It's taken me a while to get around to opening and reviewing the figures for the new TMNT movie. But from what I saw from
the Turtles and the other good guy figures, they were worth the wait. But now I need some villains. And Playmates Toys
is serving up six bad guys. The line up includes Max Winters who plays a pivotal roll in the film, Karai and a Foot Ninja
from the Foot Clan, and three of the monsters from the movie. While that still leaves us ten monsters short of a set, it
is a good start.
Packaging - 8/10The movie figures have a completely new look that reflects the CGI nature and darker tone of the film. Graphically it is a considerable improvement over the figures from both the Fast Forward and regular TMNT line. The bubble has also been updated to wrap around the card on the sides and bottom. By doing so they eliminated the wasted space of the border around the bubble to provide more room inside for the figures and inserts. The inserts are also proving a bit problematic in that the Michelangelo insert seems to be prone to coming loose and sliding around in the package. Although that did provide me with my favorite packaging variant, a Vampire Succubor disguised as Michelangelo. (See the photo below)
Okay, that isn't a real packaging variation. But there are several variations available. There is the original packaging which has no stickers on the outside of the packaging. The figures were then released with a bonus CD inside and a triangular sticker on the upper left side of the bubble to point out the inclusion. Later releases then added another sticker on the bubble to advertise the TMNT Fast Forward cartoon on 4Kids TV. It appears that more recent shipments are now back to the plain packaging once again. So if you want the bonus disc packaging, you should pick them up soon.
Sculpting - Spider Aracknor & Vampire 3/10, Jersey Devil 4/10, Karai, Winters & Foot Ninja 7/10The sculpting for the movie line is certainly a step up from the other recent figures we have gotten as part of the Fast Forward line. But they still have at least one major issue, scale. The humans are less affected. They are at least close. They also fair well in terms of accuracy. The designs are accurate to the movie, but not as detailed. The Foot Ninja could stand to be a little bulkier around the limbs and the neck in particular. The monster figures don't fair nearly as well. The Jersey Devil is the best of the three. He actually looks pretty good in terms of the sculpting detail, but he is way too big. He is closer to being in scale with the large Big Mouth Talkin' movie figures than with the regular figures. But at least he is smaller than the Turtles and human figures as he should be. The Vampire and Spider Aracknor are both too small. The vampire is at least close, but should probably be a couple of inches taller. The Spider Aracknor on the other hand is tiny. The body isn't that far out of scale. But the legs are extremely short. In fact they are missing an entire section. And the two sections that are left are much thicker and shorter than the final movie design. This is the one figure so far that I feel really could stand to be remade entirely or at least be released with a different set of legs.
Paint - Winters 6/10, Vampire 4/10, Spider Aracknor 1/10, others 5/10The paint work on all of the figures except for the Spider Aracknor is pretty good. The Spider Aracknor only has painted eyes. The rest of the figure is completely unpainted. The vampire also has minimal paint work. It works well but is much darker than the creature appears in the movie. The subtle paint work on the chest and wings works well with the sculpted texture. The biggest problem is that there is an alphanumeric code painted in bright white paint on the back of the figure's leg that sticks out like a sore thumb on the black plastic. The Jersey Devil's eyes are a significant improvement over the eyes of the good guy figures I have. At least they are facing the same direction. There is also some variation to the red coloring of the body that do a lot to make the all red body look more interesting. But it pales in comparision its appearance in the movie. Both Karai and the Foot Ninja have considerably more paint applications yet manage to maintain a high level of quality. The colors used are all quite dull though, a mixture of flat black and shades of grey. That is appropriate given that they are ninjas. But a little metallic grey used in moderation would have better matched the look of the movies and added a lot of visual interest. The Max Winters figure doesn't have a great deal of paint work either. But the contrast between the gold, brown and grey colors means that there isn't a lot of paint needed.
