Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

Ok, folks, I’ve had a long week and it was a busy day of debauchery yesterday, so I’m going to try to salvage what’s left of my weekend to actually rest. Nonetheless, I promised TMNT goodness, and TMNT goodness you shall have. Let’s look at Shredder.


Yuppers, it’s the same packaging we just saw with Splinter. I love it to pieces, while not feeling guilty about ripping it open to get at the action figure center.

Much like Splinter, Shredder’s new design threw me for a bit of a loop. It’s obviously Shredder, but I was pretty iffy on his boxy arm and leg armor. Now that I have the figure in hand, I’m still not entirely sold on it. They kind of make him look like he’s cosplaying a Transformer.  Still, there is a lot about the figure that I do like. The head sculpt is fantastic. The iconic helmet is there, and Shredder’s got some seriously mean looking pupil-less eyes gazing out from behind his face mask. I really dig his shoulder armor, and the way they float on hinges so as not to impede his arm movement. Even the scaled pattern on his chest is plenty cool.

On a side note, it looks like the leg and arm armor can be pried off of the figure pretty easily, but I don’t want to damage my only Shredder. Considering the cost of these guys, I may pony up the extra eight bucks for another and see how much better he looks without it.

Another thing Shredder has in common with Splinter is limited articulation. He has ball joints in his shoulders and hips, his head turns, he can swivel at the waist, and he has hinges in the elbows. I’m really missing the lack of hinges in the knees on this guy. I can understand Playmates investing more articulation into the Turtles, but I seriously wish they had extended that to Shredder too. He’s certainly fun to play around with, but every time I pose him I just keep thinking, “hey, dude, where are your goddamn knees?”

Shredder makes out a little better than Splinter in the weapons department, but not by much. He comes with a katana sword and two throwing stars. The stars are cool, and I’m actually surprised at how well he can hold them. The sword, on the other hand, needed to be a bit more substantial. It looks puny and the hilt rattles around in his grip when he’s holding it. Also, the lack of a simple loop on his back to store it seems like a missed opportunity.

I’m obviously at a point with this TMNT line where I am so smitten with the figures that I’m willing to forgive a lot. Shredder’s design has some issues, and his articulation and accessories are lacking. And yet I still love playing around with him and I think he looks just fine on my growing Nickelodeon Turtles display shelf. Maybe it’s the reasonable price point or just the fact that these figures are making my nostalgia senses tingle, but each figure just makes me want to get more.  In fact, if I weren’t so hungover, I’d probably head down to the store and get some of the new wave right now.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splinter (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

I did my usual pass through the Wally World action figure aisle this week on my way to stock up on toys groceries, and sure enough they had a whole pallet of the new Nickelodeon TMNT figures. I was absolutely blown away by the Turtles figures in this line, and I had always planned on picking up at least three more: Shredder, Splinter and Amy, so I didn’t have a chance in hell of getting out of there without buying something. I wound up with Shredder and Splinter and since I have a weekend to kill before getting back to my Toy Show haul on Monday, I thought I’d give this pair a looksie. And no, I still haven’t seen an entire episode of the new series, and it’s really not a priority for me.

When we last saw the new TMNT packaging I gushed on and on about how much I loved it. Well, I still do. At the risk of repeating myself, this packaging just shows me that Playmates gets it. (Yeah… there’s a concept. Playmates, the masterminds behind the 2009 Terminator and Star Trek figure debacle, actually gets it!) By “it”, I mean, they understand how to make a toy package simple, functional, and yet oh so appealing. As an adult collector, the retro goodness baked into this package design makes me want to buy it, because it really does summon up memories of seeing the Turtles on pegs back in the day. But even if I were a kid, just seeing these figures on these cardbacks would make me swear up and down to take out the garbage, wash the car, and neuter the dog, if only my parents would get me a couple. The back panel has a clip out file card and shows off the other great figures in this little line. Oh yeah, Splinter comes in the package with his tail off. You just need to get it off the tray and plug it into his butt and you’re all good to go.

