When Lego dropped the Ninja Turtle license a few years ago, I know a lot of fans were disappointed. But they wouldn't have to go without TMNT themed
building block sets for long as Mega Bloks announced that they were taking up the license. The license allowed Mega Bloks to begin selling at the start
of this year, and they were ready to hit the ground running with not just one line, but three separate lines of sets. Those lines include a classics
line focused on sets based on the vintage toy line and cartoon, a modern line based on the the current Nickelodeon cartoon and even a Half-Shell Heroes
line with sets designed for younger fans. And there is no lack of product for all of those lines. As a result, the sets have been piling up in my
living room since the beginning of the year. And with the second wave of releases beginning to hit stores, I thought I had better start going over
some of these sets before the backlog gets completely out of hand. But I'll start small, so first up will be the modern line's single pack figures of
which the second series is just now hitting stores.
Packaging - 7/10The single pack figures for the modern line are sold in blind bag packaging. Each figure is sealed in a thick foil bag which has images of all of the figures available (except for the chase figure) on the front. The back of the bags has a small image of the actual toys as well as all of the legal fine print. The graphics have a great deal of personality for the characters. And they gave the second series a significant overhaul which makes it much easier to tell the two series apart. That's quite useful since I have seen the two series get mixed together in more than one store already as the new series figures begin to pop up while some of the old stock still remains.
But there is still the drawback of them being blind bags. So in theory you don't know what is in each pack when you buy it. And that is something that I find quite annoying. But as is so often the case, the identity of toy isn't entirely secret. To start with, since they are packaged in foil bags, it is possible to identify the figures by touch. But that is more difficult with these packages due to the thickness of the material and the inclusion of a card in each bag. It is also more difficult since the figures are not fully assembled so there are so many parts and it's not entirely clear what parts or accessories each character is suppose to include. There is also another option for identifing the figures. Each package has a code imprinted along the left edge on the back of each bag. The code is easy to overlook and can be quite difficult to read depending upon the lighting. And even if you can read them, without a cheat sheet the codes won't actually tell you which figure is inside. But they will help when buying multiple figures so that you can avoid duplicates. Using the codes is made even more difficult since the codes can be different for each retailer. So having the codes can be helpful. But if you aren't going to make the packages truely blind, then just tell us what is in each one. It is really annoying to have to spend so much time going through package after package looking for the figure that you want.
Sculpting - Turtles & Foot Ninjas 6/10, Fong 7/10, Kraang & Splinter 8/10, Shredder, Slash & Mousers 9/10This is the third generation of construction block Ninja Turtle figures after the 2003 Mega Bloks line and the 2012 style Lego sets. (I suppose you could call it the fourth generation if you count the Giochi Preziosi sets released in the 1990's.) And it's clear that they have come a long way. The first generation from Mega Bloks had sculpted figures. But the sculpting was not very impressive. The Lego sets of course had the traditional Lego mini figures. But this time around, Mega Bloks is going with a figure style with much more sculpted detail. Overall, the results are much more impressive than their first generation attempt. But the results are much better on some figures than it is with others. Unfortunately the Turtles are the least impressive and interesting. All eight Turtles across the two series share a common sculpt. The body is much too bulky thanks to the thick shell. Each Turtle also has a seperate piece for the mask and belts. The belts fit well. But the masks are far too thick for the small heads so they stick out and look very unnatural. The Foot Ninja and Robotic Foot Ninja share the same body which is extrememly plain. And the arms are comically thin. Both Shredder and Kraang are fully sculpted and look great. Kraang has the short coming that the soft material for the Kraang itself doesn't support sharp detail. From series two, Fong is impressive or at least the fact that he exists is impressive for such an obscure character. His head sculpt is pretty solid. But the rest of the figure is quite generic. Splinter matches the look of the show well. His kimono is a bit too long and flairs out a bit too much at the bottom. Then you have Slash and the Mousers. The Mousers don't have a great deal of detail due to their size but they look good. Slash is fully sculpted and just a solid figure all around.
