Speedeez TMNT

What in the world is a Speedeez and what do they have to do with Ninja Turtles? Good question. Speedeez is Playmates' new line, an answer to Mattel's Hot Wheels and Matchbox lines and micro machines. Only they have the added gimmick of having a ball bearing called a turbo ball mounted in the center of the under side of each vehicle. But how do they measure up to the competition?

Packaging - 7/10

Playmates has managed to take a basic bubble and include several fairly interesting features. The first and most obvious is the try me feature. Each set has either a Battle Shell or Sewer Slider vehicle sandwiched between two layers of the bubble. This forms a track across the top of the bubble for the vehicle to roll in. A simple feature, but I'm sure it is very appealing to kids. The other interesting variation to the card is the mirrored background behind the vehicles. Well, it is supposed to be a mirror. It is actually a layer of foil glued to the cardboard insert that is supposed to show the back of the vehicle. Sadly it does not work as well as it was intended. The third addition is the card insert at the bottom. Obviously inserts such as this are nothing new, but it sheer size of the insert helps to fill a card which if occupied by only vehicles. The only downside here is the efforts needed to remove the vehicles. I think Playmates must have a department dedicated to inventing new and more obnoxious packaging. First came the WOS playsets screwed to the cardboard. Then it was TMNT vehicles where they applied hot glue over the multiple twist ties. Now they have plastic rings that snap into the bottom of the larger vehicles to hold them in place. Some were easy to remove but a few nearly required a pair of pliers.

Sculpting - 5/10

The details on these vehicles is pretty good given their size. Every vehicle is instantly recognizable. Nano is probably the weakest sculpt mainly because on this scale you can't reasonably include all of the details of the character design. They do lose points for the horrible lack of scale. The most obvious example being Garbage Man who is close to being larger than his own truck.

Paint - 7/10

For vehicles that are the size of a quarter, the paint applications on these are impressive. The intricate details on the Sewer Slider and Battle Shell are almost perfect. But where they allowed the quality control to slip the results are horrendous. Casey's face is so ugly that I dare not photograph it for fear of damaging the lens of my camera.

Articulation - 3/10

This may seem like a strange category for a series of vehicles. But several of these do have articulated limbs. The Foot copter's rotors spin freely. The arms on both Garbage Man and his truck can rotate. The upper section of the crane swivels and the boom can be raised or lowered. and Nano sports four points of articulation: shoulders, waist and neck. The articulation on the crane and Nano are great but the arms on the Garbage Man set are more or less pointless since they don't extend far enough to reach anything. And while it isn't exactly articulation, Nano also includes a protrusion on his back that allows him to be attached to the magnet of the crane. Now I say attached rather than suspended since Nano is much heavier than the crane and easily tips it over if suspended.

Mobility - 3/10

Since these are supposed to be similar Hot Wheels or Micro Machines it is only reasonable to expect them to roll. But almost half of them don't roll well if at all. With Nano, this is understandable. But the Razor Jet has no working wheels either. The motorcycles aren't much better since none of their wheels spin freely. The larger vehicles roll freely. But the strange thing is that they do so solely on their wheels. The speed ball feature seems to have no value what so ever. In every case, the ball bearing is mounted loosely in the body of the vehicle to loosely so they just get pushed up into the body. The entire feature is a complete waste other than adding mass to the vehicle which could have been done with extra plastic.

Value - 4/10

The retail price on these is between $5 and $6. At that price they are a cute novelty for fans of the license, but they certainly don't justify the price on their own merit. That having been said, there is already indications of the lines faltering. Target recently had them on a temporary clearance for just $.99 per pack. At that price, they are worth picking up for the novelty or for fans of the old mini-mutants line.

Happy Hunting:

Speedeezs are available at most toy stores in the die cast car section. I have also seen several Walmart stores where there have been a small section of them in the action figure section. There was also a proposed TMNT themed launcher that doesn't seem to have made it to retail release yet but may yet surface.