Mega Bloks keeps cranking out new sets for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection as well as an entirely new collection as a convention exclusive.
So I guess I need to keep going with my reviews. Next up in the Modern Collection is the last of the set assortments which includes Mikey's Pizzeria
Showdown and Donnie's Turtle Racer as well as a third set that was just released, Raph's Rooftop Blast-out. At roughly 130 pieces each, these sets
are finally reaching a level of complexity where the set itself can start to be as
much of a draw as the figures. So I'm excited to see what Mega Bloks can do. They also introduce action features for each of the Turtles as well. (That
I could probably have done without.) But rather than prejudge, let's take a look at these sets and let the results speak for themselves.
Packaging - 8/10The packaging here is pretty much the same in design as the smaller sets. But it's only now as the box has grown in size along with the size of the sets that they have finally reached a point where there is enough room for all of the individual elements that they included. Even with the larger boxes, the photos showing the complete modern line is still very small. But you do get nice clear images of the completed set, the various set features and the Turtle's action feature. So if they were going to relegate any part to a small corner, I'm glad that they chose the photos of the other sets. Though that does become a slight issue with the newer set since it doesn't give them enough room to show off which are the new sets which would have been useful.
Sculpting/Design - Theater 4/10, Pizzeria 7/10, Turtle Racer 8/10These sets are starting to get large enough piece counts to build more complex playsets and vehicles. And both of these sets do that well. The downside is that complexity means that they aren't terribly large. The size isn't too much of an issue for the Turtle Racer. But I wish they could have made it large enough to actually seat two figures. Beyond that, my only other complaint about it is that lack of a mutant chicken co-pilot in the back. But it does have a few cool details. I like that they designed the windshield so that it can be tilted back like an actual hot rod. And I was impressed with the effort they put in on the doors. They could have just used a door piece and been done with it. But they added an extra peg at the bottom of each door so that they stay securely in place. And they even added handles that they figures can grab. But what really impressed me was when I got to the end of the construction and had one odd strut piece left over. The page at the end of the instructions showing off the features shows that they actually designed the set to be able to tow it with the Party Wagon! It's a simple idea. It only took one extra piece. But it shows that they were really looking ahead. And designing the sets to work together makes for a nice little bonus for those that buy multiple sets. They put a similar level of effort and detail into the Pizzeria Showdown set. They have created a simple, but fairly complete environment on the street level. The interior of the pizzeria has a tiled counter for patrons to eat at. There's a removable manhole cover in the sidewalk. Even the way they raised up the set makes the front lip look like a curb with a storm drain built into the middle of it. There just one issue which really annoys me about this set, the lack of a rooftop level. The Turtles spend a huge amount of their time on the rooftops in the comics and in the Nickelodeon cartoon. So not including that area in the design of the set feels like a huge oversight. As you can obviously tell from the name, the new, third set has the rooftop level. And it is designed to match the design of the pizzeria if they are placed next to each other. But other than having a roof level, this set is really disappointing compared to the pizzeria. Putting the two sets next to each other looks a bit strange since there is no gap between the buildings. A couple of small pieces to form an alleyway would have made a world of difference. Having manholes in the sidewalks of both sets seems repetitive. And other than a basic attempt at a marquee, the theater the set is extremely generic. It has no real interior. And when I think about what should be at the entrance to a theater, I expect a box office. But this set just has a plain door into the blank interior instead. If I hadn't seen the pizzeria set first, it wouldn't have seemed so bad. But in comparison, this set is not nearly as well rounded.
Each set also comes with two figures, or a figure and a couple of mousers in the case of the Pizzeria. The Donatello and Raphael figures from the Racer and theater sets are not much different from the previous versions released save for the button on the shells for the action feature. The Michelangelo figure does have an all new shell cover and shoulder straps due to his action feature. It's nice to have some variation. And I like that the feature doesn't stick out too much. But it is the second figure in each set that will be of interest to most people. The Turtle Racer comes with Casey Jones. I'm guessing the made Casey largely from preexisting pieces. Because while the elements of the character and his costume are there, they don't really work together well. The pizzeria set comes with two mousers as the second figure. I don't mind the mousers in place of a second figure. But if they included three mousers in the blind bag set, then it seems like this set should also get three mousers. Finally there is the Rahzar figure that is included in the Rooftop Blast-out set. He's actually the best of the three. But they weren't really able to recreate the thin, boney appearance of the character well in this form.
