I've been trying to get caught up on all of the new toy concepts that Playmates Toys has introduced to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy
line in the last year. But there is still one more to go, the T-Sprints. Introduced at the end of 2015 as a limited exclusive and more
widely at the beginning of 2016, the T-Sprints are small figures of Ninja Turtle characters which have a flywheel under them allowing them to
roll along while their legs and arms swing along. Each figure is also packaged with a "vehicle" which is really just a shell of a vehicle into
which they can be placed in something that looks like it came straight out of the Flintstones. This is definitely one concept where one has to
wonder if Playmates hasn't gone completely overboard. But I still bought a set to see if the execution lives up to the strangeness of the concept.
Packaging - T-Sprints figures 6/10The T-Sprints figures come on blister cards that have the vehicle in a rectangular blister and the figure in a circular outcropping that allows you to test out the wheel and moving limbs. The character artwork has been changed to match the look of the T-Sprints toys which is cute. On the back you have a couple photos showing the toy in action, both in and out of the vehicle shell and small photos of the full line at the bottom. The design is reasonably attractive. But it doesn't sell the idea of the T-Sprints having much play value. And at first glance, having the vehicle shell accessory in the center of the package and as the larger of the two parts gives me the impression that they are the primary toy and the figure is an accessory.
Sculpting - 4/10In terms of the sculpting, the T-Spirits figures are not great looking figures. They're not even really decent figures. But they are cute. The list of things that are wrong with them is quite long. They have a black wheel sticking out between their legs. Each figure has to have a set of training wheels on the back to allow them to stand up, though they did a nice job of hiding them in Shredder's cape. The limbs for all of the figures are just tacked on to the sides and look very unnatural. And yet, even with all of those issues, their cuteness is almost enough to redeem them.
Paint - Shredder 3/10, Turtles 5/10If you are a TMNT collector or fan, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that the paint work on the T-Sprints is pretty limited. The front and back shells, the main belt (but not the shoulder straps), masks and weapons are painted. The eyes and mouth are a printed graphic. So there is plenty of room for improvement. But at a glance they at least look passable. The same doesn't hold true for Shredder. With purple and dark metallic grey as the primary colors, there's not much contrast between the colors. And from the side or back, he is mostly just a single color. They also didn't paint the scarring on his face or his pupils. While he has about the same amount of paint work, his figure doesn't end up looking cute like the Turtles. It looks unfinished. It's a shame, because if they just painted his armor a brighter silver instead, he could have at least been on par with the Turtles.
Accessories - 1/10Each of the T-Sprints figures comes with a vehicle accessory. Each is supposed to be a representation of one of the vehicles from the show or modern toy line. When you place a T-Sprint figure in them, a small protrusion on the figures' belt lines up with a divot in the steering wheel of the accessory and the figure will push the vehicle accessory along with it. It's a fine idea. But the execution is pitiful. They are just thin walled shells with no actual wheels. So they are large, clunky and only serve to make it harder for the T-Sprints figures to do the one thing are designed to do, roll along a flat surface. They could have been well made. They could have been made with actual wheels and gearing so that the wheel on the bottom of the figure would actually make the vehicles' wheels spin or activate other action features. Instead they are silly looking plastic frames which just distract from the figures that deserve better.
Features - 3/10The T-Sprints have a single feature built into each figure. By rolling the wheel mounted under each figure, it spins a flywheel inside the figure which in turn keeps the bottom wheel rolling. As the wheel spins, it moves the legs and arms back and forth as well. It's a simple feature but it works. The problem comes with the vehicle accessories which add nothing but drag. The rolling feature isn't that impressive to begin with. Adding the vehicle shells just makes it worse.
Value - 2/10The T-Sprints figures sell for $6 each. That is too much for just one fairly simple and small figure that is just slightly better than a fast food premium. If they dropped the vehicle shells and sold them in a two pack for that price, it wouldn't have been a great price, but it would have been more in line with what I would have expected to pay.
In general, I have to say that the T-Sprints line seems like a decent product that has been very poorly positioned by Playmates. To start with, the T-Sprints are sold alongside the T-Machines in the diecast/Hot Wheels area. But they are not vehicles. In fact the vehicle accessories are the worst part of the T-Sprints. If they dropped the vehicle shells and sold them with the regular action figures they could be a cute novelty product.
Happy Hunting:The T-Sprints were released as a limited time exclusive through Toys R Us in December in 2015. Starting in 2016, they started showing up in all stores. They are also available from Toys R Us' web site now as well. So finding them shouldn't be too difficult.