While I took to the new Turtle designs right away, I was really iffy on the newly designed Splinter. He didn’t look like a rat to me, but rather some kind of bizarre Australian marsupial. Still, the Turtles need their “Honorable Sensei,” and so I was willing to give him a try. I’m very glad I did. His design is still pretty out there, but with the figure in hand, I’m really digging him a lot more than I thought I would. I think my biggest sticking point on the design is the black and white paint on the face. It looks more like aboriginal war paint than rat coloring. Rat coloring? Yes, rat coloring. Turns out, it was just a matter of getting used to it. His stringy little beard is awesome and I love the little nicks in his ears.

Spinter’s robes are sculpted in soft plastic and attached over the figure’s body. You can theoretically take it off, but then Splinter would still have awkward looking sleeve arms, as those are sculpted as the upper arms. His forearms have sculpted wrappings and he has cool, ugly little rat feet. The tail looks good too and it’s rubbery so you can bend it around to try to keep it out of the way.

For a Sensei, Splinter isn’t exactly sporting martial arts caliber articulation. His head turns, his arms are ball jointed at the shoulder and swivel at the elbows. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, and his tail swivels. The lack of knee articulation really doesn’t bother me so much, since the design of his robes would probably render it mostly inert anyway. The lack of hinges in the elbows, however, bugs me a lot. Actually, it should bug me a lot. In reality it doesn’t. He displays just fine and I don’t need my Splinter to be super-poseable, especially at this price point.

What does bug me a little more is the lack of accessories with Splinter. You get his stick, and that’s it. It’s also molded in a translucent plastic, which seems kind of weird to me. Considering the Turtles all got “Ninja Arsenals” I think they could have helped a rat out and gave him some extra goodies. Maybe the point is that Splinter is so badass all he needs is his stick.

Playmates set the bar for the Nickelodeon line very high with the four Turtles. They had great articulation, superb sculpting, and loads of weapons. They were just an amazing value. Splinter features less articulation and virtually no gear, but the sculpting here is still good and the paintwork is solid. I understand the reasoning behind investing extra money into the articulation and accessories of the main characters, and I’m perfectly fine with it. For a figure this size at the eight dollar price point, I’m still plenty happy with him.

I’ll be back later to check out Shredder.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

Ok-dokey, folks, it’s the last day of my look at the new Nick TV styled Turtles, and I’ve saved the runt of the litter for last. It’s Michelangelo!!!

I was about to say this is the last time we’ll see this packaging, but who am I kidding? I’ll be picking up more of these figures in the future. Suffice it to say, the packaging is awesome and brimming with personality. The bubble insert declares Micky as the “Jokester & Hard-Hitting Nunchuck Hero.” Indeed he is. The back of the card has a nice File Card that you can clip out and save with a terribly goofy shot of Mickey as he appears in the new Nick show. Once again, the bottom of the card has pictures of the rest of the figures that are currently available in the line.

The first thing I noticed when getting Micky out of the package is he’s actually notably shorter than the other figure, which just continues the cool trend of Playmates making each figure so unique. The back of his belt has two loops to store his nunchucks, but we’ll get to more on that in a minute. He has the same basic style of arms and legs, complete with the nicely detailed hand and foot wraps and the cool leathery texture to the skin. His shell has some distinctive scrapes and nicks, although he looks to be slightly less battle scarred than some of the others. I like Mikey’s head sculpt a lot. Beyond the fact that Playmates didn’t go all goofy on us like his screen counterpart, he still has a lighthearted, toothy smirk and just looks very much appropriate to the character as I remember him.

As with the other Turtles, Mikey’s coloring comes more from the plastic than paint apps. The paintwork that is here is very good. I’m not a big fan of the coloring Playmates used on his skin. It’s kind of a puke, pea-soup green and it looks slightly jarring when posed with the other turtles.

