The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for over three decades now. And they certainly have had more than their fair share of
merchandise. But they don't get a lot of attention from the collectors market. There have been a few lines of statues and the occasional
attempt at slightly more expensive figures. But those lines have been fairly limited in scope and price. But in the last year, that has
begun to change. We have seen announcements for higher end statues, 1/6 scale figures, designer vinyl toys and more. But while most of
those products are just announcements and promotional photos for now, the first high-end collector focused TMNT item has now hit the market
in the form of an unlicensed, third party collector toy from First Gokin. While not officially a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy, NT-01
Cerebral will be instantly recognizable to fans of the original TMNT cartoon as a modern take on Krang and his android body from the cartoon.
So Turtle fans, prepare to take your first steps down the dark path of unlicensed toys and the inevitable poverty that they represent.
Packaging - 9/10Since Cerebral is meant to be a collector's item, the packaging is far more important than with the average toy. Cerebral comes packaged in an attractive box with a slip cover over it. The slip cover provides the promotional information about the toy. The front panel has a blown up image of the figure and the Cerebral logo. There is also a comic image of Cerebral that wraps around the right side and back panel of the slip cover. It shares the back with an assortment of photos of the toy and its various features. When the slip cover is removed you are left with a large black box with the same comic image of Cerebral from the slip cover in grey on the cover along with the name of the toy in metallic silver. Once you slide the cover off, you will find the actual toy and all of the accessories neatly packaged in a custom cut foam insert. The packaging design here is terrific. It is attractive both as an inticement to potential buyers as it sits on a store shelf and as a way to showcase the piece once you get it home. It is also almost completely collector friendly. The figure and accessories can easily be returned to the foam tray and the slip cover can be returned to the box leaving almost no evidence that the toy had ever been opened. (There are two clear round stickers that serve to seal the toy shut initially. So they will indicate if the packaging has been opened.) There are only two complaints I can think of for Cerebral. First, as an unlicensed product, they couldn't use and of the TMNT logos or artwork which is a shame. It would have been nice if the packaging could have blended in with existing TMNT toys for MIB/MOC collectors. The second issue is a minor quibble. But the way that the box is designed, the lid can not be fit onto the bottom of the box. That shouldn't be an issue for most people. But if you wanted to display Cerebral with the box open to show off the toy, it would have been handy to be able to keep the lid attached to the bottom of the box to save space and keep all of the parts together.
Sculpting - 9/10I must admit that when I first saw the promotional images for Cerebral, I wasn't that impressed. It was clearly based on Krang, but seemed too highly stylized. The actual figure turned out better than I had hoped. It is still a little over done. The shoulder pads have a lot of unncessary detail and the feet have been given a mechanical design. But in the end, it is not nearly as off putting as I ws expecting. The overall look of the figure is still quite faithful to the original cartoon design, just more detailed. It goes a bit overboard in some places. But in others, it turned out quite well. The chest compartment for Cerebral looks great. And Cerebral himself turned out just about perfectly. There is one seam that goes around the back side of the figure connecting the front to the back. The seam was positioned well to be out of sight most of the time. But when you look at the figure from behind, it sticks out quite a bit. These are very minor issues. But for a high end figure like this, expectations should be high.
Paint - 10/10The paint work on Cerebral is excellent. I haven't found any issues with the quality on my figure. And they didn't skimp on the amount of paint work either. The interior of the chest compartment is fully painted in silver with a few extra details as well. And Cerebral himself (or herself) is fully painted including a wash in all of the grooves, the eyes and the teeth. The results are very impressive.
Articulation - 8/10Cerebral and his android body have a total of forty six points of articulation.
Accessories - 5/10Cerebral comes with a removable cover for the chest compartment and two axe head attachments that replace the hands of the android body. The cover is a bit underwhelming. But it will likely prove useful for those who want to pose the figure loose to avoid getting dust inside. The axes are suitably imposing. Though I would have prefered a little variety rather than two of the same axe. And overall, the included accessories are nice but not as impressive as I would have expected. They included a terrific, removable Cerebral figure, but no reason to ever take him out of the android body. It would have been nice if they included one of his smaller transports.
Features - 5/10Cerebral has a light built into his chest that will light up the chest compartment. It is a nice extra feature, or at least it could be if they had included the required LR44 batteries. On a lesser figure, I would be alright with having to buy the batteries separately. Given the price point for this figure and the fact that this is the only feature, not having it functional right out of the box is quite annoying. There was also a fair amount of attention given to the fact that Cerebral includes die cast metal parts. The final figure does have metal shoulder pads and feet. The metal feet are a nice touch. They should help to lower the center of gravity for the figure and make him quite stable. I say they should because the benefit is lost as soon as they also attach equally heavy bits of metal for the shoulder pads at the top of the figure. And that was an odd choice since makeing the shoulder pads metal serves no decernable purpose from what I can tell.
Value - 7/10The price for Cerebral will vary quite a bit depending upon where you order from. But from what I have seen, you can expect to pay around $160 if you are in the US. That's not cheap. But given the limited production run of third party toys like this, I doubt that you will have much luck bargin hunting. And while the price is steep, there is little chance of seeing another large scale version of Krang's Android body anytime soon. And if you compare the cost and quality of Cerebral to the cost of the large Krang's Android Body from the vintage TMNT toy line, Cerebral is a huge step forward in quality and will still set you back less than one of the vintage figures in good condition would.
Happy Hunting:Cerebral from First Gokin is just beginning to ship now. It is an import figure and not officially licensed. If you have a store in your area that carries a decent selection of import and third party Transformers, you may find the figure there. But for most fans, you are going to have to order online. There are two websites that I have seen supporting the figure heavily leading up to its release. I ordered my figure from www.chimungmung.com where it is still listed for just $120. But by the time you pay for international shipping, their price ends up being almost the same as www.lunartoystore.com which is offering Cerebral for $160 shipped.