Paint/Color Choice - Theater 4/10, Turtle Racer 6/10, Pizzeria 9/10With the 2003 TMNT sets, Mega Bloks tended to use a lot of green and bright orange bricks for everything. Thankfully those days are long gone and the color choices here are much more realistic. The Turtle Racer is actually a bit plain. They did include graphics on the doors. But the rest of the set is fairly bare. The Pizzeria set is a lot better. In particular, I like that they didn't use plain white blocks and used tinted plastic for the door and windows. Overall, it makes the completed set look darker. And given that the Turtles are usually active at night, it works really well for the license. But once again, the theater sets seems like a significant step backwards. Other than a printed sign for an accessory, there's no real decoration on the street level and the bricks are all a plain, uniform color unlike with the pizzeria. It is nice that they included preprinted bricks for the front of the marquee. But they should also be printed on the sides. Afterall, those are the surfaces that people can read as they walk down the sidewalk. The art for the billboard is cool. But otherwise the theater set is very plain compared to the others.
Features - Theater 2/10, Turtle Racer 5/10, Pizzeria 7/10Each of the sets has an action feature built into the set and another built into the shell of the included Turtle mini figure. The features for the Turtle Racer set are quite basic and not impressive in any way. The vehicle has a cannon mounted in the rear that can be manned by a figure. Firing it takes quite a bit of pressure and the results can be mixed. Often the projectile barely comes out of the barrel. But when it works well, you'll be lucky to ever find the missile again. (It does come with two.) The feature for Donatello is an arm flailing function that is activated by pressing the button on his shell. Both features work. But neither are all that inventive or impressive. By contrast, they were much more ambitious with the pizzeria set. That set has an action feature where pressing a button just behind the pizzeria sign causes the water tower to topple over off the roof. They even included a small number of tranlucent blue pieces to serve as "water" when you bring down the tower. The trigger takes more pressure than I would like to toppel the tower. And you have no real control over where it falls. But it certainly looks impressive. The figure has a neat action feature as well. His shell houses a retractable length of string attached to a small tile piece. This can be used as a repeling line or grappling line for Michelangelo. The mechanism is a bit too tight so it take a considerable amount of force to pull the string out. If you were trying to pull it while the tile is attached to another piece, it is quite likely to cause the tile or whatever it is attached to, to pop off. It would also be nice if there was a button to trigger it to retract instead of constantly pulling. But those short comings are minor and I really just appreciate the effort they put into this set. Then you have the Rooftop Blast-Out set which reuses the action feature from the pizzeria set and from Donatello in the Turtle Racer set. But when its action feature is activated, the billboard just splits aparts and falls harmlessly off to the sides. That's far less impressive than the falling water tower of the pizzeria. Raphael's action figure is the same as Donatello's, but it doesn't work on my figure. It is completely siezed up.
Accessories - Pizzeria & Theater 7/10, Turtle Racer 5/10The Turtle Racer set has just the most basic of accessories. Donatello gets his bo. Casey gets a removable mask, a bat and a hockey pad. And then there are two projectiles for the cannon. The accessories aren't all that impressive. But there's no real problems with them. The theater set comes with sais for Raph, clip on claws for Rahzar, a few bits of contstruction equipment to dress up the sidewalk and an ooze canister. The construction items are a decent addition. But the lack of a seperate base for the seesaw is annoying. (It uses the manhole cover as its base.) Because of that you either have to have it in the middle of the sidewalk, or take the cover and leave a large, open hole in the sidewalk. So you get a lot of accessories. But they aren't that interesting. The quantity doesn't make up for the lackluster quality. The pizzeria set comes with a set of nunchuks for Mikey, a slice of pizza and a bunch of translucent blue pieces to serve as water in the tower. It would be cool if there were enough blue pieces to fill the tank, even enough to fill half of the tank would have been nice. And more pizza to stock the pizzeria would be cool. But that would be expecting a lot.
Value - Pizzeria and Turtle Racer 8/10, Theater 4/10These sets carry a price tag of $20 each. That's not a bad price for any of these sets given that they come with two figures and a decent little playset. But the Turtle Racer set gives you two prominent characters and a cool, well designed vehicle from the show. The pizzeria lacks a true second mini figure. But it is my favorite playset and who doesn't want more mousers? The theater set was largely underwhelming to me. And with a non-functional action feature, the Raphael figure is pointless. So the biggest selling point for the set is the Rahzar figure since he is only available in this set for the time being.
Happy Hunting:The Turtle Racer and Pizzeria sets were released at the beginning of 2016 and are widely available. The Rooftop Blast-Out set is a new release and has only just begun to show up in stores. I purchased the set from Target's web site. And since then I have seen it in one local Walmart store. It should start showing up in more stores over the coming weeks as they restock.