I've covered all of the Half-Shell Heroes two and a half inch figures, vehicles and playsets finally. But that still leaves the larger six inch
figures. Over the last couple of years, Playmates Toys has released three new versions of six inch Half-Shell Heroes including weapon swinging figures,
Press 'N Shout Turtles and Turtles that transform from pet turtles to Ninja Turtles. With nothing but Turtles and no villains to fight, the six inch
Half-Shell Heroes figures hasn't held a lot of interest for me. But I figured it was still worth taking some time to check out the final offerings in
the line to see how they turned out.
Packaging - 7/10All three series of six inch Half-Shell Heroes Turtles use package designs that are very similar to the first series of six inch figures. It is a nice looking design. But there's very little to distinguish one set of figures from the next. That isn't much of an issue when the figures themselves look radically different as is the cas with the two and a half inch line. But there was more than one occassion when I was casually looking and the Half-Shell Heroes toys and didn't even notice that there were new figures released. And if I am not noticing the difference, I'm sure most parents aren't either.
Sculpting - 7/10Playmates Toys made four different series of six inch Half-Shell Heroes Ninja Turtles (or at least three and a half since they only produced Leonardo and Raphael as Pet to Ninja figures) And they are quite cute. But they are also all very similar. The Pet to Ninja figures do stand out a bit as their torsos had to be larger to make room for the transformation function. But if I line up the Weapon Swinging and Press 'N Shout versions of each Turtle, I wouldn't be able to immediately tell which is which. While there is certainly some value in consistency, I also have to assume that the line lost at lease some sales from the simpe fact that parents probably didn't realize that these were new figures.
Paint - Pet to Ninjas 5/10, others 6/10The paint work on the six inch Half-Shell Heroes Turtles is well executed, but quite simple and lacking in ambition. There's no small details painted such as the belt straps. But I will give the Press 'N Shout and Weapon Swinging Turtles credit in that the weapons are actually fully painted. That doesn't help the Pet to Ninja figures though because they don't come with weapons.
Articulation - Press 'N Shout Turtles & Weapon Swinging Don & Mikey 5/10, Weapon Swinging Leo & Raph & Pet to Ninjas 4/10The articulation for all of these figures is limited at best. And then they added action features which further limit the articulation on many of the them. The Press 'N Shout Turtles, Katana-Crossing Leo, Nunchuk-Twirling Mikey and Bo-Spinning Donnie all have the same articulation with nine points of articulation each. Most of that is in the figures arms which each have a shoulder joint and double jointed elbows (rotating and hinged) on both arms. The Weapon Spinning Leo, Donnie and Mikey actually have two shoulder joints. But one joint is controlled by the action feature so it can't hold any pose. The remaining joints are rotating joints at the knees and neck. Sai-Swinging Raph actual retains the use of both shoulder joints in his arms which makes him the most articulated figure of them all. But his action feature has his torso positioned at an odd angle to the side in its default position. And his articulation won't provide a way to correct that. The Pet to Ninja figures are the least articulated of any of the figures with only six usable points of articulation, all located in the arms. (They do of course have many more moving parts, but those are all connected to the transformation function.) Each of their arms has a rotating should joint and a rotating and hinged elbow. That probably should be more disappointing than it is. But since none of the six inch Half-Shell Heroes figures have really had any usable leg articulation, it's not really something I miss on these figures.
Accessories - Press 'N Shout Leo, Mikey & Raph 5/10, others 0/10Here's one area where Playmates made some rather strange choices. The Press 'N Shout Turtles all have one weapon permanently molded in their hand as part of the sculpt. But for Leo, Mikey and Raph, they were given a second removable weapon as well. Since Donnie usually only use one bo at a time anyway, he didn't get a second bo staff. The Weapon Swinging Turtles all have their weapons molded to their hands as well. But Pet to Ninja Leo and Raph were both left empty handed. They each have holes in their fists to hold a weapon. And Playmates already had molds for weapons from the Press 'N Shout figures. So I don't see why Playmates didn't give them a removable weapon as well. But on the plus side, if you have both the Press 'N Shout and Pet to Ninja figures, you can just let them borrow a weapon.