Mikey comes with his nunchucks, and here’s where my first big complaint about any of these figures comes into play. The chucks are each molded in one piece of plastic, one with them close together and the other with them a little bit apart. If you flex the molded chain on either in the slightest, you get nasty stress marks that look like they’re going to break apart any second. Unfortunately, to store them right, you need to squeeze them together and tuck them into the loops on the belt. The alternative is to just stick one end of each into each loop. It works, but it looks terrible. I wish Playmates had taken a page from Bandai’s book and given us an extra set of closed chucks on the sprue tree. Yes, Mikey comes with a nice assortment of gear in his Ninja Arsenal, just like the other figures.

And that wraps up my look at the Nickelodeon turtles. Hopefully I’ve properly conveyed just how awesome these figures are. In fact, they’re so well done, I think I actually dig them a bit more than the Classics, and that’s saying quite a bit. If nothing else, this line (as well as the Classics figures) proves that even a company with a track record as spotty as Playmates can go above and beyond and it’s particularly gratifying to see them do it with one of their oldest and greatest licenses. While it’s always tricky to compare different figure lines, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better made set of figures hanging on the pegs at this price point. What’s even cooler is that Playmates is trying to give the whole vehicle and playset thing a go, and I hope it works for them. I’ll definitely be picking up more of these figures, and some of the vehicles. I’m still on the fence over the mammoth sewer playset. I want to support their decision to release it by buying the thing, but I seriously have absolutely nowhere to put something that big, and it doesn’t look like something that would go back into the box all that easily. We’ll see…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Raphael (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

It’s Day Three of our look at the new Nick TV series turtles, and that brings us to Raphael. This may be my favorite of these turtles so far. Let’s take a look…

I still love the packages here. Once again, a lot of love and forethought went into their design with a little retro styling and some of that new-fangled hip Nickelodeon wackiness. The front bubble features an insert proclaiming Raphael as “Hot-Head and Sharp Sai Expert” and doesn’t that just say it all? The back panel has the usual clip-out File Card. Woof! I still don’t like the portraits of the Turtles’ TV counterparts. You also get a bunch of photos of other figures in this line.

As with Leo and Don, Raph features both unique sculpting and some clever reuse of parts. The legs are more or less the same throughout, while the arms seem to be mixed and matched throughout the set. I’m still digging on all the little details on the limbs, like the crisscross pattern in the hand and foot wraps, and the leathery texture sculpted right into the turtle skin. The torso features an all new array of scrapes and nicks on the shell, including one pretty cool looking chip right out of his breastplate. The belt is new and features two slots in the back to store Raph’s pair of sai. The head sculpt is brimming with awesome. Raph is definitely the most pissed looking of all the Turtles, showing off all his teeth and furling his brow. I’m also particularly fond of the sculpt on his eye mask and the way it’s whipping off to the side. The sculpting on his teeth is also very impressive. It’s downright amazing how much effort Playmates put into sculpting the details on these guys.

The coloring here is just as good as on Leo and Don. Again, most of the coloring is in the plastic, with some secondary paint applied. Raph has the dark brown foot wraps and light cream colored hand wraps. His skin is molded in dark green plastic and the paintwork on his eyes, teeth, and mask are all really well executed.

By now, we know the drill for articulation. The neck and shoulders are ball jointed. The arms have hinges at the elbows and there are swivels at both the elbows and the wrists. For the legs, you get hinges and swivels in the hips and knees.

Raph comes with his pair of trusty sai, which can be stowed in the slots in the back of his belt, and they look really cool when stored on his back. He also has the sprue tree containing the rest of his Ninja Arsenal. All of his weapons are cast in grey.

