NECA's TMNT: Black, White, & Badass

C'mon people, sing it with me!

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Heroes in a half-shell!

Turtle power!"

Ah, screw all that! This has nothing to do with the pizza-lovin', cowabunga-spewin', happy-go-lucky Turtles you knew from the TV. No way, No how! This my friends, is a review for the hardcore, ninja-stabbin', gritty Turtles of the original Mirage Studios' comics.  Hell yeah, they're even in black & white to commemorate their unbridled awesomeness!  Sit back and lets get right into this look at NECA's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Black & White Box Set.

For those of you that have no idea what you see before you, well, I'm gonna give a brief recap; but, you really might wanna question your entire wasted existence up until now.  Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird birthed the 4 Turtles in 1984 as a kind of parody for the comics at the time.  Frank Miller's run on Daredevil was their biggest influence, but there's more to the Turtles than that.  The sheer badassery of these anthropomorphic ninjas was just too much for the page to hold and soon after they were unleashed upon the world in a fury of merchandising, TV, and tie-ins the likes of which hadn't been seen since Star Wars.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are four brothers, mutated, and trained in the art of ninjitsu...by a rat.

Leonardo - He's the leader of the bunch and uses katana swords to dish out justice.  His figure has the most newly tooled pieces out of the four.  Scabbards are attached to his back and his swords lock into them very tightly.  The swords themselves are made of a sturdy plastic and pointy enough to poke a kid's eye out, no problem.  So, don't let your children cram ninja weapons into their eyes; it'll only end in disaster.

Donatello - The smart/tech guy of the group.  He uses a bo staff and usually some kind of random contraption he’s invented. He also has a penchant for dressing like a crime-noir private eye.  The figure features the closed mouth head sculpt which fits the character well.  His staff is sculpted to give it a comic-style wood grain look with cloth wrapped around the middle.  Thanks to the staff's larger ends, it doesn't slide into Don's hands.  NECA made the staff disconnect in the center.  Simply put the two halves in his hands and then snap it back together.

Michelangelo - The joker of the crew. Mikey uses nunchakus to disarm and beat the living hell outta street thugs.  His face, while grimacing like the others, still appears to have a goofy grin smuggled in there.  His weapons are made with the same plastic as the others, but as a nice feature his nunchaku are held together with real metal chain. Quite classy of you, NECA.

Raphael - Ah, Raphael, the pissed off, stubborn, bad tempered Ninja Turtle.  He’s always the cool kid's favorite. Right? (Tell me different guys.)  Raphael uses sais to deadly effect while fighting purse snatchers, the Foot Clan, or just some dude that looks at him funny.  Raph scores the angry head sculpt and once again, the design team did a fantastic job.  Upon opening the figures I was wondering about Raph's weapons.  You see, he holds his sais with the blade between his two fingers, but there's never EVER been a figure that replicated this.  Well folks, that day is over!  His hands are a unique sculpt and feature fingers spread and grooved in order to fit his weapons.  His sais, much like Leo's katanas, are pointed, so he's ready for all the stabbing he can handle.

The sculpt of the Turtles is really a thing of beauty.  Whatever incarnation of the Turtles you're a fan of, there's no denying all the wonderful elements in these figures.  The TMNT have been designed to perfectly mimic the art style from whence they were created.  Long necks? Yeah, they have long necks. Why? Cause they had long necks dammit!  The shading and tic lines that you'd see on a comic page have been recreated by actually having them sculpted in.  You can really see them on the shell, both front and back.  Just look at Leonardo's scabbards in the photo ... see 'em? They look just like a drawing.

The articulation is where these guys go from great action figures to AMAZING PIECES OF PLASTIC PERFECTION!  NECA has found the great balance between sculpt and articulation and then stepped it up a notch.  Not only is there tons of articulation on the Turtles, but most of it is well hidden.  These "Heroes in a Half-Shell" feature: ball-joint heads, swivel/hinge necks, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, totally hidden and functional hinged ab crunch, swivel waist, swivel tail, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double hinged knees, and hinged/rocker ankles. Wow, I know plenty of real-live people that can't move that much.

The paint job on all four Turtles is practically non-existent, but that's the genius of it.  The figures are all molded in a white satin-finished plastic.  The kneepads, belts, shell fronts, and masks are separate rubber pieces.  Black paint has then been cleanly rubbed into the sculpt details to give the appearance of inked lines.  That's it! That's all it takes to create a wicked and artsy look for this set of figures.  Generally I'd harp on a company for cheaping out on the paint, but in this case it was the right choice.  Just remember to keep these guys out of the hands of your sweaty friends, garbage bins, brothels, and truck stop restrooms cause they are hard to keep clean since the white plastic shows marks easily.

This set is still available at amazon.com and some Hastings stores.  If there's any way on this friggin' Earth that you can score them, I HIGHLY recommend it.  The color-versions of these guys go for anywhere between 38 and 110 bucks for a single Turtle. Getting all four for 50 or less is a bargain.  Personally, I think the B&W versions are cooler anyway.