I'm reaching back a ways with this review. The Shell Striker vehicles were a trio of smaller vehicles that were released
in late 2005. For those who may be unfamiliar with them, the Shell Striker consists of three individual vehicles, one each
for travel on land, sea and air. And if you collect all three, you can connect them together to form the Shell Striker
vehicle. But they didn't see very wide distribution. Even when they did make it to store shelves, they were soon replaced
with the vehicle/figure combo packs from the Paleo Patrol line. Unfortunately, I failed to act fast enough when they did show
up in my area, and as a result I't been searching for them on the secondary market for the last two years. Well, the search
finally ended north of the border and where once there was a hole in my collection, now there are three more vehicles in the
Turtle's motor pool.
Packaging - 6/10Oh for the bad old days of the revamped TMNT packaging design. The Shell Strike vehicles came out after they redesigned the packaging to add the darker strips across the top and bottom of each panel. Since the boxes don't allow you to actually see the toys, there are large photos of them on the front and side panels. Now if only they would have made them even larger. I can still see that ugly yellow and orange background. The back panel has another image of the vehicle with the features pointed out as well as a photo of the combined, Shell Striker form. Overall the packaging isn't very appealing visually as far as I'm concerned. But it does a reasonable job of letting you know what the toy inside is like.
Sculpting - Terra Razor 7/10, Hydro Blad & Strata Slicer 5/10The Terra Razor, the land based vehicle of the trio is designed to be a souped up ATV. The front wheels have been replaced with tank like tracks. It even has real rolling tracks. The larger rear wheels are a nice design touch, but they could stand to be much wider. The body styling is interesting and looks cool. But the end sculpt is a bit bland. With the exception of the windshield, everything is just part of the large central mass. It's not that bad over all, but a bit dull. The Strata Slicer and Hydro Blade are far too similar to each other and a bit too bland for my tastes. Both are essentially just capsules for the cockpits with minimal parts added to the exterior to turn them into a jet and a sub respectively. The Strata Slicer comes out a little bit better than the Hydro Blade, but Playmates has done better versions of both types of vehicle. On the inside, both have sculpted control panels and movable handles. The only thing I really can't understand is that if the Hydro Blade is meant to be a submarine, wouldn't a platform on the back be a fairly bad idea? I guess it is a good thing that one of the variants that Playmates made in the 2003 line was the four turtles in diving equipment.
Paint - 5/10The paint work on all three vehicles is pretty sparse. They have a combination of two tones of green with bronze accents. There isn't a lot of detail work. But the Terra Razor does have some. Quality control isn't an issue though. All of the paint work is clean with no real sloppiness. Overall, the colors work well together which is particularly important since the vehicles connect together. But there is certainly room for improvement. First of all, I would really have liked it if they put some effort into decorating the control panels for each vehicle. But what we did get are passable.
Accessories - 3/10Each vehicle comes with two projectiles that the vehicle can fire and that is it. The projectiles for each vehicle are unique which is nice, but it would be cool if they would have been interchangeable so you would have had extra ammo for a vehicle if you wanted it. That's not a lot for accessories, but the vehicles really don't need a lot.
Play Value - Terra Razor 6/10, Strata Slicer 5/10, Hydro Blade 4/10All three vehicles are on fairly equal footing when it comes to the features they include. All three have a pair of firing projectiles and little else. The Terra Razor is able to stretch the value of limited features due to two factors. First, since it is an open vehicle there is more opportunity to interact with the figure while it is on the Terra Razor. If you really want to, you can even squeeze a second figure on the back. The other thing which the Terra Razor has in its favor is that it is a fairly unique design even in a line flooded with countless small vehicles. The Strata Slicer doesn't provide as many options since about the only thing you can do with the figures are put them inside and close the canopy. It does have landing gear that can be retracted or extended and you can adjust the position of the rear fin. But neither of those options are all that fun. The Hydro blade is the most limited of the three. Beyond the projectiles and putting a figure inside, the only other feature is the platform on the back where another figure can ride. Compare that to the Shell Sub and the the Hydro Blade just seems dull in comparison.
Of course there is one more feature upon which I haven't really touched heavily, their ability to form the Shell Striker. Well there's a reason why I haven't talked about it much, it's not very good. Over the years there have been some very cool combining toys including any number of Transformer teams or gestalts as they are often called by fans. But the idea of the gestalt is that the whole is greater than the some of its parts. The opposite is true here. The Shell Striker is formed by hooking the nose of the Hydro Blade to the back of the Terra Razor and then attaching the Strata Slicer to the back of the Hydro Blade using its tail for additional support. But what is formed is less of a super vehicle and more of a super mess that is so large that it become very unwieldy. And the combined form really doesn't add any additional features. In short, the entire idea is basically a waste.
Value - Terra Razor 5/10, Strata Slicer & Hydro Blade 4/10The original retail price for the Shell Striker vehicles was $10 a piece. While none of the three vehicles manage to be all that great, the Terra Razor was worth picking up if only for the novelty of the design. The other two don't have that advantage, particularly if you already have the repaint version of the Strata Slicer that came with the SWAT Assault pack. I'd like to tell you that it is worth picking up all three just to be able to form the Shell Striker vehicle. But the Shell Striker form has no more appeal than randomly taping three different vehicles together.
Happy Hunting:Now here's the bad news. If you are interested in getting the Shell Striker vehicles, you've already missed you chance. Or I should clarify, if you live in the US you have already missed your chance at retail. And since they weren't available for very long, they are not very common on the secondary market either. I ended up purchasing most of mine from a gentleman in Canada. But if you are patient, they do show up from time to time on eBay.