Series eleven of the basic Ninja Turtle figures was released last fall. As you might guess, after ten other series,
forty six figures and six other versions of the Turtles, it is probably a challenge to come up with another version
of the Turtles without resorting to insane variants. Their track record so far has been pretty solid, with the possible
exception of the Ooze Throwing Turtles. For the latest series they went old school, like 30 years old school.
Playmates took their shot at creating their version of the Turtles based on their design from the original Mirage Comics.
(Technically I guess it is their second shot since they did have a series of Mirage Based Turtles planed a few years ago until
NECA beat them to the punch.) Round out the series with a new evil mutant, Tiger Claw, and a minion in the form of the
four armed Robotic Foot Soldier and you have the makings of a great series. But in case that is not enough, they went
full retro with an exclusive version of Original Comic Book Raphael painted in black and white which was available at the
San Diego Comic Convention.
Packaging - 7/10The packaging for the Robotic Foot Soldier and Tiger Claw is the same design as we have seen for the previous series. But the Original Comic Book Turtles received a graphical overhaul. The logo is all white. The insert is redesigned with new artwork. And the background is different as well. It is a pattern of comic images against a purple background for the exposed portions of the card and for the area behind the bubble. Those backgrounds are also used on the back as well. The redesign works well. It sets the Original Comic Book Turtles apart from all of the other figures without them seeming out of place.
The Comic Con version of Raphael comes in a six and a half inch square box, similar to the Night Shadow Leonardo and the Comic Con version of Shredder from the year before. But it has a new graphical overhaul. But they seem to have tried to mix a retro look with the artwork and a very clean, modern look with the TMNT and 30th anniversary logos. And the two don't really work well together. It's not bad, but they just don't work well together to make a cohesive look for the packaging. It's also worth noting that one of the two B&W Raphaels that I got was already falling apart at the seam, so the quality control may not be as high as with the previous two exclusive figures.
Sculpting - Turtles 5/10 Robo. Foot Soldier 6/10, Tiger Claw 8/10While it is never explicitly stated, the packaging indicates that the Original Comic Book Turtles are supposed to be based on the Turtles' original appearance. While they are a decent representation of their later, more refined look, they don't match the original artwork very well. The body proportions are off. The sculpted details that are suppose to replicate cross-hatching/shading in the comic artwork look more like deep scars when they are on the figures' faces. It's also disappointing that all four Turtles are the same from the neck down. They have a nice retro look. But they are nowhere near as accurrate as the NECA versions from a few years ago. The Robotic Foot Soldier is a bit better. But its head is too small and I'm really not a fan of the sculpted battle damage. It would be fine as a variant or an alternative sculpt. But I would much rather have a regular, undamaged version over this. Finally there is Tiger Claw, who is the most anticipated figure of the series for fans of the show. And he turned out the best of the series. The head sculpt is a bit off. The fur sticks out along the cheeks more than it should throwing off the overall shape. And the hands are not designed to hold his weapons well. But the rest of the figure is very well designed and quite accurrate.
Paint - O.C.B. Turtles 4/10, Robotic Foot Soldier 5/10, Tiger Claw 7/10Painting has not been a strong suit for Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures recently. The Original Comic Book Turtles do nothing to improve that pattern. The regular, color versions simply do not have much paint work to them. They did not even bother to paint the sculpted shading marks. My Original Comic Book Donatello also had a splotch of white paint on his lip. I was able to take it off easily enough though. They did put more effort into the black and white version of Raphael. I like what they were going for. The only problem is that the black paint is a bit sloppy in several places. It is smudged on the belt on Raphael's left side as though the figure was handled while the paint was still wet. The paint is also fairly sloppy around his eyes. The paint work on the Robotic Foot Soldier is not quite as sparse, but still fairly limited. They put more effort into the paint work on Tiger Claw. Only about half of the details on his outfit are painted. But what is done is enough to show off the detail of the scult well. The paint work on his face is adeqite, but certainly not impressive.
Articulation - 5/10The articulation for all of these figures is decent but a step down from recent TMNT figures in one way or another. The Original Comic Book Turtles have a ball jointed neck and hinged and rotating joints at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. But for some reason they do not have the rotating wrist joints which have been fairly standard on recent Turtle figures. The Robotic Foot Soldier has rotating and hinged joints at the hips and all four shoulders as well as a ball jointed neck and rotating waist. The two arms attached to the figure's back are actually attached with ball joints which does give them a few extra degrees of motion. All that is fine. But the figure is constructed with the lower portion of each arm and leg as a separate piece. But they didn't bother to connect the parts with a moveable joint. That is a really strange choice to make since it shouldn't have cost anything extra to do it that way and would have added six more very useful joints. Tiger Claw has hinged knees, rotating and hinged hips and shoulders and rotating joints at the waist and neck. Again, they skipped several joints such as the elbows and wrists that could have easily been added. On a positive note, all of the joints are tight enough to hold poses well.
Accessories - Robotic Foot Soldier & B&W Raphael 6/10, others 5/10The Original Comic Book Turtles come with their their signature weapons and a card with an image of the character on one side. The black and white version of Raphael also has a manhole cover display base. Tiger Claw has two different pistols which can be stored in the holsters on his hips. But they do not fit securely. I've already had to track them done a handful of times when they fell to the floor. The Robotic Foot Soldier comes with the most accessories, each designed to fit over one of the figure's hands. The is a drill, a spiked mace, a sickle and a saw blade. They are okay, but there is a lot of missed opportunity with them. They would be far more impressive if the drill bit and saw blade actually spun or if they were painted.
Value - Tiger Claw 8/10, B&W Raphael 3/10, others 6/10The black and white version of Raphael originally sold for $30 while the others are a part of the regular, basic figure assortment and sell for $8 to $10 each depending upon the store. I like what they were attempting with him. But a slightly different color scheme and a display base is not enough to justify the price tag. On the other hand, if they had taken a chance and made the regular Original Comic Book Turtles black and white that would have helped to make them more unique. As it stands, the regular versions of the O.C.B. Turtles are at best a cheaper alternative to the superior NECA figures. The Robotic Foor Soldier is a decent figure. But there are just too many opportunities for it to be even better. Finally there is Tiger Claw. And luckily for fans, he turned out to be the best figure of the series. He is definitely worth picking up for any fan of the show.
Happy Hunting:Series eleven figures have been shipping as a part of the basic assortment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures since around August of last year. While the figures are currently in short supply after being cleaned out for Christmas, they should be shipping again shortly. Black and white Raphael on the other hand was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive. Playmates also had a limited number of them available through their web site as well. But they have long since sold out. There are a number of them showing up frequently on eBay, but finding one for a decent price could be difficult.