I'm almost caught up with the reviews for the TMNT vehicles released in 2015, but I'm hoping that I've saved the best for last, the vehicle/figure
packs. The basic vehicle assortments may have come to an end in 2015, but Playmates continued to produce the larger vehicle and figure sets with a
pair released under the Mutations banner and a set for Casey which includes the unmasked, clean faced Casey that fans have been waiting for. And
to add a cherry to the top of this sundae, a fourth set which includes a new version of Michelangelo in space armor with the Fugitoid Ship
from the fourth season. I've said for a long time that the quantity and variety of the vehicles produced for the Ninja Turtle toy lines has been
one of its best features. And these look to be some great additions to that history.
Packaging - 7/10As with all of the other TMNT products, the packaging for the figure/vehicle packs got an overhaul for 2015. But it was a much smaller change for these sets than it was for some products. The shape of the box was changed with it being angled in on the left side. The new design does seem to give a better view of the figure which is packaged on the left side of the boxes. And the back of each box has a large photo of the vehicle and the included figure. So the packages show off the toys very well. But they still have issues with being prone to damage. There are a lot of small edges and corners around the windows which can be easily bent or torn. And the notch on the left side, while fairly well covered in tape, still has several pieces of thin material meeting at an odd angle which is a recipe for damage.
There's also a potential issue with the Fugitoid Ship. It is packaged with the wings unattached in the box to save space. The wings are packaged so that only one is visible in the packaging. A number of people have found that they were missing a wing after they got it open. And unfortunately there is no way to be sure until you open up the packaging. Fortunately it doesn't seem to be all that common of an issue.
Sculpting - Quad Rotor 5/10, Tri-Flyer 6/10 Fugitoid Ship 7/10, Slamboni 8/10I didn't have high expectations for the Quad-Rotor, assuming that it was just going to reuse the molds from the Hover Chopper from the 2003 line. But while the design is functionally the same, the mold is new. And I really like the new mold. It is a far more realistic motor and handles than the 2003 version. But it does have a significant issue when transformed. The front rotors don't face down. They end up being angled forward at about forty five degrees. So if Leo actually tried to ride it, he'd be going backwards. And speaking of Leo, the included figure is a repaint of the Stealth Tech Donatello with a new head. It's not a bad mold to use except for storing his weapons. The figure still has a single loop for a bo staff. You can get Leo's two swords to fit, but no self-respecting swordsman would ever do that to his weapons.
The Tri-flyer is a three wheeled motorbike similar to a Spider. But they put several gaps in the front shroud which makes it very apparent that the front is hollow which gives the whole vehicle a cheap feel to me. I actually prefer the look of the vehicle when the wheels are flipped under the shroud to make it look like an armored bike. When transformed, it looks a lot more like a powerful diver's tow for SCUBA divers than anything that would actually fly. And Playmates may agree with me since the included Raphael figure is a repaint of the Donatello from the Turtle Sub. As with Leonardo, it is a decent sculpt to reuse. And just as with Leonardo, the one issue is that the loop for storing a bo staff doesn't work well for storing a pair of sais.
The Slamboni may be the most ridiculous vehicle to be made into part of an action figure line. An ice conditioning machine is insanely slow, only works on ice and generally wouldn't have any weapons. And in real life they are basically just a giant box. And despite all of that, somehow Playmates managed to turn that into an armored attack vehicle for Casey. It does end up looking more like a snowmobile than a Zamboni with the skis on the front and the streamlining of the front end. I also find it hilarious that they use the space where the ice shaved off the surface would be accumulated in a real Zamboni as a passenger seat. The highlight of this set actually should have been the Casey Jones figure which includes a mask-less, clean face that many fans were hoping for with the carded figure. Sadly it is not a very good likeness of Casey. The chin is too pronounced and he is missing his usual disheveled hair. Add the lackluster head to the body that I wasn't very happy with the first time around and there's not a lot to love about this figure.
The Fugitoid Ship features prominently in the current season of the show. This toy may have been based on an early design of the ship from the show. It shares a number of basic design features with the final show design, but they are quite a bit different on the toy. Of course the scale is way off as well since the toy is only large enough to fit one figure. There isn't much to the interior, but the seat and molded controls are more than we have seen in most of the recent TMNT vehicles. The ship comes with a version of Dimension X Michelangelo that lacks the helmet and backpack. But it does have a new head sculpt with a cap similar to those wore by astronauts under their helmets. The idea is great, but without the helmet, the belt and wrist bands look really bulky.
