With the TMNT movie out on DVD, fans can enjoy all of their favorite scenes over and over again whether it be the fight
between Leonardo and Raphael, the first encounter with Big Foot or the massive brawl with the Foot Clan as they raided
Winters' Tower. And lets not forget the scene where the Turtles donned their heavy artillery weapon packs and rained
destruction down on their enemies. What? You don't remember that last part? Well neither do I. Perhaps it was one of the
extra scenes on the two discs sets. But Playmates must have liked the idea because they've given us the Auto Attack
Turtles. This latest series of deluxe figures has the four Turtles sporting large weapon packs with missile launchers and
mechanical versions of their ninja weapons. While they certainly don't fit into the story of the Movie, I suppose Playmates
thinks they will appeal to kids. Personally, I hope that kids have higher standards than this.
Packaging - 7/10The Auto Attack Turtles come on the same oversized cards as the Street Grinder series before them. Fortunately this time there is enough toy to actually use all of that space. The figures and the attack packs are clearly displayed while all of the other parts are either hidden behind a large insert or crammed along the edges. The insert does a nice job of showing the figure with all of the accessories in action which is important since you don't get to see it when the toy is disassembled in the package. I should also point out that while most of the Auto Attack figures have a copy of the form to order the Big Foot figure from Playmates and a sticker on the bubble announcing the offer, a limited number of the Auto Attack figures shipped out initially without those. The back of the cards have several images of the figures and the features in action as well as photos of the Stunt Rider toys. But in the end, the best praise I can give for the packaging is that it actually makes the Auto Attack figures look kind of cool and potentially fun. It's to bad that the actual toys don't live up to that promise.
Sculpting - 3/10If Playmates Toys expects people to shell out ten bucks for yet another version of the Turtles, you would hope that they would put some effort into making a new sculpt. While the Auto Attack Turtles have new sculpts, the effort put into them seems to have been pretty minimal. To start with, all four figures share the same set of legs which are permanently molded in their armor. The bodies are a bit of a joke. They flattened the shells rather than make their accessories to fit around properly shaped shells. Each figure has slightly different armor for their chest. But the sculpting on all four is rather flat, lacking both depth and detail. The heads are recycled from the basic figures. And once again they didn't even bother to swap them to offer some variety in the expressions. At least the arms don't have any major issues.
Paint - 4/10The paint applications on the Auto Attack Turtles are quite simple and generally of decent quality. There is a bit of paint that was rubbed off of one of Michelangelo's feet. But that isn't too bad. For the most part, their mediocre score is due to the fact that there just wasn't much effort put into these. But it should also be noted that the figures are a bit more pale than the previous Movie figures. It isn't that bad for Leo and Mike, but Raphael coloring looks almost like the kind of pastel color you might use on an Easter egg.
Articulation - 3/10The Auto Attack Turtles have a mere nine points of articulation. That actually doesn't sound that bad, until you find out that eight of those joints are in the arms which have rotating joints at the shoulders, above the biceps, and at the wrists and a hinge joint for the elbow. The final joint is a ball jointed neck. I am almost willing to accept the fact that the body and legs are completely unposeable. (The left leg can be squeezed inward for the action feature, but can't hold that pose.) Given the size of the weapon packs, it was probably a necessary evil to ensure that the figures could actually stand with all of that weight on their backs. But as far as I'm concerned, the fact that they cut the shoulders down to just rotating joints instead of the double jointed shoulders that all of the other movie Turtles have had demonstrates that they just didn't really care.
Accessories - 7/10If you have read this far, you've probably figured out that the figures aren't the main selling point of the Auto Attack figures, the accessories are. And the figures come with a considerable mass of accessories. The major one is the large back pack included with each figure. It has a large projectile launcher mounted in the center. There are also two, non-firing launcher packs on the sides and two mounting posts on the top to attach additional weapons. There are also two control handles which attach to the front and reach under the figures' arms. The back packs are actually halfway decent, if a bit out of character for the Turtles. You do have to be careful with some of the stickers which tend to come loose. I do think that they should have made some attempt to personalize them beyond just changing the colors and including a differently shaped projectile. But in case the back pack isn't enough for you, each figure also comes with several additional optional parts. The first is another projectile launcher that mounts to the top of the back pack with another unique projectile for each figure. Then there is a pair of missiles that go into the other mounting point. Each character also has one of their signature ninja weapons and a device to use them. Both Raphael and Leonardo have the same device which makes a simple ninety degree chopping motion. Donatello and Michelangelo have one that spins their weapons 360 degrees. Giving the Turtles machines to use their ninja weapons is kind of silly. But they can remove and use their weapons normally. Or they can clip their weapons to the devices and then clip the devices to the backpack for storage which is a nice touch. While I still question why you would want to give the Turtles a giant weapon pack, I have to admit that the packs themselves and all the additional parts are fairly nice.
Action Features - Leo & Raph 4/10, Don & Mike 5/10With all the hardware that the Auto Attack figures have strapped onto their backs, you might expect them to have some pretty impressive action features. While they do have quite a few features, none of them are very exciting. When the legs of the figure are squeezed together, one of two action features is activated. The first feature is the large main launcher which flips up and into firing position over the figure's head. It can then be fired by pressing the button on the back of the launcher. The second feature releases the missile pods on the sides of the backpack which then spring up and rotate forward. Unfortunately they can not actually be fired. There is also the second firing projectile on top of the backpack though. They are fired by turning the knob on the back. Finally each figure has their melee weapon. The one that is included with Leo and Raphael simply turns the weapon ninety degrees in a chopping motion which is a bit lame. The one that comes with Donatello and Michelangelo will spin their weapon freely when you spin the knob on the back. It's hardly impressive, but it is better than Leo and Raph's. With five features for each figure, the Auto Attack figures are certainly trying hard. But simple pop up mechanisms and firing projectiles are hardly impressive. They would do well to put more effort into the quality of the features rather than just going for quantity.
Value - 4/10 for the first one, 1/10 for any additional onesThe Auto Attack Turtles aren't great figures. And the whole premise of heavy weapons doesn't fit the Turtles well. But the novelty of the idea might be worth the $10 price tag for one of them. But with the heavy reuse of parts and the lack of any real variety to the action features, once you have one, there isn't really a reason to buy another other than to get another figure. And these figures certainly are not worth $10.
Happy Hunting:The Auto Attack Turtles are shipping now in place of the Street Grinder Turtles. Even with stores scaling back their selection of the TMNT Movie toys, most still stock the deluxe figures. I've found them locally in Toys R Us, Target and Walmart stores. Though it should be noted that for some reason, Toys R Us seems to have gotten some cases that do not include all four figures. The store here ended up with six each of Raph and Leo, but no Michelangelo or Donatello figures at all. These were also the ones that were shipping without the Big Foot promotion forms and sticker. The only real difficulty in finding them is that many stores are still sitting on their existing stock of Street Grinder figures. As they sell down though, the Auto Attack figures should become progressively easier to find. Presently the Auto Attack figures do not seem to be widely available online. But that two will likely change before long. Toys R Us, Walmart and KB Toys all have good track records for carrying the TMNT line on their web sites.