Last week, our friends at Playmates Toys were kind enough to send us a package containing a couple of their new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze 25th Anniversary Figures. We received a Leonardo figure as well as Donatello. Playmates had sold these figures previously in their ”Classics” line, as figures from the first TMNT movie, but they’ve included a few cool new features which makes these toys worth picking up.
To start off, I’d like to make a few notes about the line overall. When these toys first came out a few years ago, they were the second line of Playmates’ Classics line, and I personally thought it was a big improvement upon the first line. The first Classics line was based upon the original cartoon, but they had some strange issues, poor paint jobs on some figures (Donatello always had a lazy eye), were oddly proportioned with big bodies and skinny limbs as well as weird looking hands. I thought the Classics set based upon the 1990 movie was a big improvement, but there was one widespread problem that a lot of people had, namely, the head sculpts were very strange for most of the Turtles. For this rerelease, Playmates seemed to answer this by including three additional heads with each Turtle, which was smart of them. Another thing to note is that all four Turtles have the same body sculpt. For many Turtles lines, this is okay to do as the Turtles often look nearly identical, but the Turtles that came out of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop each had a unique look to them, so, it would have been nice to have four different bodies in this line, but, it’s likely that would be cost prohibitive, so it’s forgivable.
First up is my favorite Turtle, Donatello. The body sculpt on Donnie is great; these toys are highly articulated with joints included on things like the toes, fingers, torso and a whole bunch else. They’re great for action poses or casual ones as well. They hold the weapons well and the body overall has some nice weight to it. They are about six inches tall, so it’s a good deal bigger than the basic TMNT lines. Overall I always thought it was a great sculpt for these toys, especially considering that Playmates doesn’t often make such highly articulated toys like this.
The head sculpts were a really great improvement to this line. Perhaps the biggest reason to pick up these toys are the additional heads, as the original ones were so bad, awkward, or unfitting to the personality of the respective Turtle. The downside is, it’s not like they came with really great head sculpts. It seems that each Turtle came with a couple weird heads, and a couple decent heads, and it’s up to you to pick which one you think looks okay, more so than you have a nice variety to choose from. Looking at Donnie’s head, some are okay and some not. In the photo above, I’ve labeled each head. Head “A” is the one that comes on Donnie in the package, which is a pretty typical TMNT expression of a half open mouth with gritted teeth; this is likely the best choice for action poses, and it looks good. Head “B” is a kind of goofy smile. This was the head of the original figure, which many people hated. I personally like this sculpt; it’s a bit different for Donnie, but, for the more light-hearted movie incarnation of Donatello, who was primarily played by Corey Feldman, I actually think it fits in very nicely with this take on the character. Head “C” is a weird smile and I believe the worst of the bunch. It’s very narrow and oddly shaped and really doesn’t resemble the Jim Henson Creature Shop Turtles much at all. Finally, there’s the one with the gritted teeth that kind of looks like a smile or grimace depending upon the angle. I don’t think this one is terrible, but it’s not great.
Though simple, I really like the coloring of this toy. There is basically no paint; pretty much everything is just different colored pieces except for the eyes and teeth, but it works very well. Sure, it would have been nice to have a little texturing, kind of like the original ‘Movie Star’ TMNT from 1992, but I am not devastated that they didn’t. For the original release of these toys, all four Turtles had the same skin tone (which is movie accurate), but for the rerelease they changed it up a bit. The coloring is not in line with the film itself, but it pays homage to the early Playmates line, which is always welcome. Donnie is his dark brown green which has traditionally been his color. His mask is a dark purple, and is actually better than the kid-friendly, pastel-colored purple that was actually in Secret of the Ooze. I think it was a nice upgrade to give the Turtles differing skin tones, especially considering they all have the same body sculpt.
