2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I was a late 80s/early 90s kid, so as most kids my age, I was into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And boy was I ever into TMNT, bedsheets, lunchboxes, stickerbooks, coloring books, Archie comics, you name it I had it. The toys were no exception, I wanted them all, and for awhile got them all, it wasn’t until they stopped showing up en masse at retail that I started losing interest in collecting them. Ever since then there have been multiple attempts by Playmates to bring them back, the most success coming from the 2003 series. Unfortunately the toys didn’t seem to last long despite the show going for multiple seasons. Now another 9 years later and we have a new show on the horizon, and two new toylines hitting shelves. Needless to say I’m a very happy Turtle fan, and these toys do not disappoint.
I thought about reviewing all four Turtles individually, but I realized I’d be repeating myself a lot, so I’ll try to review them as a group. The sculpts on each of these figures are great. Playmates really went out of their way this time to differentiate the four Turtles in sculpt other than just changing the colors around. Each Turtle has lines, bumps(warts?), and scales markings uniquely sculpted on each appendage to give them all their own unique look. Even the shells have different battle damaged scuffs and scrapes sculpted in. It really shows that Playmates isn’t working on reuse of parts that a lot of other American toy companies are seemingly using as a cost-cutting crutch these days. This is also apparent in the Turtles as far as size, each figure is a different size ranging from 4.25″ and 4.75″, it’s a really great attention to detail that as far as I’m aware is also a detail brought on in the show itself. All four figures are made of a softer feeling rubbery plastic with the exception of the back shell which is made of a regular stiff plastic. For some reason this just feels right, and when going back to pick up an old solid plastic vintage or 2003 figure it makes me wonder why they weren’t made out of this material sooner. (Note: I completely forgot about the live action movie series) The paint for the most part is spot on, although there aren’t many paint aps. Most of the figures are colored plastic with the paint mostly used for their bandanas and hand/foot wraps.
Each Turtle comes with their signature weapons. For Leo and Raph these are great stylized updates of the classics. Unfortunately I can’t same the same for the other two. Don’s bo feels way to short, causing me to dig out the 2003 Don and give him a better, longer bostaff (with paint!). Mikes weapons had potential, but they were screwed up by using that same old hard plastic that the vintage line used. Unfortunately since the chains are sculpted this time around they’re extremely prone to stress marks. If you have a 2003 Mike, perform a weapon swap immediately (also with paint!) or you’ll be kicking yourself that you hadn’t sooner. Which brings me to my other gripe. None of the weapons have paint applications, all of the promo shots, and even the Toyfair preview figures had paint on the weapons. It would have been nice to have at least something on the signature weapons. Now they’re simply molded in a solid color plastic just like the vintage line. I will say, at least they’re using different colors of plastic so Leo and Raph aren’t walking around with orange swords/sais anymore. Also like the vintage line you’re treated to sprues of weapons unique to each Turtle. For me though, while these are nice additions that really add to the value of the price-tag, they’re just going into a parts box as I’ll probably never see myself using them. Especially with the fear of stress and breaking.
Playmates has finally learned something. Gone are the annoying “Sculpted Battle Stances” that all Playmates toys are notorious for. We finally have retail level fully articulated Ninja Turtles. Each Turtle sports a Ball Jointed head as well as universal joints for the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. We’re also given swivel wrists. Together this makes for a nice level of posability with your figures. I only wish the knees and elbows had a few more degrees of rotation. It would have gone a long way to add even more posing options with the figures, especially when they took the time and thought to sculpt divots in the torso to allow the arms to rest more comfortably at their sides.
Again I’m amazed that a line that could very easily take the cheaper way out and rely on a heavy reuse of parts, have instead decided to make four unique toys. If you were ever a fan of TMNT you owe it to yourself to get these. They’re the best thing to happen to the Ninja Turtles since the NECA line that popped up years ago.