TMNT Wave 1

I had a guest review of the Turtles last week, but Coheteboy sent along another excellent perspective, so I thought I'd share!  Take it away...

Back in the late 80s/early 90s after the popularity of G.I.Joe and Transformers has died down, a newcomer came to the spotlight.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a huge hit on tv as well as the toys.  Then just as most brands, the popularity faded.  But for those of you who've been around, you definitely know that you can't keep a good concept down.  We've all seen G.I.Joe, Transformers, and Masters of the Universe climb back out from hibernation so it is of little surprise that the Turtles came back out of the sewers so to speak, bringing Playmates toys along for the ride once again. 

Although it may appear that the Turtles have been in hibernation, this new line of TMNT is the second attempt of relaunching the franchise.  The first relaunch was simply called Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and featured a short lived live action series and a new turtle named Venus.  This latest relaunch returns to the animated series format and also goes back to the even older comic book roots.

Here for review are Leonardo and Raphael simply because they've been my favorite turtles since the beginning.  And of course reviewing four turtles can get a bit redundant.

Packaging - ***1/2
There is no missing this toy line when browsing the toy aisles.  It SCREAMS to be looked at.  Bright, bold, and full of attitude, the card convinces that anyone who owns these figures are in for quite a ride.  The title treatment is a bit more extreme, but apparently the entire look of the brand is as well.  Each turtle has their own head gracing the front of their cards and the other characters will get all four turtles in one generic card back.  The back of the cards shows the figure details and descriptions of the accessories, as well as the old fashioned file card for kids to clip and collect.  But we all know now that it's better to save the entire card, and these are definitely worth saving.

The bubble also shows off the figure quite nicely.  All accessories are right there for you to examine, very much like the Simpsons figures.  Overall, the packaging is just awesome making it very difficult for the weak minded fan to pass on these.  It worked on me!

Sculpting - ***1/2
I've been victim to saying that these turtles look just like the old ones when I first saw pictures online.  Boy, how could I be that wrong?  These look nothing like the old figures, but memory can always make things up.  Anyway, these turtles are superbly sculpted, unique in their own ways.  Unlike the old toys, these turtles actually do resemble the cartoon versions.

Leonardo and Raphael actually have the best facial expressions in my opinion, but they're all great.  Leonardo actually resembles the original face sculpt which makes it all that much more interesting.  

The sculpting overall is incredible.  The team at playmates made sure that the anatomy was accurate and more realistic than the previous lines.  The plastic used is even less shiny, making for a very impressive figure(s).

Paint - ***1/2
The paint applications are nicely done.  Clean and consistent colors throughout.  Each turtle has a different shade of green just like the old series.  This time around, however, the elbow/wrist and knee pads are all uniform in color making it a cleaner style overall. 

The paint in the teeth and eyes are clean as well and the colors on the mask are sharp.  There was a chance for them to get lazy and make every turtle the same shade of green but thankfully that didn't happen. 

Bonus paint applications are in the shading of the front shell and of course... the accessories!

Articulation - ***
With new advances of sculpt and paint, there has to be new points of articulation.  While the TMNT line doesn't go far and beyond such as the Muppets, it's still very consistent an adequate.

All the turtles have the same articulation:
-two in the shoulder
-bicep (where it meets the elbow pad)
-two in the upper leg

The total comes out to 13 points that I can count which certainly beats the original 7.  All of the additional articulation basically lies in the arms, allowing for better fighting stances.  A good job overall.

Accessories - ***
There's nothing out of the ordinary here but the highlight that will get all fans excited is the thought of painted accessories.  Your turtles and friends will no longer fight with orange katana blades, sais, nunchuks, and bo.  The painted accessories applies to every character in the toy line, not just the turtles. 

Leonardo comes equipped with twin Katana swords, complete with sheathes attached to his belt.  Also included are two ninja throwing stars and two suction cup grips, allowing Leonardo to pull a Spider-man and scale walls, or in our case, a flat smooth surface.

Raphael comes with twin Sais that also fit into his ninja belt (with some difficulty), and two ninja stars.  Also included is a pulley line rider accessory that allows Raph to literally fly over the foot. 

Nice to see the turtles get a few more action accessories other than the standard specialty weapon to add to the play value.

Value - ***1/2
Depending on which store you purchase these, you can add a half or take one away, so shop around before you commit.  Since the animated series premieres in a month, there should be plenty of product on the pegs.  These should be around $5.99-$6.99 depending on the store.  Anything more than that shouldn't be attempted.

Overall - ***1/2
The turtles were always a great concept and these toys really do show how cool it always was.  Great sculpts, great paint and detail, great accessories and articulation, what more can you ask for in a toy line?  Vehicles?  Those should be found at any store as well.

Where to Buy - 
Best places right now would be Walmart: $5.88, and Target: $6.99, though they should be appearing at all retail markets soon.  Toys'R'Us and KB Toys are already stocking the giant versions of these figures so it'll just be a matter of time.

- has all the figures listed available for shipment right now, including the Foot Soldier and Shredder.  They also have pre-orders for April and the Smart Car.

About the Reviewer:
Coheteboy collects almost every popular toy line and can be found in and around creating action figure comics, dioramas, and graphics.

Figure from the collection of Coheteboy.

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