In the twenty plus years since they were created, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have created a lot of enemies. You would think that having the entire Foot Clan of ninjas out to get them would be enough, not to mention an entire race of extraterrestrial dinosaurs, assorted mutants and even evil clone versions of themselves. But Playmates needed a reason to produce more figures so now the green teens are out fighting invaders from space as Alien Hunters.
Packaging - 9/10The packaging design from the movie line has been updated slightly for this latest series of figures. The first change is the shape of the cards which now have rounded tops. It is a minor change, but it does make finding the new figures easier even if they are mixed in with older stock. The blister itself has been given some molded detail around the edge to replicate the look of water pipes. There is still an insert at the bottom with the four turtles and the name of the figure, but now the Alien Hunter logo has been added as well as a short bio on the side of the insert. The cards have a new background image, an old sewer pipe, which replaces the cross section of the sewer and street which was on the previous cards. The back shows all of the figures in the series as well as a couple that have yet to be released (Buzzrok and Multiflex). And in a subtle nod to the original toys from 1987, they included a cartoon explaining the origins of the Turtles. The changes from the previous movie figures' packaging is minor, but generally all for the better. The only thing I dislike is the presence of a sticker on the front announcing a sweepstakes which limits your view of the part of the figures and many of the accessories.
Sculpting - Dumpjumper 7/10, Leo & Don 5/10, Mike & Raph 4/10 Thrashmor 3/10From the early photos I had seen on the internet, I was expecting to really hate Dumpjumper, be uninterested in the Turtles and really like the other aliens. The Turtles are about what I expected. They took the existing movie figure designs, loaded them up with a bunch of random junk which vaguely resembles equipment. The equipment is nicely sculpted, but most of it seems to be there just to have something there. They did manage to include loops to hold the weapons for three of the Turtles but for some reason failed to do so for Alien Hunter Mike. Each Turtle does have a new head sculpt. I have to say that I like the thinner bandana's that they used for all four. But the facial expressions for Raph and Mike are a bit off. Raph seems to be sneering out of one half of his face while smiling from the other half. I just can not think of an emotion or expression which would cause someone to do that. And Mike exchanged the goofy expression of the previous movie figures for smile that borders on looking evil. It also appears that one of the steps in hunting aliens is frequent and prolonged foot bathes. All of their toes are slightly shrunken and pruny. Thrashmor has the makings of a great figure, but they stopped short. Some areas of his skin have been lightly textured, but overall the entire figure is simplistic like an over sized kids meal toy. Dumpjumper ended up being the high point of the line. His body somewhat detailed and contrasts nicely with the his mechanical legs. And the mouth is particularly impressive, seeming both happy and a bit dangerous. You don't quite know if he is smiling at you or going to bite your face off. Dumpjumper does leave some room for improvement, particularly at the transitions between the body and the legs and the body and the mouth. The former are just plain, not really matching either the body or the legs. The latter just has a considerable gap around it. Other than that, I just want Dumpjumper to be bigger. as it stands, he just seems too small to count as a full figure. As a two pack or a side kick to another figure he would be fine. But as a stand alone figure, I wnat him twice as large as his present size.
Paint - Dumpjumper 7/10, Turtles 5/10, Thrashmor 2/10Dumpjumper comes out on top once again when it come to the paint work. Particular attention was paid to his mouth to great effect. It would have been nice if they had painted his legs to match the thrusters sticking out of his back. The Turtles themselves are painted fairly simply. With the exception of the spikes on Don's battering ram, all of the belts and armor are a solid color with no painted details. There are also a few minor stray marks and sloppy edges, but not enough to be very noticeable. Finally there is Thrashmor who is just one big brown mass in a blue one piece with the occasional tooth or claw sticking out. Once again it looks like they just stopped trying when they got to Thrashmor.
