What would the modern action figure market be without limited edition retailer exclusives? A whole lot more pleasant. But
for now we seem to be stuck with them. Even Playmates and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line which has been squarely
focused on the mass market, is not immune. The latest of the exclusive offerings is a box set of the four Ninja Knights
figures with a spiffy gold color scheme. (No word has been released yet on who will be awarded the exclusive bronze set.)
The figures are identical to their silver counter parts in every way other than the color and packaging. As such, I'll keep
this review short rather than repeat what I've already written in my previous
Packaging - 8/10I've been less than glowing in my past critiques of the packaging for this line. But I have to admit that Playmates has really improved recently. The Gold Ninja Knights set comes in a window box wide enough to allow all four figures to be positioned side by side. They are packaged with most of their armor on and weapons in hand. The rest of the accessories are neatly tucked under the cardboard along the edges. I'm particularly pleased with the background used inside the box. It is a darkened street scene in the style of the cartoon if not taken directly from it. Granted, it is completely wrong for the Ninja Knights theme, but they are getting closer. Plus the background can be reused to display other figures. The box itself is a nice mix of the new style packaging with the horizontal stripes along the top and bottom against the usual shell pattern background. Thankfully they chose to change to a yellow for the background rather than the orange that they used to use. The back of the box has photos of all four figures with their armor and weapons on and their helmets to their sides.
Sculpting - Raph 4/10 others 1/10I didn't care for the sculpts of the Ninja Knights figures the first time. And they aren't any better this time around. The problem is that the armor is only partially removable. The figures themselves are sculpted with bits and pieces of the armor.
Paint - Leo & Don 5/10 Mike & Raph 3/10As with most of the aspects of this set, the paint is almost identical to the carded figures. The only difference is what was silver is now gold. There isn't much paint work on any of the figures. For Donatello and Leonardo that isn't an issue. But Raphael and Michelangelo have more sculpted detail like the sandal straps. And like the carded version, Raphael's shirt isn't painted on the sides again.
Articulation - 3/10Each of the Ninja Knights figures have twenty three points of articulation:
Accessories - Raph & Don 3/10, Leo & Mike 5/10Leonardo comes with two swords, a shield, a helmet, chest armor and a shin guard. The swords are broad swords rather than the traditional katanas to match the medieval theme and can be stored in the sheaths on his belt. Raphael has four pieces of armor, his helmet, a shield and two sais. Michelangelo has two morningstars (ball and chains), a bow and arrow, a quiver with removable bundle of arrows, a shield, a helmet and his chest armor. Donatello is heavy on armor as the most traditional knight design. His accessories include two shin guards, two gauntlets, a shoulder cover, his chest armor, a helmet with movable visor, a shield, a lance and a banner that can clip onto the lance. The armor piece look nice, but they really don't attach very securely. The worst piece is the shoulder armor for Donatello which is next to impossible to keep attach if you move the arm.
These scores are perhaps a bit deceptive. If you just do away with the extra pieces of armor and stick with just their weapons, chest armor and helmets everyone but Michelangelo would score much better. (That won't save Mikey and his diminutive bow.) But if Playmates is going to include the extra accessories, they should at least make them decent ones.
Value - 3/10The set sold online for $19.99 and in Canada for about $20 Canadian. Of course if you purchased them online you had to pay shipping and of course the conversion rate means you'll be paying about the same if you pick it up off the shelf. Either way you are paying a little more for this set than you would have for the individual figures.
Happy Hunting:The Ninja Knights box set is exclusive to Walmart in Canada. It was available for a short time in the United States through Walmart.com. But now with the post holiday rests, it is being dropped form shelves. If you happen to be north of the border, or have friends there, you may still be able to find the set. Otherwise, the secondary market is going to be your only hope here in the states.