Here it is, the 5th and final day of our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Toy Review Week and we're closing it out with the biggest TMNT figures currently on the shelves of Toys "R" Us: The Battle Shell Turtles! These figures are based on designs from the upcoming animated series by Nickelodeon and were first available at this year's San Diego Comic-Con International. Are these larger-than-most Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles worth your hard-earned, pizza-buying dollars? Read on to find out!
Packaging for these guys is a simple open cardboard tray and backer, so the figures can be manipulated by kids of all ages while in the store for the "Mommy, get this for me or I'll scream" effect. The lower front has the name of the individual character, while the back of the card shows the four figures in the line. The whole shebang is done up in the purple and green associated with this new line and the Turtles practically pop off the shelves thanks to not being hidden behind a clear window like you'd see with full packaging. A small preemptive warning: if you are planning to open these figures (and why wouldn't you?!) do yourself a favor and have a pair of scissors or a razor knife handy--cause the ties used to bound these ninjas is a test in frustration like no other!
The sculpt for these figures comes straight from the four Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures that we reviewed earlier in the week, including their slight height variations. We're talking every scratch and nick on their pads has been recreated here, which is actually a lot closer to the height the originals were sculpted in before being re-sized for production. These Turtles clock in at around 10.5", with the only variation coming in the form of their opening shells which causes the belts to be sculpted differently to allow for the opening, along with hinges added to the sides of the Turtles.
Paint for these figures is simple, but has been applied cleanly. As with the smaller versions, most of these four have been molded in the appropriate colors with paint mostly added for highlights and details such as the teeth and eyes. One big difference is the Battle Shell Turtles all have pupils. While, we're not huge fans of this, we can see how the larger, solid white eyes, might be a tad freakier to kids than what is seen on the smaller versions. Luckily, all four of our B.S. Turtles (that stands for "Battle Shell," people!) manage to have evenly-spaced pupils. While the paint is a match for the smaller versions, with these being so huge, we would have liked to have seen some further detailing to help bring out more of the sculpt.
Articulation is where these guys fall all little short. Don't get us wrong, it's not nearly as bad as we initially thought, but they don't stand up to their smaller counterparts in this regard. Each Battle Shell Turtle has a ball-joint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge hips, and swivel/hinge knees. For a reason unknown to us, the swivel/hinge elbows have been removed, effectively keeping Donatello from being able to hold his bo staff with two hands. Also, with the front shell being stiff plastic, the hip articulation is very hindered. All of the joints they DO have are tight however, and the Turtles hold their positions well. There is also a hinge at the side of the shell which allows for it to to open and close with ease.
The Battle Shell Turtles all come with a number of accessories. Namely, two throwing stars (of different designs), along with their base weapons and one or two extras that can fit into their shells. The big bonus here is that Michelangelo and Donatello both have plastic chains linking their weaponry instead of the sculpted one-piece plastic weapons the smaller versions are equipped with. not to be left out, Raph and Leo benefit from their larger size by having the handles of their katanas and sais painted in detail. All weapons fit in the Turtles' hands well and snap easily into their place within the shells or on the belt attachments.
Overall, these Battle Shell Turtles are kinda cool. They manage to keep the nice sculpt of the smaller figures while giving kids a gimmick they'll love in the form of the hidden weaponry. There are some drawbacks, like the loss of elbow articulation, but at $24.99 each, these Heroes in a Half Shell will easily fill some space on your shelves.
Oh, how we envy these Turtles: Ninja prowess, and the ability to store tons of weapons in their bodies. Every time we try to hide weaponry in ourselves, it only ends in sharp pains and heartache. Anyway, for more on these figures, plus everything else Playmates Toys has in the sewer pipeline, be sure to check out their official website!
Stay tuned to MTV Geek for all your Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles coverage from comics to toys--and anything else that can be plastered with their likenesses!