One of the highlights of the summer was the sudden introduction (and abrupt disappearance) of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ClassicsMichelangelo and his brothers. From a purely technical standpoint, the execution was spectacular as the figures managed to integrate elements from the original 1980s Playmates toys as well as the early animated series. The figures are loaded with articulation but there's one unfortunate side effect: despite being nearly perfect, they're really lacking in a fun factor as they are not, for all intents and purposes, toys designed with fun in mind. And I say this as someone who went nuts after seeing them at New York Toy Fair.
Standing over 6-inches tall, each turtle uses basically the same body with a different belt and head. It's perfectly understandishable why they would want to reuse the same body. Not only is it cheap, but Playmates engineered an exceptional body on which to build the green teens. Each finger is articulated. Each toe is articulated. Each elbow and knee is double-jointed, and there are so many points of articulation that I would argue the packaging is underselling the figure by stating it only has 34 points of articulation. There's a ball-jointed thumb and a sort of a palm joint in addition to the fingers, resulting in a figure with a spectacular range of motion. It's not quite as good as the greatest Figma or Revoltech release, but it's close and for the price there's certainly no reason to complain.
The sculpt is quite good and the head sculpt has a lot of personality, but it doesn't seem like Mikey. Heck, all four of the turtles seem quite serious to the point of almost scowling, which seems out of character for the original cartoon and this character in particular. He has a unique head sculpt and I'm happy to see a version of the character with painted black eyes in there, rather than blank white ones. His belt has a swell painted M on it, because in the 1980s we needed these things to tell the characters apart. Ditto the orange bandana, but I don't know why Playmates opted to mold the nunchucks in orange plastic this time around. The good news is that they're not entirely plastic, as there are metal chains between the two "wood" grips of the weapon. It's quite impressive, and it slips nicely into the back of the figure's belt.
While the figure has a lot of articulation with stiff joints and big feet, there's a display stand to ensure he doesn't do a faceplant on your desk. The base looks like a manhole cover and features a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" logo with a printed "Michelangelo" name tag on it, which seems unnecessary but it still looks pretty good.
There is no more articulated, detailed, and generally cartoon-accurate turtle to be bought for the money. $17 is a dang bargain for a figure of this quality, and the figure itself is close to the Masters of the Universe Classics in size and is similar to the whole DC Universe Classics and Marvel Legends in its look and feel. I argue that the guys at Playmates are trying to one-up the competition, which should be simple given they only had to sculpt one body so far.
While I spent the last few paragraphs praising this design, the problem with any collector figure is that it almost doesn't matter how good it is, because its fate is to be futzed with, posed, and placed on a shelf until you dust it. Mine were bought, opened, and loved for about a week before putting them away and I realized I hadn't touched them since. This figure is awesome, but it isn't fun, if that makes sense. There's a fair amount of entertainment to be had in playing with this figure as a desk accessory, but I got the whole set and with no vehicles or villains to fight, they ran out of juice really quick. I'd suggest buying one because, seriously, they're awesome but there's nothing you can do with them after you open the package. With no play action features or wacky accessories, they do not beg to be played with. They're nice figures, but without Shredder or Krang I figure this line is going to be forgotten until the next, even better collector-driven turtles come out in another 10 or 15 years.
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