This has turned into a very busy summer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys. And Diamond Select is looking to get a part of that action with
the release of the fourth series of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates line. Series four has ten figures spread across both an blind
bag assortment and an assortment of carded two packs, with most of the characters coming from season four of the Nickelodeon show. And while
that series has been sitting on my desk waiting for me to finish this review, series five hit stores as well. The more the merrier I guess.
And it does mean that the space bound crew from season four is complete. So it's time for my Minimate army to grow quite a bit.
Packaging - Blind Bags 5/10, Carded 2 packs 7/10The fourth and fifth series packaging is largely unchanged from series three. There is a new image of the four Turtles for the front of the blind bags for each series which is a nice touch. But that is the only real change. Overall, the packaging looks good. But the blind bag design still doesn't appeal to me much. The packaging doesn't actually fully conceal the identity of the toy inside as you can identify most of the figures by feeling the packaging for unique shapes or parts such as Mozar's horns or Baxter's mouser accessories. So they make it extremely difficult as a fan to just buy the figures that you want but don't stop people from cherry picking the rarest figures from a case right away. So they might as well just sell the figures in more traditional packaging.
Sculpting - Turtles, Baxter & Fugitoid 7/10, Mozar 8/10, Others 9/10The Minimates design is meant to be fairly stylized so that they don't have to do a lot of unique sculpting for figures. Of course, when you are dealing with a license like the Ninja Turtles where so many of the figures are not human, that doesn't work so well. Fortunately Diamond has shown that they are willing to put in the effort to make the Minimates style work for the TMNT character in the past three series. And having seen these figures behind glass at C2E2 earlier this year, I was looking forward to getting them. Pizza Party Michelangelo, Dark Horizon Raphael, Fanboy Leonardo and Inventor Donatello are the same Turtle bodies that we have seen repeatedly over the previous three series. It's a bit too bulky for the modern TMNT design. The space-suit Turtles get new bodies with the space gear molded on them. And when you take an already plumb body and add abounch of gear on top of it, the problem isn't going to get better. The space suited versions of Casey and April look much better. They even included exra hair pieces so you have normal looking hair and helmet hair that will fit into the removable helmets. Then there is Fugitoid. Translating his head shape from the show to the Minimates' cylindrical head shape is going to work better in some people's opinion than others. I don't mind it. But I don't love it either. Commander Mozar has parts covering his torso and feet to give him the bulk that the Triceratons had in the cartoon. But there are large gaps around the waist and hips. The Salamandrian also has parts covering most of his body. But the gaps are not as obvious. The more human shaped characters all turned out well as expected. And they added a few cool touches such as the rolled up sleeves for Baxter and the Oroku Saki's and Hamato Yoshi's gi shoulders.
Paint - Pizza Party Mikey 7/10, others 8/10As usual, the figures use a combination of traditional paint applications and printed graphics on the figures. And I'm generally pretty happy with the results. There doesn't seem to be any sloppiness or other quality control issues. (Though I suppose I could complain about the lack of decoration on Dark Horizon Raphael.) But the only real issue I have is that the excited, animated expression on Pizza Party Michelangelo's face doesn't really match well with the rest of the figure with its traditional paint work.
Articulation - Mozar 6/10, Others 7/10All of the figures use the standard Minimate body which has twelve points of articulation:
Accessories - Mozar, Salamandrian & Fugitoid 3/10, Space-Suit Turtles, Fanboy Leo, Inventor Don & Hamato Yoshi 5/10,
As with the past series, the figures are available both in two packs on a traditional card and individually in blind bags. And
some of the accessories included will differ slightly depending upon which version you purchase. All of the figures include a clear plastic
stand. The figures included in the carded two packs also come with keychain lanyards that fit around the figures' necks. Just those two accessories
are not all that impressive, which is an issue for Mozar, the Salamandrian and Fugitoid who only have those two items. Space Suit Turtles come with their weapons
and what are suppose to be removable helmets. But the helmets are so tight that I have had zero luck removing them without damaging the head
underneath. Space Suit Casey and Space Suit April come with weapons (a blaster for April and two hockey sticks and a bat for Casey), a removable
helmet and two versions of their hair. One hair piece is their normal hair. The other is helmet head hair, designed to fit inside their helmets.
Not only does this make them look great, the air space makes removing their helmets much easier than with the Turtles.
Kraang and Exo-suit Kraang come with a blaster and a loose Kraang. Bishop steps that up quite a bit with a pair of blasters and a
second chest piece so that he can be disguised as a regular Norman. Chrome Dome has two energy whips and a removable helmet. Dark Horizons
Raphael comes with a pair of sais and two Kraangs. And things just keep snowballing from there. Baxter Stockman has a trio of his mouser robots.
Pizza Party Mikey has two pizza boxes, two full pizzas and two pizza slices. (It's a shame they didn't include enough pizza for him to share with is
brothers.) Fanboy Leo and Inventor Donatello each have an assortment of accessories. None of them are all that spectacular. But they help to
justify buying what are essentially the same Turtles yet again. Hamato Yoshi comes with one of each of the Turtles' weapons. That is a nice touch
and a cool nod to him being the one to train the Turtles in their use later on. But as accessories they pale compare to his nemesis, Oroku Saki.
Oroku Saki has a sword and a baby Karai/Miwa who is mounted to a spare hand. So he can claim his prize while still
battling his foes. That is easily my favorite accessory of either series. Overall though, the figures could use a bit more balance for each
character. But it's great that they stepped it up for so many of the characters.