Is it possible? My foundation has been rocked. This is one of the best executions of an action figure (set) that I have ever seen. Even the most perfect of intentions suffers the occasional short coming, but this set is about as close to perfect, that I could ever dream of achieving.
This TMNT four pack (in color) was an exclusive at the New York Comic Con last weekend. It retailed for $50 and includes the plug-together bases that the non exclusive 4 pack doesn't have. Peter Laird was also on hand to autograph the 500 sets, and so this one also sports a signature and head shot!!! by Laird himself. So not only is it one of the best action figure sets ever, it's doubley valuable (being limited to 500 sets, and autographed).
Why am I going nuts over these Ninja Turtle action figures? Well I'm glad you asked. The first thing you'll notice is a very careful graphic technique to make the figures look like drawings. A lot of outlines are included, and black lines to denote muscles and scratches on the figure. The crisp brushwork is very reminiscent of the source illustrations, and I'd be a cheesy bastard to say they looked like they leapt straight from the page. But seriously, they do. It's not easy to pull off this effect, but it was done expertly here. A top notch sculpt is also evident, especially when you see the black and white versions (we peeped this one at Toy Fair a few months back.) I haven't been this impressed with sculpting since the "Hall o' naked ladies" in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. That's loosely translated from the original French.
On top of a dead-on likeness from the original comic pages, these figures all sport some amazing articulation. Over 20 points. There's a balljoint head-meets-neck, hinged swivel neck meets shoulder, hinged ball joint shoulders, twisty biceps, elbows, hinged and twisty wrists, a turning waist joint, hinged ball joint hips, twisty thigh, knees and ankles. And the ankles can move both front/back and side to side. To accomodate even more posability, the yellow shell is cast in a softer rubber, allowing tons of new poses never available before. Some toy companies will tell you that it's impossible to pull of articulation and looks, (begins with an "Mc" and ends with a "farlane") but this is an example of total and complete success.
So there are other toys out there that look how they're supposed to look, and move in some incredible ways, why else do these figures top the list? There's accessories. Then there's the extra mile. The weapons are all expertly detailed, there's real chain in Michelangelo's 'chuks, the grooves go deep on Leonardo's hilt, but those are a given. There's a TCRI cannister, some shuriken, some throwing blades, and a baby turtle (pre-mutation) for each turtle. Oh, and there are alternate hands, sporting the climbing spikes from issue #1. Sweet. Raphael has a different hand sculpt, so he can hold his sais through the prongs. Ever wonder how a Ninja Turtle could give you the finger?
Then there are the display bases, there are four sidewalk sets, with a peg for positioning a turtle on. One has a fire hydrant, one has a manhole cover, another has a street lamp. They link together in pairs, and sport the same type of line work to expertly fit with the turtles. I do wish the manhole cover was removeable, as to recreate the scene from the side of the box, but alas.
These truly are remarkable figures. I even found the $50 price point to be reasonable for 4 highly detailed action figures. Although, I have to shout out to Jager and Skip, I was unable to attend NYCC due to pressing family matters, so they picked this set up for me as a gift and stood in line to get it autographed by Peter Laird. Thanks guys. You can tell that the artists and designers that made this set loved the original comic. A comittee focued on marketing could never produce a set with so much attention paid to an original source. I have been drawing ninja turtle heads in the margins of my notebooks for the last 20 years, so I know these lines inside and out.
Anyway, kudos NECA, this is an incredible testiment to both the original Ninja Turtles, and the collectors who followed it. I'm definately picking up a black and white version turtle or two, and looking forward to April, Spinter and possibly Shredder. It's worth the trip to my mom's house to dig up the original TPB of the first run of issues. But when are we going to get Utroms (that inspired Krang in the cartoon)?