The last two years have seen some interesting changes to the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collectibles. I suppose we
saw a few glimpses of this back at the end of the 2003 line when NECA tried to start their collector focused line. But in the
last few year or so the number of companies producing TMNT items for collectors and every other demographic. But one of the
things I really didn't see coming was the sudden influx of vinyl figures. Funko was the first to the market with their Pop!
Television figures last year. But this year, they have been joined by Kidrobot and they will both be joined shortly by Mondo
who announced at San Diego Comic Con that they will be producing limited edition vinyl figures from several properties, including
the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But while their offerings are still a ways off, Kidrobot's started hitting stores a few months
ago. While the highlight of their products is probably going to be the series of blind box vinyl mini figures, they kicked
things off with a smaller series of mini vinyl figures with glow in the dark paint, dubbed the Ooze Action glow in the Dark Series.
Not only do they provide an option for fans who don't want to get sucked down the blind box figure rabbit hole, they also give us
a preview of what is to come in the regular series.
Packaging - 8/10The Ooze Action figures do not come in sealed boxes as most of Kidrobot's vinyl mini figures do. Instead, they have a fairly standard blister package. The artwork on the front of the card mimics the look of the original TMNT figures from the eighties with a brick wall/sewer background. The colors are brighter and more cartoonish. But the homage is still quite clear. The blisters are shaped to match the pipe opening in the background and shows off the figure and accessories well. There is also a fairly plain insert at the bottom with the figure's name. The back of the card continues the brick sewer motif. There is a brief description and drawings of the six figures in this series: the four Turtles, Splinter and Shredder. I like the overall look of the packaging. And I love that it isn't blind packaging, that you know which figure you are buying. But I am slightly disappointed, and more so confused as to why they used a single generic card design instead of individual cards for each character. At first I assumed it was as a cost saving measure, but then I noticed that each card has the UPC for that specfic character printed on the back. So they had to go to the expense of creating 6 different cards any way. It seems like quite a waste that they did not capitallize on that opportunity.
Sculpting - Splinter 4/10, Turtles 7/10, Shredder 8/10All six figures in the series share the same generic body and arms. The Turtles then add a sculpted shell and a shared head sculpt. Splinter of course has a unique head sculpt as does Shredder. Though Shredder also has a cape and forearm armor as well. The generic body is decent. It is short and slightly pudgy. But it works well and is quite stable even with the large heads that these figures have. The head used for the Turtles, is modeled on the original toon design. Its slightly generic design works well even with the varity of expressions used for the different Turtles. Splinter is a bit disappointing. They flattened out the face so much and in such a way that if not for the two front teeth being visible I would swear that it was a cat head, not a rat. Shredder's srmor and cape look great and fit the figure perfectly. And his helmeted head has a fairly clean, simple look but it works really well.
Paint - Splinter 3/10, Turtles 7/10, others 8/10There seems to be four different painting/decorating techniques at use the Ooze Action figures. To start with, each of the blank bodies have most of thedecoration work printed onto them much like a Lego mini figure. There are then some additional applications for the Turtles' eyes and mouths and Splinter' toes and claws. I don't know if these decorations were done by a different process, but they definitely are darker and stand out much more than the rest. Both Shredder and Splinter then add a few traditional paint applications on their faces and green ooze splashed onto them. The Turtles all look nice. But I wonder what if anything will distinguish these versions from the regular mini vinyl figures since they don't have the ooze splash paint applications. Shredder is my favorite of the six as all of the paint applications just work well together. By contrast, nothing quite works together on Splinter. To start with, the plastic is too light of a color, slightly orange even. So that just makes him look even more like a cat instead of a rat. There is very little done to highlight the details of the sculpt for his face. The claw decoration on his hands and feet are too dark and pronounced so they don't look like part of the figure. And then their are the ooze marks. Two of them, the ones on the back and right arm are alright. But the one on his chest and left arm are designed to look like they are smeared in a way that appears very unnatural.
Articulation - 5/10All of the Ooze Action figures have rotating joints at the neck and both shoulders. That isn't a lot of articulation. But given the design of the base body, there is not a lot more you could do with these. And by not over doing the articulation by trying to add leg joints, the figures are able to be quite stable despite having large heads.
Accessories - Donatello & Splinter 4/10, Other Turtles 6/10, Shredder 0/10Shredder has no removable accessories. The four Turtles have their signature weapons: a pair of katanas for Leo, a pair of sais for Raph, two nunchuks for Michelangelo and a bo staff for Don. Both Don and Splinter have the same bo staff for an accessory. That makes since for Donatello. But it is a poor substitute for a walking stick for Splinter. And neither have the wrappings around the middle of the staff painted.
Value - Turtles & Shredder 8/10, Splinter 3/10The Ooze Action figures were suggested to sell at $10 each. But you should be able to find them for $8 to $9 without too much effort. That seems to be fairly standard for figures like these. But where $10 will get a normal vinyl mini figure, you usually won't have a choice in which one you are buying and may have to by multiple extras to get a set or the ones you want. Being able to get just what you want is a nice bonus.
Happy Hunting:The Kidrobot Ooze Action figures have been out for a few months now. If you are looking for a chain store that may carry them locally, Hot Topic may be your best option. If you want to order online. I got my set from Big Bad Toy Store and they still have sets for $55. But Kidrobot also has Shredder and Splinter on their website on sale for $4 each, unfortunately the Turtles are already sold out.