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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Leonardo - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Sixth Scale Exclusive Action Figure

Mondo
Date Published: 2016-12-23
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Introduction

One of the most enduring and consistent licenses over the last 40 years has been the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Starting out in 1984 as a parody of other comics and bad concepts, by the late eighties they were everywhere, from the toy aisles to the television screen. Kids loved them, and the franchise has spawned blockbuster movies, live action adaptations, and on going cartoons. But it all started with that first comic from Eastman and Laird.

Mondo began dabbling in the sixth scale action figure market last year, and put up for pre-order a set of four figures based on the original Eastman comic designs. Leonardo was the first to go up, so it makes sense he's the first to finally ship some 16 months later. There are two versions - a regular release that is available widely and will run you around $150, and a Mondo exclusive, originally only available through them, limited to just 500 figures, and long sold out.

I'm checking out the exclusive version tonight, but the only difference is one additional accessory.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Packaging - **1/2
The colors, artwork, and exterior style look great on the large box that contains the figure and accessories.  There's a 'Mondo exclusive' sticker on the front, and the double layer of plastic trays inside keep things safe.

But those trays are also a huge annoyance. Getting some of the accessories out was a major accomplishment, especially the shurikens. The figure itself has several twist ties to keep it in place, and the tray is formed to provide an even tighter fit around most of the extras.  I say 'most' because a couple - like baby Splinter - were also floating around free inside the box, having come loose from their slot. They ended up with a mixture of both problems - some stuff was almost impossible to get out without damaging the tray, other stuff fell out in transit.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Sculpting - ***
This isn't the first time a company has tried to produce figures that mimic the early comic book look of the turtles. NECA did a fantastic job with their series way back in 2008, which I reviewed here. It's going to be tough for anyone to top those, but remember, they were in a 7" scale.

Leo stands almost 10 inches tall, about right for 1/6th scale.  The overall sculpt is an excellent match to the original source material, but should satisfy the fans of the very early cartoons as well. They've tried to cover both bases here, and I think they've pulled it off beautifully. Leo's head - both versions - is sculpted in a moderate scowl, with gritted teeth and squinting eyes. The proportions between limbs and body, head and torso, hands and feet, are all good.

There's some texturing added to key areas, like the scabbards and belts. and a little cross hatching on the body. I actually would have liked to see more of this cross hatching, making it look even more like the actual artwork, but it's a minor nit.

My bigger nit is with the design of the joints and their interaction with the sculpt. The joints are largely rotating hinges, and the posts and discs are pretty obvious.  They could have used the elbow and knee pads to hide these areas a bit better, but chose not to.

The discs will look darker green in photos - it's not as obvious in hand. But how much they break up the look of the figure is obvious, particularly at the upper knee where the disc runs up mid quad, and at the wrist where the disc takes up half the palm. The joints at the elbows, hips, and ankles aren't quite as bad, and the shoulders fall somewhere in between on the ugly scale.

What this comes down to is simple - this looks very much like a large action figure, something you might buy for $20 - $30 in the 7" scale these days, upped to sixth scale. Whether or not that will find an audience will depend heavily on what the expectations are of the collectors.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Paint - ***
The overall paint quality is solid, with most colors being consistent (the darker green discs aren't as obvious in hand), and coverage being good.

They did go for a dirty look though, and in some areas it looks more like bad paint than intentional dirt. This dirt effect isn't quite as consistent either, with some areas - like the shoulders - being much dirtier on one side than the other.

Just like with the sculpt, I would like to see more cross hatching in black.  It's a feature of the old NECA figures that really set them apart, and something this series could have benefited from. The back of the shell is pretty plain, and these large expanses of mostly unbroken color - the skin, the shell back and front - tend to add the the toy-like appearance.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Articulation - ***1/2
While I don't love the look of the joints, they are generally mobile and useful.

The neck is as true a ball joint as you can get. The top of the neck is rounded, and the head pops down on it, allowing for a very full range of movement. Swapping the heads was tricky, and they do tend to pop off as you work with them, slipping upward on the ball as you go. But it's still a very useful, very mobile joint.

As I mentioned earlier, the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees are all rotating hinge joints.  Some are uglier than others, but they all had a good range of movement.  The elbows were a little loose, especially the left one on mine, so take some care when swapping hands.

The ankles are pin and rocker joints, and the sculpt restricts the forward and backward movement a bit. He also has a rotating tail, and it might be a good idea to watch which way you have it turned. It can look a lot more like 'little Leo' than a tail from certain angles. In the very last photo you can see what you'll get with it turned the wrong way...or the right way, depending on what you're going for.

There's one other minor point of articulation - the back of the mask on both heads can turn. Depending on the pose (and which way the wind is blowing), you can alter the look slightly.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Accessories - ***1/2
The best feature of this figure is the accessories, a nice bunch of goodies that go great with the character.

There are three hands to go with the two gripping hands he comes wearing - a pair for climbing, with spikes on the palms, and his right hand in the 'Pointing Finger of Leadership' pose. The hands are a little tough to swap, but some heat will help. You'll also want to have a firm grip on the forearm to avoid putting any additional pressure on the elbows.

