It's no secret that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy lines have included a great number of variants of the four main turtles.
While some of them have been pretty silly, the ones that have actually been based on the cartoons have often proven to be quite
popular. So even before the "Mazes & Mutants" episode hit airwaves and fans got to see the Turtles in home made role playing costumes,
fans were looking forward to seeing the designs in action figure form. And this summer, they started to hit stores. Series
Ten of the basic assortment figures gave us all four "LARP" Turtles: Mikey the Elf, Donnie the Wizard, Raph the Barbarian and
Leo the Knight. Originally the series was supposed to include Tiger Claw and the Robotic Foot Soldier and they are both pictured on
the back of the cards. But those two figures did not ship until Series 11. So for now, break out your twenty sided dice and lets
see if these will be a critical hit.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for the basic assortment figures continues to remain largely unchanged. It looks great. so I don't think that there is much reason to make changes.
Sculpting - Don 5/10, Leo & Mike 7/10 Raph 8/10All four Turtles got a brand new sculpt for the series. And as is ususal for Playmates, there is quite a bit of detail on each figure. All of the outfits match the designs from the show with one exception. Leo the Knight was given a large, bulky belt which he did not have in the show. And unfortunately it gets in the way of his arms. All four Turtles do share a common problem, excessively large heads. They aren't off by much. But they are about 12 to 15% larger than the Battle Shell Turtles. And that means that their helmets will need to be that much larger too. I am a little disappointed in Donnie the Wizard. Since his robe covers most of the figure, they didn't bother to sculpt a full body under the robe. That I can live with. But it isn't as impressive and it also means that they made the robe of very hard plastic which does limit the movement of the figure. The final oversight is that Mikey the Elf doesn't have his "Plus One Ring of Awesomeness." They might have planned it as an accessory. But given how often it was brought up in the episode, overlooking it entirely was a disappointment.
Paint - Donnie 3/10, Raph 4/10, Mike 5/10, Leo 6/10Playmates seems to have cut costs when they got to the paint work. On Leo and Mike, the cuts are minor at first glance. Mikey the Elf has most of his outfit painted, but they skipped the wrappings on his hands and their is no detail work. The same goes for Leo the Knight. It is also worth mentioning that a number of people have complained that the stop sign shoulder pads are not painted red. But in the episode they are painted blue so the figure is correct. Raph the Barbarian is also missing the paint on his hand wrappings. But my figure has an issue on his left arm where the chain around his fur covered arm is really horribly painted. Technically the paint on the fur wrappings on his feet are also a lot sloppier, but I actually prefer that look over the completely clean white of the other fur. Finally you come to Donnie the Wizard. He has a mminor issue with quality control on the wrappings on his fingers. But the bigger issue for him is that there is so little paint work on the figure. His robe has a lot of sculpted detail but none of it was painted at all. Only about half of his wrappings are painted. They didn't even bother to paint the ring in the shoulder strap that is front and center on his chest. It is a shame that a figure with so much potential was ignored when it came time for painting.
Articulation - Donnie 3/10, Leo & Raph 6/10, Mikey 7/10Mikey the Elf, Leo the Knight and Raph the Barbarian all have the same nineteen points of articulation:
Accessories - Raph 3/10, Leo & Mikey 5/10, Donnie 7/10Each of the LARP Turtles comes with a hat/helmet and weapon. This is one area where Donnie actually manages to show up his brothers. He comes with a pointy hat with a fake beard attached to it and a bo/wizard's staff. The hat and beard are quite cute and look great. Actually they look a bit too good. In the show, his beard seemed to be made from an old string mop and was fairly flat. The beard accessory is quite full and bushy. His staff is decent and is the only weapon that is painted in the series. Ideally I wish they could have replicated the appearance of the clear snowglobe on the end, but that would be asking for alot. Mikey the Elf has his hat with fake elf ears on the strap and a small bow. The hat is painted, but lacks the lettering from the show making it obvious that it is a paper hat from a fast food restuarante. The bow may seem small, but that is how it was shown in the show episode. Leo the Knight has his coffee can helmet, a sword and shield. The helmet looks great. I particularly like the small details such as the markings on the carpenter's squares attached to the sides of the helmet. But his weapons are less impressive. They are unpainted and the shield doesn't match the design from the show. Finally there is Raph the Barbarian. He has a helmet which is in my opinion, the least interesting of the four with minimal paint work. His battle axe is unpainted and fairly dull as well. But what really hurts his score is the opportunity that was missed by not including an alternate, turkey head. Had Raph the Barbarian included that, this figure could have been the highlight of the series.
Value - 7/10All of the LARP Turtles are part of the basic figure assortment for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line. And like all of the previous basic figures, they sell for between $8 and $10 apiece. There are not many options on shelves in the action figure aisles for under $10. But while these may not be the most impressive figures, they are nice figures for a great price.
Happy Hunting:The series 10 LARP Turtles have been shipping to shows since late summer. So the initial rush to find them is starting to subside and they are becoming easier to find on shelves with minimal hunting. Even Donnie the Wizard who was originally shipped in smaller quantities than the other three is becoming more common in stores around my area. So at this point, you should be able to find the LARP Turtles at just about any store that sells TMNT toys.