Playmates has gone BIG with their newest relaunch of their venerable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. There is no better example around than their Battle Shell assortment, exclusive to Toys “R” Us stores across the nation. Collectors who were perusing aisles in the early 90’s might recognize the format since it harkens back to the Turtles’ own early days on toy shelves. Toy Biz released a few of their Marvel and X-Men characters in colorful boxes with minimal articulation at the time, with the main appeal being the figures’ massive size. At one point in the Turtle line’s own history, Playmates developed a nifty Battle Shell feature for the smaller Turtles where you could open their shells for handy storage of various weapons and accessories.
Both gimmicks are combined here for great effect. The figures themselves are basically everything you could expect from their smaller counterparts. Unlike the 90’s Toy Biz rotocast molded, minimally jointed superheroes, the Turtles are hefty figures that retain their full articulation. We start here with ball jointed necks along with their shoulders, hips, knees, and some nicely hidden joints just above the ankles. Weapons can be stored in their shells and there is ample room for pizza slices if the boys are in need of a snack. Weapons are sturdy, and due to their ample size, not easily lost. Kids will likely dig these more than adults due to the size range but they make for cool collector display pieces as well. Visually, they are very shelf worthy.
The Turtles’ poseability choices are somewhat limited, but their feet are big enough to have the figures stand on one leg for some smooth ninja moves. The detail is superb, from the battle damage cracks on their chests to the realistic wrinkles on their skin. Playmates cares for this brand and it shows. The characters are iconic enough at this point in time to warrant nothing but the finest treatment.
My only gripe here would be the packaging. Open boxes are easy targets for potential damage, particularly if we’re talking paint jobs which can be easily accessed by children due to the figures’ vulnerability. Window boxes might have made better options and helped make the figures look classier, but I understand if this was a price point matter. The figures really are splendid and deserve far wider exposure. Hopefully, these will sell out at TRUs and Playmates will offer them to other retailers as well in the future.
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