2014 saw a flood of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle vinyl figures. But it has been a long wait since then for the follow up from either Kidrobot or
the Loyal Subjects. So of course when they finally did release them, both companies are delivering their second series of figures within a week
of each other, both focusing on figures based on the classic toy line. And since I have already reviewed the second series of Kidrobot's vinyl
figures, I thought it was only fair to also check out The Loyal Subjects' sophmore effort which includes new versions of the Turtles, Splinter,
and Shredder as well as Bebop, Rocksteady, Slash, Leatherhead and a cartoon style Foot Soldier. And of course there are plenty of exclusive versions
of the figures due out soon as well. But those will have to wait for their own review.
Packaging - 8/10This time around, the series two figures are only available in blind box packaging so far. The design is very similar to the series one boxes, but this time they feature Leonardo on the front as well as brighter colors for the background at the bottom. They have also done away with hiding the identities of the chase figures on the back. That's probably for the best since the identities of the chase figures are widely known. The biggest issue I have with the packaging is simply that it is a blind box design. At this price point, I don't want to have to buy multiple figures to get the character or characters that I want. It's particularly annoying since these are true blind bags with no code to indicate which figure is inside. You can't even feel the boxes to get a clue about the contents. The one advantage you may have is that the figures tend to be in a similar location in each case. So if you do happen to come across an untouched case, you can at least improve your odds of finding the figure you want by using the chart below of who was included in my case and where.
Sculpting - Shredder & Slash 7/10, others 8/10The second series of vinyl figures from The Loyal Subjects seems to be based on the Fred Wolf cartoon designs. For the Turtles, Shredder and Foot Soldier, they were able to recycle the bodies from the first series but gave each a new head and a few new parts such as a cape for Shredder and new belts for the Turtles. The changes to the Turtles are pretty minor. They are easily confused with the series one figures. And the new head for Shredder is very large. It does make Shredder slightly taller than the Turtles, but it definitely borders on being comically oversized. Slash has an impressive sculpt. But the longer neck and smaller beak compared to the other Turtles can make Slash look like he has a que ball for a head. Bebop, Rocksteady and Leatherhead all have big, beefy sculpts that make them look appropriately imposing compared to the Turtles. But I have also noticed that all three suffer slightly from poor tolerances for the joints. Particularly with the hips, there is quite a gap between the limbs and body.
Paint - 8/10I look at so many TMNT figures with limited paint work that it is quite a change to see fully painted figures like these. Each figure is fully painted, including the accessories and most of the details on the figures. I'm not entirely thrilled with the colors used for Slash and Bebop. Slash just seems a bit too drab compared to the darker green skin tone that I usually think of for him. And Bebop just has a strange hue that makes it look like he has a nasty case of sun burn.
Articulation - Bebop, Rocksteady & Leatherhead 7/10, others 8/10The default Loyal Subjects figure has fifteen points of articulation:
Accessories - Leatherhead, Rocksteady & Michelangelo 10/10, Donatello, Raphael & Foot Soldier 7/10, others 8/10Accessories are another area where the Loyal Subjects vinyl figures really stand out from their Kidrobot counterparts. Every figure has a selection of multiple accessories and weapons as well as a collectible card that has a checklist on one side and character information on the back. The accessories this time around are a mix of reused items from series one and all new accessories. For example, all four of the Turtles have the same weapons as their series one counterparts, but each also comes with a new item. Raphael comes with a new set of throwing stars, but that seems like a down grade from the kama that the first Raphael figure included. Donatello gets an upgrade from a single wrench to a grappling hook. But they missed the chance to actually make the grappling hook match the design from the show given that a grappling hook became Michelangelo's primary weapon after the first few seasons. Leonardo gets a new sheath for his swords and new throwing stars. Michelangelo has a cool, fully decorated skateboard with working wheels. The Foot Soldier has some reused throwing stars and sword as well as a new high tech rifle. Shredder has a scimitar style sword and the retro-mutagen gun he used in the original cartoon mini-series. Slash comes with a sword and knife patterned after the original toy, but I really miss the spiked mace of that toy. Similarly, Bebop comes with a gun and a crowbar. Both are nice, but again, I want his classic drill/gun weapon. Rocksteady comes with a rifle, combat knife and a sheath to hold the knife. His hat is also removeable as well, though it is held in place by his ears normally. Similarly Leatherhead comes with a removeable hat, a knife and a shotgun. The shotgun seems undersized compared to the other accessories though. Still, it's nice that every one of the figures has an assortment of weapons so you can vary up your displays.
Value - Turtles 5/10, Shredder 6/10, others 7/10The Loyal Subjects vinyl figures are more detailed, more articulated and come with more accessories than the Kidrobot vinyl figures. But they also carry a heavier price tag at $13 or $14 apiece. If they weren't sold as blind box items, I would have no reservation about that price. But it's a lot of money to waste each time you pull a duplicate figure. Even when you get past that, I have to say that the new version of the Turtles don't really look that different from the series one versions. I could say the same about Shredder. But given that he is now a chase figure, most people won't end up with extras of him. And conversly, the Foot Soldier isn't that different from the series one Foot Ninjas. But this version isn't a chase figure, so it's nice that people who missed him last time will have a better chance this time around. But ultimately the real highlights of this series are the other four mutants: Bebop, Rocksteady, Slash and Leatherhead. They are certainly worth picking up if you are a fan of this style and get the chance. Though if you are like me and don't like the blind box packaging, there are exclusive sets due out soon which will feature repainted versions of all four.
Happy Hunting:The Loyal Subjects Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures are sold primarily through specialty stores. If you don't have such a store locally, you can of course order online. I bought a case from Big Bad Toy Store. But you can also order directly from the company at theloyalsubjects.com. That is also the best option for keeping up with the eventual exclusive versions which will be released in the future.