Playmates Toys loves vehicles in their action figure lines, and that includes their preshool toy lines. So to round out the Half-Shell
Heroes toy lines, they have included three larger vehicles. The Stealth Bike with Racer Raph and Shred Tread with Shredder form a medium
sized vehicle assortment. Then the Shellraiser is the lone large vehicle in the toy line. I have to give credit to Playmates for going
all out with the Half-Shell Heroes toy line and managing to recreate most of the regular toy line in the HSH line just with the initial
releases. But of course, quantity with out quality doesn't mean much. So lets see if the large vehicles are as well made as the small vehicle
assortment or better.
Packaging - 8/10The Half-Shell Heroes toys all use the same basic package design, varying only as needed to accomodate the size of the toy. I like the design. It has plenty of color with the green interior. And having the packaging open means you have great access to the toy. I was concerned about how well the packaging would stand up to wear and tear over time. But the boxes for the medium and large vehicles are thick enough that they have held up well, even being tossed around my apartment all this time until I got around to writing this review. There is one issue that they do have is that each vehicle has a small cardboard sign that is glued to the plastic. They are fairly secure on the Shred Tread and Stealth Bike. But the one on my Shellraiser fell off very quickly. That shouldn't be an issue to anyone except a MIB collector though.
Sculpting - Stealth Bike & Shellraiser 5/10, Shred Tread 7/10The Shellraiser and Stealth Bike both have a reasonable amount of detail on the exteriors. But it doesn't go overboard. It is a shame that the lack of paint work makes them look much duller than they really are. But the interiors are dull. The Stealth Bike has an interior, but it it doesn't fit the figures. There is actually enough space for Raph to stand at the controls and still leave room for a second figure to sit in the seat behind him. Meanwhile the interior for the Shellraiser is limited to the texture on the floor and two incredibly uncomfortable looking seat shapes on the back platform. I wasn't expecting a full play environment inside, but an actual chair or steering wheel would have been nice. The Shred Tread is just as lacking in interior detail as the other two, if not more so. But the exterior is so cool looking that I really don't care. The exterior combines the angular design of a heavily armored vehicle with the agressive stance of a hot rod. And it does it so well that it really looks like it would have the speed of a sports car but can still be drive with all the caution of someone in a tank. Aside from the lack of interiors for the holding area in the back and the driver's compartment, the one complaint I have against the Shred Tread is that the arm for the claw weapon goes right over the driver's head and face which would make it impossible to see while driving and just looks a bit silly.
Of course each vehicle comes with a driver as well. And this is where the Shred Tread got the short end of the stick. It comes with the exact same Shredder figure as the basic two packs. And I didn't particularly care for the figure there. Having it recycled with no changes here certainly doesn't improve my opinion of it. The Stealth Bike comes with a Half-Shell Heroes version of the Stealth Ninja Raph figure from the full sized line. The sculpting for his helmet is a bit rough, especially around the visor. But it is nice that they made the effort to recreat both the vehicle and the figure. The Shellraiser is available in two versions. The regular version includes a Leonardo figure with a slightly larger smile and no weapons in his hands. The other version which was sold via Sam's Club stores included all four Turtles, each holding their weapons just like the basic assortment versions. A version of Leonardo without his swords seems like a fairly small change, but it is nice to have the option of displaying Leo in a casual pose.
Paint - Stealth Bike 4/10, Shellraiser 5/10, Shred Tread 6/10The paint work on both the Stealth Bike is pretty minimal. There's just enough there that it doesn't have a serious negative effect. But it certainly doesn't do much to enhance the detail that is present in the sculpt. The Shellraiser is a bit better since both the front and back are painted. And those areas look much better than the unpainted sides. The Shred Tread has a little more paint work and it makes a world of difference. It could still use some paint for the capture claw. But otherwise the Shred Tread looks good. The paint work on all three of the figures is a bit disappointing though. After the paint on all of the regular figures and small vehicles turned out so well, it's unfortunate that the same can not be said for these three. They aren't all that bad. But the paint on Raphael's helmet and around Leonardo's mouth is just sloppy enough to be noticable. And on Shredder they made the odd choice of using dark colored plastic for the arms and then painting them in flesh tone paint. But the color of the plastic is visible around the shoulder joint because of that choice. I really don't understand why they did that when the regular figure has flesh colored plastic to avoid this issue.
Play Value - Stealth Bike 3/10, Shred Tread 6/10, Shellraiser 7/10Both of the medium sized vehicles has a built in action feature while the Shellraiser has a few features. When the front section of the shell on the Stealth Bike is pressed, tthe side panels are released, the front fork extends and the front fender flips down to protect the front wheel from damage. That sounds like a better feature than it is. Extending the front fork doesn't really accomplish much. And it makes no sense to have the armor pop open when the vehicle enters "attack" mode. The Shred Tread has a figure capture feature that is controlled by a set of exhaust pipes on the side of the vehicle. When the pipes are flipped down, the claw flips forward into the capture position. Flipping the lever/pipes back up causes the claw to flip back, depositing any captured figure into the detention cell in the back. It's a neat idea that I have not seen done often before. It does have a couple of shortcomings though. Flipping the claw forward will open the detention area if it is closed. But there is nothing to close it again when the claw flips back or keep it open until that happens. And while the claw looks menacing, it doesn't actually open or close. And the opening at the front is too narrow to let most figures through. And if they do slip through, they will often fall right out of the claw when it swings back towards the detention area. An articulated claw could solve those issues of course. But they would have had to design in a way to trigger its movement. The Shellraiser has a four features. The barrel roller on the front flips open like a set of jaws when a button is pressed. The trash cannon on the roof has a trash bll projectile that pops out when the cannon is fired. (Though it doesn't actually leave the cannon.) There is also a disc launcher that can be mounted onto the back. When you load one of the three disc, they can be fired by squeezing the firing buttons on the sides together. Finally, the Shellraiser has electronic sound chip that is activated when a small button on the roof is pressed. It would have been nice if they utilized the space in the interior of the Shellraiser for something. But the other features are enough to make this a fun little toy.
Value - Stealth Bike 4/10, Shred Tread 6/10, Shellraiser 7/10The Stealth Bike and Shred Tread are the first wave of medium sized vehicles for the Half-Shell Heroes line and retail for $20 each. The Shellraiser sells for $35. Even at the higher price, the Shellraiser seems like the best value. Aside from being larger, it has enough features to help justify the higher price. It just needs an interior. The Stealth Bike and Shred Tread on the other hand, feel more like they belong in the small vehicle assortment if not for their size. (A vehicle with one figure, and each vehicle has an action feature) I'm willing to give the Shred Tread a slight pass here because it feels like a vehicle that should be a little larger. And it is just a cool design overall. But the Stealth Bike seems like it actually would have been better if they had made it two thirds this size which would have allowed it to fit into the small vehicle assortment quite well. And then it would have been more in scale with the Half-Shell Hero figures as well.
Happy Hunting:The Half-Shell Heroes line was released almost a year ago at this point. And there are new vehicles due out soon. But as of my writing this review, stores seem to be well stocked with all three. And the Half-Shell Heroes line seems to be getting fairly strong retailer support. All of the usual stores for TMNT toys carry them: Walmart, Target, Toys R Us. Their availability online can be a bit more spotty, but Walmart.com seems to have most of the line available as does Toysrus.com.