Mondo's first vinyl figure, Lil' Mikey sold well. But it seems like it is their sophmore offering that fans have really been waiting for.
Based on the very first Ninja Turtle sketch done by Eastman & Laird, The First Turtle gives us the earliest of TMNT designs in three dimensions
for the first time. And it comes in four flavors. The regular version is painted in black and white to match the original comics. But there is
also a full color version with a red mask to represent the original comics, a full color version with an orange mask to match the weapons with the
cartoon colors, and if you were lucky and fast, a deluxe edition which was black and white and came with two spare heads with red and orange masks.
Sadly I missed out on the deluxe edition. But lets check out the other three.
Packaging - Colored mask Editions 4/10, B&W Edition 5/10The box design for the First Turtle is a fairly simple design. The front of the box has an image of the source sketch on a dark green background. The back has a short explaination of what the figure is based on. It's not a very exciting design. It works well enough for the regular B&W figure. But I'm disappointed that the only change that they made for the Red Mask, Orange Mask and Deluxe editions was a sticker in the lower left corner. The could have at least altered the image on the front to match the coloring of the figure inside. The packages for Lil' Mikey were far more interesting.
Sculpting - 9/10Translating a 2D image to a three dimensional form can be a challenge. And when the source image is a fairly rough sketch to begin with, it has to be even more challenging. But the final figure turned out very well. They got the basic character design down perfectly. The only detail that seems to be a bit off is the posture. In the original sketch, the turtle appeared to be standing up straight. But the figure is hunched forward. That wouldn't be a big issue if the figure had more articulation. But as it is, it is pretty much stuck in that position.
Paint - B&W 10/10, 9/10The paint work on all three of the figures I purchased are excellent. There's no quality control issues on any of them. The B&W version looks like it just stepped off the page. There is one issue for the colored versions which I have seen pointed out online. The plastron (the front shell) is painted orange in each of the six raised sections. But the area between them and around the edge is left green. I can't very well say it is wrong, the original sketch was never in color nor gave any indications of what color the areas should be. But it seems like an odd choice. In theory, that area is still part of the plaston and should match the orange of the raised sections. I could also see making it black to create shadow. But of course those areas weren't black in the sketch. So I guess the green was just a compromise. And I have to admit that until I read about it, I never ever noticed it. But it is one of those cases where once it is pointed out, it is hard not to notice it.
Articulation - 3/10The First Turtle has eight points of articulation, all rotating joints. And they do allow you a little adjustment for the feet so that the figure can stand firmly even on a slightly uneven surface. You can also alter the pose of the right arm slightly, either having it bent upwards at the elbow or in front of the body. The articulation for the neck and left arm don't really serve much purpose. They actually seem to be there more to make the molding and manufacturing process easier than as useful articulation on the final figure.
Accessories - 0/10The First Turtles doesn't come with anything. The weapons on his arms are not removable. (He couldn't hold them even if they were.) There's no display base or any other extras. He doesn't really need any though.
Value - 9/10The First Turtle sold for $65 originally for either the black and white version or the two with colored masks. There is also a limited edition, version that sold for $100 originally. But at this point all of them have been sold out from Mondo. On the secondary market, you are likely going to be paying at least $100 each for these three versions. And the limited edition version seems to start at around $200. I can only guess at what will happen to those prices in the future.
Happy Hunting:The First Turtle was produced by Mondo and sold through their web site: Mondotees.com. All four versions are sold out though. So if you want one you are going to have to go to the secondary market such as eBay.