I think Raph is my favorite so far mainly because of his head sculpt and his deep green skin color. I also really like that chip taken out of his breast plate. It really gives him a lot of character. His weapons are also very cool, fit well in his hands, and look great when stored on his back. So far, there’s really been no downside to any of these figures, but Raph’s personality just shines through exceptionally well. And that leaves us just one more Turtle… tomorrow we’ll take a look at Michelangelo.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Donatello (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

Turtle time continues today with a look at Donatello from Playmates’ new Nickelodeon series. Today’s feature should go a lot quicker than yesterday’s, since we’ve already hit most of the basic points and can focus on the differences. Let’s dive right in…

The packaging is basically the same, but there’s plenty to distinguish Don’s card from Leo’s. Besides the individualized insert that identifies Don as the “Inventor and Weaponeer” of the turtle team, the back of the card has the File Card that can be clipped out and saved, just like the good old days. God, look at that terrible portrait of Don from the new series. May I take this opportunity to once again state I’m giving this show a pass? It’s amazing how much better the figure looks. Once again, Playmates, you clearly put a lot of love and attention to this packaging and it shows.

At first glance the body may look like a reuse from Leo’s, but the similarities are only in the broad strokes and these are in fact two mostly unique sculpts. Check out the dents, dings, and scrapes on Don’s shell, knee and elbow guards and you’ll see they’re all different. The wrist and foot wraps are the same basic sculpts, but the finger and foot wraps are differently colored. Don’s belt and shoulder strap are also different, plus Don has a little loop in the back of his belt, which can be used to store his bowstaff. You do still get that same great leathery texture to the skin. Naturally, the head is brand new, giving Don a slightly more stoic and less toothy mouth. Once again, the coloring on the figure is excellent, using a lot of colored plastic over paint, and you’ll notice that Don features a different skin color. All in all, he looks great.

Donatello’s accessories include his trademark bowstaff and a sprue tree containing his “Ninja Arsenal” which can be clipped out. The bowstaff and the sprue are all cast in brown plastic, which works just fine for me, because they aren’t in neon orange or purple or other colors Playmates has traditionally and incomprehensibly used for accessories in the past. The bowstaff is simple enough, but still sculpted well and Don can hold it in either or both hands.

About the only thing that is identical between Don and Leo is the articulation. You get a ball joint in the neck, arms that feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and swivels in the elbows and wrists. The legs feature hinge and swivel hips and knees. Once again, the articulation is certainly serviceable for a figure of this size and build.

Don turned out every bit as good as Leo. He’s distinctive right down to the tiny little details, and feels just as high quality and lovingly constructed. I’m going to go with liking the Leo figure a bit more, just because I dig Leo’s swords and scabbards more than Don’s simple bowstaff, but there’s no doubt that Playmates is now two for two on this new line of Turtles. Tomorrow we’ll look at Raphael and see if they can go three for three. And here’s a hint… yes, they can!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

Uh oh, I sense a theme week coming on! Yep, a couple weeks back, I netted me a set of Playmates’ smaller, more kid friendly versions of the Turtles based on the new Nickelodeon show. I’ve seen clips from the show, but I honestly don’t even know if it’s even started airing yet. The clips look like it will make for a great series for kids, but it’s not for me. I’ll stick to watching the originals through my nostalgia and alcohol tinted glasses, while extinguishing all change in my mind. (“Damn kids, with their Ben 10’s and their Bakugans!”) I was overall pretty thrilled with the larger, more expensive, collector line, so let’s see if lightning can strike twice for Playmates in their attempt to deliver some quality Turtle toys for the kiddies…

Leo comes in a standard carded package and I really dig the way it looks. It’s simple enough, but it’s bright and cartoony and it really captures a lot of the spirit of the original TMNT packaging. It’s kind of retro, but without trying too hard. The sizeable bubble shows off the figure and accessories (oh, I’m sorry… “Ninja Arsenal!”) quite well, and there’s a printed insert to customize the packaging and declare Leo as the “Leader & King of the Katana Swords!” But wait… the figure is actually on a unique card as well, because when you turn it over, there’s an actual File Card for Leonardo that you can clip out and save just like the good old days! I actually saved the whole card. The back of the card also shows off other figures available in the line. This packaging may not be collector friendly, but it is really fun and really well designed. Playmates put a lot of love into it, and it certainly makes me excited to buy the figure.
So, the new show features a pretty heavy redesign on the Turtles. Frankly, I think it’s fantastic and the bulk of the fan feedback I’ve seen across the Interwebs tells me I’m not alone. They are a lot more stylized, which is all the rage in animation these days, but the figures actually look tons better than what I’ve seen of their new TV counterparts. Much like with the DC New 52 figures, which I looked at last week, your mileage with these figures will depend on how you take to the new look of the characters.


