Playmates made a huge splash when they entered the action figure market in the eighties with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle line. Since then,
they have used the line to maintain a presence in that market. But whenever the property experiences a resurgence in popularity they also
like to use it to try to break into other segments of the toy market. They have been able to find their way into the preschool toy market
with the Half-Shell Heroes line last year. And this year they have made another attempt to enter the die-cast/collectible car market with a new
line of Ninja Turtle themed vehicles and playsets, the T-Machines. The T-Machines line includes an assortment of vehicles and characters as
well as several play sets. And they have expanded it further this summer with a few other electronic items. But for today, I'm going to
focus on just the basic vehicles.
Packaging - 9/10The T-Machines are available in a number of different forms including individual packs, two packs and a four pack. There is also a set that includes a T-Machine and a launcher to send it speeding into battle. But regardless of the format, the packaging is all quite similar. Each is packaged on a blister card with about half of the space on the card being used for the blister containing the toy while the top of the card has the TMNT logo and unique artwork for each character and vehicle. The back of the cards show the different vehicles available. The individual artwork on the front is a nice touch. Not only is it attractive, it also makes it much easier searching on pegs full of items for a particular T-Machine. While the cards for most of the T-Machines are too small for them to do much else. But with the Midnight Mutants 4 Pack, they had enough space to be more creative. And they did just that. While the packaging for the T-Machines is generally the same bright green that they have been using since the beginning of 2015. But in the interior of the packaging they changed up the colors to make it look more like a darkened cityscape. Under bright store lights it may not make a huge difference. But under normal lighting conditions the effect is fairly impressive.
Sculpting - 7/10The T-Machines combine both a preposed figurine and a die-cast car, similar to Rat Fink, though in a less extreme style. The figures themselves are quite well sculpted for their size. Most of the figures are only sculpted from the waist up. (Leo on the AT-3 being the one exception who is fully sculpted.) The vehicles are roughly 1:64 scale, or the size of a typical Hot Wheels car. The vehicles are mostly based on existing vehicles from the TMNT toy lines such as the Shellraiser, Party Wagon, AT-3 and Stealth Bike. They are stylized versions, but still very recognizable as the source vehicles. The details on them is not as sharp as the figures though. And of course they are all more or less the same size, to there is no consistent scale to them.
Paint - 5/10The paint work on all of the T-Machines is reasonably well done, but certainly not all that impressive. The figures have their major features painted. But there are just as many smaller details that aren't painted. Similarly, the vehicles have the major features painted. But there isn't any small detail work. The finish is not what I would like it to be either. The bodies of the vehicles are plastic rather than metal and the paint doesn't have the same glossy finish as automotive paint.
Accessories - Shell Launcher 6/10, others 0/10The Shell Launcher with Mikey in the Party Van is the only T-Machines toy with any sort of accessory. Though if you go by the name, I guess the Party Van is suppose to be the accessory to the Shell Launcher. The Shell Launcher works well. You push the vehicle into the launcher, rear end first and then launch the vehicle forward by tilting the shell backward. There is also a small safety feature in the form of a button on the bottom which will not allow the mechanism to fire if the button isn't pressed in by setting the launcher on a hard surface. The launching feature works well without turning the cars into dangerous projectiles. Functionally, the launcher is great. Aesthetically, the design seems to be a mess. The sculpting is surprisingly detailed with the metal plates bolted onto the shell seeming to indicate that they were trying for a look that is largely lost due to a complete lack of paint.
Features - 4/10The only feature which the T-Machines have is the ability to roll freely. But I will give them due credit, they roll well. The die-cast base plates give them enough mass to have a decent amount of momentum. And the wheels all spin freely without excess friction.
Value - 4/10The T-Machines sell in a variety of forms including single vehicles, two packs and an exclusive four pack. But the prices are fairly consistent at $4 per vehicle. So the single carded T-Machines are $4. The two packs are $8 and the four pack sells for $16. That isn't a horrible price, but it does seem a bit more expensive than it should be, especially since they are reselling the same molds two or three times. The Shell Launcher with the Party Van sells for $7. Since the unpainted launcher doesn't fell as valuable as an actual T-Machine vehicle, the slightly lower price seems fitting.
Happy Hunting:The T-Machines line started shipping to stores early in 2015 in the USA. The initial shipments included eight single pack T-Machines, four two packs and the Shell Launcher/Party Van set. Three more individual T-Machines and an additional two pack have begun to show up over the summer along with the Midnight Mutants 4 Pack which is a Toys R Us Exclusive. There are still three single pack vehicles shown on the cards that have not yet been released. Hopefully they will turn up soon. The T-machines line is being carried by all of the usual toy retailers: Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, etc... I will note that, at least in my area, the T-Machines don't seem to be selling particularly well. So finding restocks with the newer releases has been more difficult than most TMNT products.