Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splinter
Part of the first wave of toys based on Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the radical rat Splinter is the sentient sensei of the tubular turtles. The complete line-up is the turtles, Shredder, a Foot Soldier, Splinter, April O’Neil, Kranng, Metalhead, Fishface, and Dogpound. How sweet is this Splinter toy? Let’s find out.
Zombiepaper: Each toy in this line seems to be strapped in differently. Splinter is held in by no less than five twist ties – waist, left wrist, right wrist, tail and weapon – twisted with abstract knots beyond recognition, causing it to be one of the most painful toy unpackaging experiences I’ve ever had. It took several minutes of wrestling each twist tie free. How difficult would this be for a kid?
Collector: The tail is packed separately and you attach it yourself, so don’t forget about it when you’re throwing things away.
Sculpt and Design
Collector: Splinter looks basically the same as he appears in the Nick cartoon: a rat in a kimono with long ears and a long, skinny beard, but his paint job is quite a bit different. As often happens with these things, the toy was likely based on an earlier design of the character. Toy Splinter has quite a bit more white on his face than cartoon Splinter, has red fur where the cartoon has brown, and lacks the cartoon’s light pink inside his ears. Aside from the paint job, his snout seems a bit skinnier than the cartoon, and he has an angry expression while he seems to more often have a friendly or contemplative look in the cartoon.
Collector: The rest of the body (that you can see) is gray, except a pink tail and pink fingers. His arms are sculpted as being wrapped in strips of gray cloth, with only his fingers exposed. Most of his body is covered in a red kimono, which is a separate piece that is not (normally) removable. It’s slightly less detailed than in the cartoon, lacks the flower design, and the only paint on it is the black buckle. His upper arms are the sleeves of the kimono, so if you were to remove it, they’d still be there.
Collector: The tail never seemed to stay in very well in mine, and after I tried pushing it in farther I found that a tab holding it in had broken. Not sure if I broke it myself or it came that way, but it’s probably something to watch out for.
Zombiepaper: The tail for mine isn’t quite as broken, but I noticed the peg isn’t really held in the hole very well.
Zombiepaper: Now, this is going to get a little awkward, so just bear with me for a minute. Splinter’s kimono was flexible, so I wanted to see how much sculpting work went into this toy. I cut the back of the kimono at the spine, since it already seemed to be glued together, and rather than what I had guessed, Splinter’s body was fully designed without a kimono in mind. His lower body is wrapped in cloth, which is known as a sarashi, and his upper body is covered in gray fur, except for the v-neck fur-tan he received to match the black fur on his neck.
Collector: Splinter stands about 4 ½” tall at the top of his head, and maybe 4 ¾” at the top of his ears. So at his head he’s about as tall as Raph or Leo, and at his ears he’s about as tall as a Foot Soldier.
Collector: He’s also smaller than most real rats.
Zombiepaper: In the show, Splinter is quite a capable martial artist even though typically he just stands still. Considering how horrible the articulation was with Kraang, I’m surprised Splinter’s legs have a great range of motion. His arms have a more limited range of movement, so disappointingly, he can’t hold his hands behind his back like he normally does in the show.
Collector: I hadn’t even thought of that. That would’ve been a great pose. Anyway, both the shoulders and legs can move forward and back as well as out to the sides. As with the Foot Soldier, his arms rotate at the sleeves rather than bending at the elbows. He can’t really put his arms down all the way, they just stick out to the sides a bit. You still can get a decent amount of poses out of them though. The kimono is pretty flexible and allows the legs a pretty good range to move back or out to the sides, but they can’t go forward very far. His tail can also rotate.
Collector: His right foot is in one of those damn dynamic poses, but thanks to his tail he can still stand fine. (You know, unless the tail has broken off.) His left foot has the same peg hole as the rest of the line, so he can use those stands that come with the Classic Collection turtles.
Accessories / Action Feature
Collector: Despite the package’s claim of including a ninja arsenal, Splinter’s only accessory is a translucent blue-green walking stick. I didn’t know what to think about it at first, but he does have it on the cartoon. It looks like it’s broken off a stalactite or something, and is kind of conspicuous. So far it hasn’t been explained. Anyway, it’s kind of cool looking, and he can hold it in either hand. Both hands are fairly open though, so it’s not the tightest fit. I suppose you could also count the tail as an accessory, since you have to attach it yourself.
The TMNT toys are widely available as of November 2012 at Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Walgreens, or online retailers such as eBay or Amazon. Specialty toy and comics stores may be slow to pick them up.
Collector: It’s not a bad figure, but I do wish he looked more like the show.
Zombiepaper: The design is not too bad. I’m disappointed by the lack of articulation with Splinter’s arms, considering his leg articulation. The toy isn’t one of the best of the toyline, but it’s not bad.