Once I got Leo out of the package I was immediately impressed by the feel of the plastic and the heft of the figure. Ok, it’s not so much that he’s heavy, but he just feels like such a solid and well-crafted toy. The next thing to impress was the complexity of the sculpting. For a kid’s line, Playmates went nuts with the sculpted detail on this guy. You can see tiny dents and scratches in his shell and his knee and elbow guards, and even all the little hash marks In the wraps around his hands and feet. His skin is even sculpted with a leathery texture. All this little detail makes this guy look more like a small high end collectible than a kid’s action figure. The head sculpt is also excellent, and while he’s showing all his teeth, Leo looks a lot happier than his larger, angrier Classics version. You also get a pair of functional sculpted scabbards on his back. Unlike the Classics Leo, the scabbards are parallel instead of crisscrossed. They’re also removable, as they simply peg into the back of his shell.
The coloring on the figure is just about perfect. Leo relies more on colored plastic than actual paint, and that’s not at all a bad thing. The paint apps that are here are all precise and clean, particularly on the head. I’m also in full support of the choice to go without pupils in the eyes. I just think it looks great.


Leo comes with his trademark pair of katana swords that fit snugly into the double scabbards on his back. His hands are sculpted to hold them perfectly. He also comes with a bevy of other weapons all attached to a sprue tree, similar to the pack-ins that came with the vintage figures. The weapons are all cast in grey plastic, which is cool, because Playmates has a habit of casting accessories in ridiculous neon colors. I haven’t clipped any of my extra weapons out yet, and I may not. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Playmates packing all this extra stuff with the figure, but for display purposes, Leo’s katanas are good enough for me.


While the figure isn’t exactly super articulated, you do get a good range of movement. The head is ball jointed, the arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and swivel at the elbows and wrists. The legs have hinges and swivels in the thighs and the knees. The lack of ankle articulation is really the only obvious omission, and with the design of the larger feet, it would have been tough and probably unsightly to work that joint into the mix. Indeed, some of the figure’s overall sculpting does inhibit the range of motion in some of these joints, but overall, I think we still get a nice compromise of style and poseability.

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I really adore this figure. With a great sculpt, great quality build, solid articulation, and a heaping helping of accessories, Leo hits all the right points. And at $7.99 at my local Wally World, it’s hard to think of a figure that delivers this much at such a great price. I’ll be looking at the other three Turtles over the next three days. They are all individual sculpts, but now that we’ve got a good idea what to expect, I should be able to be more brief with the rest of our Heroes in a Halfshell.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics: Michelangelo by Playmates

In case you missed it during the week, I’m bumping Vintage Vault to tomorrow because I interrupted the regular flow of Turtle Week with some jubilation over DCUC continuing for another year Matty Collector news. It worked out well too since I’m going to be out drinking heavily today to acknowledge the fact that, much to the joy of toy companies everywhere, today was the day I was spawned upon the universe. I say it worked out well because after looking at three of the four turtles already, Michelangelo won’t hold too many surprises, and I can wrap this up pretty quick. So let’s get to it. The last verse is the same as the first… more or less.

Packaging… It’s awesome. Nothing more to say here, except “holy shit, Amazon really bent the crap out of my card!” Seriously, Amazon is a great resource for buying hard-to-find individual figures, especially if you have the Prime free shipping options. They’re rapidly becoming one of my regular go-to sources. But I wouldn’t buy anything from them that I expected to keep in the package. All four turtles were just tossed into a box, slapped on the ass, and sent along their merry way.

