Funko made a name for themselves with their Pop! vinyl figures which have covered just about every license ever created at this point. So for
quite some time, Funko has been trying to capture that same lightning in a bottle a second time with a variety of other styles of collectible
figures. And as Ninja Turtle fans, we are often some of the first to see our favorite characters in these new forms. We have already seen an army
of Pop! vinyl figures and variants, a Pop Rides version of the classic Turtle Van, a series of Mystery
Minis, more than a dozen Hikari Sofubi vinyl figures, Wacky Wobblers and keychain figures. But they aren't
done there. Last year they introduced one other new line, Fabrikations. Described on the packaging as "soft sculpture", these figures are a hybrid
of a traditional action figure and a plush toy. They are made of fabric and stuffing, but still come with plastic weapons, some articulation and
are designed to be able to stand on their own. And last summer the release of the second series saw the Ninja Turtles join the line up. So of course,
I also had to get a set to join my collection.
Packaging - 8/10Funko generally seems to prefer simple and clean package design. And that is evident with the Fabrikations. Each Turtle is packaged in a open faced window box so there is no plastic in front of them. The front of the box has just the Fabrikations logo, the TMNT logo and the character's name and umber in the Fabrikations line. But they did change the color of the border around the window to match each Turtle's mask which is a nice touch. The back of the box just has a written explanation of the features of the line and a banner along one side to identify which figure it is, but very little in terms of graphics and no photos. They used what appears to be design sketches for the background in the box and the right side of the box. Even the way that they put most of the contact information on the bottom so that it could be in large print suggests a company that is actually proud of what they are producing. (Though that could just be me reading too much into it.) The design has a few drawbacks though. The open front leaves a lot of expose cardboard edges. And that tends to be something that is more easily damaged. Even on my set which was purchased online and never faced any actual wear and tear on a store shelf, several of the boxes have creases or minor damage along that exposed edge. Having the packaging open also concerns me over the long term. Fabric picks up dust, dirt and worst of all, smells. By having the boxes open in the front like this, the figures are exposed to all of that, and they can't really be cleaned easily. This might be the first case I can think of where I can see the value in AFA grading and having them sealed in a plastic box if you want to keep them for the long term.
Sculpting/Design - 8/10The Fabrikations are essentially plush versions of the Funko Pop! designs. The body and limbs are shrunk down compared to the over sized head. Each figure has his weapon or weapons permanently sewn into their hand(s). I personally think that they over did the size of the heads which make up about three fifths of the total height of the figures. Getting beyond the basic design, I have to say that I was really impressed with the quality of these figures. The pads on the arms and legs are embroidered onto the fabric of the limbs. The shell has vinyl applied to it to make the shell pattern. The belt is made of doubled up material to give it the thickness and rigidity of leather. In short, they appear to be exceptionally well made. Each figure has heavier material filling the legs and the bottom of the body to lower the center of gravity and make them surprisingly stable. The one issue I have with them is that there are a lot of seams running all over the figures, especially at the top of their heads. That is something that a lot of people may be turned off by solely for aesthetics.
Paint - 7/10There is very little paint work on the Fabrikations figures. Michelangelo's, Leonardo's and Raphael's weapons are painted and the initials for each Turtle is printed onto the belt buckles. But beyond that, all of the color comes from the materials. They put more than enough effort into the construction so that isn't really an issue. Nothing feels like it was left unfinished. But of course, it does mean that there is no fine detail work. For example, it would have been nice if the thread used for the plastron had been just a shade or two darker to create the appearance of shadow between the plates of the plastron. I'm also not thrilled with the slightly iridescent thread that was used for the white in the eyes and teeth. I'd like to see what they look like with just plain, bright white instead. But those are both pretty minor issues.
Articulation - 4/10The Fabrikation Turtles have a working, rotating joint for their necks. That's it for actual articulation. But since they are made of fabric and other flexible materials, you can move the arms around a little. And really, with the big headed design of the figures, that is about all the articulation you were going to see or be able to use even if these were more traditional action figures.
Accessories - 0/10Each Turtle comes with his weapon, or weapons in the case of Leonardo and Raphael. But they are sewn into their hands and not removable. They look pretty good though.
Value - 7/10The Fabrikations sell for $20 each. My first reaction was that that was a bit too much for a six inch plush figure. But after seeing how detailed they are, the price seems quite justified. The problem with the Fabrikations is that I'm not entirely certain if there is much of a market for them. If you want a plush Ninja Turtle, we have seen a number of really great TMNT plushes in various styles as pillows for the same price, plush TMNT keychains and even official Build A Bear brand TMNT bears. And if you want a figure, there is certainly no shortage of them. So these seem targeted to a market of people who want a small plush that will stand on their desk. That seems like a very small market.
Happy Hunting:The Fabrikations line has been out since early in 2015. But the Ninja Turtles were part of the second series which first showed up last summer. And it took a number of months after that before I first saw them locally at Target or other specialty stores like Hot Topic. Big Bad Toy Store also has all four available online.