Over the last 16 years, Playmates Toys has been producing TMNT toys. If that time, they have
produced some great toys. And they have produced some really unusual toys. Some have been winners.
Others have not. And they are still at it. The latest addition to Playmates list of weird
variants is the S.W.A.T. Battle Pack; a set of repainted vehicles and figures that put the Turtles
in the role of the police. The set, which seems to be a Toys R Us exclusive, features a repainted
Battle Shell, repainted and retooled Sewer Sub which is now a helicopter, repaints of both
Fighting Gear Leonardo and Fighting Gear Donatello and six repainted mousers. The idea sounds
pretty corny, but the final product turned out a lot better than I had anticipated.
Packaging - 8/10This is easily my favorite looking set in all of the new line so far. The S.W.A.T. Battle Pack borrows quite a bit from the packaging of the previous vehicles, but also displays quite a few significant changes. The biggest change is the addition of a window along the top in which the figures, weapons and Mousers are displayed. Like the previous vehicles, the front of the box has the new TMNT logo in the upper left hand corner and an image of the four Turtles above the name of the vehicle in the lower right corner. But the Cartoon Network logo has now been added above the name as well. Pictures of the vehicles and figures make up the remaining graphics on the front. The background is similar to the previous packaging, but instead of the green on the bottom portion of the package, the S.W.A.T. Battle Pack's blue on the bottom. The effect is pretty garish, but I still find it preferable to the old style. The back has more images of the various figures and vehicles that are included and their features. There is also a small write up of the S.W.A.T. pack, sadly it does not include anything that actually explains the logic behind this set. Still, overall the packaging is a nice improvement and a welcome change in my book.
Sculpting - 8/10For a set consisting almost entirely of reused parts, this turned out incredibly well. The figures are the Fighting Gear Donatello and Leonardo figures with the belts painted black. They aren't perfect, but they are pretty good. They also offer more articulation than the first versions of the Turtles. The biggest problem with the Fighting Gear figures is that the hands are not sculpted to hold their weapons well. Both figures come with an assortment of the fighting gear from different figures painted in black and silver to create the SWAT gear. Each comes with the helmet from FG Leonardo, FG Donatello's chest protector, FG Michelangelo's arm pads and two of his padded shin guards. (Not the traffic cone one thankfully.) The overall look is pretty good, but still off for a police officer.
The Mousers are a straight reuse of the mouser that came with April. But that is an excellent figure or accessory depending upon your point of view.
The Battle Shell is another almost straight reuse of the original Battle Shell. The only change is the addition of four clips to hold the SWAT copter in place. And those pegs are simply screwed into the underside of the roof with the pegs sticking through four holes that were added to the roof. The exterior looks great, just like the regular Battle Shell. But just like the regular version, the interior is almost completely barren of detail save for the diamond plate texture of the floor and on the seats. They could have at least given the seats a texture that looked like it was supposed to be a seat.
The real star of the set is the copter which is a strange mix of parts from several figures and vehicles. The majority of the copter comes from the Shell Sub. The main fuselage, front search lights, landing skids (without the wheels installed that came with the Shell Sub), tail fin and rear propeller and fin assembly are all identical to the Shell Sub. The manipulator arms on both sides have been replaced with two of the missile firing shields from the Foot Gunner figure that have been modified to connect to the existing holes in the sub. The periscope on the top has been replaced with the rotor from the Turtle Pogo Copter. There is an additional section added to the axle of the rotor, both to give it sufficient height to clear the rear fin and to provide a mean of adapting the peg on the rotor to the size of the hole on the sub. There is one other change that was made. The rear propeller/fin section no longer tilts downward. When I first heard about this set and read a description of this frankenstiened vehicle, I was sure that it would be a monstrosity. But it works amazingly well. The only thing I would like to have seen changed is the rear propeller since a helicopter wouldn't need such a thing.
Paint - 8/10Given that this is a set of repaints, you would hope that the paint work and color scheme would be top notch. And Playmates comes through. Both vehicles are an extremely dark green color with black trim pieces. The Battle Shell Looks very good with the dark paint as does the copter. Playmates also changed the canopy to the sub from translucent yellow to a black, similar to car window tint. The overall effect is impressive. The Mousers are a metallic blue color. Given that the mousers that came with April were fairly accurate to the show, I don't know why they bothered to change them other than change for change's sake. The figures are the same as the regular fighting gear figures except for their belts, wristbands and knee and elbow pads which are black on the SWAT Turtles. (I guess they finally earned their black belts.) When combined with the black armor they make pretty good night ops outfits.
Play Value - 9/10Each component of the set provides a fair amount of play value, but together they are outstanding. The Battle Shell has the same four action features as the regular release of course. The winch on the front is still present and functional. The two missile launchers on the edge of the roof fire when the buttons on top are pressed. The radar dish on the roof deploys the thrusters on either side which then fire a missile when another button is pressed. Multiple figures can ride inside, but unfortunately, just like the regular Battle Shell, only one figure can fit in the front seat. The copter still has the firing missiles on both sides and the opening canopy. The tail fin can be moved from side to side. The propeller can be turned though the dive plane/propeller assembly no longer tilts. There are two new features as well. The rotor on the top obviously turns. And the shields from the Foot Gunner figure that replace the manipulator arms on both sides can each fire two projectiles. And there is the added feature of being able to attach the copter to the roof of the Battle Shell. The figures of Donatello and Leonardo do not have any action features, but the mousers do still have the spring loaded jaws for biting.
Value - 4/10The set retails for $50 at Toys R Us. That isn't a horrible deal if you consider the individual prices of the items you are getting. $20 for the Battle Shell, $10 for the Shell Sub and another $18 for three figures (counting the six mousers as a single carded figure since Playmates was planning to release a six pack of mousers) gives an approximate value of $48 for the set. But since this set is comprised of almost completely reused parts (there seems to be only five new parts created for this set), they should have been able to shave some of that price. At $40 this would have been a much better deal. But since it seems that this is going to be an exclusive to Toys R Us, I suppose a higher price was inevitable.
Happy Hunting:This set is appears to be a Toys R Us exclusive. So you might want to start there. Thus far the distribution has been fairly spotty. But these sets have only just begun to ship. Within a few weeks they will likely be available just about everywhere. Thus far they have not shown up on Amazon.com but that will likely change.