Just in time for Halloween, a new set of Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures are hitting shelves. The "Monsters and Mutants" series are toys based on the current "Tale" airing on Tales of the TMNT on Nicktoons. For those not up-to-date on the Nickelodeon series, the current series is in it's final season and has been re-branded "Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and has moved to the Nicktoons channel. The season is also broken up into longer story arcs. The current, halloween-themed arc is the "Monsters and Mutants" tale for which these toys have ben made. Next week, we'll be going over the very exciting monster-themed turtles seen on the back of the card here. Along with that, we'll be checking them out alongside their counterparts from 1993.
Right now though, I wanted to share my review of Monster Hunter Leo and Raph.
As much as I hate to offer up a complaint right out the gate, the biggest thing that bothers me about these toys is the glaring absense of Mikey and Donnie. In the cartoon, all four turtles do become monster hunters for a time, each with a slightly different costume. The fact that we don't have a Donnie and Mikey is very upsetting given how great the designs were and really how awesome these two figures came out. I understand that the current series is winding down, hence we're not getting as many figures as we used to, but an incomplete set of turtles is one of those things that bugged me in the 90's and still bugs me today.
Okay, so, now that that is out of the way, I LOVE these two figures.They are great, and I'll review them both topgether here, section by section as I feel they are both of excellent quality.
For both of these toys, the sculpts are very good. Much of what these toys are is a hodge-podge of peices from other toys in the 2012 line, plus some new pieces to go along with the clothing. This is not a complaint at all, as the 2012 line of toys has created really good toys of the turtles themselves. There is a little inconsistensy which could only be noticed by loyal collectors of the 201 2 line; some parts come from the earlier, more detailed figures, while other parts come from the later, less detailed figures, but it's realy not all that noticable. Given they are wearing jackets, both have new arm sculpts over the re-used parts of other Turle toys. All of which looks really good together. The only other new item is Raph's very cool head sculpt featuring a bowler cap. It nicely captures his look from the toon and is unique among the hundreds of TMNT toys we've had. Leo's head sculpt is not new, and the hat is removable (a nice detail which surprisingly doesn't make the hat seem to big). The expressions on both figures are solid, serious looks, nicely suited to mtheir monster-hunting duties.
I'm not sure if the jackets are accessories or sculpt, but since you can't remove them, I'm including them here. Both figures have awesome jackets. They're a nice, softer, rubbery texture which allows for posability and still looks very cool. They each have a unique kind of trenchcoat, leo with a kind-of Van-Helsing looking coat while Raph is a high-collared coat suitable to the time period they travelled to the the show (18th centery). Both coats give the turtles a very cool look. Their belts also look good, they feature garlic and other monster-hunting remedies on them, which shows a very cool attention to detail.
These toys are both articulated to what would be expected for the 2012 TMNT line. You can get a lot of dynamic poses out of them since they are articulated at the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and head. For Raph, since he is a bit more stout and his coat is bulkier, his elbow joints don't offer much in the way of posability, but I'm stil glad they included that joint, which offers up moe variety if these are sitting on a shelf or display case.
On some toys, Playmates can sometimes can leave something to be desired on their paint apps, but that's not the case on these two figures. What the pictures show is what you get. Bold, bright colors which match the cartoon. There wasn't much that needed to be painted here, so luckily Playmates hit the mark on everything you'd want and come to expect.
The accesories here aren't great. Not bad either though. Raph comes with a lone crossbow and leo with a pair of swords and knives, all of which are unpainted. Their good-looking toys though, especally the crossbow. Since Leo uses the crossbow in the cartoon, I've taken to swapping their accsories, but both look good with either weapons. Leo's scabbards are also removable, which is a nice option. Another highlight here is the hat for leo, which I did not expect to be removable and was pleasantly surprised by. It sits nicely on his head and stays on due to a discreet clip which goes onto the knot of the bandana. Well done on the hat for sure.
Long gone are the days of really impressive box art from the Turtles line. The early figures in the late eighties had awesome, individuakized cards whih were just awesome artwork in and of themselves. Even in the classic line though, that would eventually go away and never return. That being said, Playmates has made a nice effort to crerate unigure card art for each "Tale" this season, from the Monsters and Mutants saga to the Usagi crossover and their Bebop & Rocksteady story. This card features the four brothers in their monster costumes, which we'll be reviewing the figures of next week.
As a hard-core Turtles fan, I definately recommend these toys. They are intense and dynamic and are totally unique from other turtle toys which have come before it. Of course, the only downside here is that the set feels incomplete with only two turtles. We can hope that Playmates wil release the other two, but given that this cartoon is drawing to a close, it's likely going to be left to customizers to pick up the slack.