The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for many, many years. And for most of that time, Playmates Toys has been the only
option for TMNT toys. But in the last two years that has changed drastically with multiple third party companies getting into
producing TMNT toys in various forms. While they have had varying degrees of success, Diamond Select's
first series of TMNT Minimates sold well enough that they are
back with a second series. This time around we get another set of Nickelodeon style Turtles, this time with their eyes whited out and
ready for battle, Splinter, Casey Jones and a quuartet of new bad guys. And just like last time, they are available both in the usual
blind bag packaging or in carded two packs which are exclusive to Toys R Us. Unfortunately, as with the first series, not all of the
figures are available in either the two packs or blind bags. So if you want to collect all of the characters you will need to get some of each.
And then to top it all off, Diamond also released another promotional figure at the New York Comic Con, a translucent red version of Raphael
to match the translucent Leonardo and Michelangelo that were given out at SDCC in 2014. (And once again, Donatello is the odd Turtle out.)
Packaging - Blind Bags & NYCC Exclusive 5/10, Carded 2 packs 7/10There's no real change to either the two pack or blind bag packaging from series one. I definitely prefer the two packs, both because you know what figures you are buying and it gives you some information about the characters on the back. They even created a separate description for the exclusive, translucent green Mutagen Donatello. They do have one draw back which I will get to later. There is a slight change with the blind bag figures in that they no longer have the keyring variation which were the K-mart exclusives for the first series. So that at least simplifies things a little. And the figures are not disguised in the blind bags. So if you have the time, you can feel up each one to identify the figure inside quite accurately. But that can be a double edged sword as other collectors/resellers can do the same to buy up the rarer, non-Turtles and leave the more common figures to clog up store inventories. But both designs share a common short coming. One of the best features of the second series is all of the accessories. They are particularly important with the Sewer Gear Turtles since without them, they are identical to the series one Turtles other than the faces. But the blind bags don't have enough room to show off all the accessories and the two packs seem to actively hide the accessories. Finally there is the comic con exclusive promo figure which is sealed in a simple, clear plastic baggie. It does have a sticker on one side identifing the figure and where it came from. But there isn't much effort put in here. But it is a promotional give away, so it really doesn't have to be all that attractive and it does give a clear view of the figure inside inviting you to open it. And by matching the packaging they used at SDCC in 2014, they look more like a set which is a nice touch.
Sculpting - Turtles & A. Zeck 5/10, Karai 7/10, Others 9/10The Turtles all reuse the same sculpts as the series one Turtles. And they still remain the weakest sculpts of the series once again. They work a lot better as early Mirage style figures than the Nickelodeon versions. Anton Zeck and Karai are the least impressive of the non-turtles. For Anton Zeck it was largely unavoidable. The character is suppose to be thin and flexible. Turning him into a block figure really ruins the character design. Of course, all of the figures share the same body. But it really seems out of place with Zeck, with his streamlined character design. Karai has some really bulky wrist guards. But her hair looks great and is almost enough to make up for the gauntlets. The remaining characters all translate well to the Minimates form, in no small part due to the fact that each one has a lot of additional parts added to the basic Minimates form. Splinter has his kimono covering most of his body. Bradford has a large chest piece covering his entire torso and giving him quite a bit of additional bulk. Norman has a unique torso piece as well which looks great. Casey Jones has a ton of extra details thanks to unique gloves, jock strap and shoulder harness which also doubles as storage for Casey's weapons. The lack of any changes or updates for the Turtles is disappointing. But the other figures are terrific.
Paint - NYCC Raph 1/10, Mutagen Don 2/10, Michelangelo 6/10, Splinter & Bradford 8/10, Casey 10/10, others 7/10Both the NYCC Raphael and Mutagen Donatello have very little paint work, just the faces and masks. But that is to be expected. The rest of the figures have extensive paint work. The quality isn't perfect. Michelangelo is the sloppiest of all of my figures. But even he really isn't that bad. The biggest issue is just that with figures this small, the detail work becomes extremely small and difficult to get perfect. Casey Jones deserves a little extra recognition as there is a lot of both painted detail and printed graphics for all of the details of his costume.