Articulation - Jersey Devil 1/10, Karai 4/10, Foot Ninja 6/10, others 3/10Articulation hasn't been a strong suit of the TMNT line(s) for quite some time. Some of the movie figures do show some promise. But most of them leave a lot to be desired. The Jersey Devil is the worst at just four points of articulation: waist wrists and ball jointed neck. The articulation gives some room to adjust the balance of the figure, but it is basically stuck permanently in this pose. The Spider Aracknor figure is better with eight points of articulation. The four cut joints at the neck, shoulders and waist give some possibilities for different poses. While the four ball joints for the legs give them significant range of motion. So why the low score? The design practically begs to have an additional ball joint in the middle of each leg. Had they gone the extra mile and included them, the figure could have stood up fully which would have made the figure appear to be much closer in scale to the others in the line. The Vampire has nicely articulated wings, but needs more leg articulation. Pairs of rotating/hinge joints at both the shoulders and elbows allow for plenty of motion for the wings both for flying poses and for folding the wings in standing poses. But the cut joints for the hips only give the legs one decent pose. A pair of cut joints at the neck and waist round out its articulation. Max Winters has ten cut joints: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and hips. The arm articulation is barely passable, but the rest of the articulation is almost completely worthless. Karai has just eight cut joints at the hips, waist, shoulders, elbows and neck. Surprisingly, the hips are not a traditional "V" cut that are so common on female figures which allows them to be at least somewhat useful. The neck articulation is only useable with the unmasked head. The Foot Ninja is the best articulated bad guy figure with fourteen points of articulation. That includes rotating neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and waist, rotating and hinged hips and hinged knees. The leg articulation is pretty good but the hips could use a better range of motion. The arms are passable but hinge joints for the elbows would be a nice improvement.
Accessories - Jersey Devil/Spider Aracknor 2/10, Vampire 3/10, Max Winters 4/10, Karai & Foot Ninja 6/10The monster figures come up fairly light in the accessory department with just a net for the Vampire and another for the Jersey Devil/Spider Aracknor two pack. The nets are nice if a bit colorful for my tastes. But they are also rather undersized. The one that comes with the two smaller monsters is only about the size of a beach towel for the figures. The net for the Vampire is larger, but still undersized for a figure with such a large wingspan. The accessories for the human figures are the usual assortment of weapons, but all of them are almost comically oversized. Winters in particular has a sword which is longer than he is tall and somewhat lacking in detail. He also comes with his helmet which puts the concept of a ten gallon hat to shame. But it at least seems to be scaled properly to the figure. Karai has a katana, a double bladed dagger and a double bladed axe of sorts, all with ridiculously large handles. But she also comes with an extra, unmasked head that allows you to choose which look you prefer. The Foot Ninja comes with two swords, a sickle and a shield. One of the swords is a katana that stores neatly in the sheath that is permanently attached to the figure's back. The other sword seems to be a cross between a narrow broad sword and an oversized dagger. I believe the sickle is supposed to be a kama, but the handle is so long that it looks more like a hockey stick or cane. The inclusion of a shield as well is a novel touch. I just wish the figure had better arm articulation to wield it better. But I certainly can't complain about the Foot Ninja being poorly armed. And the variety is particularly nice if you are going to accumulate an entire squad of Foot Ninjas.
Value - Jersey Devil/Spider Aracknor 3/10, Vampire 4/10, Winters and Karai 5/10, Foot Ninja 6/10With the prices slowly creeping up on most action figures and the movie figures getting an extra price bump up to $8 or more, it is tougher for the figures to provide a good value. In the case of the Jersey Devil/Spider Aracknor two pack, it's only real selling point is that you do get two figures for the price even if they are both mediocre. And since the same JD figure is available with the movie play set and a better scaled version is due out with the second wave of figures, the Spider Aracknor figure is the main selling point and not a strong one. The Vampire is a slightly better figure but still has substantial issues including both the scale and lack of leg articulation. And the character never had much of a role in the movie either. Karai and Max Winters both played larger roles in the film and have decent figures. But decent is about as generous as I can be for modern figures that are still use such limited articulation below the arms. The Foot Ninja is the best figure of the bunch. The only real problem with it is that as is so often the case, just one ninja is never enough. At eight bucks a piece, building a whole squad will get expensive quickly.
Happy Hunting:The TMNT movie figures are readily available from all of the major toy retailers. However, now that the movie has come and gone, finding a store with a decent supply can be tough. And the bad guy figures are some of the toughest since they did not start shipping until later than the good guy figures. But they still seem to be readily available overall. The line has limited support online. But both KB Toys and Toys R Us' web sites have at least some of the figures in stock.