The original Ninja Turtles toy line had two large scale play sets which were highly sought after by fans and collectors both then and now, the sewer
lair and the Technodrome. And while we have since seen new versions of the sewer lair repeatedly over the years, decades later we still have never
seen an updated version of the Technodrome until last year. With the inclusion of Kraang and a new version of the Technodrome in the Out of the
Shadows movie, fans had high hopes that they would finally have a chance to get a modern remake of the vintage playset. But when the movie and the
accompanying toy line were released, the new Technodrome was a pale immitation of the classic playset. But while it might not replace the vintage
Technodrome playset from the top of any collectors' want lists, does that really mean that it is a bad playset?
Packaging - 7/10The box for the Technodrome uses the same basic design as the Turtle Tactical Truck, relying mostly on photos of the actual product instead of a lot of other graphics. It works well here thanks to the large area. The back of the box is very similar with a large photo of the playset and smaller photos showing the different features. It's reasonably attractive and shows of the toy. But it isn't very enticing.
Sculpting - 3/10The Technodrome is a mess when it comes to sculpting and on several levels. I sort of feel sorry for Playmates in that the design from the movie really didn't give them much to work with in designing the toy. For most of the movie, the Technodrome was little more than a parade of random parts flying above New York City and a relatively barren platform on which the final battle between the Turtles and Kraang takes place. There isn't much there to use to create the toy. That being said, that also means that they had more or less a blank slate in designing the toy. And they did at least make some effort to replicate what was shown in the movie. There is a trap door mechanism to "freeze" Shredder, some guns/cannons that stick out from the exterior which was shown very briefly and a platform on which the Turtles can fight Kraang. Sadly, that's about where my praise for the playset ends. While I said that there wasn't much from the movie that the Technodrome toy needed to include, it is still a Technodrome. And as such there is one defining feature that is absolutely should have, a giant eye on the top. It was even included in the movie, albeit very briefly. So to not have it in some form on the toy is unacceptable. It's also a bit annoying that the playset is permanently missing almost half of the outer shell. But since the outer shell is technically never fully completed in the movie, that's an understandable design choice. What isn't so understandable was the choice to make the base so narrow that the entire playset is very unstable. And then to make the issue worse, the entire outer shell is formed from very soft plastic. It's not an issue in the areas with a lot of sculpted detail as all of the angles help to strengthen the parts much like the curves at the bottom of a bottle of soda. But for the parts and areas without that much detail, the shell will warp just from its own weight. So even trying to close up the shell can be frustrating since things don't end up lining up as they should. And I suspect that most of the issue could have been avoided if the shell just hadn't been made of so many interlocking pieces.
Paint - 4/10The Technodrome from the movie wasn't a particularly colorful structure. So I wasn't expecting much for paint work here. But they actually did a fair amount of painting to keep the interior and outer shell from looking too dull. But for all of the extra effort that they put into it, there are also two glaring oversights that I find quite annoying. The first is minor, all of the gun ports around the middle of the completed shell are painted silver which is a nice look. But then they didn't paint the moveable gun port on back or the three gun ports along the platform on the unfinished side of the playset. So they all look very unfinished. And speaking of unfinished, the entire playset sits atop a base that is all unpainted red plastic. That complete lack of paint makes the base look generic and then the red color immediately draws your eye to the area and the problem.
Play Value - 5/10The Technodrome has a few action features built into it. But none of them are very original. You can replicate Kraang's freezing chamber trap using a trap door built into the center platform. Pressing a button on the side will release the trap door and drop a figure into a concealed chamber below. There is also a trap door built into the small platform on the outer shell. But that one can not be triggered. You have to pull the door down by hand. And that trap door has a folding panel attached to the bottom and I have no idea what purpose it is suppose to serve. There are also two firing guns, one in the front and a second mounted at the back of the outer shell. There is also a flip down platform on the lower portion of the unfinished side of the playset and a door in the outer shell on the completed side that can be opened for the Turtles to enter or escape. Finally the entire playset is sitting on a rolling base. And when you roll it along the floor, the entire Technodrome will rotate back and forth. I suppose I should applaud the little extra effort. But with no pegs to hold figures in place inside, if you do use that feature, anyone inside is going to be thrown around the playset if not thrown completely out of it. I wish they would have created some more movie accurate features such as a removable homing beacon or some sections of the incomplete Technodrome that the Turtles could ride on as a platform.
Value - 6/10If the Out of the Shadows version of the Technodrome has one redeeming feature, it's the price. At $40 for the original retail price, it's a steal for a playset of this size. For that price, the Technodrome may be worth buying just as a display piece. And in that function, it works well. Of course the price is a double edge sword. Had Playmates been willing to take a chance and increase the price, we may have had a chance to get a modern Technodrome that could give the vintage playset a run for its money. Instead they played it safe and tried to make a playset on a budget and as a result we are left with a wholely forgetable toy.
Happy Hunting:As with the rest of the Out of the Shadows toys, the Technodrome was released early in the summer of 2016. And it had a fairly long run on retail shelves. But at this point it seems to have sold out or been pulled from shelves during subsequent shelving resets. But the set never really sold well. So there seems to be stock still floating around for close to or less than the original retail price online. A quick search should turn up multiple options still offering this floating fortress of death.