The last two years have been a very mixed blessing. With Playmates on hiatus until a new cartoon launches next
year, the merchandise offerings have dropped off considerably. On the other hand, between the amazing action
figures which NECA produced and the comiquettes from Sideshow Collectibles, fans have also been treated to some
of the best TMNT offerings in the license's twenty-five plus year history. Now, after an eleven month wait since
their last TMNT release, Sideshow is finally shipping the sixth, and sadly what may be thier last, TMNT comiquette:
Shredder. And if this is the end, they are aiming to go out on a high note.
Packaging - 9/10The packaging for the Shredder comiquette is the same design as we have seen for all of the other Ninja Turtle comiquettes. The statue comes packaged in a large box with a single, large, full color image of the comiquette on each panel against a background of images from the Mirage comics. They did make one interesting change: the background images are all printed as negative images. I'm assuming this is a subtle way of distinguishing this as a villain. (They did the same thing on the Mouser comiquette packaging, but only to half of the images.) The images used on the front and side panels show the comiquette with one of the regular heads while the rear image shows the second regular head. Sideshow also finally managed to fix one of the biggest annoyances I've had with the packaging for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comiquettes: the write up on the back of the box. This is the first time that the entire write-up actually pertains to the final product instead of just reusing the text from a past press release. Inside you get the standard Styrofoam packing with the actual comiquette split into multiple parts: the base, body and the heads. There's nothing particularly impressive on the inside, but it did its job and got my comiquette to me undamaged.
The few minor changes that Sideshow made to the packaging with the Shredder comiquette eliminate most of the complaints that I have had with their previous TMNT comiquettes. I was sorely tempted to give it a 10/10 score. If I had bought the regular version of the statue, I would give it a 10/10. But as it stands, the only distinction showing that this is on of the Sideshow Exclusive Shredder comiquettes is a sticker on the front. (And that decal doesn't adhere to the box well.) So while you know that this is is an exclusive, there is no indication of what that actually means.
Sculpting - 9/10I'll be honest, I was worried about the pose that Sideshow used when I saw the first photos months ago. The pose may be true to the Mirage comics, but it still looked quite awkward. Shredder is hunched over with his arms in front of him partially flexed. I think it is suppose to look intimidating, but in all of the early pictures I saw, it looked more like an expression of impotent rage. It would work fine for a cartoon version of the Shredder as if he had just been defeated by the Turtles once again. I was extremely pleased when I finally got the statue in my hands and put it together that the pose doesn't evoke that feeling in person. I still don't love it, but he doesn't remind me of the cartoon version of the Shredder.
The sculpt itself is everything I've come to expect after Sideshow's first five Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comiquettes. The detail work is excellent across both the figure and the base. The Shredder's costume is not all that exciting when viewed from the back, especially since the pose means that almost none of the armor is actually visible. But to the sculptor's credit, he or she did not fall prey to the temptation to embellish the original design. And the details that were included both on the front and back are excellent. But it is when you get to the head that Sideshow's efforts really shine. Over the years, different artwork has depicted Shredder's helmet and mask as either leaving his face visible around his eyes or concealed in shadows with just two eyes showing. It would have been easy for Sideshow to just pick one version or the other. But they went all out and included two heads with the regular version of the Shredder comiquette: one with the face above the mask visible and another just the eyes peering out from the shadow. The exclusive version then goes one better and throws in a third head with the entire face unmasked. All three options look good, so good that I've yet to be able to decide which one I want to display.
The sculpt really only has one significant fault that I've seen. This is the tallest of all the TMNT comiquettes and the pose puts most of the mass of the figure quite high and near the front. This high center of gravity means that this comiquette is nowhere near as stable as the previous ones. They could have compensated for this by designing a larger base to add more mass at the bottom. But instead Shredder has a base which is smaller than the bases for any of the Turtles. It isn't horrible, but as the owner of a new kitten, it certainly has me concerned and looking at options to add more weight to the base for added stability.
Paint - 10/10The paint work on the Shredder comiquette is excellent. I have yet to see any quality issues such as stray paint marks or runs. The paint work is not that elaborate. But there is some subtle shading/shadow work in some places such as the seams of the helmets. Overall, the paintwork is clean and very good looking.
Articulation - NAAs is to be expected on a statue, there is no articulation. Even the removable heads can only be placed in a single position thanks to the oddly shaped peg upon which they sit.
Accessories - 10/10The regular version of the Shredder comiquette comes with two heads: with the face visible behind the mask and one with just the white "eyes" peering out from blackness. The exclusive version adds a third option, a head with an unmasked face. The sculpts for the helmets of the three heads seem to be identical. But the faces for all three are unique. Offering the unmasked head for the exclusive version is a nice touch, but I prefer the masked versions.
Value - 8/10Retail price for the Shredder comiquette is $225. Sideshow is offering either the regular or exclusive version for that price. If you want to save a few dollars, you should be able to pick up the regular version from other retailers for a bit less. This is the biggest of the TMNT statues, at least in terms of total height. And you are getting three separate heads instead of just one partial head as with Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo. So there is some justification for the price increase. They also seem to have offset the cost a bit by expanding the edition size to 500 exclusive comiquettes and 1000 of the regular edition. But in the end, as nice as Shredder turned out, the price increase is unfortunate.
Happy Hunting:The exclusive version which I have is only available through Sideshow Collectibles' website. And for once, the exclusive version did not sell out through pre-orders. So for now, both the exclusive and regular version are available there. If you don't care about the unmasked head and are looking to save a few dollars, there are other sites offering the regular version for as low as $200.