Nothing says "bad boy" quite like a motorcycle. So it's no surprise that the Turtles resident bad boy Raphael always seems
to have one. And in the TMNT movie, Raphael not only has a motorcycle, he has an entire secret identity as the motorcycle
riding, leather clad vigilante, the Nightwatcher. It's no surprise that Playmates also made a toy of Raphael's skull cracking
alter ego. Unfortunately, it is also no big surprise that they didn't stop there and have now released an entire set of
motorcycles, one for each turtle. And so now we have the Stunt Rider Turtles.
Packaging - 8/10Each of the Stunt Rider sets is packaged in a 13" by 8" box with a large window in the front and top to view the toy. Each figure is packaged standing next to their cycle with their accessories displayed around them. Raphael / the Nightwatcher is actually available in two forms. Originally they shipped with Raphael wearing his helmet to avoid spoiling his secret identity. After the movie had been out in theaters for some time, they changed the packaging to show Raphael's face. Oddly enough, they didn't change the actual box which still has a photo with the caption "Who is the Mystery Rider?" The brick wall background that was used inside the packaging for the other Movie toys works particularly well here, creating the illusion that they are in a New York City back alley. The front of the box has the TMNT logo, images of the four Turtles and the name of the toy all crammed in along the edges of the window. The side panels have a photo of the figure on the motorcycle. The back panel has another image of the figure on his cycle with his helmet on. There are also a brief summery of the plot to the movie, character stats and a description of the character. There are also photos of some of the other toys available as well.
Sculpting - Nightwatcher 8/10, others 7/10I won't bother spending much time on Leonardo, Michelangelo or Donatello since they are identical to the regular carded figures. Raphael/Nightwatcher is the only new sculpt, and a pretty good one too. There is a considerable amount of detail to the Nightwatcher costume. And from the screen shots that I looked at from the DVD, the figure captures those details very well. The only issues I have with the figure is that the arms are too bulky to sit straight down at the figure's sides and that the figure's head had to be scaled down slightly so that the helmet would fit. The smaller head makes the rest of the figure look even bulkier. The Nightwatcher motorcycle is almost as impressive as the figure. As with the figure, it seems to be very accurate to the movie. There is a great deal of attention and detail put into the exhaust and other mechanical details. Unfortunately, the main engine block is a bit lacking in detail. But that is understandable since they couldn't realistically do any better without making the engine a separate piece and building the bike around it. They even did a nice job of recreating the rather unusual design to the front fender and cowling. The other motorcycles reuse most of the mold from the Nightwatcher's motorcycle. They just replace the front fender and cowling. Surprisingly, that along with the changes in color schemes is enough to keep them from looking too similar.
Paint - Nightwatcher & Don 6/10, Leo 4/10, Mike 3/10The paint work on the Nightwatcher and his bike is the best of the four sets. Thankfully they went to the trouble of painting his individual layers of armor which really helps to highlight the details of the sculpt. Over all the quality is fairly high as well. My figure has a splotch of paint just above his belt under his right arm. But other than that, everything is neat and all the edges are clean. The paint work on his bike is well done as well, although a bit understated. I would have liked to see some weathering effects or scratches added to it to make it look more realistic. Both Donatello and Leonardo are painted just like the basic versions of those figures. But I think that the purple paint scheme for Donatello's motorcycle looks much better than the green camouflage with bronze accents that they used for Leo's bike. Finally there is Michelangelo. Just like the basic carded version, the Stunt Rider Michelangelo has the same bug-eyed with eyes that seem to be looking in two different directions. His bike is colored to match the Cowabunga Carl Party Van. But just like the Party Van, they tried to add graphics to the side of it with stickers. At least with the motorcycle, the stickers don't seem prone to falling off.
Articulation - 8/10The regular turtles have seventeen points of articulation.
Accessories - Michelangelo 4/10, Nightwatcher & Leo 6/10, Donatello 7/10Except for Nightwatcher, each of the Stunt Rider sets comes with the same basic accessories: a helmet, the turtle's usual weapon and then a variation on that weapon. The Nightwatcher has the helmet and a pair of chain whips similar to those used in the movie. But he doesn't have any additional weapons. But unlike the others, his bandana can be removed and stored in a space in his back so that it doesn't stick out from his helmet. The chain whips are disappointing though. The are made of hard plastic so that they can't wrap around anything and their range is very limited. Michelangelo has a traditional style motorcycle helmet with eyes and teeth painted on it to go along with his Cowabunga Carl motif. His weapons include two nunchuks and a flail with three balls on the ends. The flail is rather silly looking and probably wouldn't make a very effective weapon. Leonardo's accessories are better. His helmet is a motocross style helmet complete with visor. He has a pair of katana of course. His other weapons are a cross between a sword and a machete. Donatello comes with a motorcycle helmet, a wooden bo and a folding bo staff. The folding bo staff is a very cool idea and quite appropriate for a motorcycle riding theme. There's just one thing that I haven't been able to figure out. The new weapons for Leo, Don and Mike all have hooks on the bottom of the handles. But there doesn't seem to be an obvious place to use them. They seem to be designed to allow you to hook the weapons onto the bars along the front of each cycle or the grab bar on the back. But I don't know why you would want to do that.
Value - Nightwatcher 8/10, Donatello 6/10, others 5/10The Stunt Rider sets sell for $15 to $16 in most stores. Given the jump in price of the regular figures to $8, still being able to get both a figure and a vehicle plus all the accessories (or at least the important ones) for this price is a good deal. And when the figure is as well done as the Nightwatcher is, it is a particularly good deal. While the other three sets are nice, they don't really offer anything that couldn't be gotten cheaper elsewhere. In particular, the best way to get the regular movie figures is still from the two packs with the stone Generals.
Happy Hunting:The Stunt Rider sets are available from most stores that carry the TMNT line. If you are patient, you may even be able to get them at one of Toys R Us's "buy two get one free" sales. Otherwise, just check your local Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, KB Toys, or other store of your choice. You should be able to at least find the Nightwatcher set at most of them. You may have to shop around a bit to find a store that has the other three sets.