There's one thing I'll say about Playmates Toys and their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lines, they aren't afraid of going out
of their way to create unusual and creative action features. While action features for most toy lines these days are rarely
anything more elaborate than a spring fired projectile, Playmates continues to go above and beyond, creating several waves of
deluxe figures with various action features. And of course, they have a new set to correspond to the slew of new movie toys.
This time it's Street Grindin' Turtles. The four Turtles come with the ability to zip along on an elaborate skate board style
mechanism either on their stomach or on their back luge style. Playmates has proven that they know how to create decent
action features, the real question is if the rest of the figure will be worth buying.
Packaging - 5/10The Street Grindin' figures come on extra wide blister cards similar to the previous TMNT deluxe figures. The graphics have of course been replaced with the new movie graphics which are a welcome improvement. Each figure is displayed prominently in the center of their card with their weapon(s) in hand and accessories along side of them. But a lot of the extra space is just used for an oversized insert showing off the action feature. The back of the cards is largely dedicated to the reuse of the same photos from the front insert as well as small photos of the other three Street Grindin' Turtles, a brief description of the premise of the movie and a paragraph about the Street Grindin' idea. The packaging looks pretty good. But the reuse of the same graphics does nothing to sell me on the idea that these figures are any good beyond the action feature. And the oversized bubble is both an unneccessary waste of space and makes the packaging much more prone to damage and being crushed.
Sculpting - Don & Leo 2/10, Mike & Raph 3/10These sculpts only deserve a one word review. Bad. There really isn't a single redeeming feature to them. The bodies are ballooned up to make room for the action features leaving them completely out of proportion with the limbs and heads. And then to complete the package they are filled with holes. The only thing that distinguishes these as movie figures are the wide feet and ankles. If you're wondering what makes Leo and Don worse than Mike and Raph, it's their necks. Their front shells are dropped almost a quarter of an inch below the top of their rear shell and shoulders. It doesn't look too bad from the front, but it does make the neck look exceptionally long for such short, fat figures as well as drawing considerable attention to the neck joint. But from the side it becomes obvious how unnatural it really is. To Playmates' credit, they could very easily have just reused the same sculpt for Leo and Don and for Raph and Mike. But they went all out and created four different sculpts.
Paint - 4/10The paint work on these figures is minimal at best. Their shells, belts, pads and bandanas are all painted. But there is no detail work. The colors used don't always contrast very well. The straps on Donatello's chest are the same color as his rear shell for example. The paint for the eyes and bandanas also seems just a bit sloppier than usual for a TMNT figure. But it isn't very noticable.
Articulation - Don & Leo 2/10 Mike & Raph 1/10The articulation on the Street Grindin' figures is quite poor. The legs are articulated at the hips in connection with the action features. The necks are articulated but have almost no range of motion. The arms are articulated with rotating shoulders, rotating biceps, hinged elbows and rotating wrists. Playmates tried a different design for the elbow hinges for Leonardo and Donatello than on Mike and Raph. By placing the hinge slightly below the elbow pad, they were able to create a single joint elbow capable of bending almost a full 180 degrees. While that is a nice advance in design and something I wouldn't mind seeing them put to use on their regular figures. It is completely overshadowed by the glaring inadequacies of the articulation, namely the inability to adjust the legs to allow the figures to stand unassisted. With a little luck, you can find a position for the feet that will allow Donatello and Leonardo to stand up. But Raphael and Michelangelo have their toes pointed down slightly which constantly causes them to tip backwards if not given additional support.
Accessories - 3/10Each of the Street Grindin' Turtles comes with their signature weapon(s), a rip cord and a skateboard. For deluxe figures, that's a pretty sparse list of accessories. So you would expect them to have put a lot of effort into making the skateboards as impressive as possible. You would be very wrong. They did put some effort into sculpting details into Donatello and Leonardo's boards since they are attached to the front of the figures and therefore more visible. But they still look more like cobbled together scrap.
Action Features - 2/10Thus far, the Street Grindin' figures have been pretty disappointing figures. But most of Playmates' recent deluxe figures have been dominated by their action features. And when those features turn out well, they can still be pretty cool toys. That isn't the case with the Street Grindin' Turtles. All four have the same basic action feature. When you pull the rip cord, the figure is suppose to walk a short distance before laying down on their board and rolling away. The biggest issue is that the release mechanism that allows the skateboards to fold down don't always work. Michelangelo seems to be pretty reliable. But Leonardo's rarely works resulting in a figure that walks forward untill it runs out of momentum. That brings up another issue, if you ever see someone try to run without bending their knees or taking a full stride it looks very unnatural and cartoonish. And that is what these figures look like. It's TMNT meets the Flintstones. Ultimately it doesn't matter much. Even if the action features had worked perfectly, they would still be really dull features. They also are not very creative. Playmates already did a line of deluxe figures with a similar theme ten years ago as part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the next mutation line. The Thunder Thrashers featured the Turtles riding skateboards that could also double as street luge boards.
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Value - Donatello & Leonardo 2/10, Michelangelo & Raphael 1/10With a price tag of $11 to $13, the Street Grindin' Turtles carry a hefty price tag for figures that have so little going for them. To be honest, the only reason I can think of to buy them is to steal the arms off of Donatello or Leonardo and put them on the regular versions of the Turtles to make even more articulated figures. Beyond that, the Street Grindin' Turtles are best left on the pegs.
Happy Hunting:If you must go out and get a Street Grindin' Turtle figure, you should have no real trouble finding them. Almost every store that carried the Movie toys (which is just about every store that sells action figures) stocked the Street Grindin' figures. And I've yet to see a store sell out of them.