I'm still playing catch up with all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys released in the last half of 2014. While
I've caught up with the figures, there are still a trio of vehicles released in 2014 that I have yet to open. The first
of that trio is the most recent addition to the deluxe vehicle & figure assortment: Hot Rod Mikey with the ot Rod radical
road racer. (But hey, it only showed up in the show a few weeks ago. So I guess I could claim that as the reason for the
delay in this review.) But without further delay, lets check out Mikey's entry to the Figure/vehicle packs to complete
the set of all four Turtles with the Hot Rod.
Packaging - 6/10The Hot Rod with Hot Rod Mikey was released last year so it still uses the same packagin design as all of the past vehicle/figure sets. The large window box has Mikey packaged in the more open section of the box where the window wraps around the top and side of the box so you get a great view of him. The Hot Rod vehicle is packaged between the logo, images of the Turtles and the banner along the bottom of the box with the vehicle name. So there is just enough room to see the vehicle with no room to spare. And once again the vehicle has been packaged with the top facing towards the front of the window which is not the best angle from which to see it. I realize that the established packaging size is not deep enough to fit the vehicle sitting upright. But I would rather see them use a slightly deeper box then. As it is, the only way to get a good view of the Hot Rod is to look at the large photo of it on the back of the box. Finally I have to note that I have seen far more damaged Hot Rod boxes than I have ever seen with the past vehicle/figure sets. It could simply be bad luck as the packaging doesn't seem to be any different. But if you are a MIB collector, you should take a close look before buying. Alternatively, the Hot Rod is now shipping in the redesigned, 2015 style packaging which seems to be sturdier from what I have seen so far.
Sculpting - `3/10Before I start going into detail about the sculpting on either Mikey or the Hot Rod, I think it is important to note that the toy was released well before the Hot Rod actually appeared in the cartoon. When you consider that as well as the fact that the production time for a toy is considerably longer than a cartoon episode and it seems fairly clear that the cartoon used the toy design. So I'm not going to hold it against the toy that the designs are a bit different in the cartoon nor is that reflected in the score.
At first glance, the Hot Rod is a fairly nice vehicle. And I'm always glad to see additional vehicles in the TMNT toy lines that are not more motorcycles. But that positive reaction fades quickly upon closer inspection. The biggest issue I have with it is the proportions and size are all wrong. Both the engine and truck bed are too short and the wheels don't extend out far enough. That combined with the fact that the entire vehicle is less than half the size it should be to be properly scaled with the basic assortment Turtle figures results in a vehicle that looks more like a Shriner's parade car than a real hot rod. The final straw for the Hot Rod is that even if you get past the size, it isn't a very interesting or detailed sculpt. The basic form is there, but that is it. There are a few nice touches such as the wood rails along the truck bed and the chicken in the back. But everything else about this vehicle is just sparse.
Hot Rod Mikey turned out a bit better than his vehicle. There is a fair amount of detail for his leather jacket and its various zippers, pockets and belt. But a lot of the sharpness of the details is gone. I don't know if that is the result of the prototype or a problem in the manufactuing process. In either case, it is disappointing since it should have looked pretty impressive. But even getting beyond that, the figure has issues. I'm not really sure if the figure was intended to be wearing gloves, but the sculpting seems to indicate it wasn't since all of the finger and wrist wrappings are still present. Its also clear that they sculpted the torso with the leather jacket to be indepenant of the arms and legs, presumably so that the limbs could be reused on other figures. But as a result, the arms and legs don't look like they belong on this body.
Paint - 3/10Paint applications, or rather a lack of paint applications isbecoming a common and significant issue for Playmates' Ninja Turtle toys. And the Hot Rod is part of a trend where the the paint applications are hitting new lows. The quality is still pretty consistant, they just drastically cutting back on the number of applications. Hot Rod Michelangelo has enough to look decent. But there is still a lot that was overlooked. But it is on the Hot Rod itself that the lack of paint really hurts. While it has significant issues relating to its size, it's overall bland appearance owes a lot to lack of paint. If all of the sculpted details were actually painted, the Hot Rod would have looked 1000% better.
Play Value - 4/10The Hot Rod has only one play feature, a spring powered projectile launcher mounted on the back. There's just two issues. First is that the launcher is mounted on a post which should have made it easy to design it to rotate. But instead the launcher is permanently aimed forward. It's made worse by the fact that the height at which it is mounted means that it is usually pointed directly at the back of Hot Rod Mikey's head! Beyond that, the car rolls. And that's it. If I have to even bother mentioning that a vehicle can roll as one of its features, it has lousy features. Even Hot Rod Mikey can't do much to improve the play value. He does come with a pair of nunchuks as well as loops on the back of his jacket to store them. But the nunchuks are made of stiff plastic so they don't fit into the belt as well a past versions.
Value - 4/10The Hot Rod with Hot Rod Mikey sells for $20, just as the previous figure and vehicle sets have. Normally I would say that is a pretty good value for both a figure and a vehicle. But that works better when it is a smaller vehicle. The Hot Rod is not well suited to this price point. Perhaps if they had only included the vehicle but made it larger and more detailed, the Hot Rod could have been a pretty impressive vehicle much like the Foot Cruiser from the original line. As it is, it is nice to have the vehicle from the show in plastic. But the toy itself will remain as a bit of a disappointment.
Happy Hunting:The Hot Rod with Hot Rod Mikey started shipping in the fall of 2014. So it was fairly common on store shelves through the end of the holiday season as part of the vehicle and figure assortment. There are now two new vehicle and figure sets due to start showing up in stores at any moment, so it remains to be seen if the Hot Rod will still be shipping in the assortment.