Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has lineage that goes all the way back to 1984. When He-Man and the Masters of the Universe dominated the airwaves & toy aisles and Transformers was launching two artists, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were brainstorming and what initially started parody of popular comic book characters spawned into a powerhouse spanning over a quarter of a century with no sign of stopping.

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I fell in love with TMNT sometime in 1989. My first TMNT action figure wasn’t even one of the Turtles, it was Baxter Stockman. I had received him as a gift from one of my aunts. I’m sure she was just looking for something to give me and figured I would think he was cool. I didn’t know who Baxter Stockman was at the time and little did my aunt know that she would be starting an unhealthy obsession. Perhaps I would have eventually got into TMNT on my own; all my friends were as well so it was almost inevitable.

When the second animated series made its debut a lot of people were scratching their heads. Fans assumed it was an attempt to cash in on the nostalgia train, which at that point hadn’t really even departed the station. The 2003 series turned out to be an earnest revival of the show and was a huge departure from the 1987 TV series. It followed along with the Mirage Comics versions of the characters more closely and left the comedic antics and initials on their belts behind. Although at that point I have to wonder why it was any surprise. TMNT already enjoyed success in comics; with the Fred Wolf animated series, the three live action films, and The Next Mutation. [The Next Mutation and success in the same sentence? Blasphemy! - Ed.]

I fell in love with TMNT sometime in 1989. My first TMNT action figure wasn’t even one of the Turtles, it was Baxter Stockman. I had received him as a gift from one of my aunts. I’m sure she was just looking for something to give me and figured I would think he was cool. I didn’t know who Baxter Stockman was at the time and little did my aunt know that she would be starting an unhealthy obsession. Perhaps I would have eventually got into TMNT on my own; all my friends were as well so it was almost inevitable.

When the second animated series made its debut a lot of people were scratching their heads. Fans assumed it was an attempt to cash in on the nostalgia train, which at that point hadn’t really even departed the station. The 2003 series turned out to be an earnest revival of the show and was a huge departure from the 1987 TV series. It followed along with the Mirage Comics versions of the characters more closely and left the comedic antics and initials on their belts behind. Although at that point I have to wonder why it was any surprise. TMNT already enjoyed success in comics; with the Fred Wolf animated series, the three live action films, and The Next Mutation. [The Next Mutation and success in the same sentence? Blasphemy! - Ed.]

Packaging: The Turtles come in blister card; your basic plastic glued onto cardboard backing. The packaging seems minimal so there’s not a ton of wasted space. I can’t say I’m a fan of the new logo. The colors are eye popping — the first time I saw them on the shelf I wasn’t even looking for them, but my eyes were immediately attracted to them.

Design and Sculpt: The sculpting is really great. It far exceeds the vintage [Why don’t we just start calling that G1 – Ed.] and 2003 figures [Okay, so lets call the 2003 figures G2 while we’re naming stuff – Ed.]. I would go as far as to say that it even rivals that of the NECA figures. I have no idea how closely they will resemble the art in the new show and for the time being I don’t really care. The roughness and irregularity of the skin is great and no two turtles appear to share the same parts. The shells and bellies are all different as well, each with some signs of wear and tear perhaps earned in battle. The belts are separate pieces however the pads and wrappings are sculpted right on.

The heads are what really sell the individual characters. Leonardo has his signature resolute expression and Donatello has his pensive look while Michelangelo has his mischievous face and Raphael just looks pissed. Even their bandanas are a little different which is a nice touch. While Raph and Don’s are long and flowing like the G2 turtles, Mike’s is short, like G1.

Looking at the figures by themselves they do seem rather small buy they are actually taller than the vintage G1 Turtles. Perhaps a first for any TMNT toy, they are all different heights. Mike is the shortest at about 3.75” and Leonardo is slightly taller than him. Don and Raph are the tallest at just 4”, but Raph beats Don by a hare.

Plastic and Paint: The last Playmates Ninja Turtle figure I bought was Raphael back in 2007 for TMNT the film. To me the figure felt really cheap and flimsy so I did not go on to complete the rest of the team. I was kind of worried the same would be true for these figures so it was with a little trepidation that I bought my first two figures (Raph and Leo) with the intention of opening one and if I was unimpressed I would return the other and just forget it. As if you couldn’t tell by the fact that you’re reading a review for these very figures, the quality met my approval and not only did I go on to open Leo but then went out the very next day to pick up Mike and Don.

The paint applications on these guys seem fairly minimal but there are actually a lot. The boys are molded in their respective greens ranging from lime green (Mike), sea foam green (Don), true green (Leo), and forest green (Raph). The bandanas, wrappings, and knee & elbow pads are all painted. Leo and Don have added details with their belt buckles.

I am fairly happy with the paint as-is but I think they would have benefited from a nice wash to bring out the beautiful sculpts. I have seen some phenomenal customs pop-up [Rather quickly I might add. – Ed.] and they look absolutely stunning. I am tempted to have a friend of mine who does a lot of customs paint mine, but I’m kind of a purist so I think I’m keeping the skin fresh. Its just a pity because these figures have such great sculpts that aren’t getting shown off.

 

Ar·tic·u·la·tion: These figures aren’t treading any new ground here, but while they may not be as super-poseable as the “Classics” figures being produced they seem to feature the right amount for their scale. Ball-and-socket head, ball jointed hips and shoulders, swivel-hinged elbows and knees, and cut wrists.

Accessories: The Turtles come with their signature weapons; Leonardo with his dual katana blades, Donatello and his bo, Raphael and his sai, and Michaelangelo with his nunchaku. None of the weapons feature any paint apps. Leo and Raph’s are molded in silver while Don’s is a wooden brown and Mike’s orange-ish.

In addition to their iconic weapons they also come with a plastic ‘tree’ frame of weapons, much like the G1 figures did. I’m sure many will see this as a giant leap backwards, but I actually think it’s pretty cool. None of the weapons have any paint apps, they’re molded in the same color as their weapons, but I don’t care. Weapons trees are cool.

Leonardo – Extra katana blades, three kunai daggers, a dart, and two shuriken (throwing stars).

Michelangelo – kusarigama (a sickle on a metal chain with a weighted end), and more throwing stars.

Donatello – naginata, a three-sectional staff, (a flail weapon typically consisting of three wooden staffs connected by chain or rope) and throwing stars.

Raphael – A pair of Juttes (halfsais), two Chinese hook swords, and two (you guessed it) throwing stars.

I do not plan on cutting mine so there you go. Had they each came with individually painted bonus weapons would it have been cool? Sure, however if I’m going to display my figures holding weapons it will more than likely be their preferred weapons.

Overall: When the new toy line was first announced I was gung ho about the new “Classics” line and wasn’t exactly thrilled about the basic figures. After seeing them in stores, while hesitant to dip my toe, in the end I couldn’t resist checking them out. For the money they’re great figures — although they aren’t quite perfect. Painted weapons and a nice wash would have gone a long way but overall I’m fairly happy with them just the way they are.These toys are making me excited about TMNT again, which hasn’t happened for a long time. As cool as the NECA figures were they just lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. These are the figures that are meant for kids while the “Classics” line is obviously geared towards the adult collector. If I was seven years old I would be going nuts over these guys.

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