With all of the information available on the internet, it is becoming quite rare these days to find a surprise in the toy
aisles. But that is exactly what I happened when I walked into Toys R Us this weekend and found a new Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtle S.W.A.T. set. If you missed them, the SWAT Battle Pack came with Leo,
Don and half a dozen Mousers as well as a repainted Battle Shell and Shell Sub turned helicopter. Then the
SWAT Attack Pack gave us Raph and a Foot Tech Gunner along with a repaint
of the Hover Chopper. Now the third SWAT set completes the green teen team with Mike and Casey for backup as well as a
repaint of the Turtlebot, Sewer Lid Launcher and X-3 Fighter. (If you don't remember the X-3 Fighter, that is because as
of yet, it hasn't been released. Yes, Playmates has released a repaint of a vehicle before the original even made it to the
Packaging - 7/10The box for the S.W.A.T. Assault Pack is very similar to that of the S.W.A.T. Battle Pack. The box is extremely large to accommodate everything that is included with a window on the front which shows off the figures. The package design has been updated slightly. The swath of blue for the bottom of the background has been replaced with ribbons of black streaks, similar to those on the new figure packaging, along the top and bottom. It is a nice way to match the box to the new card designs and works well with the black color used for the S.W.A.T. vehicles, but it has the drawback of leaving more of the orange and yellow background visible. In case you missed it in my previous TMNT reviews, I hate that background. The back of the box has the usual photos of the various vehicles and figures with the features pointed out. There are also photos of the M.E.C.H. Wreckers and Sewer Spewer in the lower right corner.
Sculpting - 5/10The sculpting for the Sewer Lid Launcher and figures is unchanged from their original releases. For a full description of the Sewer Lid Launcher, check out my review of its regular release. The X-3 Fighter has a nicely designed and sculpted fuselage with a lot of interior details as well. But I have a hard time getting over the tiny wings. If this was a submarine they would make decent dive planes. But for a jet, they are far too tiny. It looks like the wings are retracted into the body and these are just the tips. The Turtlebot figure is unique, but doesn't match the style of the other figures well due to its extremely angular design. Casey and Michelangelo both have nice sculpts.
Paint - 7/10The darker paint schemes used for the S.W.A.T. vehicles and figures works quite well for the entire set. Turtlebot is the best of the three figures. Michelangelo is almost identical to the Fighting Gear version, but with a black belt which is a problem, since it means he doesn't match the three other S.W.A.T. Turtles. Casey turned out a bit too dark. With black pants, black shirt, dark gloves and his black hair, there isn't enough contrast across most of the figure and makes his skin look extremely pale. The Sewer Lid Launcher is a mixed bag. The darker color and added stickers work well with the military design. But many of the original decals are too bright to work well with the dark body color.
Accessories - 4/10The S.W.A.T. Assault Pack doesn't skimp on the accessories but the exact choice of accessories is lackluster. The Sewer Lid Launcher has its load of thirty disks and the X-3 Fighter has two missiles that can be fired. But it is the figures' accessories that I find disappointing. To start with, Michelangelo is odd turtle out in terms of armor. The other three turtles have all had the same combination of armor from the various Fighting Gear figures. But Michelangelo just gets a black repaint of FG Leonardo's gear. And he doesn't even get all of the pieces. He comes with the oversized metal nunchakus of his FG counterpart. They are large and unwieldy and can't really be stored on his belt well. Casey comes with his hockey mask, golf bag, a bat and his shin guard. The fact that both the golf bag and shin guard are all black means you are adding more black to a figure that is already quite dark. Oddly enough, his arm guard, which would have looked all right in solid black contrasted with the light tan of his skin tone, was omitted as were his other weapons. But to make up for it, Playmates gave him Space Hoppin' Raphael's blunderbuss style rocket launcher. Turtlebot has an all black version of the Triceraton Warrior's bazooka with the shoulder pad removed. It's a shame he can't hold it because of the design of his hands which leaves him unarmed.
Articulation - 5/10The three figure provide an interesting juxtaposition of styles of articulation. Turtlebot makes great use of minimal articulation. He has only fourteen points of articulation, most of which is in the double jointed shoulders and hips. But due to the range of motion allowed by those few points, the minimal articulation on the rest of the figure isn't a great hindrance. Michelangelo has twenty three points of articulation, but barely manages to be as poseable as Turtlebot. Casey Has twelve points of articulation. The lower half of the figure has a measly three rotating joints for the waist and hips. The double jointed shoulders provide a reasonable level of movement for the arms, but the permanently bent elbows is limiting.
Play Value 9/10I was quite pleased with the regular release of the Sewer Lid Launcher. The firing feature works really well and there is plenty of ammo provided with the cache of 30 disks. It also helps that the tank inspired redesign from the original Pizza Tosser makes more sense for the S.W.A.T. theme. The X-3 Fighter provides a welcome change from the glut of motorcycles that the lines has produced lately. It has a few features to keep it from being boring, but nothing very exciting. The canopy can be opened to insert a figure. The landing gear can be retracted and there are two firing projectiles which have a fairly modest range. (In a face off between the two vehicles, the lid launcher wins hands down.)
Value - 4/10Like the S.W.A.T. Battle Pack, this set retails for $50. Going strictly on the math, it is a better deal than the first set since it replaces a $20 Battle Shell repaint with the Lid Launcher which was $25. But a Turtlebot repaint isn't likely to have the appeal of the half dozen mousers that came with the first set. And the fact that Michelangelo isn't going to match the three existing S.W.A.T. Turtles is going to be a big disappointment to people who wanted to complete the set.
Being an exclusive means that there isn't much chance of finding the set on sale. But it is worth noting that Toys R Us regularly sends out coupons for $5 off purchases of $50 or $10 of purchases of $75 or more. So if you are looking to save a few bucks, it may be worth giving a real phone number once and a while when shopping there to get on their mailing list.
Happy Hunting:The S.W.A.T. sets are exclusive to Toys R Us. The set is just hitting stores now. It should show up on Amazon.com before too long.