In toy collecting, when it rains, it pours. You can go for weeks or even months without finding
anything new and then it suddenly seems like the skies open up and a flood of new products rains
down on your head. But with Playmates Toys, the flood of product would give Noah pause because
it never seems to end. The latest wave of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures have been hitting shelves
for a few weeks now. But as I said, what would be a flood for any other line is a Tsunami in the
hands of Playmates Toys. Where a wave of figures for most lines would be four or five figures, six for a
large line, this wave of figures has NINE new figures! And that doesn't count the eight new Turtle
variants that are shipping at the same time.
Packaging - 6/10The cards for the TMNT line has all of the components necessary to be great. Unfortunately I still can't get over the fact that I find them to be ugly as sin. The card front has a fairly standard layout. The figure is displayed in a fairly static pose in the center of the blister with the weapons and other accessories spread around it. The exception to this is Baxter, who has so many parts that the best they could do is make it look like the final figure. The bottom of the blister has a tag board insert of the TMNT logo with the figure's name and action feature displayed in a circle over the left side. Like most of the newer Playmates products, the blisters also have two stickers applied: one advertising the cartoon on the Cartoon Network and another for the Fox Box. As with past releases, there are five styles for the card itself. The regular Turtle figures each have their own card design with a slightly different profile for each turtle at the top. The supporting characters such as those in this wave have all four Turtles on the top of the card. Individual cards for each character would be ideal, but in this day and age, unrealistic. So this provides a nice compromise. The part that I dislike about the packaging is the background design and color scheme, a collection of geometric shapes similar to a turtle shell plate that transitions from green at the bottom to yellow and then orange at the top. Asethicly, the only redeeming fact to this design is that the front of the cards have so much on them that the background is barely seen until the figure is opened. Sadly the same cannot be said for the back of the card. The backs of the cards have a smaller TMNT logo at the top. The figure is prominently pictured on the left two thirds of the card with the various features pointed out. Six of the other figures in the current series are pictured on the right side. (Yes, the series is so large that they couldn't even picture them all on the card.) The bottom has an old fashion character profile, right down to the dotted "clip and collect" line. The biggest problem with the back of the card is the same as the front, the background which is much more visible here. It would be nice if Playmates would at least enlarge the TMNT logo to fill some of the blank space.
It should also be noted that there is already a packaging variant available. Walmart seems to be receiving shipments of figures packaged with a bonus DVD once again. This is a different DVD than the previous promotion but there are two different ones once again, but I do not know what they contain. Thus far I have found Fugitoid, Guardian Ninja, Multi Arm Shredder, the Triceraton Warrior, Silver Sentry and Baxter Stockman in the bonus DVD packaging. I suspect that the other five figures are also available as part of a second assortment of these repackaged figures similar to what happened last time.
Sculpting - Utrom, Baxter Stockman 4/10, Shredder clones, Triceraton Warrior 6/10, Fugitiod, Silver Sentry 7/10, others 5/10An Utrom exoskeleton and human version of Baxter Stockman are two figures that fans have been waiting for quite a while, more than sixteen years for readers of the original Mirage comics. After all that time it would be hard to live up to expectations and these figures don't. The Utrom is actually pretty close. The biggest shortcoming is the head which is too thin and skull like. The heads of the exoskeletons in the new show are very close to the shape of a head, just without skin. The figure's head is shaped more like a skull, much thinner and protruding out quite a bit in the back. The figure is also too small in general compared to the Turtles, a problem which plagues the entire line.
The Baxter Stockman figure nearly defies description, both for how well and incredibly badly it turned out. The biggest negative for this figure is that it is obviously off model. It is so off model that Playmates could have easily thrown it on a card for the Simpsons line and had it fit in about as well as it does here. But even when you get past the fact that Playmates passed up more than a half dozen versions of the character from the show in order to make this, the only part of the figure that is based on the designs from the show is that head and it isn't a very good sculpt any way. There was a fair amount of effort put into it, including sculpting the scars over the left eye. But the head is too thin and the expression doesn't fit the character. The end result is a head sculpt that seems quite generic. The body has a lot of detail to it. There are three legs which attach to the bottom section of the figure. A black midsection has connections for three of the arms and connects to the saucer shaped bottom of the top section. The final two arms connect to either side of this section. The head itself is contained in the bell shaped dome on top which has two more limbs permanently attached to either side: a projectile launcher and what appears to be a mechanical manipulator though it is sculpted such that it can't even come close to holding anything. There are five "arms" included that can be attached to the various points on the body: a three prong claw, a laser/wielder, a satellite, a small loop that can hold one bomb and a larger claw that can hold all three bombs. If you can get past the fact that this is supposed to be Baxter Stockman, it would actually be a pretty good figure.
