I'm a bit late getting started with the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtle figures, but it looks like Playmates and Nickelodeon have a hit on their
hands. Where as there were only a few stores even willing to carry the TMNT line at the end of the last run in 2009, now they are not only
sold in just about every store that carries action figures, they are sold old in many of them! And Playmates seems to be prepared to strike
while the iron is hot as new figures are showing up already. While it isn't quite an entire series, new cases of te basic figures are
now shipping with three new figures: Dogpound, Fishface and Metalhead. They are even timed nicely as all three have recently had their
first appearances on the cartoon.
Packaging - 8/10These new figures come in the same small blister cards as the rest of the first series figures. The cards look good even if the size limits the use of graphics to just a logo and a small image of the four Turtles along the side of the blister insert. The back of the cards have a brief bio of each character and photos of the 12 figures released so far. Some people were upset that the bios revealed information about the characters that hadn't been revealed on the show yet. That really doesn't bother me as I'm not that sensitive about spoilers, actually I would expect to see some spoilers when you are reading about a character that hasn't shown up on the show yet. The thought did occur to me that Dogpound was a good exampl of how the small size of the package design was limiting how big Playmates can make the figures. But I've been buying TMNT toys long enough to know that Playmates wasn't going to make the figure any larger even if they had more room.
Sculpting - Metalhead 9/10, Fishface 8/10, Dogpound 3/10Playmates really hit two extremes with these three figures. All three suffer from scale issues. Dogpound is tiny compared to how he is presented on the show while Metalhead is actually about 20% taller than he should be. But aside from the scale issue, Metalhead is very well done. A few details are off such as the antenna and the band around his right thigh, but those issue are pretty minor. Fishface is a bit hard to judge since as of writing this review, he hasn't actually been featured on the show. From the image on the back of the card and the brief glimpses we have seen on the show, Fishface is fairly accurate. There is a small ridge around the back of his head where it meets the body which doesn't appear to be the case with the final show design. It also appears that the figure is more human in it proportions than the character will be on the show. The image on the back of the card appears to retain a longer, thinner, more eel like form. Finally there is Dogpound who is pretty much wrong is every way possible. He is tiny when he should be huge. He should tower over everyone but his figure is the same height as Michaelangelo. The spikes on his back are way too large. Being hunched over isn't inappropriate for Dogpound. But the figure doesn't look hunched over, it looks like his head is coming out of the front of his body. The spikes coming out of his left hand don't match the spikes elsewhere on his body in terms of texturing. So they end up looking like they are suppose to be bone instead of stone. While they did make his left hand thicker than his right, the difference is not as pronounced as it is in the show. The right hand is off model as well. In the show and image on the back of the card, the entire right hand, wrist and part of the forearm are suppose to be stone as though the petrification was creeping up his arm. Instead, only the claws have the stone texture. If Playmates eventually makes a line of mini figures as they have done repeatedly in the past, this might make a passable Dogpound figure for that line.
Paint - Fishface 6/10, Metalhead 5/10, Dogpound 1/10Both Metalhead and Fishface are passable, but missing a lot of paint applications which could have made the figures look amazing. For Metalhead I would have at least like to see them give his manhole cover shell a black paint wash as it appears in the show as it make up a large portion of the back of the figure and is fairly dull without it. Fishface's breathing apparatus looks a bit dull once you get past the garish color. But his biggest issue is that they did not paint the lighter color, lower scales all the way along the length of his body. It isn't all that noticeable, but it is rather lazy to skip it. Finally there is Dogpound. His mouth is great, as is his nose and eyebrows. Everything else sucks. The color for the fur is too light and doesn't transition properly, especially around the face. None of the spikes are colored properly. Some are painted the color of the fur and others are unpainted. They didn't paint any of the claws on his feet or the wraps on his lower legs that should be a darker color than his pants. But the most obvious, inexcusable and unacceptable issue is that there is an insert that you connect to the figure with all of the spikes on his back which was not painted. If the insert was only the spikes, that would have been bad. But the insert also contains a large section of his belt and areas that are supposed to be fur. They are not painted either and stick out like a sore thumb. I can't remember ever buying a figure with such a lazy paint job. Its only saving grace is that there are no other quality control issues other than cutting every available corner.
Articulation - Fishface 6/10, Metalhead & Dogpound 5/10Fishface has thirteen points of articulation: rotating joints at the top and base of the neck, wrists, hips and just above and below the mechanical legs on the body and double joints at the shoulders. Metalhead has double joints at the knees and hips, rotating wrists and shoulders and a ball jointed neck. Dogpound has double jointed hips and shoulders and rotating joints for his forearms, waist, tail and neck. Overall, Fishface has a fairly decent range of motion throughout the figure. Metalhead has good range of motion for his legs and head, but his arms are quite limited. Dogpound actually has the best range of motion of the three. But he really needs elbow articulation. Without it, there is a large area directly in front of him that he just as no means of reaching (or blocking).
Accessories - Fishface 4/10, Metalhead 3/10, Dogpound 0/10Fishface comes with a butterfly knife and a large, butterfly sword. The knife is certainly appropriate given the character. I'm guessing the butterfly sword will be as well. Unfortunately Playmates didn't put forth the effort to paint either. Metalhead only has a flame projectile that fits into the palm of his right hand. You are suppose to be able to flick it with you finger to shoot it, though that doesn't actually work very well. They could have at least tossed in a controller for Donnie or an alternate head. But he is still better off than Dogpound who has nothing unless you want to count his tail.
Value - Dogpound 2/10, others 7/10Retail for the basic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Figures is $9 to $10. For that price, both Metalhead and Fishface are decent, fun figures. They aren't going to top too many best of 2012 lists. But they look good and should be fun to play with. Dogpound on the other hand is at best a missed opportunity and verges on being an abomination. We can only hope that this is not the only Dogpound figure that Playmates produces and that their next attempt is not a failure at basically every level.
Happy Hunting:Just about every store with a toy aisle seems to be carrying the TMNT line right now. So finding these figures shouldn't be too hard, eventually. The biggest challenge is that all of the TMNT figures seem to be selling out right now. And since these have only shipped in limited numbers, there just aren't that many of them in circulation yet. But the good news is that since the other figures are selling so well, the new figures should start to show up pretty quickly. If you don't want to hunt for them in brick and mortar stores, Several websites have been listing the newer figures including Kmart.com, though they aren't in stock now.