Articulation - Turtles & Dumpjumper 8/10, Thrashmor 2/10The Alien Hunter Turtles retain the same level of articulation as the previous TMNT movie figures. It has its limits, but they are still have the best design for the articulation of any modern era incarnation of the Turtles themselves. The shoulders do tend to be tighter than they need to be, but there are no loose joints. Don does have one other trick up his sleeve, or at least on his arm. His wrist mounted battering ram moves. But the range of motion is pretty minimal. Dumpjumper has a surprising twelve points of articulation, all in his legs. All three pairs rotate at the shoulders. The front pair also has two hinge joints in each limb. The rear legs that do the most to support the figure also have hinge joints at the ankles. There is certainly room to add more articulation and joints with better ranges of motion such as ball jointed shoulders. An articulated jaw would have been a great addition too. Thrashmor has nine rotating joints located at the ankles, hips, shoulders, wrists and neck. That could have been an acceptable amount of articulation if it actually allowed the figure to strike more than one pose. It doesn't. You can create slight variations of the same pose by raising or lowering the arms but that's it.
Accessories - Mike, Don & Raph 6/10, Leo & Dumpjumper 4/10, Thrashmor 2/10Dumpjumper comes with just one accessory, a cannon which mounts on his left shoulder. It looks nice. But that's all it does. This thing practically screams to have a projectile launching feature. At the very least they could have created a better mounting system so that it could be aimed. But compared to the ridiculous accessories that Thrashmor has, it looks pretty good. Speaking of Thrashmor, Playmates should be embarrassed to have put out the clunky, unpainted, wastes of plastic which pass for his accessories. He has a gun, an ax and a bladed weapon. The gun is so large that the figure can't hold the handle. So they just slapped another handle on it. The ax is really just a vaguely ax shaped lump mounted on a handle. The bladed weapon is the best of the three if only because it is the only one that doesn't look like it was constructed with Duplo blocks. The Turtles' accessories are better. Each one has a helmet, a futuristic version of their weapon plus a few extras. Leo's swords are a bit stubby for katanas. He also has what has to be the least intimidating gun I've ever seen and a set of manacles which won't fit on any figure in the series. Mike's accessories seem to have an aquatic theme. His helmet looks like a fish. In addition to his nunchuks, he also has a gun that is much more interesting looking than Leo's and something that appears to be a cross between a trident, a spear and a tuning fork. Raph comes with a pair of sais and a lariat. The cool part is that the lariat sort of works. It is formed from a single piece of plastic which loops back and clips onto itself. By pulling on the loose end, you can tighten up the loop on the end. It's too bad they used such a stiff plastic for it though. Don has his bo of course. He also has three pieces that can be added onto the end of the bo staff: a three pronged claw, a bayonet and a loop. By mixing and matching those parts, you can create a variety of weapons for Don. I have to say though, it struck me as a bit odd that with a theme like alien hunter, only two of the four Turtles have accessories for hunting or trapping anything.
Value - Dumpjumper 6/10, Turtles 4/10, Thrashmor 2/10The price for the TMNT figures jumped a bit to $8 each with the start of the Movie related figures. While these figures have almost nothing to do with the movie, but of course the price hasn't gone down. Dumpjumper is a bit on the small size and lacking in accessories for that price, but it is still a nice figure, the nicest in the series. The Alien Hunter Turtles are nothing particularly special. If you happen to like one of the designs they might be worth picking up. But they aren't going to be replacing the regular movie figures in anyone's collection. Thrashmor is just a really sad excuse for a figure. The character design could have resulted in an impressive figure. But the Thrashmor figure we did get falls flat in just about every way possible.
Happy Hunting:The Alien Hunter figures began shipping right around Christmas and have become more common as store recover and restock from the holidays. I have seen them at Walmart and Target stores around here. They should show up at Toys R Us in time as well. Online options for finding them are pretty sparse as well. There are only a few web sites which stock TMNT toys any more. And as of yet, none of them have the Alien Hunter figures in stock.