This is certainly going to be a very slow year when it comes to the release schedule of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Toys. But
for collectors who have been looking for higher end collectibles, it is turning into a very good year. Sideshow Collectibles
has finally listed their fourth TMNT comiquette/statue as well as a Mouser statue which will be a convention exclusive this
summer. And last week they began shipping their second TMNT comiquette, Raphael. Their first statue, Donatello, was a hit. And it looks like they aren't about to drop the ball with Raphael either.
Packaging - 8/10The packaging desing for Raphael is almost identical to Donatello's. Each panel of the box has a photo of the statue against a background of black and white Mirage Comic artwork. The rear panel still still has paragraphs describing the Ninja Turtles in general, Raphael and a final paragraph "announcing" the Rapheal statue. (Though I still don't understand why you would announce a statue that is literally in the customer's hands as they read the announcement.) The packaging is box is quite attractive and the statue itself is well protected inside, nestled in a large block of styrofoam. Once you get it out of its prison, you just have to select which of the hands you want to display, plug it into the right arm and it is ready to go.
Sculpting - 10/10The sculpting for Raphael is excellent. Just as with Donatello, Sideshow's sculptors did a terriffic job of bringing the modern comic book designs into three dimensions. Some of the proportions look a bit strange to my very untrained eyes, such as the length of the neck. But I think that that has more to do with the pose than a problem with the sculpting. Just as with the Donatello statue, the base for Raphael is a corner of a roof top and is sculpted with a great deal of detail as well. I've been on the fence about the decision to use a different style of roof top for each of the Turtles. Part of me was hoping that they could create four connecting bases similar to what Playmates did with their series of statues years ago. But now as I have two of the statues together, I can see where that would have problems of its own. By doing it this way, the four statues still share a similar theme without needing to be crammed together. It should mean that those that buy several or all of the statues will have much greater flexibility in how they display the statues.
Paint - 9/10The paint work on the Raphael comiquette is very well done. There are extremely minor spots where the edges of painted areas are are less than perfect. But you would have a hard time seeing any of them without looking very closely. As with the previous statue, there is a difference in the finish between the base and the rest of the statue. But it seems to be less pronounced than it was on the Donatello comiquette..
Articulation - NAThese are statues. So there is no articulation at all.
Accessories - 10/10Unlike the other comiquettes, Raphael does not come with an alternate head. (Which makes sense since his red mask is already the correct color for both the Mirage Comics and cartoon designs) Instead, the sideshow exclusive version comes with an alternative right hand and an optional sai which has a dual summonance on it. This means that the exclusive version gives you three options to display the statue. You can have the regular right hand which is graping a sai in a fighting pose. You can use the exclusive hand without a sai, though it isn't quite a true fist. Or you can place the tip of the exclusive sai in the hand to create a throwing pose.
Value - 9/10The exclusive versions of the Sideshow comiquettes sell for $200 each through Sideshow's web site. But you can find the regular versions both from Sideshow's site and other retailers and they retail for $10 less. That is pretty steep price for those of use who are accustomed to buying action figures rather than statues. But given the size and quality of the two statues that have been released so far, and knowing the way the Playmates statues have risen in price since their release, it is unlikely that these will be going down in price anytime in the foreseeable future.
Happy Hunting:The exclusive versions of Sideshow's TMNT comiquettes are only available from their web site: Sideshowtoy.com. Unfortunately, with production runs of only 450 pieces, supplies are quite limited. To make matters worse, both both Donatello and Raphael have already come and gone at this point. And both Michealangelo and Leonardo have already been put up for preorder. You can still be put on a wait list in case a previously placed order falls through. And if you are interested, I would highly suggest doing so. (Thus far the turn over for the wait list seems to be pretty brisk.) If you are not concerned with the exclusive versions, you can also purchase the regular versions from a number of web sites. Big Bad Toy Store still has Raphael and the two remaining statues available for preorder and has a history of excellent customer service.