TMNT Minimates Series Four and Five Review

series 4 and 5 group photo
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 7/10

The 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 9/10

The 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 8/10

As 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 7/10

All of the figures use the standard Minimate body which has twelve points of articulation:
  • ball jointed neck
  • ball jointed shoulders
  • hinged elbows
  • rotating wrists
  • rotating waist
  • ball jointed hips
  • hinged knees
For such tiny figures, that's a lot of articulation. Getting all of the parts freed up and moving smoothly can be an issue. And when extra parts have to be inserted into the gap between limbs such as Oroku Saki's shoulders, the limbs can be prone to popping off. Of course, they pop back on just as easily.

Accessories - Mozar, Salamandrian & Fugitoid 3/10, Space-Suit Turtles, Fanboy Leo, Inventor Don & Hamato Yoshi 5/10,
Kraang, DH Raph & Chrome Dome 6/10, Space Suit April & Casey & Baxter 7/10, Bishop 9/10, Others 8/10

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.

Value - Blind Bags 4/10, Space-Suit Turtles 2 Packs 9/10, Other 2 Packs 8/10

The pricing for series four hasn't changed. The two packs sell for $7.50 while the blind bags sell for $5 to $7 depending upon where you are buying them. So the two packs are certainly the better value, both in terms of the price and because you can buy exactly the figures that you want. The only downside is that Pizza Party Mikey, Dark Horizon Raphael, Fanboy Leonardo and Inventor Donatello are Turtle variants that I could do without. And while Chrome Dome is a nice figure, they could have accomplished the same result just by including the helmet with Chris Badford's figure. Oroku Saki, Baxter Stockman, Spoace Suit April and Hamato Yoshi are all exclusive to the blind bags. And there is only one of each per case of eighteen figures. So unless you are lucky, you are likely going to have to either buy a case to get them, or pay a significant premium for them. But at least the final products have a lot going for them to make them worth the effort. I don't even mind the inclusion of the Kraang who is just a reissue of the Series one version from the Kmart clip strip cases. It's a good opportunity for those that missed that figure to fill in the hole in their collections and for those that were lucky enough to find it to be able to build up a small Kraang army.

Happy Hunting:

Three of the four carded two packs are suppose to be available at retail stores in general with Pizza Party Michelangelo/ Chrome Dome and Space Suit Michelangelo/Bishop sets being Toys R Us exclusives. Though in truth, I have yet to see or even hear of another store that carries the two packs other than Toys R Us. So essentially, all of the two packs are exclusive to them. Series Four has been shipping to store for a couple of months. Series Five are shipping to stores now. They should show up on Toys R Us' web site soon as well. The blind bag figures are sold through specialty stores like comic shops and online toy stores such as Big Bad Toys Store and even from Diamond Select Toys directly. The down side is that if you are buying online, you will likely have to buy a case of eighteen. Ultimately, I have found that if you want to get all of the figures, is has been easiest to order an opened set of the Blind Bag figures from eBay and then just buy the one exclusive set from Toys R Us.

Space-suit Leo/exp-suit Kraang 2 pack MOC

Space-suit Don/fugitoid 2 pack MOC

Raph/mozar 2 Pack MOC

Mikey/chrome dome 2 pack MOC

blind bags

Fanboy Leo/Space Suit Casey 2 Pack Moc

Space Suit Raph/Kraang 2 Pack MOC

Space Suit Michelangelo/Bishop 2 Pack MOC

Inventor Donnie/Salamandrian 2 Pack MOC

Series 5 Blind Bags

Michelangelo and the Hulk Pizza Party Michelangelo with two slices Space Suit Leonardo front and back Fanboy Leo front and back Space Suit Leonardo's accessories Fanboy Leonardo's accessories Space Suit Leonardo with swords Fanboy Leonardo with comic All Leonardo Minimates Space Suit Donatello front and back Inventor Donatello front and back Space Suit Donatello's accessories Inventor Donatello's accessories Space Suit Donatello with staff Inventor Donatello faces All Donatello Minimates Dark Horizons Raphael front and back Space Suit Raphael front and back Dark Horizons Raphael's accessories Space Suit Raphael's accessories All Raphael Minimates Space Suit Raphael unmasked Space Suit Michelangelo unmasked Pizza Party Michelangelo front and back Space Suit Michelangelo front and back Pizza Party Michelangelo's accessories Space Suit Michelangelo's accessories All Michelangelo Minimates Triceraton front and back Fugitoid front and back Chromedome front and back Exo-Suit Kraang front and back Chromedome accessories Exo-suit Kraang's accessories Chromedome unmasked Chromedome and Chris Bradford Oroku Saki front and back Baxter Stockman front and back Oroku Saki accessories Baxter Stockman accessories Oroku Saki with Karai Baxter Stockman commanding mousers Kraang front and back Space Suit Casey Jones front and back Kraang's accessories Space Suit Casey Jones accessories Kraang exo suits Space Suit Casey Jones without helmet Space Suit April front and back Bishop front and back Space Suit April's accessories Bishop's accessories Space Suit April hair styles Bishop with Norman Space Suit April without helmet Bishop in action Space Suit April and regular April Kraang/Utrom figures Hamato Yoshi front and back Salamandrian front and back Hamato Yoshi's accessories Salamandrian without helmet Hamato vs Oroku Saki All Series 5 Minimates