Articulation - 7/10All of the figures share a common body. So they all have the same articulation:
Accessories - Aton Zeck 2/10, NYCC Raph 3/10, Bradford, Splinter & Mutagen Don 5/10, Karai 6/10, Norman 7/10, Mikey 10/10, others 9/10Giving the Turtles new expressions and reselling them otherwise unchanged from series one would be really annoying. Fortunately they stepped it up when it came to the accessories, especially for the regular Turtles. All of the figures come with a stand. And each figure in the two packs has a key ring teather aroud their neck which is of course removeable. (I believe that they are there just so they claim that they are not "action figures" and they can sell them at regular retail stores without competing with Playmates' toy line.) They're going straight into the useless parts collection for me as I would never trust that the figure's head wouldn't pop off and you would lose the entire figure.
Anton Zeck is the only figure that has no additional accessories beyond the standard key ring and stand. It would be nice if they had included a throwable mohawk, his backpack or something. The New York Comic Con version of Raphael is a bit lacking with just a pair of sais and a clear plastic stand. Unfortunately the peg on the stand is slightly too large for his foot rendering it fairly useless. Mutagen Donatello only includes his bo, molded in the same translucent green as the figure. I'm surprised they didn't include all the same accessories as his series two counterpart, but this way he does match up with the previous Mutagen Turtles who didn't have extra accessories. Chris Bradford has just a single sword. Karai has a short sword and the same sheath that rest on the back of her waist as the Foot Ninja from series one as well as a alternate, masked head. Splinter has a sword and his translucent green, crystal cane. But no cheese phone! I want a cheese phone. Both Normans come with the same accessories as the Kraang from series one, a Kraang blaster and a little Kraang companion. I would be annoyed at the recycling, but the accessories make sense and considering how hard it was to get the Kraang figure from series one, I don't mind giving fans a second chance at them here. Casey has an unmasked head complete with a lowered hood piece, a space set of hands if you want to take off his gloves, two hockey sticks and a baseball bat. So this gives you the option to display Casey either way. And he can store all of his weapons on his belt as well. Finally we come to the Turtles themselves. Leonardo comes with his swords, a grappling gun, an Antonio's pizza box, a spare head with a surprised expression and a third head covered with Pizzahead's mind controlling pizza. Raphael has his sais, two slices of pizza, three throwing stars, his pet turtle Spike and a spare head with a dazed expression. Donatello comes with his bo staff with an exposed blade on the end, two slices of pizza, his mutagen tracker, a canister of mutagen and a spare head with a love-struck expression. Michelangelo has a pair of nunchucks, a spare head with a pleased expression, a pizza, a skateboard and Ice Cream Kitty! That is an impressive collection of parts for each of them. And most of them are taken right from the Nickelodeon cartoon. It's just a shame that aside from hinting at them in the names, neither the blind bags nor the two packs actually show off all of those accessories.
Value - Blind Bags & SDCC exclusives 5/10, Two Packs 9/10The retail price for the blind bag figures is $6. Meanwhile the two packs sell for $7.50. And not only is the price per figure much cheaper for the two packs, you also know exactly which figures you are buying and the only duplicate you end up buying is a second Norman figure if you buy both the Sewer Gear Donatello and Mutagen Donatello packs. (An excellent choice there since he works as an army builder figure.) But of course Karai and Chris Bradford are only available in the blind bags. The translucent red Raphael was a promotional giveaway at New York Comic Con this year. So if you were fortunate, he was free. But for most people, you be paying after market prices.
Happy Hunting:The TMNT Minimate two packs are exclusive to Toys R Us. Well, technically only the Mutagen Donatello/Norman set is. But I have not seen a single other store that has carried the other two packs. They were also listed on Toys R Us' web site for a while. Though they are not currently listed there now. The blind bag figures are supposed to be available at all other retailers. Though your luck finding them will vary. There is not a single store in my area that carried them. So I ordered a case of eighteen from Big Bad Toy Store.