Releases in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line have slowed way down in the last year. Which actually works well for me since
I haven't had time to update this site very often. But now, a mere eight months after they were released, I'm finally getting
around to opening up the last set of full size TMNT to be released, the Sub Sewer figures. A slight variation on the Alien Hunter
Turtles, this time they are geared up to go looking for threats much closer to home, in the depths of the New York city sewers.
And you can't get much closer to their home than that.
As with the Alien Hunter theme, the Sub Sewer was to include all four of the green teens and a pair of monster figures for them to hunt down. Unfortunately the series suffered from the same cost cut backs as well and Metal Klawz (the monster mole) and Spider Bytez were never released. And unlike the two missing alien figures that did eventually see release overseas, eight months later and they are still nowhere to be found.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging hasn't changed much from the Alien Hunters figures beyond the obvious replacement of the series name on the bubble insert. I like the packaging. It is visually interesting while still keeping a darker tone that matches the TMNT movie style. The molded pipe shapes on the bubbles adds a nice touch too. There are two things which the packaging could really use. The first is the removal of the two monster figures. It is bad enough that Playmates keeps killing off the figures that could actually be interested in favor of nothing but Turtle variants, but to keep advertising figures that aren't going to be produced is annoying. At least I know that they haven't been released and don't have to waste time searching for a product that doesn't exist. There are going to be some parents who are not so lucky. The second item that should have been added is an explanation of what the Sub Sewer line actually is. While there are small character information cards on the inserts, none of them really give any back story as to why the Turtles would suddenly need to go hunting for creatures in the sewers. From what little I've seen, the outfits did show up in the mini-sodes that were shown after the shows. But not everyone has access to the show on TV, myself included now.
Sculpting - Donatello 8/10, others 7/10All four of the Sub Sewer Turtles has a completely new sculpt save for the heads. Each figure has a combination of armor and equipment sculpted onto all of their limbs and bodies and a bulky pair of gloves. Raphael has a rather massive set of shoulder pads and shin guards as well as a winch back pack. The back pack is cool, but the rest just sort of blurs into a barely recognizable mass. Leonardo has a bit more balance in his outfit design in that it covers more of the figure and most of the features are quite distinct. But some of the transition points seem a bit off. The thighs/hips seem to be far too small for the rest of the figure, as are the shoulders. Plus there are large gaps between the shoulders and upper arms. His neck also seems to be longer than it should be. Michelangelo would have been my favorite figure in the series if for no other reason than the silliness of wearing only the front half of a sleeveless shirt like a giant dickie. But for some reason, they gave him a larger head than any of the other figures. It is only larger by a fraction of an inch, but it is enough that it was instantly noticeable to me. Now I can't look at the figure without wondering why his head is swollen. Finally there is Donatello who manages to be the best figure of the series simply by not falling prey to any of the short comings of the other three figures.
Paint - Raph 3/10, Leo & Don 5/10, Mike 6/10the paint work on these figures is pretty limited. And that is too bad because the amount of work that went into the sculpts isn't really done justice when so much of the figures are either unpainted or large areas are just painted in a single color. The problem is quite apparent on Raphael whose armor is all just painted silver. Donatello and Leonardo are better since they both have at least a few contrasting colors on their outfits. But there is still quite a bit of detail on both figures that is lost in a sea of blue and purple. Michelangelo is the best figure of series as the colors used for each part of his outfit contrasts well with the rest allowing as much of the sculpt to stand out as possible.
Articulation - 7/10All four figures have seventeen points of articulation. Those points include:
Accessories - Raph 4/10, others 3/10Each figure comes with a helmet, a variation on their signature weapon and a couple of new weapons. For Michelangelo, his helmet is a stylized gas mask. He also comes with a set of nunchuks made from pipes, a radio and a large drill. Unfortunately he can't hold his weapons very well. To start with, the wielding torch that is attached to his backpack can't be removed and there is no real place to store it meaning that he has to hold it most of the time which leaves only one hand free. (You can tuck it under the rope that is strung over his shoulder which is what I did.) Even getting past the issue of being a hand short, he can't really hold either the radio or drill very well since they don't fit well in his hands. Donatello has a helmet with two hoses that plug into his backpack, a bo staff with hooks on both ends, a pick, a cell phone and a harpoon gun. The helmet is nice, but if the hoses are attached, they restrict the movement of the head to almost nothing. The other items are a bit bland and they are too small to fit securely in Donatello's hands. Leonardo has a full head helmet, two swords, a small pick and some sort of gun that plugs into his backpack. The gun is interesting, but judging by the trigger on the side and hole in the front, it should have a projectile that it can shoot. But none was included. The swords are designed to be stored in loops on the sides of the backpack, but those loops are too small (or the swords are too large) so that they barely fit. And of course you have the issue of the hose for the gun getting in the way as well. Raphael comes with an updated version of a miner's helmet, a pair of sais, a small hammer/pick, another hammer/pick with a sai blade sticking out of it and a circular saw weapon. The helmet is s nice design, but prone to falling off. The sais are fairly standard fair and seem a bit redundant since Raph already has the hammer/pick/sai. They could have just included another one of those. His saw weapon is the best weapon of the entire series. It isn't terribly impressive, but he can hold it properly either in one hand or while holding both handles. And it does offer a little bit of play value in that the blade does turn. It is a bit sad that a simple turning blade is the highlight of all of the accessories for the entire series.
Value - 4/10When they were released, the Sub Sewer Turtles sold for the basic figure price which is $8 to $9. I was quite fortunate in that I manage to find almost all of my figures from Farm and Fleet last fall for $6 each. (For those not from the Midwest, Farm and Fleet is a farm supply store that opens a toy section each fall for the Christmas season. It is often worth check out what they carry each year since they commonly sell figures for a couple of Dollars less than most stores.) If I had paid full price, they would have scored at least a point lower. The figures are not bad, but they seem redundant at this point. We've already had Alien Hunters and if you want to go back to the 2003 line, Robo Hunters and Monster Trappers. Had Playmates gone forward and produced the two monster figures that were planned, you would have at least have had some creatures for the Sub Sewer Turtles to track down. As it stands now, the Sub Sewer line seems like a case of "all dressed up with no place to go." Or in this case, no reason to exist.
Happy Hunting:The Sub Sewer figures were part of the basic assortment of figures and were released in the fall of 2008. But finding the complete line was often a challenge thanks to a rather strange case assortment which in some instances didn't include all four Turtles in a case. In particular, Michelangelo was difficult to track down for quite a while in my area. Finding them locally now will be even more of a challenge. But that's what Google is for. They are still available from several sites including Amazon.com. And the prices are still pretty reasonable.