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 its final season, 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 classic 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 Werewolf Mikey.
Mikey has a really excellent sculpt. All new parts which feature Mikey as a “teen wolf” style werewolf. He has a ripped up letterman jacket, a big head of hair and fur sprouting everywhere. This is such a fun idea that came out really well.
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."
Here is where this figure goes a little wrong. Not off the walls, but just not great. First of all, the words on the back of his jacket are unpainted. This isn’t surprising, but it’s still annoying. The main issue is his fur. So, this Mikey appears that he is supposed to be “sprouting” fur, which can e a little complicated for painting a $9 toy. His head of hair, knees and chest hair are brown, but the rest of him. Notably his arms and feet, are still green, despite being fuzzy. Confusingly, his elbowpads look fuzzy and are painted brown, which I guess should be brown, but having them match the hair he is growing doesn’t make sense. I get that at this price point, paint jobs can’t be complex, but the green fur is downright confusing to me.
Bone chucks, which are cool and a slice of garlic pizza, also pretty clever. Good stuff.
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 unique 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.
It’s worth noting here that even though I felt Donnie the best figure in the line, I think that was because of execution, whereas Mikey I believe is the cleverest and most inventive. The idea of doing a teen wolf type instead of a straight werewolf was an inspired choice which beautifully suits Mikey. Whereas the other monsters were just updated, the werewolf was reimagined into another “type” which fits Mikey beautifully. I will say the classic sculpt is a bit more menacing and is really impressive, but it suffers from the same issue as the current Mikey, the green fur. With the classic version, it looks less like a problem because Leo is covered in fur, as opposed to sprouting fur, but it still looks like it maybe should have been brown and they just did it green anyway. I would say these toys are neck-and-neck, Leo is cooler, but Mikey is more clever and inventive.
Finally, for each of these, I'd like to address the PERSONALITY of the character and their respective monster. Teen Wolf Mikey is a genius idea, so he wins handily for this.
Despite the paint issue, this is an awesome toy. Go get it.