If there is one thing Playmates does well with the TMNT line, it's the vehicles. Having grown up in the early eighties, I
fondly remember when toy lines where packed with vehicles like He-man and GI Joe. But those days are all but gone. Just
don't tell that to Playmates. They continue to crank out more vehicles for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line. And one of
their latest offerings is the Zanramon Space Cruiser based on the Turtles in Space story line from the cartoon show.
Packaging - 5/10No changes here. The cruiser comes in the same style windowless box as both the Battle Shell and Turtle Tracker. The front features a large image of the vehicle along with the TMNT logo and the four Turtles over the vehicle's name. The sides have small images of the vehicle. The back does a nice job of pointing out all of the features of the vehicle, and for once there is plenty to point out. There are photos of six of the other vehicles from the line including the Pgo Copter, Sewer Cycle, Sewer Lid Launcher and Turtle Tunneler. But one of the nicest touches of all, rather than the usual paragraph write-up that has nothing to do with the actual product, there is an actual explanation of where the space cruiser came from. There's still plenty of room for improvement though. The standard ugly orange background colors persist. (Hopefully the new packaging shown at this year's toy fair will mean a change for future vehicles too.) The lack of a window also makes it difficult to get an idea of how large the vehicle is as well. The basic vehicles are already moving to boxes with windows with the Planet Racer vehicles. A window box would have been nice but admittedly difficult due to the sheer size of the vehicle.
Sculpting - 6/10Playmates did an admirable job translating the fairly simple design for the ship from the show into a 3D format, at least on the outside. The overall design is very close to that of the show, though the thrusters on the sides between the main body and the wings are a bit too narrow. The guns on the sides of the front are also quite a bit larger than on the show. Wisely, Playmates decided to add quite a bit of surface detail to keep it from looking dull. Unfortunately the interior didn't receive the same attention. There are a few displays and control panels in the front, but the back two thirds lacks any sculpted detail beyond some texturing on the floors.
Paint/Decals - 8/10For those who have only seen the images of the cruiser with all of the graffiti stickers applied, don't panic they don't come preapplied. The exterior has a lot of the details painted, and quite well too. The interior was left completely unpainted, however there are stickers applied for the control panels and display as well as the walls of the back section. The decals for the controls are great, especially since applying them yourself would be difficult due to the limited space inside.
Play Value - 6/10There are three action features for the ship: two firing guns, the blow apart wings and the escape hatch. The guns are not terribly powerful and their range of motion is limited. While the design might lead you to believe that the circles they are mounted to rotate, they don't. At least the guns can be swung out away from the ship up to 90 degrees. The wings can be popped off to simulate battle damage. There are buttons on the top of the thrusters which release the wings. They don't really pop off; due to the size and weight of the wings, they just fall loose. The trap door isn't spring loaded nor does it have any form of release mechanism; it simply snaps into place. The whole vehicle is on rolling wheels of course, so kids can roll it around on the floor. The sheer size of the space cruiser adds greatly to its play value, especially its ability to hold multiple figures. Some times size really does matter.
Value - 9/10Like the Turtle Tracker and Battle Shell, the Space Cruiser should sell for $20 just about everywhere. For that price, it is an excellent buy. Whether you want it to play with or just to look good sitting on a shelf, the Space Cruiser delievers in spades. I suppose you might be put off by the fact that it isn't properly in scale with the figures, but that would have made it larger than most coffee tables and well out of just about anybody's budget. But if $20 is too much for you and you live near a Target store, it is on sale this week for 15% off, through March 19. (Some stores have priced it even less!) If you do miss this sale, keep an eye on Target's weekly ad flyer. They have been running similar sales on TMNT toys every month or two for quite a while.
Happy Hunting:The Space Cruiser should be readily available from just about any of the major toy retailers including Target, Toys R Us, Kmart or Wal-mart. The TMNT line has been strangely difficult to find online though, possibly due to its abundance in traditional brick and mortar stores. Amazon.com has the Space Cruiser available online though.