When Playmates Toys relaunched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line in 2012, they brought back large scale Turtle figures as well in the form of
the Battle Shell Turtles. Those figures were initially exclusives to San Diego Comic Con and Toys R Us. But they proved so popular that the
large Battle Shell Turtles were released to all stores earlier this year as well as translating the concept into the recently released
Battle Shell Turtles in the basic figure assortment. But Playmates isn't ignoring the large scale figure market either. And this fall the
format was back with a series of the four Turtles in training gear that has been released as a part of the Target exclusive Dojo product line.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for the Ninja in Training figures is the same as the design for the original Battle Shell Turtles, with the figures attach to the back and then surrounded around the bottom. The weapons and accessories are packaged around and behind the figure. The back of the packages shows all four figures in their full training gear and with their weapons as well as the other products available under the Dojo banner. The design gives you excellent access to the figure.
Sculpting - 7/10The Dojo Ninja in Training figures reuse the bodies of the large Battle Shell figures but give each a new head sculpt. I liked the molds that they used for the bodies of the Battle Shell Turtles. And the new head sculpts are a nice improvement and more accurate to the show. But putting the two together is not a great combination. Fortunately when all of the training gear is in place, you don't see that the heads don't really match the bodies. The training gear looks good. But the softer material of the training gear doesn't hold sharp details as well as the regular plastic used for the rest of the figures.
Paint - 5/10The Ninja in Training figures have less paint work than the original Battle Shell figures. The wrappings around the fingers is not painted on any of the new figures. But they also have the armor which has a fair amount of paint work on it. The paint on the training gear can be a bit sloppy though. In some cases it is just a issue with sloppy edges. But on Michelangelo they goofed up and painted part of the armor that shows between the tails of his belt black along with the belt itself. Fortunately none of the errors stand out very much.
Articulation - 3/10Since they share the same body as the original Battle Shell Turtles, the Ninja in Training figures have the same amount of articulation:
Accessories - 6/10Each of the Ninja in Training figures comes with a unique set of body armor, a helmet and a new version of the figure's traditional weapon. The weapons are all sculpted to look like they are made of bamboo staves strapped together. They look good but are quite prone to warping. With the exception of Michelangelo's nunchukus, all of my figures' weapons are at least slightly warped. The armor fits well on most of the figures. But while the packaging says the training gear is removable, only Donatello's gear can be completely removed without also removing the legs of the figures. Finally there are the helmets. Michelangelo and Donatello share one style of helmet while Raphael and Leonardo have a second style. Neither helmet is actually designed for a specific figure. Instead, the flexible material simply allows them to fit snuggly on any of the figures. The helmet that comes with Michelangelo and Donatello fits relatively well. The helmet for Raphael and Leonardo doesn't seem to fit Leonardo very well.
Value - 8/10The Ninja in Training figures sell for $20 at Target. So for the same price as the Battle Shell Turtles, you are getting more or less the same figure with new weapons and training gear. And since Target has been running a number of sales on their TMNT products, you should be able to pick up the Ninja in Training figures for even less than the retail price.
Happy Hunting:The Dojo sub-line is exclusive to Target stores for now. So if you are looking for the Ninja in Training Turtles, you really only have two choices: to buy in store or online. All four Ninja in Training Turtles are listed on Target's web site. But currently all four are out of stock.