Space Hoppin' TMNT

Remember those excellent sculpts of the Turtles in space suits from the beginning of the second season of the new TMNT cartoon that were shown last fall? If not, I'll just assume you are either new to the internet or stumbled onto this site by accident. IF the latter, don't worry. I'll give you a few moments to hit the back button and be on your way..... Now that they are gone, back to the business at hand. Those great sculpts from the 2004 Preview Show back in October are gone. Instead we have these Space Hoppin' TMNT figures.

Packaging - 8/10

I haven't been thrilled with the packaging of the the new TMNT line up to this point, but I have to admit that they put in quite a bit of effort for these figures and it shows. To start with, the figures aren't just standing at attention in the package. They are actually in basic action poses, o at least as close to it that one can expect given the space constrants. Michelangelo is the best of the lot, he is actually stepping over his name tag inside the packaging. The large TMNT logo insert at the bottom of the bubble has been replaced with a large name tag with the Space Hoppin' logo. The TMNT logo is still present, just as a much smaller insert at the top of the card. Playmates also added two stickers to the front of the bubble advertising the cartoon, one for the Cartoon Network and another for the Fox Box. The tops of the cards still have the individual turtle's heads. I still don't like the backgroud design used on packaging but the card is so crowded that it is barely noticable here. The back of the cards are the same as the others in the line. There is the logo and blurb about the line at the top. A large image of the figure and its features along the left side next to images of the other figures in the wave. And the bottom still has the profile card for the character. If they would change the background, ther would be nothing I don't like about these card backs. (Did I mention I hate the background design?)

For those completists and trivia buffs out there, there is already a packaging varient out there. Playmates produced 100 sets of these figures to be sold early on Ebay by a firm called World in Advance. They are the same figures as the regular release except that there is a holographic sticker on the lower left corner of the card back over the Playmates logo.

Sculpting - 7/10

All four of the figures received individual sculpts here. Given that Playmates already had completed sculpts of the Space Hoppin' TMNT based on the cartoon before acrapping them in favor of these, they put a remarkable amount of effort into the new sculpts. Each figure has nicely textured arms and legs. Each suit has a control panel on the front and some form of tank or backpack on the back. The head sculpts are the same as the Fighting gear figures but seem to have been modified to remove the ball joint. The proportions are a little off on the arms. Donatello in particular seems to have arms that seem to extend to below the knees. But with the arms in a bent position, it isn't very noticeable.

Paint - 6/10

Playmates did a great job on the paint work on most of the figures. The suits are all well painted with each character's distintive color except for Mike who seems to have advanced from orange belt to brown belt. (Or is that a demotion?) The controls on the fronts of each suit are painted in multiple colors. Unfortunately they got lazy on the backs of each figure and left the details completely unpainted. The weapons are also painted but they only bothered to paint each figure's gun with two colors. A little detail work would have made them really stand out.

Articulation - 5/10

Playmates seems to be all over the board in this category. They actually seem to have gone all out for the Space Hoppin' figures with thirteen points of articulation each:
  • rotating neck
  • actual ball jointed shoulders
  • rotating elbows
  • rotating wrists
  • hinged fingers
  • rotating hips
  • and rotating knees
Plus the visor for each figure's helmet flips open as well. Compared to figures like the Foot Fire Mystic, these guys are gymnists. And the ball jointed shoulders are a vast improvement over the previous figures in the line. But they still pale in comparison with most of the figures out there today. And the articulation that they do have offers only basic poseability. The legs are able to compensate for minor changes in the stance, but they can still only stand up. The arms are more or less stuck in the position that they were sculpted in, either bent or straight. The elbow and wrist articulation only allows a slight adjustment in the angle. The hinged fingers are a mixed bag as well. They don't hold the weapons as well as if they were just sculpted in a grasping position and they aren't capable of any useful pose when open any way.

Accessories - 6/10

Each of the Space Hoppin' figures comes with four accessories except for Donatello. Each has their signature weapons (weapon singular for Donatello who only comes with one bo), a gun and a helmet. The signature weapons are the same ones we have seen several times over in the line, but all are fairly well done and quite serviceable. The guns vary from a double barreled pistol for Leonardo to short rifles for Michelangleo and Dontello to a rocket launcher that looks more like a space age blunderbuse for Raphael. They are nicely sculpted but could greatly benefit from additional paint applications. Raphael's in particular is overwhelingly monochrome. The helmets are also all different and each is tailored to match the style of the figure's suit. Raphael's helmet is far too big though. His head barely goes in above the neck line. Also, for the scientificly anal, each helmet has a hole in the back for the bandanas to fit through. Shorter bandanas that fit inside or better yet, cloth bandanas would have been a great addition.

Value - 5/10

Sticlers for show accurate figures or fans of Marvel Legends style uberarticulation can just move along. But if you just want some fun figures or someone to go along with the up coming Triceraton figures, these are probably worth the $6 price tag that they will carry in most stores.

Happy Hunting:

I found these at Walmart in Madison, WI, the east side store to be exact. I have also heard reports of them showing up at Target stores across the country as well. Within a few weeks, they should be available from just about every store that carries the TMNT line.

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leo don

mike raph