I'm finally wrapping up the reviews for all of the Fast Forward action figures. But of course, no Turtle line would
be complete without a set of deluxe figures. So once again, Playmates has come up with a creative action feature and
produced a set of four Turtles with the feature. Enter the Triple Strike figures. Now each Turtle has been given the
ability to draw their weapons from a backpack and toss them at a target in front of them. While it sounds like a cool
feature, Playmates' previous attempts at deluxe figures have been less than impressive.
Packaging - 6/10Like most of the deluxe Ninja Turtle figures, the Triple Strike figures come on oversized blister cards. The cards themselves are very similar to the regular version with the TMNT: Fast Forward logo and an image of the character on the top and photos of the toy, a description and photos of the other Fast Forward toys on the back. The figures are of course displayed in the center of the bubble with all of their accessories around them. With all of the accessories, there is no problem filling up all of the space. A large insert across the bottom shows off the weapon throwing feature and helps to cover up the targets which aren't all that impressive. Even the bright yellow background doesn't seem quite as ugly for the Triple Strike figures. Of course, that is largely due to the fact that most of it is covered up.
Sculpting - 5/10The sculpting for the Triple Strike Turtles isn't much different from the regular Fast Forward figures. There are a few areas where the details are sharper such as the wrist communicators. But at the same time, the details for many of the leg and arm guards are worse. The articulation isn't very well integrated into the sculpts either. The waist joints in particular have a noticeable gap. Then there is the excessive number of exposed screws and rivets and the big hole in the back of each figure when the back packs are removed. The one advantage that the Triple Strike figures have over the regular versions is that the proportions, particularly that of the heads to the rest of the figures are better. But figures are also slightly larger which makes them even more out of scale with all of the other Fast Forward toys.
Paint - Leo 6/10, others 7/10The paint work on all of the Triple Strike figures is simple, clean and extremely neat. The only issue I have on any of the four is a small paint rub on Leonardo's belt buckle. Even that wouldn't be much of an issue if it were not in such a prominent position. There's certainly more that they could have done, extra detail work on the communicators and belt pouches and a little highlighting to add some depth and shadowing. But the paint work that has been done is terrific.
Articulation - 1/10The articulation on these figures is a joke. Technically the figures have eight points of articulation: the left hip, waist, shoulders, elbows, left wrist and neck. But of those, only the articulation in the left arm isn't completely tied to the action feature. I could live with that I suppose had they at least kept the full articulation in that arm. But they even reduced the left shoulder to a simple rotating cut joint. Three usable points of articulation is pitiful.
Accessories - 6/10Each Triple Strike figure has the same basic set of accessories. Each figure gets a backpack that clips into their shell and will hold three weapons. Of course, they also come with those three weapons which are altered versions of each Turtle's signature weapon. Raph's sais are largely unchanged. Leo's katanas are shorter and wider. Donatello's bos are shortened. And Mike's chuks are made of a harder plastic to keep a set shape. Of course the weapons aren't much use without a target so each figure comes with three targets as well. The targets are cutouts of the various villains from the show. Each Turtle comes with the corresponding Dark Turtle, Sh'okanabo and another villain. (Leo with Viral, Raph with Darius Dun, Mike with Inuwashi Gunjin and Don with Jammerhead) Each target is mounted on a half moon shaped base that is designed to tip over easily so that the weapons won't have trouble knocking them down. It would have been nice if they had painted the targets, either to look like the characters or with bulls eyes over the vital areas. Overall that is a decent set of accessories. But the figures could use some accessories that would allow you to expand the play value beyond just the action feature.
Action Feature - Mike 3/10, Don 4/10, others 6/10If you haven't picked up on the trend yet through all the other categories, the Triple Strike figures are all about the action feature which all four figures share. When you squeeze the figures' left leg inward, their right arm will rotate up and back allowing the elbow to bend and the hand to fall into position. As the arm is moving, the rack on the backpack will move to position the next weapon to meet the hand. At that point, magnets in both the right hand and weapon attract each other. Then as the arm returns to its original position, the weapon is pulled along until the sudden stop causes the weapon to go flying. The feature works quite well in terms of the mechanical operation. But it has several short comings. First of all, aiming is out of the question. With enough practice, you may be able to achieve some consistent results and perhaps learn to aim with some measure of accuracy. But this is not suppose to be a game of skill. It shouldn't require practice to make it work. Then there is the issue of the range. Raph and Leo are good for about a foot. But Mike and Don are lucky to cover half of that distance. Don's bos at least will bounce off of a hard surface and continue on. Mike's nunchuks basically head straight into the ground from the point of release. While it is a creative feature, I can't help but feel like there are better ways to launch a projectile.
I should also like to note that for the most part I don't think that the action feature is really appropriate for the Turtles to begin with. They are suppose to be highly trained ninjas, skilled in the used of their weapons in combat. An action feature which has them callously tossing a multitude of those weapons as fast as possible just doesn't seem fitting.
Value - 3/10With a retail price of $10 to $12, the Triple Strike figures carry a hefty price tag for figures which are basically inferior to their cheaper counterparts. They attempt to derive all of their value from their action feature. While the novelty of it might be enough to justify buying one of the Triple Strike figures. Once you own one, there's no reason to buy the others.
Happy Hunting:The Triple Strike figures were released last fall and were widely available back then. With most stores resetting their layouts in favor of the toys for the TMNT movie, they have disappeared from most stores. That can be both good and bad. It does make them harder to find. But it also means that there are opportunities to pick them up at clearance prices. If you are going to try to track them down, your best hope to find them in person would be to check stores such as Kmart and KB Toys which are more likely to hold onto old stock until it sells. There are a few online options as well. KB Toys.com has all four still available, but you'll have to pay full price.