27 March 2013

REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures

Shell out for these.

Whether you remember them as the Hero Turtles or the Ninja Turtles, there's no doubt that Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donetello are more than just dead painters to the last few generations of children. Its been exactly 20 years since we got to grips with the pizza hungry fab four in action figure mode, so we leapt at the chance to shout COWABUNGA all over again.

The last time we tore open the packaging of a Ninja Turtle (in our day – the distant past known as the 1990s – they were 'heroes' not 'ninjas') the crime fighting amphibians were hot off a successful comic book run and follow-up (and toned-down) cartoon series. These days, after two decades of reboots, several films, many toy spin-offs and a recent blockbuster animated film, the Turtles are blasting their way into the cerebral cortex of our children via Nickelodeon. Of course a cartoon TV series MUST have a new range of toys.

The mutant sewer boys have had a slight makeover since we played with them last, with the overall styling shifting more to a recognisable Japanese Manga look. The boys themselves are skinnier, paler green and the front shells are flatter and less detailed compared to what we've seen before. Their expressions are all a bite sneery, quite unlike the cocky lovable rogues that they come across as on screen. Still, the toys themselves are well put together and should withstand several hundred run-ins with Shredder. More on him later.

Each of the four come with their traditional weapons (name them all now – go!) although we were a bit disappointed that they were quite flimsy and not individually painted or detailed. Michelangelo's nunchunks – or rather kusarigama – seemed like the plastic 'chain' might soon snap, and Donetello's bow staff was a bit short. Still, the weapons fitted the three fingered hands well and stayed there during our raucous play fights. What also stayed in place were the positions we put the turtles into, with the many points of articulation moving freely but firmly. We just wish the boys had pupils – looking into those blank white eyes was a bit unnerving, especially considering how animated and emotive they are on TV.

Kraang. Jesus Christ.
The bad guys have had quite a re-branding it seems. Shredder now looks like an actual bad-ass, with bloated muscles, wide chest and pointy blades. We remember the 90s Shredder as being a bit of a weed, with fabric cape and crap helmet. Also given the Manga once-over is Kraang, the brain-like alien in a robotic body. He actually looks frightening now, with his robot being less of a stumbling oaf and more a wicked looking cylon. The revamped Foot Soldier also looks oddly robotic, with wide staring eyes and out of proportion limbs. Still, I reckon Raph could kick the poo out of it.

Joining the Turtles on their adventure on your bedroom carpet is Master Splinter, the Yoda of the mutated giant rat genre. Splinter seems less decrepit as he has been previously, and certainly more oriental in appearance. Also available (but why you'd want her, we can't guess) is a completely out of place looking April O'Neil. No longer the tough-talking, quick thinking journalist of the old series, this new figures seems more like one of Ben 10's ex-girlfriends that has wondered onto the set and been photographed with the turtles. Still, I'm sure the girls will like her. Girls that weren't invited to any of our awesome birthday parties.

April O'Neil. Seriously, why bother?
All in the all, we really like the new look turtles. The revamp is a pleasing one, the toys are well made and the packaging is pleasing to the eye – a valid consideration to anyone who might be keeping the boys wrapped up for the future.

Grab a slice of pizza and we'll meet you in the sewers. Bring sanitiser.

£7.49 each

© The Test Pit

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