It's funny, I seem to recall that when the extreme sports Turtle figures were announced and released,
it was said that that was the furthest the line would stray from the cartoon. And yet I hold before me
the Deep Divin' Turtles. The Deep Divin' Turtles are a series of figures which feature each of the four
turtles rigged for underwater adventures. Michelangelo is decked out in SCUBA gear. Leonardo has a
wetsuit and what looks like a rebreather. Donatello has SCUBA gear and a full diving helmet. Raphael is
the only one with a full diving suit plus a self propulsion system on his backpack. I know some of fans
were unhappy that these weren't figures based on the episode "Junklantis," or that they bothered to make
them at all. But I'm less interested in why they are than how they turned out.
Packaging - 7/10Another wave of Turtle figures and more of the same as far as packaging goes. Well, not exactly. Like the Space Hoppin' Turtles, Playmates does a nice job of trying something different with the Deep Divin' Turtles. But it doesn't turn out quite as well this time. The cards themselves haven't changed. Each Turtle has their own image diecut on the top third of the card. The figure and accessories are arranged about the blister. Like with the Space Hoppin' figures, Playmates made a decent attempt to avoid the static, "at attention" pose that most figures have. The figures are posed as if they were swimming. Unfortunately, given the constrants of the limited room available in the packaging, the results are not on par with the Space Hoppin' figures. The usual insert for the basic figures that has a large TMNT logo with the character's name and action feature has been replaced. The TMNT logo is now included as a small insert at the top of the bubble while a large insert at the bottom identifies the figure. Once again I have to say that I can't stand the orange color used for the backgrounds, but between the large image of each Turtle at the top, the two inserts in the blister and the amount of space the figures and accessories take up within the blister, there isn't much of the background visible. The back of the card is basicly the same as previous basic figures. The figure and accessories are shown in limited detail with the other figures from wave 5 shown along the right side. The bottom of the card retains the profile cards which have been a main stay of the TMNT line throughout its various incarnations since the late eighties.
Once again there is a packaging variation, and a fairly obvious one at that. The Deep Divin' Turtle figures were released as part of the second series of figures that included a bonus DVD.
Sculpting - 8/10The Turtle variants may not be a hit with collectors, but from the looks of these figures, Playmates put some serious effort into making some really nice figures. Each figure has a completely new body sculpt with the corresponding head sculpt from the Fighting Gear figures. I could spend a great deal of time trying to adequately describe all of the small details that have been included and still not do them justice. But overall level of detail is very impressive, right down to the sculpted on indentations for the holes in each figure's watchband. It is unfortunate that they still have not been able to come up with head sculpts that are more on model with the angular designs of the new cartoon. While it is nitpicking, I'm also slightly put off by the unrealistic way that each figure's backpack conforms to their round shells. They should not fit so flush. I realize that to sculpt them that way would have made the figures far more prone to breakage so it was probably a wise compromise. But contrasted with the extreme detail of the rest of the sculpts, they do look a little strange.
Paint - 3/10Sadly Playmates appearently decided to cut corners on the paint applications, BIG TIME! Each figure only uses four or five paint applications. While this is enough to get by, most if not all of the details of the sculpts were left untouched and thus tend to be easily overlooked. While painting every detail would have been overkill and resulted in the figures looking out of place with the rest of the line, painting a least the more prominent details like the straps on the figures' legs and some of Raphael's backpack would have made a big difference.
Articulation - 5/10Leo and Raph have twenty-one points of articulation each while Mike and Don each have twenty-two. Each figure has:
Accessories - 7/10Each of the Deep Divin' Turtles come with several accessories: a diving helmet or mask, a small PVC sea creature, an underwater themed weapon, a modified version of their trademark weapon made more appropriate for underwater use, and finally everyone except Raph comes with a unique pair of swimming fins.
Leonardo comes with a diving mask that fits snuggly and swim fins that slip over his toes with a strap across the heel. His swords have been shortened and are serrated on one side. He also has a sheath that snaps onto his back to hold the swords. He also comes with a small cross bow with the same firing action as the one that came with the Foot Soldier and a PVC shark. But the hinged fingers make it almost impossible for him to hold the bow in any reasonable pose.
Michelangelo has a diving mask as well as a pair of swim fins similar to Leonardo's. His chuks have been replaced with something a little easier to use in the murky depths, a large knife which can also be stored in the sheath on his leg. His other accessory is a diver's tow (a small sled that divers use to manuever underwater) with a spring fired missile. The tow is a great idea, but lacks any paint detail. Plus the limited range of movement of Mike's arms means he can't hold the dive tow very realisticly. His final accessory is a PVC squid.
Donatello comes with a diving helmet that snaps on similar to the Space Hopping helmets with a flip up visor. His swim fins slip over toes and heels without the strap on the back. His bo staff has been replaced with a trident with a spear tip on one end. He also has one of Leonardo's short sword and a sheath to hold it on his leg. His creature is a sting ray.
Raphael has a different diving helmet with flip up visor. His sais are the least altered of all four Turtles' weapons and can be stored in the sheaths on either thigh. His other accessory is a spot light with two small spears. The spears aren't spring loaded but can be fired by flicking the back of each one. His PVC creature is an octopus.
Value - 6/10The regular retail price for the basic TMNT figures is around $5.99, though some stores charge $6.99 or even $7.99. At $6 which is what I paid, these are wonderful, extremely kid-friendly figures. However, over the Holiday season Walmart has dropped their price to $4.44 each and several Target stores have been matching that price. For under $5 each, these are one of the best deals on the action figure market today.
Happy Hunting:This is one of the things I love most about the TMNT line, there is almost no hunting required. The basic Turtle figures are available from just about any store that carries toys. Though they are becoming more scarce as the Deep Divin' figures have been phased out of recent assortments for some of the newer TMNT varients. If you still want to try to pick up the figures with the DVD's, there may even still be hope for that. While Walmart was the first to carry the figures with bonus DVD's, I have since seen them at Toys R Us stores and even at a Kmart store. They are also available from Amazon.com