Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Toy Review: Leo, Raph, Mikey & Donnie / Half Shell Heroes (Playmates)

When I first saw these Ninja Turtles in stores I knew that it was only a matter of time before they were in my son's play area more than "my collection" because I knew he'd love to play with them with his Batman toys and he's also seen them in YouTube videos.    For father's day this year, these were his gifts to me (or mine to him, I'm not sure) and though I'm rather satisfied with the Turtles themselves- which is why I bought these in the first place- I must say that their accessories left a lot to be desired.    I had debated doing this as four reviews but one should suffice so let's take it on a Turtle-by-Turtle basis now.

First up is Leo aka Leonardo and I like how the names on the packages are shortened as this line is aimed at those who are younger than the other line, which I've also reviewed so I guess I just span all age groups.    Leo has his two swords and they're nice enough as if they were any longer they might take away from the figure itself.   He comes with a set of wings and you have to clip them around his waist (a little below it) and then there is a piece that drops down over his shoulders.   It's like a hang glider and I feel like it's supposed to fit a little bit more downwards but at least it fits him and gets the job done so I'll take it.   There is a wheel on the back you turn and the wings flap, so that's pretty cool.

Raph is the one I wrote in randomly next so let's go with him.   I like the Raph figure but his weapons and accessory perhaps give me the most head-smacking "what?"s.     For one thing, he has green webbing of sorts where there should be nothing in each sai.    I'm torn between whether this was a safety feature so that kids didn't poke their eyes out or if it was done because otherwise those thin and tiny blades might be too easy to break off, but does it really matter?  To be fair, it would be just as easy and perhaps worse to poke your eye with Leo's blades so I don't imagine that as being the answer.   I guess they couldn't make a sai that felt sturdy enough so this was their way of working around it.

Back in the WWE Jakks days they made figures for Ultimo Dragon and everyone always complained of his dragon-like horns coming off and so I think of this in those terms except with a much smaller toy.   If you were to take a straight edge razor, you could probably cut those green bits out but I'm not worried about it so much to the point as that I will do something such as that.    I'm actually more bothered by the motorcycle type of bike that comes with Raph.   In my review of Electro and Venom I mentioned how heavy their bikes seemed and this is just the opposite of that.   This bike makes it only a few inches before it wipes out.    It also can barely stand up on its own.    Oh, and there are handle bars for Raph to hold onto, of course, but since his weapons are forever stuck in his hands he can't.

Mikey has much more tolerable weapons, perhaps the best of the lot, and he comes with the only fitting vehicle that I can think of- the skateboard.   I realize in the "TMNT" movie Raph was the "Night Watchman" and drove around on a motorcycle but don't let that trick you into thinking any of these vehicles make sense outside of Mikey's skateboard.    So Mikey has holes in his feet (they all do), a peg on the board and boom, he can ride his skateboard.   Oh, wait.   No, he can't.   Because the wheels don't move.    THE WHEELS DON'T MOVE.    You guys are charging more for these than the Imaginext blind bag that came with the skateboarder and HIS wheels move, so what's the deal?   This skateboard also has an action feature- as does Raph's bike, which I forgot about until just now.

For Raph's bike, if you squeeze the pipes together it has some type of saws poke out.   This is something I'd think of seeing more in a car than a motorcycle.   I mean, would it really have been so hard to just include a missile that launches so our kids could fire it once and then forever lose it?   The skateboard on the other hand has it so that when you press the pipes in, wings come out.   So his skateboard... can... fly.   If this feature is the reason why the wheels don't move then someone out there needs to be fired because that was simply the wrong call to make, my friend.   Skateboard wheels are meant to move.   Skateboards are not meant to have wings and giving them wings does not mean they can fly.

Last up is Donnie and I enjoy his figure quite possibly the most out of them all.   He has his staff and it's not too long but that is just because of the way these figures are and if it was more to scale with him as a larger toy represents I imagine it would just become too awkward, so no complaints there.    Now Donnie comes with a luge because apparently this is the Turtles-freakin'-Olympics.   I had to look at the package to figure out that the claw goes in the front and he just sort of lays down in there.   The thing is, the luge has a small peg to hold onto with his open hand (Note: He is the only Turtle with an empty hand.  Think about that) but it's on the wrong side!   His staff is on the side with the slightly larger nub and so he can't even hold on and win the Olympics.   Oh, and when you squeeze the non-working wheels here the claw in the front closes.

So these are made by Playmates, who makes the other TMNT toys, while DC still goes under Imaginext (/Fisher Price/Mattel) and Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers and yes now even Jurassic World are all under Playskool.   All of them are around the same size, but the holes in the feet of the Imaginext figures are larger than those of the Turtles so Batman, for example, cannot ride on Mikey's skateboard (and Mikey is thus too small to go on the Imaginext skateboard-- you know, the one with working wheels)

My son isn't at all bothered by the lack of working wheels and other inconsistencies and it is also worth noting that I do enjoy the weapons being stuck in the Turtles hands because they don't get lost that way.  (Seriously, no idea where Nightwing's staff currently is)   This is also done in the Playskool line (i.e. Stars Wars and lightsabers) so it's not that big of a deal to me either.   I'm mostly bothered by the vehicles, though again, I didn't buy these for the vehicles I bought them for the Turtles.

There are a lot of other characters in this line already but I might wait and try to find them at Savers (Definitely waiting until Savers for the sewer playset and larger vehicles)   A lot of key characters have been made, mostly on the villain side, but it is worth noting that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 2014 is getting a sequel.   If someone at Playmates isn't currently sketching up ideas to make versions of the Turtles from *that* movie in *this* size then I wonder what the point of anything is and why it exists in the first place.    Yes, I want 2014 movie versions of Half Shell Heroes and I don't think I'd be the only one to buy them.

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