This is my last review for the initial assortment of new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys for 2012: the Shell Raiser. Large,
multi-passenger vehicles have been a big part of each incarnation of TMNT toys going back to the Party Wagon. The Next
Mutation Turtles had the Mutant Marauder. The 2003 line brought us the Battle Shell. Fast Forward had the Hyper Shell and
the 2007 movie gave us the Cowabunga Carl's Party Van. This time around they are straying a bit from the formula in that it
isn't a van. This time they have an armored subway car. I'm guessing this is not meant to be a vehicle for covert operations.
Packaging - 7/10The Shell Raiser comes packaged in a large box with a similar graphic design to the basic vehicles. The front panel has a large illustration of the Shell Raiser and the Turtles along with the line logo and a CGI image of the four Turtles. The same illustration is reused for the top and one side panel. The back has a large photo of the toy and several smaller photos of the various features. They even had enough room on the bottom to show the first series of basic figures and the first two basic vehicles, though I doubt many people ever see that part of the box when it is in a store. I like the graphical design that they used. And unlike the basic vehicles, the box for the Shell Raiser is thick enough to resist most damage and large enough that you think that there is a fairly large toy inside.
Sculpting - 7/10The Shell Raiser is packed with small details throughout its exterior. It does a good job of keeping the vehicle from looking dull even if you don't apply the decals. But there is certainly room for improvement. To begin with, it would be nice if some of the sculpting was the type of thing that would allow a bit of interaction with the figures. The other area that needs some work is the interior which is completely empty. I don't know what exactly should be found in there, but I suspect it is more than just the flooring which is what is included here. Finally, from what I've seen, one of the main ideas of the Shell Raiser is that it is capable of traveling both on the open road and subway tracks. But the Shell Raiser is missing its train wheels. It's not a big lose since there wouldn't be many reasons to use them anyways. But it would be nice to be able to replicate that feature on the toy. Of course the scale is off as well. The Shell Raiser is just large enough to fit the Turtles in the doors and allow them to stand inside. And Don and Leo, the taller of the four, can't stand upright in some areas. If the Shell Raiser is suppose to be a subway car, then it is only about half the size that is should be. But realistically, making a vehicle like this properly scaled to the figures would make it too big for most stores to carry it.
Paint - 4/10There is no paint work on the Shell Raiser. There are enough different colors from the various pieces to help keep it from looking to boring. And of course there are about three dozen stickers to apply that add a lot of color as well. Put together, that is enough to be passable. But there is certainly plenty of room for improvement if one wanted to fully paint the toy.
Play Value - 6/10The main feature to to the Shell Raiser is the ability to accommodate all four Turtles at once. There are doors to access the interior on the front, the passenger side and the top. There is also a spring loaded launcher mounted to the roof which fires a small projectile. Finally there is a button on the roof, disguised as an intake pipe that pops the side door open and extends out a bar that figures can hold onto and do flips. The action features aren't very impressive, but they don't really get in the way either.
Value - 7/10The Shell Raiser sells for around $30 to $34 in stores. If you found it on sale leading up to Christmas, you could find it for as little as $25. While it isn't the most action packed vehicles Playmates has produced, it is a decently executed, large scale vehicle which should be a big hit with any kid who is a fan of the TMNT toys.
Happy Hunting:The Shell Raiser has been carried in most or the major chain stores (Target, Walmart, Kmart, Toys R Us) as well as their web sites. So finding a store that sells it should not be difficult. But finding it in stock could be a challenge. Hopefully we will see more of them showing up in stores as they reset their shelves and restock after Christmas.