It seems that Playmates TMNT lines are drawing to a close. But there are still a number of items for me to track down that I have either missed
or that were simply never carried in stores in my area. One of those items is the Mini Mutant Shell Copter from last year. Despite waiting patiently,
this item never did show up at any of the stores in the Madison area. Of course in this day and age of online shopping, just because an item isn't
available locally, doesn't mean it is unavailable.
Packaging - 5/10The Shell Copter comes packaged in a window box that shows off the vehicle well, or at least the side of it. Meanwhile the box highlights a couple of the features (the winch and the included figure) while the ends of the box show off a couple more. It's only on the back of the box that you really can get a more complete idea of what the toy really looks like and all of its features. This is one case where I think they would be better off going with a solid box instead of a window box.
Sculpting - 8/10I had no idea before getting the Shell Copter that you could build a helicopter out of an egg. Or to be more precise, I would have never thought anyone would want to try to build a helicopter out of an egg. But that is seems to be the inspiration for the shell copter. However, once you get past the rather odd shape, it is a nicely detailed sculpt. It manages to avoid the problem that many vehicles have in that there are no areas which seem dull. But that's not to say that it doesn't have issues. To begin with, the body is too small. While the box boasts that the Shell Copter will hold four figures, it can actually hold two properly with another two placed on foot pegs by the doors. That wouldn't be a problem if it didn't also draw attention to the fact that the doors are way to small for a Mini TMNT figure. My Shell Copter also has a warped set of landing runners. It isn't that noticeable, but it does stop the Shell Copter from sitting level or rolling properly on the embedded wheels.
The figure which is included is Donatello and is identical to the regular Donatello figure which was included with the Sewer Slider vehicle.
Paint - 4/10Playmates has never been too elaborate with their paint work. And the Shell Copter is no different. There is a lot of potential left untouched in the sculpted detail. But what was painted was done reasonably well. There is some sloppiness where the struts attach to the runners and along the border of the light green paint for the lower body but it isn't too noticeable. They did also apply a number of stickers to add some detail work for the control panel, search light and a few other items.
Play Value - 6/10The Shell Copter has a number of features, though none of them are all that impressive much less original. The blades spin of course. And the tail section can be retracted into the body. But that doesn't really serve any purpose other than to reduce the amount of room needed to store it. There are two projectile launchers mounted on the sides as well as a winch built into the launcher on one side. A movable search light is mounted under the body. The two seats inside the body can be accessed by flipping the front canopy open. There isn't anything wrong with any of the features. It's just that with the exception of the searchlight, they have all been done many times before. The play value is certainly helped by the inclusion of a figure though.
Value - 8/10The Shell Copter sold for $15. That isn't a bad price when you consider that the Shell Copter is actually bigger than the Mini TMNT Battle Shell is and includes a figure. Of course, most fans will probably already have a Mini TMNT Donatello figure which does put a bit of a damper on it, as does the added cost of shipping if you have to order it online.
Happy Hunting:Finding the Shell Copter was a hit or miss prospect when it was released. Many stores did not carry it unless they had larger than normal selections of action figures. In my area, none of the stores carried it at all. Even finding it online was difficult. The only major retailer that I found which carried it was Target.com. That is a bit surprising since they haven't generally had a large selection available. But they were able to come through with a pair of Shell Copters for me. And they still have it listed as in stock as of now for those who are still searching.