I've been working my way through the new Lego sets for 2014 for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon. And I've finally
made my way all the way to the largest of the eight sets, the Turtle Sub Undersea Chase set. This set includes the Turtle sub,
a small diver's tow, a small submersible vehicle for the Kraang and five mini-figures including Leatherhead, Donatello, Leonardo
and two Kraangs. Much like the Shellraiser set last year, the Turtle Sub set gives fans a chance to get a fairly complex version
of the subarine from the show unlike the Playmates Toys version which only fit a single figure. Sadly there is no Lego plesiosaur
to go with it.
Packaging - 9/10No big changes here. No little changes either. The front has a large photo of the completed set in action. The back has four images of the features and a short comic. There is also photos of all of the mini-figures included on both the front and top panel of the box. And with the large box, those images of the mini-figures are actually large enough that you can geet a fairly clear view of all of them.
Sculpting/Design - 8/10The Turtle Sub set comes with two vehicles but it is pretty obvious that the focal point of the set is the sub. The Kraang sub is a small, single man open vessel. It does have a small area for cargo on the back. But in general it is pretty simple and not very impressive. The Turtle Sub on the other hand, goes a long way to make up for that. Unlike the Playmates Toys version, the Lego sub is scaled to fit the entire Turtle team with one in the head/cockpit and three additional seats in the main body. They even made some effort to recreate the exercise bikes that were used to power the sub in the cartoon, or at least one of them. The back has an opening hatch from which the included dive tow can be launched. Accessing the interior is made fairly simple thanks to the removable top on the main body and flip up lid on the "head." (The head is a bit small for my adult hands to reach in and position or retrieve a figure, but that shouldn't be an issue for kids.) I was a bit disappointed to find that they did not design sub to have openings to allow figures to enter through the hatch on the roof or travel from the main body to the head. And from a purely asethtic point of view, the Lego version of the sub has the thrusters in the wrong place. And while the basic design of the sub is othewise replicated well by the Lego version, it doesn't capture the makeshift appearance that the sub had in the show very well since everything is made of Lego brick instead of a variety of materials.
The Sub set comes with five new mini-figures. Of course there are a couple of Turtles. The set includes both Donatello and Leonardo, both with diving gear and masks added to the paint applications. There are two Kraang androids. These Kraang are different from the previous versions. Aside from the obvious change in the color of plastic, the decals on the front are new as well. It's not a large change. In fact it is pretty easy to miss entirely. But at least it is something. Finally there is Leatherhead who is the real highlight of the set. I'm assuming that he is a new body and arms since I don't know how much call Lego would have had for a humanoid alligator before this. It is a nice likeness of Leatherhead, but he is only slightly larger than a normal mini-figure. I guess we will never get a proper, monsterously large Leatherhead.
Paint/Color choice - 5/10I'm a bit disappointed with the colors used in this set. Which is a bit surprising as I have generally been pretty happy with the final appearance of the other TMNT Lego sets. But this one is just not quite what I was expecting. The Kraang sub is dark grey instead of the light grey color of the stickers and control pieces. That's odd but I could live with it. Butthen te Turtle Sub is a combination of light grey and drab/olive green. It the show, it is portrayed as being much darker in color. Granted, we only see it underwater, so the colors were likely a bit distorted. But the darker green and silver used on Playmates' version of the Turtle Sub is much closer to what I was expecting and hoping for. The interior is a bit of a mess too. There are just too many pieces in random colors for no reason, at least for my tastes.
Features - 5/10For the size of the Turtle Sub Undersea Chase set, there are not that many features to the vehicles. The Kraang sub really doesn't have any features. There are two projectiles on the underside, but they are even more difficult to fire than those of previous sets. The Turtle Sub has a few features. The top of the head flips open to access the cockpit. The top f the main body comes off as well. Inside the main body is seating for three mini-figures and storage for the diver's tow. The back panel of the body will flip down to release the diver's tow. The entire sub is mounted on wheels to allow it to roll freely. There is also a mechanism which causes the front fins to flap as the sub rolls. Mounted on the top of the sub is a large, spring loaded projectile, the same one that is included in the Shellraiser set. They did an admirable job of disguising it in the top access hatch and using the periscope as the trigger is a creative touch. But would much rather have a working hatch than the projectile launcher. I'm also disappointed that there isn't an open passageway from the body to the head and that the jaws don't work.
Accessories - 3/10The accessories for this set are fairly limited. The Turtles and Kraang mini-figures all have their own weapons. Leatherhead doesn't have any weapons since he didn't have any in the cartoon. The Turtle Sub has a small diver's tow. Finally there is a small bell jar with what seems to be a small of mutagen or similar substance to give everyone a reason to chase each other. I suppose that if the Turtle mini-figures used the usual cylindrical heads, we might have gotten some actual diving gear. But I can see where it is unreasonable to create such pieces to be compatible with the Turtle heads just for this set. But it still leaves this set feeling a bit lacking.
Value - 6/10The Turtle Sub Undersea Chase set sells for $60. As someone who is mostly just interested in the Turtle Sub and Leatherhead mini-figures, that is a pretty steep price. But if you look at the entire set with the Kraang sub and extra mini-figures, $60 is pretty much in line with the cost of other Lego sets. (Or at least the other TMNT Lego sets. I haven't bought any others in years.)
Happy Hunting:The Turtle Sub set is the biggest set in this year's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego offerings, or at least the cartoon based sets. Since it has been in release for several months already, finding it shouldn't be difficult. I have seen the set at Target, Walmart and Toys R Us stores locally. It is also available on most of their web sites as well, so if your local stores don't have as large of a selection of Lego sets, you should still have plenty of options.