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 been made. This week, we'll be reviewing each of the "Monster" themed turtles and comparing them alongside their calssic counterpart from 1993.
Before getting started into the individual review, I'd first like to say that this entire set is pretty awesome. These are the kinds of Turtle toys that I LOVED when I was a kid. Back in the late 80's, early 90's, Playmates had a ton of sets of, essentially, the turtles "playing dress up." There were cowboys and clowns and army men and magicians and all sorts of crazy stuff and I think that added a lot of the charm and personality to that highly regarded line of classic toys. For the 2012 series, while there have been many variants, there have been only a few lines of toys that give you that tingly nostalgic feeling with just plain silly and fun outfits. That being said, this set of Monster turtles gave me by far the greatest feeling of nostalgia that I've ever felt in this line. Not only are the turtles "playing dress up," but this line is an updated version of a classic line from 1993, where Playmates released a set of turtles dressed as Universal movie monsters. For the updated version, in a very cool way, Playmates has used the same four monsters from the classic line and assigned them to new turtles, giving us something new and yet wonderfully nostalgic. Way to go Playmates, glad to see this line of toys is ending with a real tribute to the classic fans.
That being said, let's go into my review of Mutant Mummy Leo.
This figure has a really solid sculpt all around which equally highlights the "turtle" parts and the "mummy" parts. The bandages are nicely textured and his face has a sort of blank, zombie/mummy-like expression on it. The bandages are loosely wrapped around Leo leaving much more of the turtle exposed than the classic Mummy turtle. The toy is an all-new sculpt from head-to-toe with no reused parts from other figures. His hands and feed are also unique in that they are sculpted with longer nails and given a more monnster-like look. There's even a scarab crawling up the side of Leo's leg, which is a nice detail. Overall, a really nice sculpt.
These toys are all 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. One nice added point of articulation came in Leo and Mikey, where each has an extra joint in one foot, allowing for more dynamic poses which also echo the classic line of figures, which often stood with one foot up in "action poses."
The paints on all of these guys are quite good, nice bright colors which are accurate to the cartoon, whilethere is nothing really super special in terms of detail. There are a couple minor areas where paint is not applied or the wrong color is applied, for Leo, there is a part where he's colored white yet there are no bandages. This is a minor issue though as the colors are quite good. Additionally, while I'm doing a classic comparison below, I would like to say I really wish these toys glowed in the dark like their predecessors did. I don't know how much that stuff costs and perhaps that would have made it cost prohibitive, but it was such an iconic part of the classic toys, that I wish we'd seen it here.
Leo's accessories are pretty good. A snake sword and a snake. The sword is good, and the gold color chosen is nice. The snake I'm not crazy about, only because it's meant to go around him, yet when you do that, it just looks kind of bulky. There's no specific problems with the snake, but I prefer Leo without it. These are also unpainted which should be expected from any TMNT Playmates toy.
Long gone are the days of really impressive box art from the Turtles line. The early figures in the late eighties had awesome, individualized cards which 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 create uniqure 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 is pretty cool.
Despite my overwhelming feelings of nostalgia for the classic toys, which are among my very favorites of the literally hundreds of toys I have from the classic line, I will try to be objective in each of these reviews, which I have decided to do monster-by-monster instead of by character. For the Mummy, in the classic line it was Raph and in the 2012 line it's Leo. For articulation, any 2012 toy is going to have more than it's 1993 counterpart so the 2012 figure handily is better in that regard. The sculpts are about even here, the only notable difference is that Raph is much more covered up and his exposed skin is rotted like a real Mummy. I like this detail in the sculpt so I slightly prefer the classic figure. The classic accessories, which are not shown here had snake sais, a scarab and a knife, so they're pretty much even in terms of accessories, while Raph had more stuff, Leo had a big snake. Color and paints are where the classic toy truly outshines the modern counterpart. As I mentioned, every classic toy glowed in the dark. Wherever you see white on those toys, they glowed (and still glow today) and none was more impressive than Rapahel. The glowing effect made these toys not only some of my favotire TMNT toys, but also my very favorite Halloween decorations, and nowhere is that loss felt more greatly than on Leo.
Finally, for each of these, I'd like to address the PERSONALITY of the character and their respective monster. This will matter a little more in the other characters, but for the Mummy, both Raph and Leo don't seem to especially fit or not fit the Mummy as a character, so it's pretty even as to which turlte makes a better Mummy
The new Mummy Leo is great and I recommend it to fans of both TMNT series, especially those who have a love for the classic line. I truly applaud Playmates in paying to much attention to nostalgia in this entire set.