The new Nickelodeon Ninja Turtle television show has been introducing a lot of brand new characters to the TMNT Universe and creating new versions
of many characters that have been around for decades. But the toy line has not done a great job of keeping up with all of them. But they are
starting the process of catching up with some of their new releases. In April, they began shipping three new figures representing two classic
TMNT characters in Baxter Stockman and Leatherhead and the all new character Snakeweed.
Packaging - 8/10Snakeweed, Baxter and Leatherhead's packaging has gone back to the original design for the basic figures unlike the Ooze Throwing Turtles. The figures are well displayed in the blister with an insert giving their name. Such inserts have become fairly standard for action figures these days, but they do tend to result in a fair number of figures shipping with the wrong insert. The back of the card is back to individual cards with a brief biography of the character and images of the other figures that have been released. There are still issues with damage to the cards due in part to the number of edges along the top third of the cards. And I've noticed that larger figures tend to have issues with dents in the blister as well. So if you want pristine packaging, you may have to do some searching. But in general the packaging is appropriate for the line, shows off the toys and is reasonably attractive.
Sculpting - Snakeweed 3/10, Leatherhead 5/10, Baxter 7/10I will say one thing about these figures, they managed to totally defy my expectations. Unfortunately for each expectation that they exceeded, there is another where they fell short. Leatherhead is the closest to what I was expecting. The detail work on him is a little off. His chest/underbelly is a bit too reptilian where the design in the show is fairly smooth. Otherwise it is extremely close to the show's design. But the scale is way off. I expected that too. Leatherhead in the show is huge, too impossibly huge to ever be executed properly as a standard TMNT action figure. He would make a great candidate for a giant figure like the Battle Shell Turtles or if Playmates wanted to try their hand at a Build-A-Figure. But in the meantime, we have a Leatherhead figure that is comically undersized. Snakeweed was the figure for which I had the highest hope. But unfortunately it is a major disappointment. To start with, Playmates actually made a decent attempt to make Snakeweed larger than normal by packaging him with his lower legs separate from the rest of the figure. Playmates actually trying to make a basic figure that is significantly larger than the other figures in the line is an improvement worth noting. But then they sculpted Snakeweed so that he can't stand up straight and thus the height is wasted. But the real disappointment is the sculpting itself. There is so much opportunity for detail but other than the two claws, there is very little detail. And where there is any sculpted detail such as the head, it isn't clean or sharp. It looks like a bad copy, or a third or fourth generation bad copy. But where Snakeweed was a let down, Baxter is surprisingly well done. All of the detail of the suit design from the show is present and fairly spot on. It is too small as I expected. But the scale is not as far off as I first thought. He should probably be about an inch taller than he is. But at least he is taller than any of the basic Turtles unlike Leatherhead.
Paint - Snakeweed 3/10, Baxter 5/10, Leatherhead 6/10The paint work on Baxter and Snakeweed are fairly limited. For Baxter, those limited paint applications are used for a few of the details of the suit on the chest and mostly on the head and face. The result is one of the best looking faces on a Playmates figure in a long time. The one significant issue with the figure is the color choice for the plastic. Instead of using a bright silver as the suit appeared in the show, the figure is molded in a darker, dull iron color. I wasn't expecting a metallic finish, though that would have been quite cool and more accurate. Snakeweed by contrast, has more paint work, but all of it is simplistic and sloppy. There is an attempt to do some detail work such as painting the heart in his chest and the eyes. But all of it is so sloppy that it makes the figure look worse. The paint work was so bad that I ended up buying a second one that had better paint work. (Something I have never done before.) Leatherhead has the most paintwork and the results are vastly superior. The paint apps for the teeth are a bit off, but the figure needs to be viewed from pretty close up to see that it doesn't match the sculpt. Leatherhead also has a white paint wash starting on the top of his head and running down his back. There is a lot of variation in how thick the paint wash is, to the point that it can look like two completely different versions of the figure. But overall the paint work turned out quite well.
Articulation - Leatherhead & Snakeweed 5/10, Baxter 8/10After the less than impressive Ooze Throwing Turtles, I was concerned that Playmates was going to start going down a road of reduced articulation with their TMNT figures. But that certainly isn't the case with these three figures. Leatherhead has the least articulation at ten points of articulation: double jointed shoulders and hips and rotating neck and tail. That's acceptable, but there is plenty of opportunity for more. Adding knee joints could have added some much needed height as well. Snakeweed rings up sixteen points of articulation with hinged knees, double jointed shoulders and hips, a torso joint, and rotating joints for his antennae, wrists and neck. The articulation that is there is made less useful by the sculpt limiting the range of motion. But Snakeweed as a character is all about the movement of his vines. And the articulation on his arms are not enough to replicate that. Meanwhile, the vines coming off of his back have no movement to them at all. That is unacceptable to me for this character. Finally there is Baxter Stockman who has eighteen points of articulation. That includes double jointed shoulders and hips, hinged knees and elbows, and rotating joints at the wrists, waist, each side of the torso near the shoulders and the neck. For such a big and bulky figure, I never would have expected Playmates to pack that much articulation in. A couple of the joints are slightly redundant. But by doubling up there is very little range of motion sacrificed. He could use some ankle articulation so that his large feet could rest flat on the ground in all of the positions that the knee and hip articulation allow. Then the last bit of articulation that the figure could use but lacks is some movement for the "fingers." The lack of articulation and flexibility of the material allows items to be slid into and be held by the hands. But some movement would be a great addition.
Accessories - Snakeweed 4/10, others 0/10Neither Leatherhead nor Baxter Stockman have any accessories. There isn't anything that they really HAVE to have as characters. But there are plenty of things that could have been included. Snakeweed comes with two vine attachments that plug into his claws. Those really are necessities given the limited range of his arms without them. But they are a bit boring, certainly not menacing. And while they add a bit of length, they don't actually do anything or add any additional means of interacting with other figures such as being able to "grab" another figure.
Value - Baxter 7/10, Leatherhead & Snakeweed 4/10Retail for the basic Ninja Turtle figures is $9 in most stores. If you wait for a sale you may be able to save a dollar or two. Baxter is well worth buying at that price. Leatherhead is a very nice figure as well, but he just doesn't work with the rest of the line due to the scale issue. Snakeweed is a passable figure as long as you can avoid quality control issues, but lacks anything to make it a real stand out.
Happy Hunting:All three of these figures began shipping earlier this spring. So by now they are fairly common in most stores and online. There are already new figures shipping as well. But it looks like Playmates is going to be keeping figures in rotation so they are readily available for quite a while.