The T-Machines line has a pretty strong line up of vehicles for a line that just started this year. But die-cast vehicles like this are only
half the fun. You need someplace to drive them, race them and crash them. So Playmates produced three playsets, two smaller, environment based playsets
and a larger race track based playset. The sets can also be connected together to form a larger environment for your T-Machines to cruise.
Each playset also includes an exclusive version of the T-Rawket vehicle with a different Turtle driver.
Packaging - 8/10Each of the T-Machines playsets is packaged unassembled in fairly thin boxes. The front of each box has a large image of the playset along with several T-Machine vehicles as well as small photos of the pack-in vehicle and one of the fetures. The back has an actual photo of the playset with the features pointed out as well as small photos of all of the basic T-Machine vehicles and playsets. The greens used for the backgrounds get to be a bit much due to the sheer amount of it that is visible. And the material used for the packaging is a bit thin so it can be damaged a little too easily. But otherwise, the design works quite well.
Sculpting - Turtles' Revenge 2/10, Garage & Lair 6/10, Gas Station 7/10The T-Machine playsets are a real mixed bag. They actually have a fair amount of detail to them. But the panels and parts that make up the playsets are not sculpted/textured on both sides. So each playset ends up with an unofficial front and back. And the backs of the playsets end up being extremely dull. If the playsets were larger or at least closed off on the back, it wouldn't be an issue. But as it is, the small nature of the playsets and the fact that the easiest access to the interiors of the two small playsets is from the back means that kids playing with the playsets will be spending as much time staring at the blank backsides as the other three sides. And the interiors of the gas station and sewer lair are completely empty. It would also be nice if the sets made any attempt to replicate the environments from the show rather than some random gas station and street scene. Then there's the Turtles' Revenge set. It is the largest of the three sets but is comprised of just a long ramp that twists around the large robotic Shredder and a base plate to which to mount them. That would be fine if the robotic Shredder was as imposing as he should be. Instead he looks like a cheesy carnival attraction. And when viewed from behind, he looks like a poorly made carnival attraction.
Paint - Turtles' Revenge 3/10, others 5/10The T-Machines playsets have zero paint applications. The Gas Station and Garage/Lair sets both come with half a dozen decals that you have to apply. The Garage & Lair playset also comes with a small, full color cardboard backdrop for the top level. It is a shame that they didn't put in more effort. The two smaller sets look alright as they are. But there is a lot of untapped potential there for them to really stand out if they were to receive more paint work. Then there is the Turtles' Revenge set which has no paint work or decals/stickers. Despite that, it doesn't look horrible. There is enough variety in the color of the plastic to allow the parts to be distinct. But it does mean that the giant Shredder Robot is a monochrome hunk which further makes it look cheap and far less threatening.
Features - Turtles' Revenge 4/10, Garage & Lair 5/10, Gas Station 6/10Each of the T-Machines playsets has several built in features. The Gas Station has a working car lift on the side to lift vehicles up to the roof and the awning that extends over the front which doubles as a ramp. The Garage & Lair set has a car lift in the garage area that can lift a car all the way up to the upper level and a secret sewer entrance. The Turtles' Revenge set has a section of track that drops out, another section of track which the Shredder robot drops into place and a mechanism to topple the top half of the Shredder Robot. The features for the two smaller sets aren't all that imaginative, but they are integrated into the sets well. In particular I like the ramp on the gas station set as it works as a means for the vehicles to come down off the roof as well as to launch vehicles up to the roof. The instructions even point out that you can use the Shell Launcher to shoot vehicles up the ramp and into the billboard on the back. In addition, it can be used to connect the sets together. The gate to the sewer in the Garage & Lair set flips open when the barrel on the top is pushed back. The car lift/elevator is a creative idea, but it can be a bit clunky since it has to be raised and rotated at the same time, manually. The Turtles' Revenge set has the most features, but for some ungodly reason they decided to control all of them with a single switch. As a vehicle enters the top of the ramp, there is a divider that guides the vehicle onto either the inner or outer lane. If it goes down the outer lane, nothing happens, it will continue uninterrupted. If it goes down the inner lane, it hits a switch right in front of the Shredder Robot which activates all three features, dropping a section of the ramp out, dropping the robot's arm down with a new section of track to replace the part that just dropped down as well as putting a jump ramp in the outer lane and potentially causing the robot to tip back. If the path that the vehicle took was random, the features would be interesting. But since you control which path the vehicle takes, you know what will happen so the features might as well not be there.
In addition to the built in features, each of the playsets includes a T-Machines version of the T-Rawket with one of three Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo or Raphael. All three are the same vehicle with slightly different coloration. The vehicle looks more like a traditional car with a rocket on the back than the T-Rawket from the show. But unlike the other T-Machines with a large portion of the figure visible, the T-Rawkets just have the Turtles' head sitcking out and a sticker showing the rest of them and the interior of the vehicle. Ultimately, compared to the other T-Machine vehicles, the T-Rawkets are fairly generic and unimpressive. Having three of them only makes it worse since they are also repetative.
Value - Turtles' Revenge 3/10, Garage & Lair 5/10, Gas Station 7/10The Gas Station and Garage & Lair sets both sell for $15 each while the Turtles' Revenge ramp set carries a slightly higher price of $20. As the weakest of the three sets, having the highest price really kills the value of this ramp. The Garage and Lair set is a big step in the right direction. But the set just seems like it is missing something, especially since so much of the space in the set is largely unused. Finally there is the Sewer Gas Station. This set is both the best display piece and play environment. It still has room for improvement such as making use of the space in the garage or giving it a complete paint job. But as is, it is still a pretty cool playset and one that will work quite well with any 1:64 scale die-cast cars a little mutant might want to race through it.
Happy Hunting:The T-Machine playsets were released with the lauch of the T-Machines line at the beginning of 2015 and seem to be readily available at most stores with full toy department. They are also available online from Toys R Us, Target and Walmart. There is also a fourth, larger playset due out soon.