As I've been going through the large backlog of items that I've been trying to get around to reviewing I ran across a couple of large cases that
have been sitting in my livingroom for over a year. I reviewed Kidrobot's two series of vinyl minifigures as well as the larger vinyl figures they
have produced. But last year they decided to do something a bit more artistic as well. They created a series of eight inch vinyl figures of the
four Turtles, each produced in either a monochrome version or fading from their signature color to black. They don't seem to have gained much
attention with TMNT fans. But I wanted to take a closer look at them rather than just throwing them into a storage bin.
Packaging - 3/10From the descriptions and photos on the Kidrobot website, these figures seemed like they were bright, colorful and artistic. When I received my order and opened them, what greeted me was packaging that is none of these things. They are packaged in plain gray boxes which have the TMNT and Nickelodeon logos to add a splash of color. But otherwise they are gray with slightly darker gray print. In the wrong light it looks like the panels of the boxes are almost completely blank. Even the figures themselves are not presented all that well. There is a large window on the front of the boxes so you can see them. But the window doesn't let enough light in to show off the figures well. And the background inside the boxes for the regular figures is dark enough to absorb most of the light. The exclusive versions change out the background for a slightly brighter color. That's a slight improvement. But the exclusive versions are disappointing in that there in nothing to them to denote that they are an exclusive or limited edition variation. That just seems like laziness to not include some mention of which is the regular version and which is the exclusive, especially since once these sell out from Kidrobot's website, they are going to quickly become extrememly niche items which very few fans will ever have heard of, much less seen or owned one.
Sculpting - Leonardo 3/10, Others 4/10Each of the Turtles is sculpted in a similar style, but the style seems to be a bit inconsistent across each figure. The heads are relatively normal looking, but the eyes are deeply recessed making it look like the masks must be extrememly thick. The arms and torsos seem to match the style of the current cartoon, but they are rather thick. But as you continue down the legs and eventually get to the feet, the sculpting becomes more and more angular. It's an interesting look, but it's probably not going to appeal to a lot of people. The figures are also sculpted so that they are more or less limited to just one basic pose. I think that Michelangelo has the best pose of the four. He looks perfect holding his nunchuks. Raphael has a more generic pose that allows him to look decent with or without his sais unlike Donatello who looks a bit strange without his bo. But poor Leonardo looks ackward whether he has his swords or not.
Paint - Exclusive Turtles & Leonardo 6/10, Donatello 5/10, Raphael & Michelangelo 3/10The exclusive versions of the Turtles have their signature color (blue for Leo, red for Raph etc...) for their top half and then it transitions to black around their belts. The design is interesting visually and easy to pick up on at a glance. And since the transition is a random splash pattern, there isn't really any right or wrong way for it to look. But with the regular versions of the figures, while they appear to be monochrome at first glance, they are actually suppose to transition gradually from a darker shade of each Turtle's signature color at the top, becoming lighter as you move down to the feet. When it is done well as it was on my Leonardo figure, it works well. But on Donatello the transition is very quick and happens just below his belt which then makes it look more like the color for the legs doesn't match properly. The issue is even worse with Raphael and Michelangelo where there is no transition. Their feet are just a completely different shade than the rest of the figures. The fading color is an interesting idea. But even where it was executed properly, the effect is barely noticeable. And on most of the figures it is just a detriment overall.
Articulation - Leo & Mike 2/10, Don & Raph 4/10Each of these figures has just five points of articulation. They have a ball joint for the neck and rotating joints at the shoulders and wrists. Obviously that is quite limited. But I already knew going into buying these figures that they were more statues than action figures. The ball joints in the neck allow full rotation, but have very limited range of motion to allow the figures to look up or down. Donatello and Raphael can at least look forward. But Leonardo and Michelangelo are permentantly stuck looking downward. The shoulder and wrist joints do allow for some variation in the posing. But even that is limited by the sculpting. Donatello and Raphael's arms are in relatively neutral positions so you have a few options for how to position them and still have them look natural. But with Michelangelo his arms are stuck in one pose. You can adjust the exact position, but it's still just going to be the same basic look. Leonardo has more range of motion for his arms. But the way he is sculpted so he permantently looks downward and the way his wrists are angled means that the arms only look right in one type of pose.
Accessories - Raphael 4/10, Leonardo & Donatello 5/10, Michelangelo 6/10Each Turtle comes with their usual weapons or weapon in Donatello's case. Other than the fact that they gave Michelangelo's nunchuks actual chains, the weapons are pretty simple. The only issue I have with any of them is with Raphael's sais which are weirdly flat. It looks like he cut them out of a sheet of cardboard and then just wrapped the handle with tape. It's not as noticeable once they are in his hands at least.
Value - Exclusive verisons 5/10, regular versions 3/10Kidrobot's vinyl figures are not cheap. But at $40 each, they are about as cheap as you could reasonably hope for. The real question of their value is who wants figures like these. They aren't direct representations of any particular incarnation of the Turtles. But they may work well to show off one's love of the Turtles in an office where you might not feel comfortable having a child's toy on display but may not have the space for or want to risk damage to a statue. So these could work as a nice middle ground.
Happy Hunting:The easiest way to get Kidrobot products that I have found it to order them directly from their web site. Although I actually ordered the regular versions from Megalopolis Toys when they were offering them for half price during their moving sale. Unfortunately they have sold out of all but Michelangelo. But all four Turtles as well as their exclusive repaints are still available directly from Kidrobot.com. And of course, that is the only place the exclusive versions are available.