The first Turtle figures from Playmates were actually pretty close to the original comic books. They did have the different colored bandanas and obnioxious letters on their belts, but it was a small price to pay for Mirage-style Turtle figures. Since then, there haven't really been Turtle figures based on the Mirage comics. We've gotten some great cartoon-based figures in the past, but nothing that reflects the Turtles of my childhood.
NECA decided to tap in to this market with its Mirage-style TMNT figures. And man, they are awesome. But are they awesome to the max?? Read on!
Size: 6" scale
Price: $54.99 for the set at Big Bad Toy Store (preorder)
Packaging: Clamshell. The packaging is great, with great original artwork from the first two issues of the Mirage comics.
TMNT Clamshell Front, Back
These truly are the ultimate TMNT figures. The sculpt nearly perfectly represents the old Mirage style Turtles (arguably, from issues 1-3; by issue 4, they were significantly different). The proportions are almost dead-on. Each head sculpt is unique and very expressive (my favorite is Don, personally). And although I kind of scoffed at Mike's smile at first (since all of the Turtles were just gnashing teeth in #1 and I thought they were just imposing the Mike personality from the cartoon), a few Turtles did crack a smile in #2, so I'll let that go. Regardless, that was probably nitpicking. The necks are a bit long, too. But that aspect isn't that distracting.
The paint apps are insanely impressive. The colors are strong, sure, but the line detailing is where the figures really shine. Not only is it precise, it's also a nice touch that harkens back to the Turtle's comic origins.
Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello, make up the team with one other fellow: Raphael.
These figures have far more useful articulation than any other Turtle figure in the past: two points in the neck (ball-in-socket skull base and neck base), ball shoulders, swivel forearms, hinge elbows, ball wrists, ball hips, hinge knees, and hinge ankles. Also, a neat surprise is the fact that they're the first Turtles with a swivel waist! Another cool point is that the shell front is a flexible plastic that doesn't restrict the hip articulation.
Each Turtle comes with his trademark weapon. Don's bo has great wood detailing, Mike finally has 'chucks with chains, and even the handles of Raph's sais and Leo's swords match the comics. The only complaint I would have is that Leo's swords seem a bit too curved. Ninja swords are supposed to be straight. But I can see why they would make that mistake... there are a few panels in TMNT #1 that make the sword look curved. Regardless, that's just nitpicking again.
They also come with additional accessories (see below), including climbing claw hands and baby turtles, as well as a quarter of a street "playset". Don comes with the manhole quarter, Mike with the one with the wood planks, Leo with the fire hydrant, and Raph with the street light. The street is cooler than I thought it would be, and has similar comic-booky detailing. I'm not sure why the street light is stark white, though.
Leo, Mike,Don, and Raph Accessories
This is the only category where these figures take a hit. For $55 you get four good-sized Turtles, nifty accessories, and a street diorama. That's not bad at all. But keep in mind that the figures are constructed of that relatively brittle plastic that the collector-oriented companies often employ. Be wary of posing or switching out their hands, as I'm sure they can't withstand much abuse. Keep in mind that the ankle of my NECA Kratos snapped off with very little posing. And Leo, when I took him out of the package, was kind of coming apart at the forearm. Articulate these figures at your own risk.
These figures are definitely among the coolest figures in my collection. They are probably the only purely-Mirage TMNT figures we've gotten thus far, and they're definitely the coolest TMNT figures that have been released. Now we need some Triceratons to go with them!
Pain-in-the-ass-ness of the Twisties: Meh.
They each had four twisties, which were kind of a pain to get off. What's the deal with twisties? Are there NO other alternatives to keep the figures in the bubble?
Dare I say it, yes these TMNT figures are, in fact, awesome to the max. Despite the questionable quality issues, these figures are the best representation of the Turtles to date. They're even better than the Playmates cold-cast statues of a few years ago. And those statues were over a hundred bucks each! I don't know what I did to deserve such toy perfection. Check out more photos below!