2014 was a huge year for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and collectible vinyl figures. We saw lines from Funko and Kid Robot as well as the
announcement of The Loyal Subjects line as well. But it seemed like it really was a case of too much of a good thing as only The Loyal Subjects
seem to sell well enough to get a follow up line. But that finally changed two years later when Kidrobot announced a follow up series at Toy Fair
this year. On the mini vinyl front, they have a new series of figures based on the vintage toy line designs. And they are also producing two new
large vinyl figures, similar to Bebop and Rocksteady. But this time around it will be Shredder and a Triceraton who get the large figure treatment.
And as with Bebop and Rocksteady, both large vinyls will also be getting exclusive repaints at San Diego Comic Con this summer. But my order of
all of the regular vinyls and mini vinyls just arrived. And I'm too impatient to wait for the exclusives. So it's time to pop open some blind
boxes and check out the new offerings.
Packaging - Lg Vinyls 7/10, others 8/10The packaging design for the regular and mini vinyl figures hasn't changed much. But the mini vinyl figures did get a slight graphical change as the background now focuses more on the New York night sky/skyline over the brick sewer background of the first series and the larger figures. The change will help to allow the new assortment to stand out from the first series, not that there should be many of them still on shelves anywhere after two years. But the style still matches which is nice. It's still annoying to me that the mini vinyls are only sold in blind boxes. And they are true blind boxes. There are no markings to tell you what figure is in any given box unfortunately. Their location in the shipping box will give you a big clue as to which is which. But that only works if you know that the box was just opened and the figures haven't been moved around. And of course, there will be some variation in how many of each figure is included in any case. Mine for example did not have any Triceraton figures. But for what it is worth, here is the arrangement of figures in my case:
Sculpting - Turtles & April, Rahzar & Triceraton 7/10, Others 8/10As with the first series, the Shell Shock! series figures all share a generic body and arms but with a unique head sculpt. (Actually, the Turtles all share the same head sculpt as well, the same one as the previous series.) That doesn't sound very impressive. But Kidrobot has done a terrific job of packing a ton of personality into those head sculpts. Even though they aren't overly detailed, each does a great job of evoking the look of the original toys from the original toy line. Even the few that I'm less thrilled with such as April and Rahzar are far from bad, they just seem a tad bit off.
Paint - 8/10Once again, Kidrobot is using a combination printed graphics and more traditional painting to decorate the figures. And the results are great. Every figure comes out clean and neat. And they are able to get a lot more detail and personality onto the figures than would be possible just with normal painting. There are fewer variants this time around as well. Both of the large vinyl figures are slated to get SDCC exclusive repaints. Shredder should get a set of gold armor and Triceraton will be available in green to match his Shogun Triceraton figure from the vintage toy line.
Articulation - 4/10Each figure has just three points of articulation. There are rotating joints at the shoulders and neck. That's it. These are not intended to be highly articulated figures. So they don't really need much more articulation than this. But it would be nice if they could have included a ball joint for the neck to add a bit more range of motion.
Accessories - April & Triceraton 4/10, Turtles & Casey 6/10, others 0/10There are not a lot of accessories included in this series. The Turtles get their weapons once again. But beyond them, only three of the figures have a weapon or accessory. Casey Jones has a hockey stick. It's nice, but the handle makes it look more like a golf club. April has a camera. But it is too large for her to be able to actually aim it on anything. Plus, it seems like a microphone would have been a better choice and easier for her to hold. Finally Triceraton has a laser rifle similar in design to the one that came with General Traag in the original toy line. But as with April's camera, the rifle is just a bit too large for the figure to wield it properly.
Value - Mini Vinyls 6/10, Shredder & Triceraton 5/10Shredder and Triceraton are larger vinyl figures and sell for $40 each. The smaller, blind box figures sell for $10 each from Kidrobot's site. $40 is a bit pricey for the large figures, especially since there are so few characters available in that size. But they do at least have the advantage that you can select exactly what you want. By contrast, $10 is a really good price for the small vinyl figures. But with the blind bag packaging, you can't just get the figure or figures you want. You can buy opened figures on the secondary market, but they generally carry a slightly higher price tag.
Happy Hunting:Kidrobot just released this new series in June. Presently they are available from Kidrobot's web site and should be showing up in specialty retail stores shortly. If you are not fortunate enough to have local stores that carry Kidrobot's products or only want a specific character, eBay tends to be the easiest way I have found to pick and choose which figures you want to buy.