When the Shellraiser was released last year and I reviewed it, the vehicle had not yet been introduced on the cartoon. So I couldn't really
tell how faithful the original toy was to the show. But with the exception of the lack of an interior, it turned out very well. So I was
surprised to hear that Playmates intended to produce a new version just a year later. But if they were able to improve on the original,
such as by including an interior, that could be worthy of an update. But surprisingly Playmates opted to make the second version of the
Shellraiser into a modern cross between the Pizza Thrower of the vintage line and the Sewer Spewer from the 2003 line. So does making the
Shellraiser into a remote controlled vehicle make it better than the original?
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for the Ninja Control Shellraiser shares its design with the deluxe vehicles with a window box instead of a full box with original artwork like the basic vehicles and the original Shellraiser. That was probably a good choice since it still maintains continuity with the rest of the line, but also allows you to see the vehicle and know just what you are getting before buying. The back of the box has several photos of the features of the Ninja Control Shellraiser and the bottom has images of the other figures and vehicles that have been released. The design is nice, but the toy itself is rather underwhelming just sitting in the box.
Sculpting - 5/10The Ninja Control Shellraiser has a decent amount of detail, but it is lacking depth anywhere but the roof. That's not a big issue for things like the doors. But on things like the train wheels or the barrels on the front, the lack of depth makes it look quite cheap. There isn't much interior space. The front two fifths of the vehicle are taken up by the disk launching mechanism and the bottom fifth of the remaining area is where the drive motors are located. What little space is left for the passenger compartment is far too small to actually fit any of the current figures unless they are laying down. And the only thing on the inside is the texture for the floor.
Paint - 4/10There isn't a lot of paint work on the Ninja Control Shellraiser beyond the amorphous graffiti. There are a number of decals to add detail as well. But in the end, it just screams lack of effort.
Play Value - 6/10The Ninja Control Shellraiser has two features: the remote driving and the ability to shoot discs out of the front. The driving functions work surprisingly well and the Ninja Control Shellraiser is faster than I was expecting. And once you've cornered the Foot Clan, a press of the red button on the remote will launch one of the dozen manhole cover discs from the front. The mechanism works well and launches the discs with more than enough force to knock down any villains that are in your way. The functions are not without issues though. The NC Shellraiser has only one speed. And the motor is strong enough that it tends to spin out for a moment when starting on the surfaces I tested it on. It has a massive turning radius making navigating in tight areas very difficult. The disc launcher works well. But it only starts running when you press the button to fire a disc, resulting in a delay of a second or two before the disc actually fires. There is no rapid firing option and hitting a target while on the move would take considerable practice. The biggest issues with the Ninja Control Shellraiser comes with the controls themselves. The controller itself feels a bit weird with one analog stick for the forward/reverse but a large button to control the steering. I don't understand why they didn't use a more traditional controller with two sticks. Heck, they could have just reused the one from the Sewer Spewer and saved some effort. I also have concerns about the battery life since it runs on just four AA batteries for the Shellraiser and another two AA batteries in the controller. I suspect it can drain those batteries quite quickly. But the biggest issue with the Ninja Control Shellraiser is that it uses an infrared signal instead of a radio frequency to transmit commands from the controller to the toy. That means that it only works when you can maintain line of sight between the emmiter on the top of the controller and the receiver mounted on the front top of the Shellraiser. Even just turning the controller away from the vehicle will cause it to stop. It is definitely a toy that is best used in a large open space.
Value - 4/10The Ninja Control Shellraiser sells for $50, though I have seen it on sale regularly for $40. For a decent RC vehicle, particularly one that doesn't also require the purchase of an expensive battery pack, that is not a bad price. But the Ninja Control Shellraiser tries to straddle two markets as both an RC car and an action figure vehicle/accessory. But because of its size, the NC Shellraiser isn't a very vehicle for your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures. It certainly isn't better than the regular Shellraiser that is still readily available in many stores. It works better as a remote controlled vehicle. But there are better ones on the market in this price range.
Happy Hunting:The Ninja Control Shellraiser has been out in stores since around August. And it seems to be enjoying considerable retailer support for the holiday season. So finding one should not be too difficult. Toys R Us, Target, Kmart and Walmart all carry the NC Shellraiser both in stores and on their respective web sites.