Ok, so Mikey’s body is the same as Raph’s, including the lack of the baldric-shoulder strap thingy. He has slots on the back of his belt to hold his nunchuks and the usual personalized initial on the belt buckle that is both sculpted and painted. Naturally his eyemask, kneepads, elbowpads, and wrist wraps are all orange. Aside from those differences, this is the same body we’ve seen with the same excellent 34 points of articulation. For the details on articulation, check out the feature on Leonardo.

Mikey’s head is probably the least angry looking of the bunch, most likely because he isn’t showing any teeth. However, he still looks like he’s determined to put his head through a brick wall. And fear not, his eyes are just fine.

Mikey’s nunchuks are my favorite of all the Turtles’ weapons because Playmates went and used real chain links rather than just a length of bendy plastic. It really makes all the difference in the world and they look great as well as fit snugly into their holsters on the back of the figure’s belt. I suppose you can argue that it’s harder to pose them since they just droop in his hands, but I still prefer the actual chain links. And yep, you also get the manhole cover stand with Michelangelo’s name printed on it. Awesome!


And that wraps up Playmates Classic Turtles. Leo’s eyes notwithstanding, I am really so amazed and impressed with these guys. I’m amazed that they are actually being sold in some stores and not just as some kind of wonky collector based subscription deal (I’m looking at you, Matty!) and impressed that Playmates could pull themselves together and produce this sort of quality product. I love the fact that they brought back one of their best and brightest properties and gave it the love it deserved, and while I’m not holding my breath, it would be really great to see another case assortment of four Classic figures with April, Splinter, Shredder, and Casey Jones. I can dream. I’m going to take some time to catch up on other stuff over the next couple weeks and then we’ll be swinging back to take a look at some of the Turtles figures based on the new Nick toon!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics: Raphael by Playmates

It’s Wednesday Thursday and Day Three of Turtles Week and today is all about Raphael. After two turtles we have a good idea what to expect here, so these features are only going to get shorter and quicker… let’s dive right in!

Packaging… seen it… loved it. Still love it. Raph is posed on the card holding a Sai in each hand and he looks awesome. Apart from the name change on the bubble insert, everything is the same as Leo and Don’s packages. It still feels wrong to rip these guys open, but…

This time, let’s start out with his head’s sculpt and paint… oh, thank god, his eyes are ok. Raph’s features another angry grimace, this time showing teeth in both corners of his mouth. Once again, there are more the “I’m going to murder the shit out of you” Turtles, as opposed to “Let’s pal around and have some pizza.” His eye mask is a nice shade of red and, once again, man does he look angry.

As expected, the body is basically the same as Leo and Don, only this time with his wrist bands, kneepads and elbowpads all painted red to match his eyemask. You get the same fantastic 34 points of articulation, which has already been cataloged in the Leonardo feature. There is one other difference in the body, Raph doesn’t have the baldric, just the belt. The belt features a belt buckle with “R” sculpted and painted on, and there’s a slot on each side of the belt buckle for his Sai.


Yes, Raph comes with his trademark Sai weapons. They’re pretty well done, cast in silver/grey plastic and the grips are painted red to match his whole ensemble, and he can hold them pretty well. You also get the manhole cover stand with Raph’s name printed on it. Not an abundance of accessories, but you certainly get what you need.

And there ya go… Like Leonardo, Raphael is a stellar figure. He avoids the eye paint issues that plague Don, so as far as I’m concerned, there is no bad here. Raph is incredibly fun to play around with and looks amazing. Tomorrow we’ll see if Playmates can round the team out without dropping the ball… It’s Michaelangelo!

Teenage Muntant Ninja Turtles Classics: Donatello by Playmates

It’s day two of classic Turtles craziness and today we’ll be checking out Donatello. Like I said yesterday, this’ll be a lot shorter to prevent me from getting redundant while also allowing me to go off and hit the liquors early, because it’s been a peach of a day. Just make sure you checked out the feature on Leonardo to get the full picture.

There’s the packaging. Yep, it’s packed with retro awesome. It’s also identical to the Leonardo package only with a different insert in the bubble bearing Donatello’s name. It pains me to do it, but let’s rip this guy open and check him out.