Paint - Slash & Ser 1 Raph 9/10, Ser 1 Leo, Mike & Don, Ser 2 Raph & Leo 7/10, Shredder & Mouser 0/10, Others 5/10Painting such small figures is a difficult task and would be expensive. So painting is done sparingly on most figures, presumably so that they could put more work into those figures that need it. Slash gets plenty of paint apps to the point that it could give the full size Playmates figure a run for its money. The majority of the Turtle figures have a decent amount of paint work. But they also miss a lot of small details such as foot wrappings and elbow pads. But they did include one detail that I really love. Series one Raphael has "Mikey" spray painted onto his shell, thus causing the furious expression on his face. It's a small touch, but unique enough to stand out from what I'm sure will be MANY versions of each Turtle we will get by the time this line ends. By contrast, most of the other Turtles have fairly forgetable expressions and appearances in general. The two exceptions being Michelangelo and Donatello from series two. These two are standouts for having even less paint work than the rest of the Turtles thanks to their creative visual designs. Donatello has his mouth and eyes painted. And Michelangelo has a painted mouth, forearm wraps and panel lining for the plastron. Then there are the Mousers and Shredder, neither of which has any paint or decals. But they don't really suffer from that either. The remaining figures all have just enough paint work or decals to be passable, but that's it.
Articulation - Kraang 5/10, Splinter & Robotic Foot Soldier 8/10, Others 7/10Construction block figures often don't have a great deal of articulation. But with this generation of figures, Mega Bloks does their best to give us fully articulated figures. Most of the figures have twelve points of articulation:
Accessories - Mousers 2/10, Splinter, Slash, Fong, Kraang, Foot Ninja, Shredder, and Ser 2 Mikey 6/10, others 8/10All of the figures come with a small block for the figures to stand on. Each stand has the manufacturer's code for the figure on it which is sort of a nice touch. But putting the actual name on the stands would have made a lot more sense, especially since each figure is available with multiple manufacturing codes. (And yes, the bases will have the different codes for each version.) The stands are the only accessories included with the Mouser three pack. Most of the non-Turtles come with just a single weapon as an accessory or a set of two claws for Shredder. It's nice that they made sure that no one had to come empty handed. But a single weapon seems far less impressive once you look at most of the Turtle and the Robotic Foot Soldier. Other than series two Michelangelo, each of the Turtles not only has their traditional weapon(s) but an additional accessory as well. And the Robotic Foot Soldier has four weapons, one for each arm. At first I was going to write off this difference as a fringe benefit of all of the Turtle figures using the same body. Save some money on the molding for the body and use that money for extra accessories. But with the exception of making an unmutated Turtle to serve as Spike, I'm going to guess all of the accessories were made from recycled parts. So it shouldn't have really cost much to include something extra with the other figures.
Value - 8/10The Mega Bloks blind bag single figures sell for just under $3. That's a fairly impressive price tag. But the value of the figures is going to depend a number of factors. If you are patient and willing to spend the time feeling up packages in the store, you can pick up the figures you want with minimal duplicates which helps. And Kraang, the Foot Soldier, Robotic Foot Soldier and Mousers all make nice army builders. But anyone who is going to be getting the other sets is going to have no shortage of Turtle figures. But that is where the unique variations of the Turtles help to give you a reason to include them in your collection as well.
Happy Hunting:The Mega Bloks Ninja Turtle sets are quite widely available. And most of the stores that sell the line, carry the blind bag packs. I have seen them at Target, Toys R Us and Walmart. So finding them should be easy enough. Unfortunately, the blind bag packaging makes buying online an issue. And if you are buying from multiple stores, the codes on the bags become even less useful. But with series two now starting to show up in stores, if you are interested in picking up the first series it would be a good idea to do so before they are completely gone.