only five points of useable articulation: neck, shoulders, tail and right leg. That's right, only his right leg can move because the left leg is held in place by the action mechanism. All of the joints are simple rotating joints. The pincers on his shoulders have a little movement but it is more of a loose connection than a point of articulation. The claws also move as part of the action mechanism but can't be posed otherwise. Stone biter is a little better with seven points of articulation: rotating hips, shoulders and wrists and a spring loaded jaw. Leather head is goes one better. He has the roataing hips, shoulders and wrists and replaces the hinged jaw with a rotating neck. His tail also rotates as part of the action feature, but it only rotates in one direction and springs back immediately. The Giant Mouser has the highest articulation count at eleven points. He has rotating hips, shoulders, wrists and two roatating neck joints as well as a hinged jaw and spring loaded hinged claw hands. Sadly the shoulder joints are of limited use since the elbows hit the hips when lowered and cause the figure to be off balance if raised. Ball jointed shoulders were really needed here. The two neck joints work well and allow for a wide range of movement, which is ironic since the only figure that can look around is the one that has NO EYES! Still, all of the figures do have nice and tight joints and can hold the poses that they are capable of well.

Accessories - 3/10

Oye, what a let down. Each of the figures has one or two accessories and they are all pointless. Leatherhead has a mace to stick on the end of his tail, Stone Biter has two stones that split in half to reveal fossils, Razor Fist has some sort of cybernetic armor with a missle launcher, and the Mouser has a missle rack with two missles. Leatherhead's mace is just a pointless accessory to highlight his action feature. Stone Biter's rocks have nothing to do with the character or the show other than his name and he can't bite them anyways because his jaw doesn't open that far. Razor Fist's armor simply defies reason, except maybe for toy company reason. in the show, the cratures in the underground city can't even figure out how to operate a door. so how they would create and use armor, much less a missle launcher. The mouser has a missle rack and two missles to sit in it. The missles aren't spring loaded and don't even fit securely in the rack so they tend to fall out. The only use the accessory has is in providing some counter weight to the large claw hands but it is too light and sits too far forward on the figure to even do a decent job of being dead weight. It is a real shame that Playmates dropped the ball here since there are plenty of great accessories that could have been included such as a lab coat for Leatherhead, the glowing blue crystals for Stone Biter and Razor Fist or more regular sized mousers for the Giant Mouser or firing or at least removeable projectiles for his mouth.

The figures do score a little higher due to the inclusion of the DVD's with the ones I bought. But it seems that this is more of a special promotion or possibly an exclusive deal for Walmart than the new standard. And even the DVD's aren't that exciting. There are only two episodes available, "Garbageman" and "Darkness on the Edge of Town." By most accounts, "Garbageman" is one of the weakest episodes of the new series. Character specific epsiodes such as a different portion of the three part "Notes form the Underground" for Stone Biter and Razor Fist would have been ideal or at least episodes that would have more general appeal such as the first episode or the two parts of the introduction of April, "A Better Mousetrap" and "Attack of the Mousers" would probably gotten more people interested in the new cartoon and possibly even purchasing the episodes on DVD.

Value - Leatherhead & Giant Mouser 5/10, Stone Biter & Razor Fist 4/10

OK, disclaimer time. I am basing this on their value as action figures compared to other figures on the market today. Personal preference for a particular license or character is obviously going to influence your opinions. (Heck, I've bought two of each of these figures so far and will likely buy them again when they start showing up without the DVD's.)

Leatherhead is a decent figure of the character from the new cartoon and has a fitting action feature, but it's a little too static. The Mouser offers a little more play value but is horribly out of scale. Stone Biter and Razor Fist both suffer from this same scale issue but Stone Biter also has the same rather static nature as Leatherhead and Razor Fist is really lacking in articulation. I wish Playmates would have made these as larger deluxe figures instead of releasing so many Mutating figures. However, all four are obscure enough characters that just having figures is worth a point.

Happy Hunting:

Right now these four seem to be showing up primarily at Walmart stores in the shipments with the DVD's. But there also seems to be two assortments with the DVD's, one with the new figures and a refresher assortment with previous figures from the line. They should also begin showing up at other retailers shortly but probably without the DVD's. Oh, and for those who are wondering, the third "Notes from the Underground" character, Quarry has not yet shown up in either assortment.

And for those who really wnat to go all out, the Marvel Legends X-men Legends box set (review) includes a labcoat for Beast that fits, somewhat snuggly, on Leatherhead.









Leaherhead&Raph Creatures Mousers