One thing I really appreciate about Playmates Toys and how they handle the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy lines is their willingness to experiment
and try new things. Some of those ideas turn out to be pretty silly. Some turned out to be great. And some like their Mutations vehicles in the
Half-Shell Heroes line will just go down as odd little experiments in the history of the line. The idea of a Shellraiser that transformed into a
garbage truck or a fire engine that becomes a tank didn't exactly set the toy world on fire. But Playmates still gave the concept one more shot
with a third HSH Mutations vehicle, this time it is a race car that becomes a police car. That doesn't seem like all that impressive of a
transformation. That might explain why the planned fourth vehicle which was planned to be an ambulance that became a pizza truck never made it to
Packaging - 9/10The packaging for the Half-Shell Heroes Mutations vehicles is just a wider version of the usual vehicle packaging for this line. But it is fairly interesting and impressive in so far as it takes the odd transformation mechanic of these toys and allows you to try it fully in the stores.
Sculpting - 3/10The sculpting for both forms of the vehicle are boxy and rather clunky looking. Combine that with the frame going around the vehicle and the big tires and you get a vehicle that looks like someone's soap box derby version of a police car or race car rather than the real thing. It's also kind of annoying that the figure doesn't really fit in either form of the vehicle. Both forms have an open space for the figure to stand in. But those driver areas are really shallow. So if the figure is standing, only the area from the knees down are actually in the vehicle. And there isn't room for the feet to allow the figures to sit in the driver's area. The exclusive Leonardo figure isn't all that impressive either. He is just a normal Leonardo body with a new head sculpted with a helmet. I'll give them credit for creating yet another new helmet when it would have been much easier to just reuse one of the many that they already have. But it's also just one more in a long line of helmeted Turtle heads in the Half-Shell Heroes toy line.
Paint - 4/10The paint work here is very basic. They struck a balance of painting just enough details to keep the vehicle from looking dull. But there is still a lot of detail that wasn't painted. And given that both forms of the vehicle are suppose to be cars, it would have been nice to give it a finish that looked more like an automotive finish. On the positive side, the Leonardo figure is fully painted with no quality control issues.
Play Value - 7/10This vehicle has the same transformation gimmick as the previous two. The vehicle has a frame around the perimeter of the vehicle's body to which the wheels are attached. By pulling the frame apart slightly and then sliding them back together, the vehicle's body will fold down into itself while simultaneously unfolding the alternate form underneath the vehicle. It is a very creative gimmick and they seem to have improved the mechanism so that it is easier to start the transformation process.
Value - 4/10I'd really like to say that these Mutations vehicles are a good value. On paper, it certainly seems like a vehicle capable of transforming into two different forms plus a figure, all for under $20 should be a good deal. But here, both forms of the vehicle are slightly lack luster. And neither form really relates to the Ninja Turtles to begin with. The figure isn't anything particularly special and can't even fit into the vehicle in a realistic manner. So while the vehicle isn't inherently bad, it also doesn't offer much to to make it worth picking up.
Happy Hunting:The Mutations Race Car to Police Car started shipping last year. It was fairly readily available for most of the time since then. But now as most retailers have been cutting back on the Half-Shell Heroes line, the Mutations vehicles is one of the things that was dropped by many stores. I do still see some of them hanging around on shelves in some stores. But I wasn't able to turn up any sites that still have them available online.