The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy lines have produced a lot of vehicles over the years. And most of them never make it into the television shows
or movies. So when a vehicle from the toy line manages to make it into the show it stands a pretty good chance of becoming a fan favorite. Thus far
we have seen both the Shell Raiser and Ninja Stealth Bike show up in the new Nickelodeon cartoon. But before either of those showed up, the
Turtles were cruising through the streets of New York in their modified go carts, the patrol buggies. And now those buggies are also available
on store shelves.
Packaging - 7/10Since they share a price point with the vehicle and figure sets from the first series such as the Ninja Stealth Bike with Raphael and the Dragon Chopper, I was expecting the Patrol Buggies to share the window box design with them as well. But without a figure to show off, it seems that Playmates didn't feel like it was worth the effort to include a window. Instead we have artwork showing the two respective Turtles for each set and their buggies. Personally I like the unique artwork more anyways. The back of each box shows the actual toys and the basic Turtle figures on them. There is also a couple of photos showing the interlocking feature. The packaging is attractive and does a decent job of enticing kids to buy the toys. And as a long term fan of TMNT toys, I certainly can't complain about the return of unique artwork for the toy packages. It still doesn't have as much character as the vintage line's artwork did, but it is a start.
Sculpting - 7/10I'll start with the obvious, both pairs of Patrol Buggies are made of the same with just a few add-on pieces and differences in color to set each apart. So you are basically buying the same pair of vehicles no matter which set you get. And if you buy both you are buying two of each. That said, the parts added to make the individual buggies distinct do their job fairly well. In particular, the buggies for Michelangelo and Donatello have cover plates on the back of each one's engine both to allow the exhaust to vent to different sides but it also helps to make them look unique. The biggest drawback that I see to the Patrol Buggy sets is that Leonardo and Raphael's front buggies are largely dwarfed by the larger buggies for Michelangelo and Donatello. The rear buggies have huge rear tires mounted along side of what appears to be a car engine. If these were real vehicles, I would be afraid to get in to any vehicle with that high of a power to weight ratio. By contrast, the front buggies in each set, Leonardo's and Raphael's, barely have any engine at all. And their rear wheels are even smaller than their front wheels in order to leave room for the vehicles to interlock. This disparity is to be expected. It was even seen in the cartoon to some extent. But the toys exaggerate the difference in size to a much greater degree.
Paint - 4/10The paint work for the Patrol Buggies is extraordinarily limited. From what I can see, the top of the engines for the rear buggies and the start of the exhaust pipes for those two buggies are painted. And that appears to be the only paint applications. There are a few stickers provided as well. But for the most part, the color for these sets comes from the variety of colors of plastic used for the various parts. And in truth, there is enough color and variation to make these at least passable. The only reason why I am giving them such a lower score is that the lack of effort in painting these vehicles does a considerable disservice to designs and sculpts that really deserve better.
Play Value - 3/10The Patrol Buggies have two action features. The first is the ability to connect the buggies together. The second is a spring loaded projectile for the front buggies. The projectiles are a nice, if somewhat uncreative choice of action features. While the launching mechanism is reasonably strong, the range is hobbled by the fact that the projectile is practically on the ground already before it is even fired. I do however like that the firing mechanism is triggered by an actual lever that the figures can "grab." The ability to connect the vehicles together is the real highlight of the Patrol Buggies. Each of the front buggies has a projectile stem sticking out of the back, under the seat which can be plugged into a launcher located in the front of Donatello and Michelangelo's buggies. Pressing a button on the front of either of the rear buggies launches the front one into action. The two rear buggies then lock together by connecting their rear wheels and at a second point on their running boards. Ideally I would have liked to see a mechanism that caused the rear vehicles to separate automatically as well as a means of connecting the front vehicles on their own. But what is here is enough to allow the vehicles to do most of what is seen in the cartoon without being too intrusive.
Value - 6/10The Patrol Buggies sell for $20 for each set of two. That is in line with the cost of the other vehicles in the line so far. And I think that any one of them is a better vehicle than say the Sewer Spinnin' Skateboard. The only thing that annoys me a bit about them is the knowledge that I'm basically buying the same two vehicles twice. If Playmates had found a way to make them even more unique or if they had features where buying all four unlocked more features, I would have felt better about it.
Happy Hunting:The Patrol Buggies have been hitting shelves for a few months now. So finding them should not be a challenge. Toys R Us, Wal Mart and Target all carry the line. They are also available from each of their web sites as well.