It seems inevitable these days that when a license becomes popular there will be some
sort of block figure made. Between Lego, Kubricks, Mez-its, and Mini-Mates it seems
like everyone is getting in on the action and Mega Bloks is no exception. They've
picked up two major licenses in the last year, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles. Thus far the TMNT lines seems to have gone largely unnoticed by most after
a less than stellar release that all but missed the holiday season entirely. But Mega
Bloks seems to be pushing ahead with their planned products including the newest set:
the 1/4 pipe fight.
Packaging - 6/10The Mega Bloks TMNT sets are packaged in a fairly normal box but with one variation, the top right corner is a clear bubble with three of the figures and a couple of the blocks on display. The rest of the box is an image of the completed set in use and the figures that are included. The packaging incorporates the orange color like most of the packaging for the new TMNT license but keeps it more subdued compared to the use of the green turtle shell pattern on the left side. The back of the box has another image of the completed set as well as images of all four sets released so far.
Sculpting (playset design) - 5/10Ok, so in some ways I'm being too harsh on this score, but I'm also being a bit easy too. The main area of interest is going to be with the figures. The set comes with three: Michelangelo, a Foot Soldier and Casey Jones. Both Mike and the Foot Soldier are straight reuses from the previous sets. The turtle figures really turned out well in the Mega Bloks sets, but the other characters didn't hold up as well. The proportions on the human figures is off. The chest is too large or the legs too short. Casey's torso is the same size as a Marvel Mini-Mate's torso and those figures are almost half an inch taller. Casey's head sculpt is pretty good and a rather inventive solution to choosing between Casey's real face or hockey mask. His hair is a separate piece that can be pulled off. Underneath Casey is completely two-faced. His head has a face sculpted on one side and his hockey mask sculpted on the other. So you can just turn his head around, plug his hair back into the top of his head and viola, instant costume change. The playset itself of course doesn't have any real sculpting. And the layout is rather disappointing. The right side of the set has a large pillar and a spot to lay the barrel of ooze down. The center section is an area where the ooze is supposed to flow into and onto unsuspecting Foot Soldiers. The left side has a platform up on four pillars to which is connected the ramp. Then there is a pillar on the right side and a pair of rails stretches between them. There is a vat that slides along these rails and can be tilted over to dump ooze down into the center section. This is the third time out of four sets that have been released that we have gotten this same basic set, a platform to dump ooze down onto figures below. And this is the most poorly executed of the three. The only other thing they really added was the skate ramp but we have already gotten the Radical ramp set that isn't much different. Besides, why is there a skate park attached to an industrial waste handling facility? Do the Utroms get bored after a long morning of generating toxic waste? And even if they did, wouldn't they have better things to do given that, well, they don't have feet! I really hope Mega Bloks puts at least some thought into their next sets.
Paint (color choice) - 4/10I probably should consider these two things separately since the results are so wildly different. The good news is that like the previous sets, the paint on the figures is pretty good. They have more detail than say a Lego figure and generally the paint is pretty clean. There are some rough areas such as around Mike's front shell and mask but nothing major. Both sides of Casey's head are painted cleanly but the flesh tone of the plastic doesn't match the flesh tone paint used on his chest. The real let down is on the set itself. They used a mishmash of colors throughout the set with no real indication of why. For instance, there are four long narrow (8x1) pieces used to form the subfloor where the ramp connects and for some reason they give you four blue pieces. I'm sure the theory was to have them blend in with the large blue ramp, but they aren't visible from the front where the ramp is and look woefully out of place on the back. Then there are the randomly inserted orange bricks which seem to be intended to indicate danger, but just make me wish there were more taggers in the New York area to cover up this hideousness.
Articulation - 4/10The Mega Bloks figures have seven points of articulation: neck, shoulders, wrists, and hips. Granted, that's the same as Lego's figures which is Mega Blok's main competition, heck that's more than Mattel's Justice League line had at first. But compared to other block figure lines, that's only passable.
Accessories - 9/10This is one area where the Mega Bloks figures shine. Each character has his own weapon, Casey has three, then there is a skateboard and of course a barrel of ooze. The figure's weapons have been pretty good in the first three sets, and Michelangelo's chucks and the Foot Soldier's sword have been included once again, but Casey's reach a whole new level. First he has his traditional baseball bat with sculpted cracks and painted tape on the neck. Then he has a hockey stick, again with painted tape. and Finally he comes with a golf bag he can wear over his shoulders to hold them both in. The skateboard isn't terribly interesting but unavoidable given the theme of this set. There is also a clear plastic rod that allows you to control a figure on the board and do tricks. (Why you need the rod and couldn't just hold the figure is beyond me.) The other highlight is the barrel of ooze. I have yet to open the ooze from any of the sets since I don't want it to dry up or make a mess, but fortunately they made the container into a great 55 gallon barrel so even if you don't open it or the ooze does dry up you still have the barrel to go with the set.
Value - 3/10This set is only $12.99 but it is still overpriced. The main reason to get the set is for the Casey Jones figure. Everything else has been released in the other three sets, the other three superior sets. Granted, some of the block figure lines go for as much as $5 per figure, but they are better executed. (Even though the Casey Jones figure is well done compared to the others in the line) You may want to wait to see what Mega Bloks as planned for the rest of the year in case they include Casey with another, better set.
Happy Hunting:I bought this set from the east side Target store in Madison, WI. Both Walmart and Toys R Us have been carrying the line as well and this set should be showing up there soon. The set has also been listed on Amazon.com for quite some time. It isn't listed as being in stock yet, and my experience with Amazon on pre orders has been mixed at best. Often they do not receive their stock until long after brick and mortar Toys R Us stores have received the same product.