TMNT series 4 (part one)

The latest wave of TMNT figures is begining to hit shelves now. And Playmates seems to be detirmined to make this a big year for the TMNT line; this wave includes nine different figures! (Twelve if you count each of the toddler Turtles.) Fortunately I only found half of them so my wallet may survive for another day or two. This review will cover four of the nine figures: Michelangelo as the Turtle Titan, the Foot Fire Mystic, the Toddler Turtle four pack and the Turtlebot from the TMNT video game.

Packaging - 7/10

The latest wave comes on the same cards as the past waves, except that 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 along with their weapons. 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 Turtlebot 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 Turtlebot's card does not have the Toddler Turtles or fire Mystic pictured on his card back, instead there is another reference about the video game and Konami's website. They really have just about everything I like to see on a card. If you are wondering why they didn't score higher, there are two reasons. First, I dtill don't care for the colors used on the packaging for the new line. Second, 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.

Sculpting - Turtle Titan 7/10 others 5/10

The Turtle Titan is the strongest sculpt of these four. It is simply an excellent execution of the design from the show. All of the details such as the boots and glove are done well. Unfortunately they keep the strange finger position from the prototype. The logo on around his neck is actually sculpted as part of the front shell. The cape is made of a soft rubber so that it won't restrict movement. It is also worth noting that his legs are actually straight which is rather rare for a Turtle figure.

The Toddler Turtles all share the same sculpt. The sculpt is very well done, capturing the cubbiness of the young turtles. The large legs make the turtles very stable. The arms are sculpted in a bent position with the hands angled slightly outward which does make holding some of the weapons like Mike's chuks a bit ackward. I was hoping for a little more variety such as a second set of arm sculpts or more than one head sculpt but given that we did get all four figures in one package, that may have been slightly unrealistic.

The Fire Mystic is an odd mix of simplisity and judiciously used detail. The visible sections of the figure, the feet and arms, have just enough detail to convey the sense of a somewhat boney, decreped body. The lines of the tendons for the fingers and toes continue all the way to the ankles and wrists. The body is thin with no real detain at all, but since it is meant to remain hidden under the cloak, that's understandable. The cloak is actually formed from two pieces of soft rubber, one forming the majority of the coat and a seperate collar piece. The cut of the cloak is pretty good and the texture detail keeps it from being too dull. The head sculpt is... well it is sort of none existent. The Mystic's saucer-like hat covers the entire head. The only real details are the texture and two sculpted on stichs on the edges of the eye slit. Some how Playmates managed to pull off a nice looking figure while still keeping the sculpt very simple.

I suspect the Turtlebot is going to be a love/hate type figure. The Turtlebot's sculpt is very angular, like an early polygon based video game. (Think Virtua Fighter or StarFox) Since he is based on the TMNT video game that may not be all that surprising. But I don't recall the character design in the game being this rough around the edges. The other thing that will liekly divide people's opinions is the hip and shoulder joints. The ball joints are not hidden by the sculpt as they have been on past figures. I'm sure many will dislike how this breaks up the flow of the sculpt. The shoulder joints are slightly more hidden within the torso but the hip joints really stick out since the round joint contrasts starkly with squarness of the rest of the figure.

Paint - T. Titan 7/10 others 4/10

The Turtle Titan score well here not because of the number or complexity of the paint applications but because of how effective the paint that was used is. The mask is painted to match the cape. The brown of the boots and glove is clean and consistent. The logo is nicely done and stands out so well that I didn't even realize at first that it was sculpted to the front shell.

The other three figures have decent paint sculpts but all three suffer from at least minor problems. The Mystic suffers from some paint clumping on the arms and feet. This makes it hard to tell what is sculpting detail and what is paint clumpy. For the toddlers, the problem is that they are bland. Each turtle is cast with a different skin tone and different bandana colors. The Turtlebot has quite a bit of bleed over between areas of different colors. The orange areas at the knees and ankles seem to be the worst on my figure. I actually resorted to using a pocket knife to chip off several larger orange paint globs from his legs.

Articulation - T.Titan & Turtlebot 6/10
Toddlers 4/10 Mystic 2/10

Both the Turtle Titan and Turtlebot figures have thirteen points of articulation. Both have double jointed hips and shoulders (rotating and hinged), rotating wrists and neck. The T.Titan also has rotating elbows and the Turtlebot has springloaded hands. The hands on the Turtlebot are a nice touch, especially compared to the hinged hands of the Fighting gear figures. They allow some flexibility but still hold the weapons securely. The toddlers have just seven points of articulation: rotating hips, rotating and hinged shoulders and rotating neck. The leg articulation is rather useless since it doesn't allow them to reach a sitting position and they can only stand with the legs in one position. The arm joints are nice but a wrist joint should have been included to allow for a more natural position when holding their weapons. The Mystic has five points of articulation: rotating hips, shoulders and neck. But the sculpt of the left arm and legs make three of the four points worthless. The mystic can only stand with the legs in one basic position and the arm is sculpted across his chest and can only be moved to be higher or lower on his chest or up to his chin.

Accessories - Turtlebot 3/10 others 8/10

The Turtlebot comes with two of Leo's swords and Don's bo, all cast in translucent yellow plastic. Since they are just reusing the existing molds I think they should have goone the extra mile and included sais and chuks. The Mystic has a flaming 'brass' knuckles, a double ended staff and a set of flames that goes on either end of the staff. Bothe the knuckles and flames are cast in translucent red and orange plastic to simulate flames. The Turtle Titan has his shell shield that clips to his arm and a grapplin hook with a real string tied to it. The shield isn't very exciting but the grappling hook has more detail sculpted on it than I was expecting such as the varied thickness and holes in each claw. The toddler turtles each come with a kiddie version of their trademark weapon. Leo's sword and Raph's sai are made of wood tied together. Don's bo has padding on both ends. Mike's chuks are handles tied with string. Their weapons have some paint but much of the details like the string to tie them together isn't painted and the paint is generally fairly clumpy.

Value - T.Titan & toddlers 8/10 Turtlebot & Mystic 5/10

The Turtle Titan and toddler turtles are both examples of very well done figures. I would have still bought them if they were sold in two packs as was originally expected but with all four in one pack it is a great deal. The Mystic looks good but doesn't offer as much play value. The Turtlebot is fairly well done but just doesn't fit very well with the rest of the line. It would have been nice if they would have skipped the video game version and made a version of the Turtlebot from the Leatherhead episode instead.

Happy Hunting:

I found these at Walmart in Sun Prairie WI. I have heard these are showing up at a few Targets already as well. It will likely take a few weeks before they manage to saturate the market and become easier to find.