The renewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle juggernaut continues to roll on as it
enters the second year since the Nickelodeon relaunch. And this fall has seen new additions to just about every part of the line. For the vehicles, Playmates has
produced two new basic level vehicles. Well, technically there is one new vehicle
and a repainted version of the Nightwatcher motorcycle from 2007. Playmates does
love to include motorcycles in the TMNT line.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for this third series of vehicles hasn't changed from the last series. The artwork is a nice nod to the original toy line. And the addition of an inner box has eliminated most of the serious issues with damage to the packaging. There are still issues with the edges getting dinged up since the outer box is made of fairly thin material and it is made worse by the extra edges due to how the box tapers on the front. But those seem to be minor issues.
Sculpting - MMX Cycle 4/10 Hover Drone 6/10The MMX Cycle is based on the sculpt of the Nightwatcher bike from the TMNT movie. It has been shrunk down slightly and a peg has been added on the front fork to hold a missile launcher. The sculpt is decent though a bit lacking in depth. But it has a major issue for this usage. The figures in the current line are some of the shortest ones ever. Meanwhile, the figures from the 2007 TMNT movie line were some of the largest. So even with the MMX Cycle having been made about an inch shorter in length, it is still far too large for the current figures. While the box shows Raphael riding the MMX Cycle, putting the actual figure on the cycle makes it look like they need to rename the line "Preteen Mutant Ninja Turtles."
The Hover Drone is a completely new vehicle. Its design is fairly simple: a triangular base with rotors at each point, a flat, wing shaped platform with missile launchers on each wing and a steering column at the front. Each of the three turbines has a rotating propeller inside which spins when the wheel mounted under each unit turns. The platform is fairly simple with a vague, circuit board style pattern sculpted onto it. It does at least provide a nice flat surface for the figure to stand on. The control column is sculpted to match the platform in style but has a very plain set of handlebars attach to it for the figures to hold. The vehicle is simple, but pretty cool looking. But strangely it is just as much out of scale as the MMX Cycle. The basic Leonardo figure can barely see over the controls. And the platform is so large that if you place a Kraang standing on the foot peg, only the fully out streatched left arm can even reach the controls.
Paint - 4/10The hover drone has no paint work at all. There are five decals included which add a few accents to the steering column and missile launchers. But for the most part, it relies on the color of the plastic. And it works surprisingly well. It is only when you look at it from directly above or below that it looks too plain.
The MMX cycle has more paint work. Much of the frame and engine are painted as well as the wheel rims. It's too bad that whoever choose the colors must have been color blind. The majority of the cycle including the tank and rear fender look like bare metal. The seat, front fender and most of the engine are a very light green. Throw in some black for the frame and orange for the rims and you have the most hideous looking motorcycle I have ever seen. The paint work is well done. So it is a shame that it is just so ugly that I can't bring myself to give it a better score.
Play Value - MMX Cycle 2/10, Hover Drone 6/10Like the Road Ripper from the first series of basic vehicles, the MMX Cycle has just one real feature, the pair of missiles that can be "fired" from the launcher mounted on the front fork. I put fired in quotes because just as with the Road Ripper, there is no means of shooting them other than flicking the back of the projectile, and they don't move freely enough for that to work well. Of course the wheels spin, the front wheel can be turned slightly and there is a working kickstand, but those are pretty lame "features." The hover drone is a bit better. Each of the turbines spins when the wheel under it is turned. The base can actually rotate on top of the turbines, though I don't know what purpose that really serves. But I suspect a creative kid would find a way to use that. The steering column can be folded down. The handle bars twist to allow the figure to "steer." And of course there are the two spring powered missile launchers as well, though their range is very limited. Its large size also means that there is room for more than one figure to ride, though there is only one foot peg to hold a figure in place.
Value - MMX Cycle 4/10, Sewer Cruiser 6/10The basic vehicles are just $10 each, which is quite a low price. For the hover drone which works relatively well with the existing figures, it is a fun addition. The MMX cycle suffers from the fact that it is an ugly, bland vehicle in a line already filled with other alternatives that more or less fill the same role such as the patrol buggies or the ninja stealth cycle. There is just not much point to adding another one.
Happy Hunting:The hover drone and MMX cycle have been shipping to stores for about three months now. So they should be fairly widely available at most stores that carry the TMNT toy line. I have seen them at Toys R Us, Walmart and Target as well as from a number of different web stores.