Like it or not (I definately do not), blind bag/blind box mini figures have become very popular recently. It seems like nearly every property
has some version of them. So I shouldn't be too surprised that Playmates decided to throw their hat into this ring as well. Their first
attempt with the Stackable TMNT figurines were cute and had an interesting gimmick. But they weren't going to stop there. So as part of their
line up of merchandise for the TMNT Out of the Shadows movie this summer, they created a series of movie based mini figures to be sold in
blind bag packaging. They then extended the line this summer to include a handful of figures based on the Nickelodeon cartoon. While these
are some of the least interesting Turtle figures to come out this year in my opinion, I figured that the blind bag packaging means that
finding what you want out of these figures after they leave retail is going to be a real pain, so I had better check them out while they are
still readily available, just in case. So without further delay, let's do just that.
Packaging - Movie Series bags 5/10, Combo bags 3/10There are three different options for the packaging with these figures. The original blind bags were labeled as the Movie Series and featured a fairly standard design. The TMNT movie logo and a photo of the four Turtles occupy the front. The back has the left side dedicated to a small check list with photos of the regular versions of the figures and sillohettes of the chase versions of the Turtles. The right side has the UPC and the usual legal fine print. It's a fairly standard design for a blind bag. But it gets the job done. Then they came up with the combination bags. Of course, since they have figures based on both the cartoon and the movie, they wanted to include the logos for both versions. But that left them with very little room for any images. There's just a single small photo of two of the cartoon figures which are too small to actually see any detail. There's still the checklist with photos on the back. But if you are not paying attention, you probably won't notice that this version doesn't include all four Turtles in either the cartoon or movie style! But whichever version you are buying, my biggest issue with them is that they are blind bags, which I hate. If I'm willing to part with my money to buy your product, I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to purchase the product that I want. I can at least respect companies that actually design the packaging so that you can't tell what is inside such as Kidrobot, The Loyal Subjects and even Playmate's Stackable TMNT figurines. But when companies decide to sell items in blind bag packaging but either mark the packaging with a code to identify which figure is inside or just leave it so you can identify the contents by touch I find it extremely annoying and more than a bit insulting. And when lines have chase figures as these do, these not truely blind bags allow certain people to cherry pick the rarest figures while the average customer still has to buy muliples in the hopes of finding what they want. The one slight positive with these is that if you do want to figure out which figure is in each bag, Playmates has at least made it fairly easy. Each bag has a code stamped into the bag just above the UPC. The last character of that code is a letter which seems to indicate which character is inside with one exception. The Combo Series blind bags have both the Diamond Edition Leo and OotS Rocksteady marked with a K. So you have to look at the last two characters of the code. Of course, that is only useful if you know the codes.
Movie SeriesLeonardo = F, Donatello = G, Raphael = I, Michelangelo = H, Bebop = J, Rocksteady = K, Shadow Ninja Leonardo = N, Shadow Ninja Donatello = P, Shadow Ninja Raphael = O and Shadow Ninja Michelangelo = Q
Combo SeriesLeonardo = A, Donatello = B, Raphael = D, Shredder = E, Kraang = F, OotS Donatello = G, OotS Michelangelo = H, OotS Raphael, = I, Diamond Edition Leo = 1K, OotS Rocksteady = 2K and Diamond Edition Raphael = L
Sculpting - Cartoon figures, Bebop & Rocksteady 6/10, OotS Raph 4/10, OotS Leo, Don & Michelangelo 2/10These mini figures are not going to go down in history as a high point in Playmates history of making Ninja Turtle figures. In fact, the movie Turtles are probably the worst figures I have ever seen them produce. There's no clear style to them. The details aren't very sharp. And the head sculpts are barely recognizable as being the Turtles. Depending upon the angle, Out of the Shadows Michelangelo looks like his skull has been caved in on the left side. Raphael is a bit better. At least his head is the appropriate general shape. Fortunately they did much better with the two movie villains. The detail is still limited, but at least both Bebop and Rocksteady actually look like they did in the movie. The cartoon based figures are a vast improvement over the movie Turtles. If they have any real drawback, it's probably that they don't look much different from the Half-Shell Hero figures that we have already gotten. They are just a bit less stylized. And while the other figures kept the heads, feet and hands slightly larger than they should be compared to the rest of the figures, Shredder mostly just has the larger head and slightly longer arms. And that does make him look a bit awkward.
Paint - OotS Leo, Mikey & Raphael 3/10, Rocksteady, Shredder, Kraang, Toon Leo & Toon Don 6/10, others 5/10The paint work for the Movie Series mini figures is not great. A lot of that is likely due to the small size and the fact that the sculpted details that they were trying to paint are not all that sharp to begin with. But whatever the reason, half of the Movie Series figures suffer from sloppy paint work. Donatello and the Shadow Ninja versions of Donatello and Raphael all turned out a little better. They aren't great, but they aren't overly sloppy either. The highlight of the Movie Series is the two villains. Bebop turned out reasonably well other than the silver for the studs on his bracelets. But those small specks of silver are so small, I rarely even notice that they are there. But he is overshadowed by his partner who actually has some nice details like his arm tattoos and the camo on his pants. There's still a lot of paint work that could have been added to Rocksteady. But as is, he looks pretty good. With the newer, Combo Pack releases the paint work seems to be a hair better on the figures included in both. But it isn't a significant change. But the comic based figures from that series step up the quality control. Raphael suffers a bit as they left a small border of unpainted green around his plastron and green spots on his belt. And his Diamond Edition counter part as well as Diamond Edition Leo have their belts, masks, pads and wrappings painted as well as their eyes. But the paint for both Raph and Leo are almost the same color as the plastic making all but the painted eye irrelavant. The remaining comic based figures have relatively simple and clean paint work that make the paint work just disappear onto the figures. I wish that they had given Shredder's armor a more metallic looking finish, but other than that, the cartoon based figures turned out alright.
Articulation - 3/10All of the mini-figures have four points of articulation: ball jointed necks, rotating shoulders and either a rotating waist or hips with the legs fused together through the hips. The articulation works. None of the figures have loose or stuck joints. But other than changing where the figure is looking, the articulation doesn't really serve any purpose as the figures aren't capable of any poses other than thier default pose.
Accessories - NANone of the mini-figures have any removable accessories. But every figure does have weapons included as part of their sculpt.
Value - 3/10The blind bag mini-figures sell for $4 at Toys R Us. At first glance, that doesn't seem like a bad price. There's not a lot available in the action figure aisle for under that price. But you still have to factor in the blind bag packaging and potentially buying multiple figures to get the one(s) you want. And there is still the issue of why you want a random set of figures in a new size and style. Initially I thought that the Movie Series mini-figures would be a means to get some Out of the Shadows based figures that could fit into the Half-Shell Heroes line. But these figures are inferior to Playmates' HSH offerings in almost every way except the price.
Happy Hunting:The mini-figures are available at regular retail. But they haven't gotten a lot of support from the major retailers. The Movie Series blind bags were easiest to find at Target stores in my area. The combination packs showed up at Toys R Us towards the end of the summer and more recently I have found them at Gordman's as well. And if you are interested in them, you will likely have to find them locally as I have yet to see any online stores to offer them.