I reviewed the first two series of blind bag figures recently. And while they were fairly impressive, a construction brick line would be
incomplete without some actual playsets. And Mega Bloks is ready with smaller sets divided into three different levels of complexity as well as
a number of larger sets. But for today we'll stick to the smallest sets, the training sets. These two sets feature Raphael and Michelangelo
with tiny playsets for each.
Packaging - 3/10These sets are small. And the packages are equally small. And their diminunative size works against them. So much of the space on the boxes is used for the choking hazard warning and legal fine print, that there just isn't room for all the other items that Mega Bloks tried to include. You can see that the elements are there. The actual figure is visible through a window. There is art work showing the completed set on front and back. And finally there are photos of most of the sets available in the modern line, but they are so small that you will need a microscope to see them. All the elements are there, but the boxes are so crowded that you can't really enjoy any of them.
Sculpting/Design - Skate Training 3/10, Nunchuk Training 4/10These sets are small. Each is made of less than two dozen pieces. So you can't expect anything too elaborate. Mikey's Nunchuk Training set has a few features: a wall to serve as a backdrop, a barrel training dummy and a spinning mechanism for the figure. That's a lot to pack in for such a small set. But both the training dummy and mechanism for the figure are set off to one side which downplays their importance. And it gives the set an slightly empty feeling on one side and an unbalanced look overall. Raphael's skateboarding set has a platform with ramps on either side and a street sign on the back. His set is fairly underwhelming since about half of the parts are actually used for the skateboard. That's a shame. I would like to have seen some larger ramps that could actually be used to make a reasonable looking feature like you would see in a skate park. Had they done that, I would have gladly bought multiple sets to put together a complete skate park. But as it is, Raphael's set is a really nice accessory and a playset that will be quickly forgotten.
Paint/Color Choice - Raph 5/10, Mikey 7/10Since these sets are so small, there is not a lot of opportunity to get overly creative with the color designs. Fortunately Mega Bloks didn't go with wild colors for the pieces. So when assembled, the sets look very natural, though not very exciting. There is one thing that seems like it is missing which is any decorations for Raphael's skateboard. If you are going to put a third of the parts in the set into building a skateboard, you should probably also include a decal or some paint work.
Features - Skateboard set 0/10, Nunchuk set 5/10The Skateboard Training set has no real action features, just the skate board. Even the ramp is quite shallow and quite forgettable. The Nunchuk Training set has a small spinning mechanism for the figure to stand on and a barrel to target. The barrel is mounted on a spring so that it can be knock around by the figure's weapon as they spin on the other mechanism. It's simple, but it works well.
Accessories - Nunchuk Training 5/10, Skateboard Training 7/10As expected given their size, these sets don't have a lot of accessories. The nunchuk training set has a pair of nunchuks for Mikey to weild as well as the lid to the training barrel and a couple of spare bits to go inside. It would be nice if the set at least came with two pairs of nunchuks. The Skateboard Training set comes with a pair of sais for Raphael and the skateboard. That isn't a lot of items, but the skateboard is surprisingly complex. Rather than the normal board with wheels that clip in, this board has seperate pieces for each axle and individual wheels. They also included pieces to give the board longer pegs for the Turtles' feet and a piece to mount the sais to the underside of the skateboard. That is quite a bit of effort to put into a simple skateboard. I'm not sure if all the effort is really justified in the end.
Value - 5/10The Training sets sell in stores for $7 each. That is quite cheap for a construction block set. And these are a great entry point for young kids. And they should be a great option for fans that want the figures without spending a lot for the playsets. The only problem is that there are already the blind bag figures for that which sell for half the price. And they really render these sets unneccessary as Mega Bloks already has other sets available that fill the same purpose better.
Happy Hunting:The Training sets are the smallest of the modern Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sets being produced by Mega Bloks. And as such, they seem to be readily available at just about every store that carries the TMNT Mega Bloks sets. I bought mine from the local Toys R Us store. But I see them regularly at Walmart and Target as well.