REVIEW: Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Collection
The Definitive Vintage Turtle Toys We’ve All Been Waiting For...
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It’s been 24 years since the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles graced the small screen and started a new craze in the toy industry. I was right there when it started and a bit reluctant to get involved because I was spoiled rotten by G.I.Joe articulation. Playmates Toys' original Ninja Turtles figures were pretty limited in what they could do, but because I loved the show so much, I was sucked in. I bought every figure but secretly wished that the toys I owned were more like the cartoon. In Playmates original line, "Toon Turtles" were eventually introduced but they were a bit too cartoonish and by then, the kids had mostly grown up were beginning to lose interest.
Fast forward to 2012: Playmates Toys are bringing to us the CLASSIC COLLECTION; the original four turtles - Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo - completely redone with new looks inspired by the original animated series from 1988. Much in the same way that the G.I.Joe 30th Anniversary Series and the Transformers Masterpiece Series has reenergized my interest in the characters I grew up with, the same applies to these "new" Turtles. They kick so much shell; so much so that I need to focus on one at a time.
Raphael was one of my favorites as a kid, a lot of which has to do with the voice talent behind the character. The wise-cracking Turtle with the red colors and deadly sais comes sculpted just as if he stepped right out of the cartoon. Much of his expression resembles the vintage figure and that’s okay with me because it’s the classic Turtle expression. I really don’t know what else to say about it because it’s absolutely perfect. The stern expression in the eyes is exactly the right amount.
Scale is a new thing on these Turtles as they’re slightly taller than the 6” scale (almost appropriate for Masters of the Universe Classics or Thundercats Classics). It makes these turtles even more display worthy.
Articulation on these Turtles is also greatly improved from the vintage figures. The original toys had only about seven points. These new figures boast 34 points of articulation. It says so on the box! But by my own count, there’s about 40 unique joints (two in the thumb alone). 34 or 40, it's still quite an impressive count. There’s basically enough joints to do all the poses you’ve always wanted to do. Some joints are slightly looser than others so you might need some support for some of the crazier poses.
Raphael comes his two signature sais and a sewer manhole figure stand. The sais are painted red and silver and fit into his belt. They can also fit into his hands in a variety of ways, but depending on how tight the finger joints are on your figure, they may or may not hold. Still, I like that the option IS available so if you wanted a tighter fit, you can always find ways to achieve that.
Now one thing I definitely have to bring up is 'toon vs toy accuracy. The packaging of these new TMNT Classic Collection figures is reminiscent of the vintage toy packaging, with stone bricks breaking away to reveal the character. However, the packaging itself states that these figures are inspired by the original TMNT animated series. But if they truly were inspired by the toon, the belt buckle should be gray and the colors of the Turtles each should be the same green hue as well. In the end, these are minor issues in the grand scheme of it. What’s most important is that these are truly toon inspired sculpts and with great articulation to boot. These are the definitive vintage Turtles we’ve all been waiting for and I can only hope that Playmates is planning an entire line of villains to go along with it.
Raphael and the other turtles will be available at retail for about $15 each in August or you can find them for sale already on Amazon.
Review and Photography by David Yeh
Classic Collection Raphael Courtesy of Playmates Toys