Ok, so as noted, we’re dealing with the exact same body as Leo, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only difference is the “D” belt buckle and instead of scabbards he’s got a loop to hold his bowstaff. And yes, he has the same awesome 34 points of articulation.
Don’s headsculpt is entirely new, although it’s mostly a mirror image of Leo’s. He’s got the same angry scowl, but Don’s showing teeth on the right side instead of the left. Everything else looks good… except… except… Holy Jesus, what’s wrong with his eyes???

Yeah, poor Don has a bad case of the Wall Eyes, Mad Eyes, or Wonky Peepers… whichever politically incorrect term you prefer. He’s got a little Marty Feldman thing going on there. It’s not the sculpt, just the paint on the pupil, and at this point in time it seems to be effecting most, if not all, of the figures. Maybe Playmates can do a running fix somewhere down the line. Otherwise, the only real difference is the purple paint used for Don’s wrist bands, knee and elbow pads, and his eye mask.


Don comes with his signature weapon, his bowstaff. It’s a simple accessory, but nicely sculpted with a wood grain texture and a wrapped grip. As mentioned it can be tucked away in the loop on his back, and he can grasp it nicely in either or both hands. You also get the super cool manhole cover display stand.


And… yup… I took the picture with the wrong manhole cover… <face palm>  Rest assured, Donatello’s stand has the proper name on it… I’ll fix it later… [All done, nothing to see here… move along. -FF]


And that my friends, is Donatello. Yes, his eyes are unfortunate. It’s a shame that Playmates put out a figure that mingles with perfection in every way and then slips up by misaligning a simple black dot for his pupil. Honestly, it kind of fits the figure in a goofy kind of way… ah, nope, that’s just a lie, it looks awful and it sucks. If he didn’t look so angry, I’d say he was pulling a face, but instead it just looks like he’s got the mad, crazy eyes of a killer.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics: Leonardo by Playmates

[Welcome to Turtles Week! Today through Thursday, I’ll be checking out Playmates new Classic series of TMNT figures and then Friday we’ll return to Vintage Vault as normal. I considered doing a TMNT edition of VV to round out the week, but after looking at these beauties it was hard to go back to the old stuff. And yeah, I’ll be getting to some of the figures based off the new Nick Toon. Look for that later on in the month, so there’s almost certainly another Turtles Week coming up. – FF]

Oh yeah… I’ve been waiting for these figures since, well since before Playmates even showed them off. Actually, it was probably around the time I got my first Masters of the Universe Classics figure and started wishing that we would get the same sort of collector-grade upgrade for a lot of 80’s toy lines. It seemed like the Turtles would be particularly well suited to such an upgrade, but I never wanted Playmates to be the one to do them. Sure NECA produced an amazing comic inspired set, but I held out for something a little closer to the 80’s design. Well, here we are, Playmates did them, and honest to god, they blew me away with the results. I give Playmates a lot of shit (and some loving) here, so it’s nice to be able to really tip my hat to them on something. Let’s start today with the leader of the pack, and my personal favorite hero in a halfshell… Leonardo.

I’m going to say my piece about the packaging today and then not much else for the rest of the week. The packages for these figures are fantastic, but apart from the bubble insert with each turtle’s name, they are essentially the same across the board. That having been said, when I first picked up one of these packaged figures I was in love. It’s a hefty semi-cylindrical bubble on a fairly heavy cardback. The front card art is deliciously cartoony and vintage and exactly what I wanted in a classic TMNT figure package. There are two stickers on the bubble, one pointing out that the figures are based on the 1988 cartoon classic and the other points out that the figure has 34 points of articulation. Leonardo is (almost) holding his swords in each hand and looks ready for battle, with his stand mounted behind his legs.

