Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures


It’s that time again: Time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be remade for a new generation. The green teens have been out of the toy aisles for a while, and this is the first new iteration of TMNT since they were purchased by Nickelodeon/Viacom. A new cartoon is coming later this month on Nick, and of course there are new toys from Playmates. Besides the four turtles, there are figures of Shredder, Splinter, April, Foot Soldier, Kraang, a sewer lair playset, a couple of vehicles, some larger talking figures of the turtles and Shredder, and some roleplay weapons. So there’s a lot things to choose from. Today we’re going to look at the basic turtles.

Donatello cardedLeonardo carded

Michelangelo cardedRaphael carded

The TMNT come on blister card packaging with eye-catching bright green and purple colors. They have a spray painted look on the cards and a skewed design. The bubble has a turtle shell pattern running along the left side to the top, and the right side features some artwork of the turtles as they appear in the upcoming cartoon show. The back of the card has a bio for the character, a picture as they appear in the cartoon, and a look at the rest of the figures in this wave.

Donatello cardbackLeonardo cardback

Michelangelo cardbackRaphael cardback

Build and Deco
This version of TMNT is a bit more stylized than past iterations, with large hands and feet as big as their heads. (Those big feet are great for helping them stand too.) Each turtle has their own colored mask, brown belts, elbow and knee pads, and white tape wrapped around their hands. They have brown tape on their wrists and feet, except Leonardo who wears off-white. As with past TMNT toys, Donatello and Leonardo also have shoulder straps on their belts. The belts are not removable.

Leonardo dual wielding

Donatello swing

Even though all 4 turtles have the same basic design, none of them share any parts at all. Each one is a completely unique sculpt. They each have their own skin texture, nicks and scratches on their shells, kneepads, etc., and Raphael even has a nasty crack in his chest. This is impressive, as Playmates could’ve given them all the same body with different heads and I don’t think anyone would’ve complained.

Raphael sais

Michelangelo nunchucks

The turtles don’t really look like they do on the upcoming show, not quite. Sure they’re dressed the same, and some details like Raph’s cracked chest are there, but the show has a certain stylized look and these figures are a bit different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because they look great, but I remember as a kid wishing my figures looked more like their cartoon counterparts.

Donatello point

Leonardo 2-handed

Also unlike the show, but like previous TMNT figures, each one is a different shade of green. For whatever reason, it’s not the same assortment of colors that started with the 1987 turtles and was reused with the 2002 turtles.

Michelangelo swing

Donatello stand

Something to look out for on this line is bad paint jobs. I had to pick through several of each turtle to find them without slop and splotches of paint on their faces or arms. Even after picking out the best specimens, my Donatello has some brown paint under his arm. Thankfully it’s not in a very noticeable place.

TMNT back

These are 5″ scale figures, with the turtles themselves being a bit shorter. Interestingly, they’re all different heights, with Michaelangelo being the shortest at about 4 1/4″ and Donatello being the tallest at about 4 3/4″. They’re a bit shorter than the 2002 TMNT figures, and a bit taller than the 1987 figures (at least I think so, I didn’t have any handy for comparison), with different proportions than either.

TMNT by height

TMNT size comparison

Sorry, had to have Mona Lisa stand in for the ’87 turtles.

These are probably the best-articulated TMNT figures ever made besides the Classic Collection turtles that are also available right now. The head is on a ball, which allows a decent up and down movement as well as turning a full 360°. Wrists rotate, shoulders and hips can both rotate and bend, and knees and elbows work the same way, which is something I don’t see too often, but it works really well. Their chests are made of a softer material so they don’t get in the way of leg movement.

Raphael kick

They’re not quite as articulated as something like MOTUC, Marvel Legends or those Classic turtles, but they’re pretty damn good for their size and price. The joints are also nice and tight, and along with those big feet, you can get them into a great variety of poses that they can actually stay balanced in. For those extra tricky poses, the holes in their feet are the same size as the Classic Collection turtles (as well as the 2002 turtles, as it turns out), so you can use their stands.

Donatello mantis pose

Each turtle includes their signature weapons: katanas for Leonardo, nunchucks for Michelangelo, sais for Raphael, and a bo staff for Donatello. As usual, the turtles’ belts have spots to store their weapons. I’m a bit disappointed that the weapons aren’t painted. That’s something that always bugged me about the 1987 turtles, and I loved that the ones included with the 2002 turtles were painted.

TMNT weapons stored

Fun facts and failures:
– Leonardo’s katanas are different sizes instead of a matching pair like those of previous Leos. I guess this is more accurate to real life?
– Mike’s nunchucks are a bit too stiff to be stored well in his belt. If you do, they get stress marks.
– Raph’s sais are stored on the back of his belt, when usually it’s been the front. His right hand is sculpted to allow him to hold the sai with his fingers between the prongs, as he’s often depicted. Unfortunately the left hand is not.
– Don’s bo is bigger at one end and curves a bit, like it’s made from a real tree branch. While the 1987 Donatello included a second bo, you only get one this time.

TMNT weapon trees

Just like the 1987 turtles, each of these comes with a tree of extra weapons. Leonardo comes with a larger katana, 2 shuriken, 3 kunai, and some kind of small knife or bo-shuriken. Raphael has a pair of hook swords, 2 jutte (which look just like his sais with one prong missing), and 2 shuriken. Michelangelo includes a kusarigama and 4 shuriken. Donatello comes with a three-section staff, a naginata (like his bo, but with a blade at the end), and 2 shuriken. These are a nice bonus and provide a variety of display options.

TMNT alternate weapons

TMNT more alternate weapons

Extra Fun
The turtles’ heads can be easily popped off and swapped if you want to for some reason. Though Raph’s ball joint is smaller than the rest and Don’s is a bit bigger, so that can make it more difficult to swap.

TMNT head swap

These are arguably the best TMNT figures ever made. They look great, they’re well made, they have great articulation, and a decent amount of accessories. Painted weapons would’ve been nice, I have mixed feelings on how all 4 turtles are different greens, and they need to work on their quality control for painting, but these are minor issues.

If you want to get your hands on these, they’re probably pretty easy to find. They should be available at most places that sell toys, like Walmart, Toys R Us and Target, as well as online.

TMNT vs. Foot

About Collector

A frequent visitor to flea markets and the Goodwill, I enjoy collecting video games, toys and old electronics. Other interests include cartoons, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies, as well as wasting far too much time online.

Posted on September 7, 2012, in Reviews, Toys and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I may have some bias, since we’ve been friends for years and years, but I will say to the Internet that your TMNT review is perhaps the best review I’ve read in a long time.

    Press-gift reviews often gloss over flaws, or make them seem unimportant. I’m glad that this is a labor-of-love review, rather than a paycheck review. I don’t buy toys that often, and lately, I’ve seen paint flaws in multiple series, so it’s great to know that I shouldn’t just buy a TMNT toy online blindly, and expect the paint to turn out well. (You brought up in IM just now, “I got Classics Don in the mail yesterday. His eyes are all googly. He’s Derpatello.”) I bought Kraang in store after comparing a few Kraangs, but it’s hard to screw up one color.

    There are flaws, and you are honest in pointing them out, but I’m glad you don’t focus on that, and say that overall, the toys are great. The photos are excellent as always, and I know it took a lot of effort to collect all of the turtles into one shot. That is definitely helpful for not just me, but other people that might be looking for “that particular turtle” from years ago.

    I’m going to be on the lookout for Don. Even though he can’t fit into traditional meditation positions [lotus flower or seiza], I’ll figure out something.

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