Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Battle Shell figures

group photo
Playmates Toys has been making TMNT toys for a long time now. And over the course of all of those years, they have shown a penchant for repeating ideas, even when most of the toy industry has narrowed their focus to just figures. The new line for the Nickelodeon version of the TMNT has made that very clear. Playmates has bucked the industry trends and included a HUGE play set and a multitude of vehicles. And this time I'm reviewing their latest attempt at large scale figures with the Battle Shell Turtles. With the number of giant figures that Playmates has produced since the vintage line, I thought I had a good idea of what to expect with these figures, large scale, rotocast vinyl figures with limited articulation compared to the basic figures. But the Battle Shell figures are definitely not what I was expecting.

Packaging - 7/10

The Battle Shell Turtle packaging is very similar to the design used for the Power Sound FX figures. The figures are attached to a thick backer with just the lowest portion boxed in but the figure is left in the open. The design has a few notable improvements. The box portion extends up further on the sides and many of the extraneous angles have been eliminated which gives the construction more durability. I do kind of question the point of packaging the Battle Shell figures in an open box when it doesn't allow you to see the play features of the figures, the opening shell to store an assortment of weapons. There is also an issue with the packaging in that the figures are so large that you can't actually see all of the weapons that are included. Of course there is plenty of space on the back of the packaging to show off each figure's arsenal. But they don't really do that well either. All four figures have identical images on the back and most of the space is used to show the full figures while the only images of the weapons are small photos of them stored in the figures. Playmates went the extra mile in including all of the accessories with these figures that they did. It is a shame that they skimped on the packaging costs and missed the opportunity to show that off.

Sculpting - 7/10

The Battle Shell Turtles seem to be based off of the same original sculpts as the basic figures, with the exception of having the correct style feet. Other than the feet, these seem to be simply scaled up versions of the regular figures. All of the details are the same, though obviously it is much clearer on the Battle Shell Turtles. Blown up to this size, some of the details such as the damage to the shells is not as sharp as it should be. The feet have been corrected to be more accurate to the show which is a huge improvement. The masks are still off model. but they don't stick out as much as the feet did. Of course, by reusing the original sculpt of the basic figures, they also retained the different sizes for each Turtle.

Paint - 4/10

The paint work on the Battle Shell Turtles is pretty much the same as the basic figures other than the pupils have been painted for their eyes. The paint work is adequate, but far from impressive. On this large of a figure, there is just so much more that they could do to bring out the details of the sculpting. The edges on the masks and wraps on the hands fairly sloppy as well. And given the size, the sloppiness is much easier to see here.

Articulation - 3/10

The Battle Shell Turtles each has fifteen points of articulation:
  • ball jointed neck
  • rotating and hinged shoulders
  • rotating wrists
  • rotating and hinged hips
  • rotating and hinged knees
I was impressed when I first picked up the Battle Shell figures to see that they actually included a fair amount of articulation instead of the handful of rotating joints at the hips, shoulders and neck that I was expecting. The articulation for the arms and neck works well. But the range of motion on the legs is very limited. Unlike the basic figures, the front shells can't flex to allow the hips to move. So neither the hips nor the knees can move more than about 45 degrees.

Accessories - 7/10

Each of the Battle Shell Turtles comes with their signature weapon(s), a couple of throwing stars and a variation on their signature weapon that can be stored in their shell. For Leo, there is a small dagger and a kunai throwing knife. Don has a three section staff. Raph has two weapons that are similar to his sais, but with only one long and one short prong. Michelangelo has a kama attached to a short chain and a weight. The signature weapons are quite nice both in terms of the sculpting and paint work. Though I think both Raphael's sais and Michelangelo's nunchukus are a bit too large. But the additional weapons are unpainted and fairly plain.

Value - 7/10

The retail price for the Battle Shell Turtles sell for $28 each. That is not a bad deal for such a large figure with the extra feature of the storage shell and the extra accessories. But if you are lucky and or patient, you may be able to get them on sale for a little as $20. For that price, these are a great deal. They aren't perfect by any means. But I appreciate that Playmates seems to have been swinging for the fences with the Battle Shell Turtles, even if they only ended up with a stand up double.

Happy Hunting:

The Battle Shell Turtles are exclusive to Toys R Us. They are sold in Toys R Us, Toys R Us Express and Outlet stores and on Toysrus.com. But much like the rest of the line, finding them in stock is a real challenge.

Battle Shell Leo boxed Battle Shell Raph boxed

Battle Shell Don boxed Battle Shell Mikey boxed

box back

Battle Shell and basic Don

Battle Shell and basic Raph

Battle Shell and basic Mike

Battle Shell Raphael front and back Battle Shell Raphael close up Battle Shell Raph accessories Battle Shell Raph shell interior Battle Shell Mike front and back Battle Shell Mike close up Battle Shell Mike accessories Battle Shell Mike weapon storage Battle Shell Mike armed Donatello Armed Battle Shell Don front and back Battle Shell Don close up Battle Shell Don accessories Battle Shell Don weapon storage Battle Shell Leo front and back Battle Shell Leo close up Battle Shell Leo accessories Battle Shell Leo weapon storage 2012 Leonardo figures Giant Leonardo figures