The back panel has some blurbs about the turtles, pictures of all four figures and again, some great vintage inspired artwork. There are only two gripes I can level against this package… one, it isn’t collector friendly and that saddens me because I almost shed a tear when I ripped this figure open. Secondly, a personalized file-card style section on the back of the card for each character would have been cool. Nonetheless, Playmates, you really hit a grand-slam on this package. It looks great, and displays the figure wonderfully.

Folks, this is how you update a classic action figure! Playmates was able to make use of the same body for each figure, and it doesn’t at all feel like a copout. They even went so far as to vary the green used for their skin tones. The sculpted detail on Leonardo is fairly minimal, but that works for a retro figure based on an animated character. The most detail is vested in the shell, front and back, the knee and elbow pads, and the wrist bands. The arms and legs are mostly just smooth like they looked in the cartoon. Leonardo’s head sculpt has him ready for action. This is definitely not “kick back and eat some pizza” Leonardo, this is “I’m gonna go fuck up some Foot Clan Ninjas” Leonardo. He’s sneering with the left side of his mouth to expose his teeth. His eye mask is sculpted as a separate piece, but permanently attached, and trails off the back of his head.

Leonardo features a belt and baldric, all sculpted separately from the figure, but permanently attached. The belt has a disc with the letter “L” in the center. The whole ensemble wraps around the back of his shell and holds his criss-crossed scabbards, both of which are functional and can be removed, as they just peg in through the belt and into the shell.

The coloring on this figure is just about perfect. A lot of the figure’s details are color coded to Leonardo’s eye mask, including the grips on his sword hilts. I’m also pretty fond of the somewhat matte finish given to the figure. It’s not super glossy, it’s not painted over and completely dull. You get a nice subtle shine on the arms and legs and on the shell.

Playmates boasts this figure has 34 points of articulation, so let’s just count them down. Ball jointed neck… check! The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels at the biceps and wrists, double hinged elbows, and each of the three fingers are hinged. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, hinged ankles, the ankles also swivel, and each of the four toes are hinged. He also has a ball joint in the torso. Yep, that’s 34 points and that’s mighty damn impressive, giving this figure  an amazing amount of poseability. The only thing I would have changed would be to add rockers to the ankles, but not at the expense of any of the joints in the figure now, so I’m perfectly happy if that just didn’t cost out.

The old TMNT figures used to come with a bevy of gear, but Leonardo just comes with his swords and a stand. From a cost standpoint, I’m ok with that, since Playmates obviously poured so much attention into the figure itself. The swords are pretty cool. They’re sculpted in plastic that is bendy enough for safety regulations, but not enough to easily warp. They’re appropriately molded in silver/grey plastic and as previously mentioned the wraps on the hilts are blue. The swords fit snugly into the scabbards on Leo’s back, and he can hold them pretty well. I’m wondering if it would have been a good idea to put pegs on the handles and have them peg into Leo’s palms to help him hold them, but I don’t know if it would have been worth the unsightly pegs and holes. Probably not.

As for the stand, I’ve read a number of less than favorable opinions about the stands online and I really can’t understand why. You get a big disc stand sculpted to look like a manhole cover with the TMNT logo sculpted in and Leonardo’s name printed on it. There are two meaty pegs to really hold the figure nicely. I think it’s a fantastic bonus and probably one of the best stands I’ve got with an action figure in a long time!

I haven’t seen Leonardo, or any of the Classic TMNT figures at retail yet, so I have no idea what the going price at brick-and-mortar stores is going to be. The Targets here already set their TMNT section, but it’s all just the new Nick stuff. I got my set for $17 each from Amazon along with my free Prime shipping, so I’m guessing they might be around $15 MSRP? Either way, the fact that these figures are significantly under $20 each is a great deal. Leonardo is beautifully made, has a nice quality and hefty feel to him, and is hard to put down. Sure, he’s a little light in the accessories, but he’s got his trademark weapons and a great stand, and for the price, I’m not complaining. So long as the other figures turn out this good, I’m beside myself with joy.

Tomorrow, we’ll move on to Donatello. The rest of the features will be a lot less long winded to avoid getting redundant, as the figures do share the same body.