Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles High Flyin' Blimp review

Blimp side view
The Ninja Turtles have been known for wacky and weird vehicles pretty much from the start of the cartoon and toy line. And while the Party Wagon/Turtle Van is what everyone remembers, nothing epitimizes that more than the Turtle Blimp. If there is a more rediculous and impractical option for a vehicle, especially in a major city, I can't think of it. So the fact that the original cartoon not only introduced a blimp for the Turtles to use but made it a reoccuring feature was pretty strange choice. What was even more unusual is that the Turtle Blimp not only made it into the toy line, but that there were two versions of the Turtle Blimp, something that I don't think any other toy line has ever done that. So it's not surprising that the blimp has become an important part of the Turtles' history nor that it has now made a return to the modern show and toy line. The recent "Return to New York" story line also marked the return of the Turtle Blimp and Playmates Toys already had a version on toy shelves ready for eager fans. But how does it measure up to the original?

Packaging - 8/10

The Turtle Blimp or High Flyin' Blimp as it is called on the box, is the last vehicle to come in the old packaging design with a large image of the vehicle over the darker, purple background. The image of the blimps has Casey at the controls and the four Turtles hooked to the sides of the blimp. The back features a photo of the actual toy more or less recreating the image from the front of the box. There is no window on the box to see inside. I like the package design and it is fairly sturdy. Though it is worth noting that if you prefer the newer packaging design, it is quite likely that the High Flyin' Blimp will get a redesign just as all the other items still in production have.

Sculpting - 5/10

As is to be expected with a blimp, the High Flyin' Blimp is large, roughly twenty inches tall (not including the top mounting hook) and over thirty inches long. But as to be expected, there is no sculpted detail on the body of the blimp. So the sculpting is limited to the four fins and the gondola portion on the bottom. From the photos I saw previously, I was expecting the gondola to be recycled from the original Turtle Blimp. But that is not the case. The new gondola is clearly based on the design of the original. But it is far more detailed. But while they improved on the detailing, they skimped on the wheels which are sculpted detail instead of real working wheels. The new design makes space for figures in addition to the pilot by clipping them onto the gondola. So for older fans, the High Flyin' Blimp is a great nostalgic nod to the original Turtle Blimp. But as a representation of the blimps from the show, it is a failure. That's a shame too because the design that they came up with for the show would have been quite a bit more interesting, provided more play value with the figures and could have been recreated in toy form though it would have been slightly more comlex.

Paint - 5/10

There is not a lot of paint work on the High Flyin' Blimp. The pilot's seat and control yoke are painted and there is a shading paint wash over several parts of the body of the gondola but that's it. Of course with the amount of color provided by the body of the blimp, there isn't significant need for more paint.

Play Value - 2/10

The play value of the High Flyin' Blimp are very limited. There are clips to hold up to four figures onto the sides fo the gondola section as well as four retractable strings. So each passenger can be lowered down and then pulled back up to the blimp. The control yoke is also moveable, but that is mostly just to adjust for different figures. If this were one of the basic vehicles, that might be passable though still not very impressive. But for a larger vehicle like this, that is pretty lacking. The High Flyin' Blimp doesn't even have working wheels to allow it to roll. The blimp also uses the same connectors for the retractable lines as the Z-Line playsets did last year. That should have given the designers a means to incorporate those playsets into the blimp, but they didn't bother to do that either. In the end, the new blimp just doesn't have much to offer for play features other than being blimp shaped.

Value - 5/10

The High Flyin' Blimp sells for $30. If you are a nostalgic fan in your thirties, that makes it an affordable alternative to trying to put together a complete vintage blimp. But stictly as a modern toy, the High Flyin' Blimp doesn't have a lot to offer beyond the quirkiness of having a blimp toy. I certainly wouldn't recommend it over the other vehicles in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy line.

Happy Hunting:

TheHigh Flyin' Blimp is available in most stores that carry the TMNT toy line. Toys R Us, Walmart and Target all carry it as do their web sites.

box front

box back

balloon side view

gondola empty

Donnie piloting passenger space High Flyin' Blimp, Turtle Blimp and Turtle Blimp 2