TMNT Leonardo vs T-rex set

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What do you do when you have one of the hottest toy licenses around and you can't crank out new product fast enough for retailers? You take existing, unrelated products and repackage then into a new retailer exclusive. Or at least if you're Playmates that's what you would do. That seems to be how we got the Target exclusive Leonardo Vs T-Rex set.

Packaging - 8/10

It's nice to see a toy that is packaged with at least some creativity. And Playmates has been doing pretty well in that respect with the Ninja Turtles line lately. The T-Rex set is no exception. It borrows it box design from the giant figures, with plastic windows on the front, sides and top. But unlike the giant figures which only have enough room to stand staring forward, the T-Rex set has a small diorama inside. The T-rex is bearing down on Leo who has his crossed swords raised to defend. Playmates even went to the trouble of making a stone platform made of cardboard atop of which the figure stands. Even the background is a light green which transitions to leaves at the top to create the illusion of tree cover. The back has a photo of Leo facing off with the T-rex again with the various features pointed out. The figures from series five are pictured at the bottom. Since they went to the trouble of creating the forest green design for the backdrop, it would have been nice if they had used it for the back of the box as well instead of that ugly orange.

Sculpting - 4/10

This set is composed entirely of reused parts. Leonardo is the same figure as the fighting gear Leo while the T-rex was from Playmates' Primal Rage line. Leo is no surprise. The figure isn't very accurate to the cartoon, but it isn't a bad figure. The T-rex, while serviceable, doesn't work really well for the TMNT line. The Primal Rage line used slightly exaggerate versions of dinosaurs. While the differences are minor at first glance, they are noticeable. The head is oversized. The scales are also enlarged to more closely resemble armor than scales. While the results aren't that bad, it doesn't fit with the simpler designs of the new line.

Paint - 3/10

The painting is actually well executed on this set, with very little problem areas. The score is due to the strange choices which Playmates made for this set. The Leonardo figure is no different than the carded version. Since this version of Leo is supposed to have been sent a few million years into the past, it would have made more sense to create a dirty version using a paint wash or some similar technique. Even Leo's katanas have gold handles and hilts instead of the usual brown and silver which doesn't really fit in well with the background story. But it is the T-rex that really puts me off. I have no idea who came up with the idea of making a blue and rust red dinosaur but it is very odd looking. The blue is particularly odd looking where it is concentrated along the back and between the scales of the legs and arms. And on top of everything else, they didn't bother to continue the blue along the entire length of the tail. So where the tail joins the body you have a sudden change in the coloration.

Articulation - 3/10

The new Ninja Turtle line hasn't exactly been wowing people with the amount of articulation on the figures, and the T-rex set is no different. The T-rex is particularly immobile. It does have rotating joints at the tail, legs, arms and a movable jaw. But the tail can be rotated, but the sculpt becomes extremely distorted. The legs can be moved, but not if you have any hope of keeping the figure standing. The arms can move but like a true T-rex, are largely useless due to their size. The jaw is hinged but a spring and the soft rubber skin mean that it can only be positioned in the one pose. Since Leonardo uses the fighting gear body, it has a good range of motion in the arms and lower legs. But the hips still leave much to be desired. It would also be nice if Playmates would use hinged elbows to match the knees. The rotating elbows offer some flexibility, but can't really get the arms either straight or fully bent.

Accessories - 3/10

The set comes with just three accessories: Leonardo's katanas and the chest armor that came with the Fighting Gear Michelangelo figure. That's some pretty slim pickings. And like the figure, they have far too clean a paint job for being stuck 100 million years in the past.

Value - 3/10

The Leo vs T-rex set is $14.99. Since a regular carded fighting gear figure is only about $5 and would come with more accessories, you're paying about $10 for the T-rex that doesn't do anything. If you're in the market for a blue dino, ten dollars may be a steal. Otherwise, I suggest waiting for one of Target's bi-monthly 15% off sales.

Happy Hunting:

The Leonardo verses T-rex set is currently a Target exclusive. So if you want one, it's time to head to your local target. Target's web site unfortunately doesn't even have it. Supposedly the set will be available to other retailers sometime this year. Whether that will happen or not is yet to be seen.