The first series of Ninja Turtle Minimates seems to have been a success for Diamond Select as they not only put out a second series earlier this year
and have a third due out next month, they also expanded their focus this summer and produced a set of Minimates based on the original Mirage Comics
designs. So if you've yet to descover how great the new incarnation of the Turtles really is, you can still enjoy some old school style TMNT
Minimates. And of course, since they are based on the original black and white comics, Diamond Select didn't miss out on the chance to produce
the set both in full color and a black and white version. (Although the B&W version is actually more of a greyscale version. But lets not let semantics
get in the way.)
Packaging - Regular 4 Pack 7/10, B&W 4 Pack 6/10Both "box sets" are packaged on fairly traditional blister cards with all four figures visible above an insert. The blister covers most of the card, but what is visible along the edge and at the top has a series of comic images for a background. The back of the card has photos of all four figures with their weapons and a description of the TMNT origin story. The packaging does a decent job of showing off the figures, though it does hide some of the accessories. But I don't really find it very exciting. It doesn't feel like it adds anything to the presentation of the figures. So I would much rather just have the loose figures. I also think that the lack of color was taken too far for the B&W set. The only color it has on the front is the Minimates and SDCC logos. The greyscale background works well for the regular set as the full color figures are allowed to stand out. With the B&W set the grey figures just blend into the background. I would like to see the B&W set given a color background so that the figures would stand out.
Sculpting - 8/10To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting much from these sets. I figured they would be mostely reused parts from the Nickelodeon Turtles. But that isn't the case. The Mirage Turtles have a new shell and plastron, new feet and separate wrist straps, elbow pads and knee pads. They do reuse the same mold for all four of the Mirage Turtles in the set, only switching the piece on the back of the shell to have the appropriate loops to hold their weapons. They do have a few minor issues. The pads, especially the knee pads tend to slide out of place. So it can take some fiddling to get them in the correct place so the figures look their best. The chest piece that provides the shell and plastron is connected by a fairly soft, thin piece of material across the shoulders which means some of the figures came out of the packaging with the shell flaring out at the bottom. Of course, because the material is so soft, it is fairly easy to correct as well. Oh, and yes, they do have tails which is cute.
Paint - 8/10The Mirage Turtles have a pretty good balance of traditional paint work and printed graphics. So they end up having a lot of detail with minimum quality control issues. See a group of these figures together does make it obvious why they changed the designs for the original cartoon to set each character apart.
Articulation - 7/10The Mirage TMNT Minimates have fourteen points of articulation each:
Accessories - 6/10Both versions of the Mirage Turtles Minimates have the same accessories. Each set comes with four stands, each painted to look like a manhole cover. Then each Turtle gets their signature weapon or weapons: two katanas for Leo, two sais for Raph, a bo staff for Donatello and two molded nunchucks for Michelangelo. Finally they included a pair of spinning nunchuks. Each has a molded disk with a single end of the nunchuk attached to the center. I was a bit confused why Michelangelo got the additional weapons when none of the other Turtles did. My best guess is that they had intended to give him nunchuks with a real chain as they did with series one. But when that was scrapped, they added the spinning versions as a consolation. But that is pure speculation on my part.
Value - 9/10The Mirage 4 packs were suppose to sell for $20 each. But they don't seem to have sold particularly well. So you can find either version fairly easily for less than that. Even at full price, getting four figures for that price is a pretty solid deal. But when you can pick them up for well under that, they are a terrific deal.
Happy Hunting:The regular Mirage 4 pack is available through most specialty retailers who carry Minimates. The B&W set was an exclusive at San Diego Comic Con this summer. But both are still available directly from Diamond Select's web site or from numerous sellers on both eBay and Amazon.