The Guardian Ninja is a generally solid sculpt with only two real short comings. The neck is sculpted so that the head is tilted back. Unfortunately the figure isn't really able to compensate for this with the articulation either. The other problem is once again the scale is off. He should be a little taller and generally bigger when compared to the Turtles.
Commander Mozar is a strong sculpt but it could be better with just a little effort. The first thing is that once again the figure is too small compared to the turtle figures (though really I guess I should be saying that the turtles are too big. The profile card lists him as being only 6'2", but the designs in the show and in previous TMNT incarnations had the Triceratons at 9' plus. There are also a few details that are off. The right hand shouldn't be gloved, it should expose the hand like the Triceraton Soldier. The sculpt on the mechanical hand is also sculpted in a pose that renders it all but useless. A slight adjustment to the thumb would have allowed it to grasp a weapon, or better yet another figure. The prongs on the front of the mechanical arm that attach it to the upper arm are also missing. Still, the figure does look pretty good and is easily recognizable as the character.
The Triceraton Warrior scores an extra point over Commander Mozar since it doesn't have the minor problems with the hands. But the scale issue is no better with this figure than it was with the Commander.
The Shredder clones, both Claw Shredder and Multi Arm Shredder are both fairly on model and out of scale. Once again, like the Triceratons they should be significantly larger than the turtles themselves. It should also be noted that Multi Arm Shredder is the only figure of the nine that has the exposed screws in its back.
Fugitoid and Silver Sentry are the winners of the series. Both are on model and in scale. Silver Sentry should be a bit taller compared to the turtles but it isn't nearly as noticeable as with other figures. The only adjustment that should have been made to Fugitoid is that his waist appears to be round in the cartoon, but not on the figure. But again, it is not a very noticeable issue.
Paint - Utrom & Guardian 4/10, others 5/10The paint work on the TMNT figures has generally been pretty consistent though nothing special. The latest series of figures is no different. All of the figures have a clean paint job that matches the simpler designs of the cartoon. There is some sloppiness between the different colors, but nothing that can be noticed too easily. The Utrom lost a point due to several spots on my figure where the light gray paint didn't cover completely. The Guardian Ninja loses a point due to Playmates cutting corners. The shoulders are actually double jointed like those of the turtles themselves. But the center section of the joint is cast in uncolored plastic so it doesn't match the rest of the figure. When the entire figure's body is just one color, you would think they could get it right.
Articulation - Utrom 3/10, Claw Shredder 4/10, Silver Sentry, Ninja Guardian &
A second distinction for the Baxter Stockman figure, not only is he the most inaccurate figure
in the line so far, he is also the most articulated, hands down. With all of his legs and
arms, Baxter has twenty-six points of articulation. Each of the three feet have a hinged foot and
connect to the body via a ball joint. The five arms that attach to the other connectors on the body
each have a hinge midway down their length in addition to the ball joint connection to the body.
The launcher that is permanently attached to the right side of the top section has three joints. It rotates
where it attaches to the body and again at the launcher itself. There is also a hinge just off
of the body. The claw thing on the other side has the same rotating and hinged joints by the
body. In addition, it has two more hinge joints near the claw. The top bell jar section of the
main body rotates on the saucer as does the head inside. Finally the translucent cover is hinged in
the back to flip open. With that many joints, you are probably wondering why Baxter didn't score
even higher. While Baxter certainly has a lot of articulation, he is missing a lot of useful articulation.
The legs turned out well as did the laser/welding gun and projectile launcher. But the three pronged
claw lacks any articulation in the claw itself as does the claw that holds the three bombs. Both the single
bomb holder and satellite could use a rotating joint on the end. But the worst thing is the claw
thing on the side of the head. It has a hinge joint, but isn't designed to actually be able to