He comes with his katanas of course, which fit inside the scabbards on his back. The fit is a little wonky - they don't quite make it *all* the way down (it's close), and the large square guard on each gets in the way. The swords themselves look great, and can be held in the gripping hands. Again, I'd use some heat on the hands to soften them up to avoid damaging the paint on the pommel or grip.

That's not it for his weapons - he has four shurikens, two with four points, two with eight.  These are about the right scale, and also fit in the gripping hands well.

Two of the more unusual adds are the pre-transformation version of Leo, as well as a pre-transformation version of Splinter. Each of the Mondo Turtles will have their own baby version, but only Leo has Splinter.

Each of the figures also comes with a swappable head. The expression is identical  here (unfortunately), but the mask is painted red, as it was in the comic book, rather than the cartoon blue he comes wearing. The heads are a little tricky to swap, easy to get off but tough to get back on. Heat is your friend.

The final pieces for the regular Leo are the large Utom Blaster, and the grappling hook with rope. These are done in big, bulky comic book style and look great.

The exclusive I'm reviewing has one more extra: Shredder's destroyed gauntlet, as seen in the first first issue of the comic. It's not a big deal, but it's only ten bucks more than the regular release.

The number of extras is great, but the re-use across the four turtles is a tad much. Each one will have a slightly different expression, so I'm not sure why they couldn't swap around and give each one a red mask with one expression and a blue with another. Sure, if you buy more than one you can do it yourself, but for those that only pick up their favorite character, a second expression on the extra head would have been nice.

The non-exclusive Leo's only specific accessories are Splinter, his swords, and his pointing hand. Some of the others do a little better, but you'll see most of the rest of the extras multiple times.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Outfit - N/A
This is one of those rare cases where a sixth scale figure - or at least one I'm referring to that way - has no cloth goods at all, but is a completely sculpted plastic figure.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Fun Factor - ***
The articulation allows for lots of posing and re-posing, always a sign of a fun 'collectible'. There's also a lot of useful accessories that will allow you to alter the display, particularly once we get the other three characters.

It's also worth noting that this figure is sturdy and solid. While the elbows were a little loose, this is still a figure that you could hand to the average eight year old and they'd have a great time. Of course, at this price point you might be a bit reticent...

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Value - **
This is where it gets tricky. The regular figure, without Shredder's gauntlet, will run you  $150. This guy was originally $160, and also has the advantage of being limited to just 500. Whether you can see that kind of price reflected in this figure is going to depend on your expectations.

You won't get anything in this scale for less than $100.  DC Collectibles statues, made of resin with no articulation and no extras, are around $120 now.  Even Gentle Giant's mini-busts, half of a sixth scale figure in overall size, are going for $120. Some high end sixth scale figures might get down to $160, but that price is more and more uncommon these days.

But I have no doubt that a lot of people will consider this figure much too expensive.  I'm betting that's due largely to the perception this figure creates - it seems like 'just' a large action figure. It's a similar style, from the accessories, to the articulation, to even the design. And if an action figure in 1/12th or 1/10th scale costs me just $25, why would one in 1/6th scale cost $150? That's a tough argument to counter, and it has some validity. Personally, I think something around $120 would have felt a lot more in line with the overall quality and quantity here, but considering the low runs that these are sure to see (even with four characters re-using parts), I can understand the cost.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Things to Watch Out For -
Make sure you have a very strong hold on the forearms when swapping the hands. The elbows on mine were already loose - pulling on them too much will only make the issue worse.

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Overall - ***
I suspect that the issues you have - or don't have - with this figure are going to be heavily influenced by what sort of collector you are. If you're a modern sixth scale figure collector whose focus is on ultimate realism, the exposed joints and toy-like nature of the accessories and design is going to be a major problem. Even though this is a comic book based figure, and hence can never really look 'real', the toy-ish nature will be a huge turn off. ThreeZero is doing some sixth scale versions that they are calling 'Eastman comic' designs that may be more to your liking. They also have modern movie based versions, and these may fit in better with your other Hot Toys lines.

If you're a toy collector, someone who likes their action figures to still be playable and not just 'collectibles', this figure will have greater appeal. The exposed joints are still going to bug you, but the overall 'action figure first, collectible second' nature of the design will be more to your liking. The design is also much more in line with the original comics, so the huge TMNT fan looking for a more accurate portrayal in this scale will be pleased.

Everyone will complain about the price, but then, don't we always?

And I just have to say it - in the last photo, Leo looks awfully proud of himself.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - N/A
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***

Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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Where to Buy 
The exclusive is long sold out through Mondo. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has a great price at just $135 for each of the regular releases.

- has any of the regular releases for $150 each.

- Entertainment Earth is also at $150.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
The greatest small versions of the comic Turtles were done by NECA, many years ago. Playmates recently did their own take on the Eastman versions. And don't forget Mondo's 'First Turtle' figure, released earlier this year.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Leonardo Teenate Mutant Ninja Turtles sixth scale figure by Mondo

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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