Traditionally, the post-holiday months of January and February are slow months for toy lines. Not many toy companies want to put out
new product immediately after the big toy buying season. But Playmates and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line has been a big exception.
Since 2003 they have repeatedly started a new year with fresh TMNT product. And while Lego managed to beat Playmates to the shelves in
January with their TMNT line, Playmates is also ready for the new year with new basic and deluxe figures, four new vehicles, a new play set
concept and more. And the central theme of most of those products is the return of mutagen Ooze! (Sorry parents.) For the basic
figure line, Playmates has created a set of the four Turtles in various work clothing, each with a contraption to toss ooze at the enemy.
I am a bit confused as to why or perhaps how the Turtles reach a point where they will decide it is a good idea to start throwing the
extremely dangerous mutagen at any living thing. But while I sit by and wait to see if the concept appears in the show, I'll pass the
time with the toys.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for the Ooze Throwing Turtles is the same card as the previous basic figures. The small cards put the emphasis on the bubble, but also leaves a lot of edges that can be easily damaged. There is still an insert at the bottom of the bubble with the figure's name, but it has grown larger to make room for the Mutagen Ooze logo and a photo of the ooze lauching device in action. The additions mean that the insert is stretching the limits of how much they can cram onto so little space, but they don't quite cross that line yet. The back of the cards is the same generic backer for all four Turtles. It has a brief description of the concept and two photos showing Ooze Chuckin' Mikey in action. It also has photos of the four Turtles, the second series of basic vehicles and the ooze canister on the bottom. I dislike the use of a generic backer, but I suppose that since all four Turtles share the same ooze throwing mechanism, it makes sense.
Sculpting - Mike & Raph 8/10 Don & Leo 7/10All four Ooze Throwing Turtles are completely new sculpts. And they are fairly nice sculpts at that. Each one has a unique outfit with a great deal of sculpted detail for the clothing and sculpted on accessories. The sculpting falls off a bit with the boots. The upper portion tends to be a bit generic compared to the rest of the figures. Though it is a nice touch that they included tread on the bottom and made the general shape closer to the shape that the feet should be. The toes still seem to stick out too much, but it is still an improvement. The other big improvement is the heads. All four Turtles' heads are much closer to the show designs than the first series figures. The masks are wider and lie very flat against the heads. The heads have the more angular shape of the new show designs. Leonardo's and Donatello's faces seem a bit too pronounced and pointed, but that is a minor issue. It is also worth noting that all of the Ooze Throwing Turtles are slimmer and slightly smaller than the previous figures. The difference is subtle but noticable. In particular, the arms and legs are thinner and the muscles less pronounced. The heads are smaller too. That is going to be a disappointment to fans who were hoping to swap the heads with the basic figures.
Paint - Don 3/10, others 2/10The paint work on the Ooze Throwing Turtles is pitiful. To start with, the number of paint applications has been reduced to the absolute minimum. So all of the detail in the costumes and the complexity of the scults is lost immediately. Ooze Chuckin' Mikey is the only one where the paint applications are layered at all. They didn't bother to paint the inside of either Mikey or Raph's mouths which were left the same shade of green as the rest of their heads. Raph's mouth isn't that open, but on Mikey is really looks bad. The lack of effort on this figures is unfortunate, but the bigger tragedy is that the paint work that is done is VERY sloppy! On the best of the figures like Leo and Raph, its just sloppy edges and inconsistent thickness so the green from the plastic is showing through in several areas. On Donnie and Mikey, the paint is so sloppy that is looks like it was done by and amatuer customizer.
Articulation - 2/10The Ooze Throwing Turtles each have four points of articulation. FOUR! That is pathetic. Each one has a rotating waist, rotating shoulders and a ball jointed neck. Since there is no articulation in the legs at all, the waist joint doesn't really serve any purpose. The neck joints are very tight. So tight that I have a hard time moving several of them at all. So the only real useable articulation is the rotating shoulder joints.
Accessories - 4/10Each of the Ooze Throwing Turtles comes with the same four accessories. First there is the ooze throwing contraption. It is a tank with a removable top and a small spigot on the bottom on the right side. Once filled with ooze, you press down on a plunger built into the top it forces the ooze out of the spigot and into the throwing arm. You then have to throw it manually by flipping the top of the the throwing arm down. I've yet to try the feature with ooze. But if you are like me and don't want to throw globs of ooze around your house, each figure comes with three little plastic "ooze" blobs that can be launched instead. That was a very good idea! But given how simple they are, they could have included more than just three. The final piece is a small pick that can be used to clean out the spigot if you are using ooze. The pick can be stored on the backpack, but is only held in place by a small peg. So it falls off easily. One other nice touch is that each backpack comes with a weapon rack attached to the left side that will hold the weapons for that Turtle. But they didn't include the weapons. It is a nice touch but also one that highlights the lack of the Turtles regular weapons.
Value - 2/10The Ooze Throwing Turtles are part of the basic assortment of figures and should sell for $9 in most stores. That is actually a pretty good price for an action figure these days. But with these figures, you are getting poorly articulated, badly painted figures that are missing their weapons and whoses one potential selling point is a feature that almost no one is going to use more than once before their parents realize what a horrible concept it really is. There really is little to no reason to buy these figures.
Happy Hunting:The Ooze Throwing Turtles are shipping as part of the basic figure assortment and have been for the last month and a half. Almost all of the usual stores that sell toys are carrying the basic figures, so the only challenge should be finding the figures in stock. They are also listed on Toys R Us' and Kmart's web sites right now as well.