Time for yet another well overdue TMNT review. This time it is the Mini Cyber-Ripper vehicles that Playmates produced as part of the Mini Mutants
line last year. Based on the vehicles from the Back to the Sewer show, the Mini Cyber-Rippers follow in the foot steps of the first vehicle sets
of the Mini Mutants line in offering both a vehicle and figure in one package.
Packaging - 7/10The Cyber-Rippers are packaged in blister card packaging. The bubble is quite a bit larger than it needs to be, leaving a lot of extra room to be covered by the rather large insert. The vehicles do at least fill up the remaining space well. The back of the card shows both Cyber-Rippers as well as the two Mini Code-Runner vehicles that were planned but never released as far as I am aware. It is geeting mildly annoying though that Playmates keeps including photos of toys that they then don't produce.
Sculpting - 6/10The cyber-Rippers don't have the most detailed sculpt. But by layering several components, each with a little detail, the over all vehicle looks better than any of the individual parts would lead one to expect was possible. There is still room for improvement. The engine block is pretty dull. There is some sculpting to add detail on the sides and rear. But it doesn't stand out very well against the mass of the engine. That could have been fixed with paint though.
The figures included are a basic Mini Mutant Raphael and Donatello. I didn't like the Mini Mutant versions of the TMNT movie designs originally. I still do think it works as well for the Turtles who already have slightly deformed proportions to begin with. But They have at least improved the quality to eliminate the gaps around the joints and warping that was a problem with the earliest figures I got.
Paint - 5/10The paint work on the Cyber-Rippers is fairly limited. There are a few details on the frames and the lower headlights that are painted. But that is about it. Otherwise the different colors are based on the color of the plastic. For the most part that is all right though. There are enough different parts that by using the right colored plastics, even the limited paint work is enough to make the Cyber-Rippers look pretty good. There is more that could be done, particularly by the engines. There is also a big difference in the overall appearance due to the plastic colors. (I definitely prefer the darker colors used on Raph's Cyber-Ripper.) But for what little paint work there is, the Cyber-Rippers turned out well.
Play Value - 7/10The Cyber-Rippers vehicles have two main features. The most obvious one is the spring loaded projectile launcher mounted ontop of the vehicle. The launcher has handles on the back so that it can be manned by a figure standing on the platform above the engine. While the launcher can be rotated where it is mounted to the roof, that of course moves the handles away from the firing platform. Restricting the launcher to only a single rotating joint was also a lost opportunity. They could have mounted the launcher with a ball joint instead and allowed a far greater range of motion with no extra parts or cost. The second feature is the pull back feature. Pull the vehicle back to roll the rear wheels backwards and you wind a spring mechanism inside of the vehicle. You can then press a button on the top of the engine to release the spring and let the vehicle drive forward. The mechanism is strong enough to propel the vehicle, but only on a smooth, hard surface. And even then it doesn't go very fast. And to top it off, the catch mechanism doesn't work in one of the Cyber-Rippers that I opened. So as soon as you let go of the vehicle, it takes off instead of when you press the button on the engine. If the play value was limited to just those two features, these would be fairly bland vehicles. But there are two additional things that help to boost the score. The inclusion of a figure is a big help, especially since they come with their weapons and a helmet. The other nice little feature is that the roof is attached to the frame with clips in the front and pegs in the back. This means that if you unclip the front, the back pegs will serve as hinge points to flip the roof back and provide much easier access to the driver's seat. It is a small touch, but being able to easily reach the figure inside can make a vehicle a lot more fun for a kid.
Value - 8/10The Cyber-Ripper vehicles sold for $8 to $10 depending upon where you found them. That is a great deal for a vehicle and a figure. Of course, that is assuming that you don't already have the figures. And since there are no significant differences between the two sets, there is little reason to buy the second set once you have one of them.
Happy Hunting:Finding the Cyber-Ripper vehicles isn't all that easy, especially since they were released months ago at this point. Your best bet would be to check Toys R US stores. They seem to be the one chain that is still stocking the TMNT and Mini Mutant toy lines at most or all fo their stores. There is also the option of buying them on the secondary market. There are a few listed on eBay, and for reasonable prices.