As a toy collector, I generally have a love hate relationship with convention exclusive figures. When done well, they
give companies the opportunity to produce figures in lower numbers, often with higher quality standards or unique features
that are not practical for a mass market toy. But the other side of the equation is that they are expensive, and getting
one that you want is often difficult even if you are going to the convention where they are sold, to say nothing of all
of the collectors who can't travel the nation every weekend going to conventions though out the year. So the fact that
Playmates traditionally didn't do convention exclusives for the TMNT lines in the past did not bother me. But with the
new ownership of the TMNT franchise and the launch of the third generation of TMNT things are changing. Last year saw
the release of Night Shadow Leonardo as an exclusive at the San Diego Comic Convention. And this year they followed up
with a new, exclusive Shredder figure.
Packaging - 9/10I wasn't thrilled with the packaging for Night Shadow Leonardo last year. It seemed odd that there wasn't even a single image of the figure on the box. But that has changed with this year's Shredder figure. There is still no photo of the actual figure, but the front of the box does have a large image of Shredder's helmet. You still don't know exactly what the figure looks like, but there is no question that it is a Shredder figure. The back of the box gives a brief description of the Shredder character. The figure itself is packaged in a collector friendly plastic tray. So it can be returned to the packaging anytime you want. I would still prefer a window box to show off the figure. But this design looks good and protects the figure well. So I can live without a window.
Sculpting - 5/10I wasn't really thrilled with the first version of the Shredder. He just did not look imposing or dangerous. I think a lot of that had to do with the shortened blades on his arms. That has certainly been address with the second version. This version is also a bit taller than the series one Shredder even with his legs molded in a slightly bow legged position. This version of Shredder also comes with his scarred face, though it is tough to tell if there is much sculpted detail under the paint work. They also changed the design for the chest armor which looks more stylized and helps the figure look more imposing as well. Unfortunately, for all the small tweaks that have improved this version of the Shredder, there are still several notable short comings. One minor one is that the leg armor on my figure's left leg is not joined together properly, leaving a noticeable gap down the middle. But I'm assuming that is just a minor quality control issue, likely caused by the metallic finish. This version of Shredder shares a trait with almost every figure with a removable helmet, the head is made too small so that the helmet is properly proportioned. It isn't horrible, but he definitely looks better with the helmet. The new Shredder is also limited a bit by the pose he is sculpted in. His legs are slightly bowed and his knees slightly bent. So he can't just stand up straight. And that position makes the gaps around the hip joints stick out more than they should. The biggest issue is that the right arm is sculpted both at a permanent right angle and sticking out from the body. So a simple, neutral pose is impossible. And your options for that arm are quite limited. Personally, I would much rather have a figure with a neutral sculpt and let the articulation be used for creating poses.
Paint - 9/10Elaborate paint applications can be quite expensive. So an exclusive figure is an opportunity for Playmates to go all out in a way that they cannot afford to with a regular figure. First off, the helmet, shoulder pads, wrist and leg armor all has a silver vac-metal finish. It looks nice and seems to help make the armor look more imposing and dangerous. The funny thing is though, the paint work on the rest of the figure is so well done, that the simple monochrome of the vac-metal parts seems a bit dull. Playmates really did a great job with the paint work on the rest of this figure. There are far more small details on his outfit that are painted such as the fasteners on his belt/sash or the small bits of armor over his knuckles. The scarred portion of his face is painted as well. But my favorite touch is the shadowing along the edges of the body armor on his chest and thighs. It is so well done and turned out so well, that I wish they had done that with all of the armor and saved the vac-metal finish just for the blades. There is still some room for improvement. A few details were overlooked such as the buckles and straps for the body armor along his sides and across his back. And while the paint for the face scar looks alright from a distance, up close it become clear that it is just a couple of shades of paint applied more or less randomly.
Articulation - 6/10The new version of Shredder has fourteen points of articulation: hinged knees, rotating and hinged hips and shoulders, and rotating waist, neck and wrists. That is a decent amount of articulation. And all of the joints on my figure are tight enough to hold a pose without a problem. But going back to the issue with the pre-posed sculpt, had they included the elbow joints that the first Shredder figure had, the issue could have been largely eliminated.
Accessories - 8/10The convention version of Shredder comes with a removable cape, a removable helmet and a stand. The cape is not particularly detailed. The tattered edges of the cape make it more interesting looking. The helmet fits snugly and lines up well so you can still see the figure's eyes. The stand is the same one that came with Night Shadow Leonardo last year, but this version lacks the bright green paint of the previous one. The accessories are fine. They fulfill the needs of the figure/character. But it still seems like the figure could use a show stopper, something that clearly would have been impractical for a $9 figure. Ideally, I'd love to see a version of the wrist armor with retractable blades as they appear in the cartoon.
Value - 6/10I believe that the Comic Con version of Shredder sold for $30 at the con. I bought mine for $30 from Playmates' website. And as convention exclusive figures go, $30 is a pretty reasonable price. On the other hand, the only things that set this version of Shredder apart from the version that will be available at retail this fall is the paint applications and the inclusion of a stand. And neither of those are that great that they justify charging three times the price that the basic version will be.
Happy Hunting:This version of Shredder was sold at the San Diego Comic Convention this year. (2013) It was also available for a short time from Playmates Toys' web store. But at this point, if you are looking for one it is going to have to be from the secondary market. Fortunately they don't seem to be rare. Big Bad Toy Store has them available for a decent price. The figure is also available through Amazon.com.