I'm finally getting around checking out the Half-Shell Heroes line. And now that I've checked out the figures of the first
two series, it's time to to give all those figures something to do. Fortunately, as usual Playmates Toys is ready with several
assortments of vehicles. The basic vehicle assortment that I'll be checking out this time includes four vehicles as well as a
new version of one of the Turtles to go with each one. And just incase that is not enough to keep your little one entertained,
each vehicle can split in two to form two smaller vehicles. (I just need a holographic version of each Turtle cast in translucent
plastic and this could be a much belated addition to the third series of M.A.S.K.)
Packaging - 8/10The Half-Shell Heroes toys all share a similar package design, with each assortment adjusting it to fit the product. Graphically it remains the same as the packaging for the figure two packs. But for the basic vehicles, the packaging has been widened and the boxed portion at the bottom is slightly deeper to fit the vehicles. The larger size means that there is plenty of space on the back to show off the vehicles in all of their forms as well as the other vehicles in the series and a small version of the promo scene showing the complete HSH line. I like the looks of the Half-Shell Heroes toys. And I really like the fact that the packaging lets youg kids get their hands directly on the toys even while they are still on store shelves. That is a particularly nice feature for a line targeting younger kids.
Sculpting - Patrol Buggy & Rippin' Rider 7/10, Drop Copter & Sewer Cruiser 5/10Playmates did an admirable job of designing and sculpting all four vehicles. The various "parts" that make up each vehicle give the vehicles an interesting appearance that is very much in keeping with the traditional TMNT style. The only issue I have with them is when you separate the Sewer Cruiser and Drop Copter. The Sewer Cruiser forms a jet ski like device and a floating platform with the air boat engine on it. But when separated, you see that very little effort or thought was put into the bottom where the cooler floats are connected and there are two large holes in the front of the coolers. Similarly, when the Drop Copter is split, the sled that is formed from the front end has nothing inside it.
Each set also comes with an exclusive figure as well, a new version of one of the Turtles. Each Turtle recycles the same body as the basic assortment. But they each have new heads, legs and arms. Even Donatello got new legs despite both figures having plain legs. I particularly like Leonardo since he has the same helmet that he wore in the cartoon while driving the patrol buggies. The others are cute, but there's not much reason to need a Raphael or Donatello with a random helmet or Michelangelo wearing googles and swim fins.
Paint - 5/10Each of the vehicles has some paint work. But it is quite minimal. And the color choices for the Rippin' Rider and the Drop Copter are a bit too preschool for my tastes. The Sewer Cruiser and Patrol Buggy are more realistic. The paint work on the figures is well done. The worst issue any of my figures have is a small black mark on the faceplate of Raphael's helmet.
Play Value - Rippin' Rider 4/10, others 6/10Each of the small vehicles provides he main vehicle as well as the option to split into two vehicles. The Sewer Cruiser has the best vehicle options. The initial boat splits into a smaller airboat and a jet ski. You can also press down on the top of the air intake for the engine to make the fan on the back spin. The Patrol Buggy breaks into a smaller buggy while the engine becomes the most powerful looking segway scooter ever. Unfortunately the scooter only has two working wheels and a fake third wheel in the back. So it doesn't roll freely. pressing down on the intake of the Patrol Buggy's engine causes the rear wheels to spin. But you have to be holding the toy to spin them. It doesn't have the traditional mechanism to store momentum. So it only works while your hand is on the toy and moving along with it. That being the case, the play feature is pretty pointless. The Drop Copter splits into a smaller copter and a sled. It isn't much of a transformation, more of a lose of most of the bodywork. And when it is split, the sled is fairly underwhelming with no interior to hold a figure in place and non-functional wheels on the skis. Its feature is a spinning top rotor which is activated with the pull of a trigger mounted under the tail. It's not very original. But it works. Finally there is the Rippin' Rider which in the Half-Shell Heroes line now includes a sidecar. I guess the Half-Shell Hero figures are meant to be young versions of the characters. And the Rippin' Rider is scaled in proportion to them which I think was a mistake as it means that the figures look tiny on it. Not surprisingly, when it splits, the side car just separates from the motorcycle. But since the sidecar only has one wheel, it is of very little use without the main motorcycle. Even it's action feature, a extending plow blade mounted on the front of the side car, isn't very useful since it can never extend far enough to not be behind the front wheel of the motorcycle.
Value - Rippin' Rider 4/10, Drop Copter 6/10, others 7/10The basic vehicles sell for $13 to $15 depending upon the store. That is a decent price for the Patrol Buggy and Sewer Cruiser and not bad for the Drop Copter. It feels like they should be selling in the $12 to $13 range, or roughly the price of a basic vehicle from the regular figure line plus roughly half the cost of one of the Half-Shell Heroes figure two packs.
Happy Hunting:The Half-Shell Heroes line has been in store since the second half of 2014. They seem plentiful at the Target, Toys R Us and Walmart stores I have visited. They are also available at each of their web sites as well.