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Leonardo - Ninja Turtles
Playmates
07-21-14

Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates


There are only a handful of action figure lines that have lasted through decades. When it does happen, like with Barbie, Masters of the Universe, or G.I. Joe, it tends to happen because the company and the line are one and the same - it's not licensed from someone else. I can think of only two exceptions: Star Wars, and TMNT.

Playmates has managed the TMNT line for more than two decades, and have produced hundreds of figures based on various cartoon and movie incarnations of the heroes on a half shell. It's no surprise that the new film coming out in a couple weeks has it's own set of toys as well, based on the very unique new appearance.

I'm checking out Leonardo tonight, sent to me by TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.com, a terrific site for fans of all things turtles.

The figures are flooding into stores right now, featured on end caps at retailers like Toys R Us, Target and Meijers. Expect to pay around $8 - $10 for the singles, depending on the retailer.

Packaging - ***
The packaging is sharp, with clean lines and an interesting die cut backer.  There's text on the back along with photos of the first series, and while it's not the easiest to store (corners tend to get damaged on odd shaped card backs), it's not too wasteful.

There's not a ton of personalization, which is a bit of a let down for me. They do have the one photo and name on the interior front paper slip, but that's about it.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
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Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
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Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
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Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
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Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates
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Sculpting - ***1/2
I'm not sure if I dig the new turtle designs. I suspect I'll have to see them in action in the movie before I can pass final judgment. These are...creepy. No doubt about it, but once the on screen personality kicks in, we might find them so ugly they're cute.

The designs do allow for plenty of small detail work in the sculpt, however. There's even some texturing on the skin, and the details on the inner and outer shell are particularly nice.

They used a softer rubber for the hands, which is a smart move. It allows you to put the weapons in his hands easily, but it's not so soft that he drops them, perfect for kids.

These guys are a 5" scale, with Leo standing right about there. Scale-wise, they'll fit in with other 5" lines, but style-wise they are definitely different.

Paint - ***
The paint work is solid, particularly for a mass market toy. There's a little bleed and slop - check out the whites of the eyes or the bone pattern on his chest armor - but for the most part the various colors are clean, consistent and sharp.

With the more realistic sculpts (I supposed you could call them that) comes a more turtle-like paint scheme.  The body and armor is a lot of greens and browns, with a dash of color thrown in here and there for visual interest. Nothing super cartoony for these ninjas.

Leo has the blue mask, setting him apart from the others.

Articulation - ***
The sculpt and design reduces the amount of potential articulation to some degree.

For example, the thick torso means there's no ab-crunch or waist joint. You have to depend on the ball hips and ball knees for creating the stances.

There's a ball neck, but the post is quite short, making tilting and leaning a tricky proposition. There's ball shoulders and elbows too, but without cut wrists, the arm poses are limited, particularly with the swords.

Accessories - ***
Each of the Turtles has his trademark weapon. For Leo, it's his swords.

There's two included of course, as well as a removable soft double scabbard that attaches to a hole in his back.  The swords are pretty basic, but they look good, and the scabbards attach easily. It's nothing fancy, but it's decent for play.

If you pop off the head you can also remove the scarf, so I suppose you could count that as an accessory as well. Not an exciting one, but one nonetheless.

Fun Factor - ***
I wish the articulation was a smidge better - if so, I'd go up on this score. They have captured the screen look, and the style and accessories add to the play value. But with some restricted and missing joints, it's not quite as much fun as it could be.

Value - ***1/2
How many action figures are less than $10 these days? You can find these under $9 at certain retailers, and that's a damn good deal.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - *** (3 out of 4)
I think the new movie is getting a bad rap way too early. I know that Turtle fans, like any other fans, have a certain set idea about who and what their antagonists are supposed to be. This somewhat grittier look was sure to set them off initially, but I think that if you give it a chance, the film has potential. Of course, it could also turn out to be a massive, steaming pile of poo, but the trailers aren't going to tell you that.

I do like the new figures quite a bit. Overall, they are a lot of fun, and Playmates has continued to manage the line extremely well. The first series has a nice assortment of good guys and bad, vehicles and extras, and could end up successful in spite of the film - if it comes to that. Let's hope it doesn't.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy 
Best bet for these guys are your local Target or Toys R Us. They've hit in force, and Target even has a cool four pack of the Turtles for a little less green.

Related Links -
One of my favorite sets of the turtles is from NECA and based on the comics - a terrific look! I've also reviewed one of the older cartoon movie lines, and some of the new tv cartoon figures as well. I also did a comparison of the classic and modern Mike from Playmates.

Discussion:
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Leonardo Ninja Turtles action figure by Playmates


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

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