Following the success of other toy lines of olde making comebacks, Playmates releases an all new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, with a new cartoon to round out the package. Unlike the MOTU line, the TMNT franchise was not quite as old, and this new line isn't quite a departure from the original toys.
The new sculpt and paint job is a nice improvement. These figures however, are closer to a special edition (finally making them the way they should have been back in the day), than a new realization of the turtles. But I'm impressed.
What's new? The figure itself stands a good half inch taller than the original. All four turtles have lost the identifying belt buckle and colored knee/elbow pads. Their weapons are a bit more substantial and have painted accents, whereas the old ones were simple casts in one color. They have wing joints on their shoulders and hips, and their wrists swivel. You can get some sweet poses with these new joints. Michaelangelo's right arm does not bend at the elbow, making some of his poses stiff.
I am particularly fond of the new head sculpts that show a bit more emotion and detail, and the finger sculpts, it looks as if they are actually holding something in their hands. They also come with a decent "action feature" accessory; Leo comes with suction cup wall climbers*, Donatello comes with an axe and sword that can be held or plugged onto the end of his bo, Raphael comes with a zipline, and Mike comes with an interesting device that allows him to climb up to a stationary object whenb you pull the tab at the base. Each turtle can use the others' action accessories.
What's the same? The new wing joints in the legs are pretty restricted by the shell, so their leg movement is very close to the originals. They still only stand in one decent looking position. Comin' to getcha!. However they are a bit more imposing this time. If you had to fight one of these guys, which one would you go for? They each come with two weapons that do fit on their belts, although Raphael's is a bit awkward. They also have their trusty ninja throwing stars.
Oddly, when digging up the original turtles from my childhood, they seemed to be covered in a discomfortingly sticky residue. I believe they were stored in the box with some slime that has long since evaporated, but not before baptising my childhood when it left this existence.
I'm very happy with the new Turtles, it was a lot of fun tracking down all four at the local retailers like when I was younger. It was also considerate of Playmates to put these puppies out before the cartoon was in full swing, giving us collectors one last chance to pick them up before standing knee deep in ankle-biters. I am also impressed that they each come with an accessory to lend a bit more playability to the figure. The Sewer Lair playset is destined to rock the house. Check out our Toy Fair coverage for pics.