Finally, the accessories are a pretty awesome addition to this release. The original only came with Donnie’s bo staff, but this time around they added some very cool items that are specific to Secret of the Ooze. The items they chose for Donnie were quite obscure, in a very awesomely nerdy way. He came with a foam bat, which he used early in the movie to taunt a guy with pantyhose on his head. He also comes with a mop, which he kissed in the movie when the Turtles clean April’s apartment. Now, in a way, these props are kind of reminders of how watered down Secret of the Ooze was, with “Combat Cold Cuts” instead of nunchucks for Mikey’s first fight scene, but, for a set of toys honoring the movie, these accessories are really cool, obscure items to include, so I give Playmates a lot of credit for including them.
Leo has the same body as Donnie, and, it’s a good solid sculpt that works well for all of the Turtles. The Creature Shop Turtles did have slight differences; Leo was the tallest, Raph was bulkier and Mikey was shorter, but the body is very well done and it really is fine that they were used for all of them. My Leo did have a little issue though: his right foot had his toes reversed, so he literally looked like he had two left feet. Conveniently, even though all the Turtles in this set have different skin tones, Leo was the only one to retain the coloring of the original set from the Classics line, so I just swapped the leg from the original Leo as I like these new ones better.
Leo’s head sculpts were an absolute necessity as I felt Leo had the worst and weirdest expression in the original Classics line. Head “A” came on the toy in the package and I believe is the best of the bunch. It looks like it was very carefully crafted to match the Leo out of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (it looks more like the Leo from the first movie more so than the second, but I’m happy with that, as the first movie is way better). His closed mouth, serious look is perfect for Leo. Head “B” is also quite good; it’s a basic happy face and would work well for poses where he’s enjoying pizza or dancing to Vanilla Ice. Head “C” is terrible. This was the head that came with the original toy; it’s actually based on a very specific scene in the first movie: the fight in April’s apartment, but the expression makes Leo looked scared, the last thing you want out of your fearless leader. Head “D” is also pretty bad. In the image above it looks like a smile, but also looks like a grimace depending upon the angle. The headband is also crooked and seems oversized.
The coloring for Leo is identical to the original, it’s a good deep green. It’s not quite the dark army green that the original Playmates Leo was, but it looks good on him and is the closest to the film, where all four Turtles actually had the same skin tone.
The accessories for Leo were a bit disappointing. The swords are great and I have no complaints there, but the rest I wasn’t thrilled with. Including shuriken are fine, but as I already own about 10,000 of them from other Turtles figures, they are hardly exciting, and they also lack the cool, nerdy Secret of the Ooze specificity that Donnie’s accessories had. Perhaps we could have gotten a copy of The Daily News with the headline “Ninja Rap is Born” or some other obscure item? Leo also comes with two canisters of mutagen, which are movie specific, but they are done poorly. The canisters are tiny, smaller than canisters that even came with the basic Turtles, so it’s pretty disappointing. Also, the can with the ooze leaking out had a weird misprint on it where TGRI has the “G” broken; maybe that’s meant to look like the canister is broken and leaking, but it certainly doesn’t look like it. If I were to pose these figures with an ooze can, I’d just borrow the one from the NECA line from a few years ago.
Overall, I really highly recommend these toys. I actually feel they are some of the best TMNT toys Playmates has ever made, and probably the very best since the ending of the original cartoon line. For those of you who already own the first release, Playmates has included some nice new features to make the purchase worth it, specifically the new head sculpts. I’m personally going to be on the lookout at my local Walmart (they are a Walmart exclusive) for Raph and Mikey. These toys are going for $20 each and should already be showing up in Walmart.
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 1:26pmDespite Hollywood's best efforts, the TMNT franchise is still standing. And the designer toy world is definitely getting their fill. Kidrobot, The Loyal Subjects, and now Unbox Industry have all put their own twists on the iconic reptiles.
Friday, October 14, 2016 - 2:01pmI don't often venture outside of The Block. But when I do, I make my way to Bandai's booth.
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 1:46pmWhile Toy Tokyo mostly clogged The Block with lines for the latest cookie cutter Fuko Pop! figure, they did at least bring four amazing pieces to NYCC.