I am a Ninja Turtle hipster. I discovered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness RPG in 1985, which was my gateway to Eastman and Laird’s original Mirage Studios comic (and the wider world of independent titles in general). Still, when the five-part pilot aired – the big break that paved the way for the proper animated series and its Archie Comics-printed analogue – I was more than happy to come along for the ride. Sure, it wasn’t the grim, black and white adolescent angst I’d come to expect, but it certainly was entertaining.
In the decades to follow the TMNT franchise went through a number of distinct mutations; some I enjoyed and some I didn’t, but few have proved as satisfying as its current Nickelodeon Studios iteration. It’s very much a variation on a theme, but it’s a property that I’ve relished sharing with my own kids. The same can be said for the wonderful new line of action figures and accessories from Playmates – the same company responsible for the Turtles toys I played with during my formative years.
The new core figures feature 12-point articulation and subtle coloring/styling differences that mirror their personalities in all their current CGI glory. Sturdily built and easily poseable, the guys are definitely combat ready thanks to their included “ninja arsenals.” In addition to their iconic weapons of choice the Turtles also come with supplementary armaments including the obligatory shuriken.
Slightly oversized when compared to the rest of the line, the Flingers variants take the concept of distance weapons to the next level. Load the projectiles of choice – Leonardo prefers mini-manhole covers while Michelangelo, unsurprisingly, launches pizzas – into the character’s backpack then roll your Turtle’s three-toed feet along any hard, flat surface, and they’ll easily cut down Foot Soldiers and Kraangs at a distance. Though much less articulated than their smaller counterparts, the Flingers do boast some additional sculpt tweaks like body armor that give them a charm all their own.
Pound-for-pound, though, you can’t get much better than the Ninja Control Shellraiser. While the name is at least as ridiculous as the old school Party Wagon, the toy itself is a fierce RC vehicle with responsive four-way steering. Your TMNT figures can ride on top, hang from its side rails or snuggle in tight in the car’s concealed compartment, but it’s easily the Shellraiser’s combat function that offers the most playtime excitement. Load its manhole cover ammo – these are easily three times the size of the Flingers’ projectiles – into the top-loading slot, and a simple tap on the remote’s red trigger button sends them rocketing across the room. Hard enough to knock down a building block barrier but not so much so as to bruise up your whiny little brother, the Shellraiser‘s manhole canon hits the sweet spot for both fun and function.
Review materials provided by: Playmates Toys