When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came back on the scene once again in 2012, a new movie was almost a given. But
when it was announced that the new movie would be helmed by Micheal Bay, some fans became apprehensive. Flash forward a
couple of years and we were finally able to see the fruits of their efforts this fall when the Ninja Turtles returned to
the big screen. That return was preceeded by their new, big screen designs ivading toy shelves this summer. While I
picked up most of the movie toys months ago, I had been holding off on opening or reviewing any of them until I had a
chance to actually see the movie. But the movie has been in theaters for some time now. So I guess it is time to take
a look at the Ninja Turtles' new look, starting with the basic series figures which includes the four Turtles, Splinter,
April, The Shredder and a Foot Soldier.
Packaging - Turtles 6/10, Others 4/10The packaging design for the movie line is a fairly basic, by the numbers design. You have a standard blister card with the movie logo at the top and images of the four Turtles along the left side. The figure is packaged in the blister with an insert at the bottom with the character's name and in the case of the Turtles, an image as well. The back of the card has images of eight of the nine characters. (Raph in Disguise isn't pictured.) They do spice things up a bit by making the blisters and the card themselves an unusual shape. There is also the addition of the character images on the inserts and the use of the Turtles' signature colors behind their names on the insert. Those few small changes are enough to make the Turtles passable. But the the packaging for the other four characters is just a few choice mispellings away from looking like a bootleg. That is not to say it look bad, just generic. The movie is a whole new interpretation of the TMNT story, they could have at least provided some general information about the characters even if they wanted to avoid any actual spoilers.
Sculpting - Leonardo, Raph in Disguise, April & Shredder 5/10, Splinter & Foot Soldier 6/10, other Turtles 7/10Sculpting toys for a movie toy line has got to be difficult when the toys need to go into production so early that the designs for the movie may not yet be finalized. And given that they were making changes to voice cast as late as the beginning of April, I wouldn't doubt that there were more than a few other changes made while the toys were in production. But all that as it is, what matters are the final products. And the line is a bit hit or miss there. The Turtles turned out fairly well. Of the four, Raphael is my favorite. His figure is not quite as beefed up as he appeared in the movie. To start with, the figure actually has a neck. But otherwise the sculpt seems to be quite accurate. His disguised counterpart seems to be the same sculpt, but with the trench coat and new arms. Unfortuantely the coat is not nearly as detailed as the other figures. So Raph in Disguise ends up looking too much like a cartoon character for my tastes. Both Michelangelo and Donatello seem to be on model like Raphael, though slightly trimmed down. Then you come to Leonardo. In the movie he seems to be fairly close to Raphael in size and stature. But his figure is quite a bit thinner, especially the arms which are so thin that they look like they may have come from a different figure. Splinter is close to the movie design, but a lot of the detail is missing from the face. And his moustache/whiskers are much thinner than they were in the movie. April's figure is not much of a likiness of Meghan Fox, in fact the figure is fairly generic looking in general. Even the cloths lack any significant detail. The Foot Soldier figure is a fairly generic thug, which is pretty much exactly what he is meant to be. But the details of the costume are well done. Finally there is the Shredder. The design of the costume is impressive, but not accruate. The armor doesn't match any of the stills from the movie that I have seen. The blades on his arms are a similar concept, but are a very different design from the multiple blade lauching versions seen in the movie. The helmet at least seems to be accurrate. But the detail work is not very well defined so the entire faceplate just ends up looking like a mess.
Paint - April, Splinter & Shredder 4/10, Others 6/10The paint work for this series is fairly basic. It works much better for some of the figures than others. April has the least amount of paint work, with Shredder being a close second. In both cases the paint work that is there is done well. But with so paint work being done, both figures could look a lot better with more paint work to bring out the details of the sculpts. Splinter has more paint work, but in his case the paint work on his face makes it very hard to tell where his hairline should be. As a result, his face looks like it stretches up as part of what is supposed to be his top knot. Splinter's actual appearance in the movie is not exactly cute and cuddly to begin with. The paint error makes the figure look like he his horribly disfigured as well as mutated. The paint work on the Turtles (including both versions of Raphael) and the Foot Soldier are better. There is still a lot of detail work that is missing. But it isn't so bad that the figures look dull. And all of the paint applications that were done seem to be clean and well executed.
Articulation - Foot Soldier & Shredder 8/10, Turtles 7/10, Splinter & April 3/10,The Turtles have seventeen points of articulation each:
Accessories - Foot Soldier 8/10, Raph In Disguise 7/10, Splinter 5/10, Turtles 4/10, Shredder 0/10The Turtles each come with their usual weapons, though Leonardo does have his sheaths for a slight added bonus. Raph in Disguise has three accessories, a hat, sunglasses and a scarf that clips over his face. All three fit surprisingly well, though I wish they had designed in a means to hold the hat in place. April comes with a camera, camera bag and Raph's sais. (Presumably there was a scene either deleted or cut from an early version of the script similar to the 1990 movie where she ended up with them.) April can hold the camera. But her articulation doesn't allow her to pose as though she was taking a photo. The sais would be a waste since that scene didn't make the movie. But it does at least provide a second pair to give to Raph in Disguise. Splinter comes with a sword and sheath as well as a removable pendant on a necklace. Shredder has no accessories, unless you want to count his cape. Surprisingly, the standout when it comes to accessories is the Foot Soldier who has his own arsenal. That arsenal includes a rifle, hand gun, stun gun, knife and a transparent plastic mask. They even included holsters on the figure to store the pistol and knive when not in use. It is a shame that they weren't painted. But that goes for all of the accessories for the entire series.
Value - Raph in Disguise 3/10, April 4/10, others 7/10The basic movie figures have been selling for the same price as the regular basic assortment figures, around $9 to $10 each. While these mey not be the most impressive figures in some regards. But they are decent figures and that is as low a price as you are likely to find in the action figure aisle these days.
Happy Hunting:The figures and other merchandise for the Ninja Turtles movie has been out on shelves for almost five months. So finding them should not be difficult. Though if you want the entire set, you should keep an eye out for April, the Foot Soldier and Raph in Disguise. April and Raph didn't seem to be in the initial shipments and have remained in short supply ever since. The Foot Soldier also seems to be a bit less common, but that could be from people picking up more than one for the Turtles to fight.