Features - Pet to Ninjas 8/10, Katana-Crossing Leo 7/10, other Weapon Swinging Turtles 5/10, Press 'N Shout Turtles 3/10So just in case the names didn't already make this abundantly clear, each of the six inch figures has an action feature built into it. For the Press 'N Shout Turtles, they all share the same feature. Pressing down on the head or body will force the legs up into the torso and activate a short sound clip. But each figure has less than half a dozen clips to repeat which gets old fast. And as usual, the voice acting for the voice clips is not very good. They also lack a way to turn off the figures short of taking out the batteries. And I'm guessing that after one or two instances of kids toy boxes randomly yelling through the night, those batteries will be coming out and not going back in, ever. The Weapon Spinning Turtles all have mechanical action features which are activated once again by pressing down on the figure. For Donnie and Mikey, their shoulders rotate roughly two hundred and seventy degrees and then rotate back. That's a fine feature and works well enough. But they aren't very distinctive or creative. Sai-Swinging Raph's feature is a little more creative. His torso rotates around so as to swing his right arm forward. I like this feature more. But it is also more intrusive on the figure when not in use. Katana-Crossing Leo has the most creative of the four features as pressing down on his body will cause him to bend both arms. The fact that he bends them in the middle of his upper arm instead of at the elbow is a bit disturbing. But his action feature not only works well, it can actually be used in different ways by rotating the arms in advance. Do that will allow you to choose if the arms will bend upward, forward or in whatever direction you want. And they don't have to move in the same direction. It is a somewhat awkward motion, but at least this action feature gives you multiple options on how to use it. Finally we come to the Pet to Ninja Leo and Raph figures. And as the name implies, these are the Half-Shell Heroes line's take on the standard mutating turtle figure. But what is impressive here is that Playmates Toys found a way to automate most of the process. Simply by gripping the shell of the figure and rotating it one hundred and eighty degrees the neck will retract forcing the head to look up. The arms will rotate into position to become the front legs of the pet turtle. The rear legs will bend down, albeit in the wrong direction for how a knee should bend. And a small tail will pop out of the bottom of the figure. So the only other steps necessary to complete the transformation is to flip open the shell and flip the mask inside to hide it and to adjust the position of the front legs. That is an impressive bit of design and engineering to put into a preschool toy. It does have one drawback though. In order for the shell to open to hide the mask, is has to be hinged on one side to open. But that means you are putting a lot of sideways torque on that joint every time you rotate the shell to transform the figure. I suspect that is going to be a weak point and these shells are going to break off of a lot of figures.
Value - Pet to Ninjas 8/10, Katana-Crossing Leo 7/10, Other Weapon Swinging Turtle 6/10, Press 'N Shout Turtles 4/10The six inch Half-Shell Heroes figures usually sell for $12 to $13. Considering the line appears to be ending after producing just three and a half series of figures and only one villain, I can't really say that these have been much of a highlight in the Turtles line. But if the scale and style do appeal to you or the kid of your choice, I do have to give the Pet to Ninja figures credit for designing such a great transformation feature into the figure. (It's just a shame that only two of the four Turtles actually got Pet to Ninja figures.) Similarly, the weapon swinging figures are decent figures with decent features, or an above average feature in the case of Leo. But the first series of six inch Half-Shell Heroes figures already gave us versions of the Turtles that could both swing their arms and had electronic sounds. So it's rather difficult for either series of figures to seem like a good value compared to what they replaced.
Happy Hunting:The Press 'N Shout, weapon swinging and Pet to Ninja figures are all part of the large figure assortment of the Half-Shell Heroes line. So as one series has been released, they have generally replaced the older series of figures. The Pet to Ninja figures seem to be the exception. Since there are only two of them, they still seem to ship with additional quantities of the weapon swinging figures. However, finding Pet to Ninja Raphael seems to be quite difficult. I fond one figure on store shelves ages ago and had to order a second on online as I was never able to find a second in person. So he may well turn out to be one of those figures where it's hard to tell in the future if it was ever actually produced or not.