Paint - Quad Rotor 3/10, Tri-Flyer 7/10, Fugitoid Ship & Slamboni 6/10Playmates Toys has been getting a lot of flack over the last year or so about the lack of paint work on their Ninja Turtle figures. But the vehicles have a decent amount of paint work. The Quad Rotor is the one disappointment. And that isn't necessarily due to a lack of paint work. The light green used for the fenders looks like cheap plastic. I also tend to think that a bike like this should have a lot of chrome for the rims, front fork and handlebars. But on the Quad Rotor those are all black. That look could work, but not when you have a garden hose green fender and a blue cross brace attached to them. The included Cloud Cruisin' Leo figure also has a fair amount of paint work. They did skip the wrappings on his thumbs for some reason. And of course there are plenty of details on the outfit that aren't painted. But he still looks better than the bike in my opinion.
The Tri-Flyer and its Jet Jammin' Raph figure have a similar amount of paint work to the Quad Rotor. But the colors seem to be much better balanced on the Tri-Flyer. And none of the colors seem out of place like the green fenders on the Quad Rotor. I do wish that they had painted the rims of the wheels which are suppose to double as turbines. Jet Jammin' Raphael is also a step up from Cloud Cruisin' Leo. There is more details of the outfit painted and a nice balance of color across the entire figure.
Both the Slamboni and Fugitoid Ship have a fairly limited amount of paint work or decoration. But it works well for those vehicles. I wish they had picked a different color for the wheels and skis on the Slamboni instead of the cheap looking orange. They used a similar orange color for the interior of the Fugitoid Ship, but it is far less visible there. (And I can't really claim to know what the appropriate color to use for the interior of an alien space ship would be.) Casey has the same paint applications as the carded figure except for the head. The face is reasonably well painted, but it is disappointing that they didn't print the pattern on his bandanna headband. Space Captain Mikey has new paint job for his plastron and the cap is fully painted. There is also paint applications on all of the pieces of armor as well. So the figure has a clean, sharp look to it.
Play Value - Tri-Flyer & Quad Rotor 4/10, Slamboni & Fugitoid Ship 7/10The Tri-Flyer and Quad Rotor both have simple transformation gimmicks and a figure with a basic pair of weapons. So the transformations are really important to the overall appeal of both sets. And both are fairly lackluster. The Quad Rotor transforms by splitting the front and rear tires to form the eponymous four rotors. The gimmick worked well on the Hover Chopper a decade ago. But as I mentioned before, they goofed up the geometry of the front wheel so it is permanently tilted up in flight mode. The Tri-flyer is meant to transform by flipping the front tires under the front body and splitting the rear tire to form two turbines. The packaging calls the small running boards flight stabilizers. But it really seems like it needs a pair of wings to have any chance of flying. Both the Slamboni and Fugitoid Ship do away with the transformation gimmicks in favor of more traditional play features. The Slamboni fires small plastic discs from the front when a small lever is pushed forward and of course it has space for a second figure to ride as long as they don't mind riding with the ice shavings. The Fugitoid Ship has two projectile launchers built in to the underside in the front. That's nothing too spectacular about it. But there is some value to the fact that the ship plays such a big role in the cartoon this year. It's just too bad that it isn't large enough for more figures.
Value - Tri-Flyer & Quad Rotor 4/10, Slamboni & Fugitoid Ship 6/10All four of these sets are part of the same assortment and carry the same $20 price tag in most stores. When you consider that a basic TMNT figure sells for $10 and the smaller basic vehicles do as well, $20 for a figure and slightly larger vehicle is not a bad deal. Unfortunately the Quad Rotor and Tri-Flyer are just the latest in a long line of motorcycles in the TMNT toy lines. And there are better ones made in the past. The Slamboni is a completely unique vehicle, even in a line full of unusual vehicles, and comes with a variant of Casey Jones that fans have been clamoring for since the character was introduced into the show. With the Fugitoid Ship, you have the opposite situation. Even though the toy doesn't match the design from the show that well, it is still recognizable as Fugitoid's Ship which plays a huge role in the show. That alone would almost be enough to make it a worthwhile purchase for fans.
Happy Hunting:The figure and vehicle assortment is sold in just about every store that carries the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy line. The Tri-Flyer and Quad Rotor were released early in 2015. The Slamboni was added to the assortment later in the year and the Fugitoid Ship started to ship in 2016. Presently, the Tri-Flyer, Quad Rotor and Fugitoid Ship are all shipping in the assortment along with the Hot Rod. But I'm sure that the Slamboni will find its way back into the assortment before too long.