I fell horribly behind with my reviews during 2016. Once the flood of new products for the TMNT: Out of the Shadows movie started hitting stores,
I just didn't have time to keep up with all of the releases. But the movie products made up a large portion of what was released in 2016. So I don't
want to skip over them entirely. So first up, I'm going to take a look at the basic figures that were released for the movie in all their incarnations.
Hey, better late than never, right?
Packaging - carded figures & 6 Pack 6/10, Ninja Duel 2 packs 7/10The Out of the Shadows figures were released in several different styles of packaging. The complete run of sixteen figures were released in traditional carded packaging of course. But they also released four Ninja Duel sets each of which included two of the basic figures with slightly different paint applications and a boxed six pack of figures as well. The design for the carded figures isn't much different from the regular carded figures. They use different graphics and backgrounds of course. But the overall layout is much the same. That's for the best since the movie figures were eventually merged into the regular figure assortment as the sales of movie merchandise died down. Unfortunately, the movie cards are more generic than the regular figures. There's not an individual profile for each character on the back. And even the synopsis of the movie is so lacking in details that it could just as easily be describing the Secret of the Ooze movie instead of Out of the Shadows. I understand the reasoning for that. They don't want to risk spoiling any of the movie before people had a chance to see it in theaters. But most of these figures were of characters that were in the first movie. So they should have been able to write up a profile for them without revealing details of the new movie. And even for the four new characters, they are still characters that have existed in previous TMNT incarnations for several decades. They could have written profiles for them that didn't spoil anything more than the fact that they were in the movie. And they already spoiled that by releasing the figures ahead of the movie. The Mutant Melee six pack has six of the same figures (the four Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady) but packaged in a wise window box instead of the usual blister cards. The graphical design is largely unchanged. But with such a large box, there's a lot more space that could have been put to better use. The Ninja Duel two packs also come in window boxes similar to the Mutant Melee set. But they actually have the two figures facing each other as if they were facing off in combat. It's a small change, but it makes them much more interesting if you are going to be keeping the figures in the packaging.
Sculpting - Kraang & April 2/10, Casey (unmasked) & Shredder 3/10, Stealth Leo & Raphael 5/10, Donatello, Michelangelo, Pirate Mike & Bebop 6/10, Rocksteady 7/10, others 4/10The sculpting for the Out of the Shadows figures is pretty inconsistent. This series has some of the worst looking figures I have seen in years. Unfortunately it lacks any truely excellent figures to balance them out. The best figures in the line are the two new mutants, Bebop and Rocksteady. Both translate the designs from the movie quite well. There's the usual scale issues that we always see with Playmates' figures where they make all the figures the same height even if the characters vary in size greatly. And with this series in particular, Playmates has taken a noticable step backwards when it comes to incorporating and hiding the articulation. But even with these issues, these two are decent to strong offerings. following closely behind the mutant pair are Donatellos and the two Michelangelo figures. Both Turtles match the designs from the movie reasonably well. They could both use more fine detail for the faces though. Pirate Mike has more detail for his exposed eye which is a vast improvement. But his coat is lacking in detail instead. The other two Turtles get the outfit details right. But they don't match the stature as well as having the same issues with the lack of sharp detail for the faces. Both end up looking more like one of the Turtles from a different incarnation of the TMNT cosplaying as the Out of the Shadows Turtles. Stealth Leonardo is a bit better as the bulk of his outfit hides his shape enough that it isn't as obvious that his shell is far too small. Raph in wingsuit is much the same as the regular Raphael. But I dislike that they took his already undersized shell and stuck a parachute on it which just makes the shell look even smaller. Splinter seems to be a straight reuse of the 2014 movie Splinter. I wish they had replaced the head. But it is still a serviceable sculpt and Splinter didn't really change much between the two movies. Casey Jones was available in both a masked and unmasked version, both of which share the same body. Of the two, I much prefer the sculpting for the masked head. The mask is terrific. But they completely skipped sculpting anything for the hair. The unmasked head has some texture for the hair. But the face looks more like a cartoon than the actor. The Foot Ninja and Shredder both match the concept of the character designs. But the costumes in the actual movie ended up being much more streamlined with much of the body armor elements built into the costumes instead of being worn ontop of the outfit. But its the head sculpts that hurt both figures. My Foot Ninja looks like his right temple was caved in with a baseball bat. And Shredder's head looks like it was placed in a press and was partially flattened. Then there is April's figure which is so generic looking that there's really nothing to indicate that it even is April O'Neil. The only part of the figure that got any attention or sculpted detail is the shirt tied around her waist. Finally we come to Kraang. He's just entirely wrong. At one point they may have intended for Kraang to look like this in the movie. But by the time the film was actually released, the design was radically different. The figure looks like they borrowed heavily from the 90's cartoon version of Krang. The actual movie made Kraang's body much more robotic with little to no exposed flesh. The figure isn't a bad design. it just isn't what we saw in the final movie. It's not even close. And compared to the movie design, it's rather boring.
Paint - Bebop & Rocksteady 6/10, April & Kraang 3/10, Ninja Duel Leonardo 4/10, others 5/10The paint work on these figures is actually pretty good. The Out of the Shadows designs have a lot more costume details than most versions of the Turtles and that means a lot more details in need of paint. And with paint applications being something that Playmates has been cutting back on for a while, these figures had the potential to be train wrecks when it came to the paint work. But they aren't. Sure there is a lot more that could have been done, for the most part Playmates did enough on each figure to make them look decent. Bebop and Rocksteady are my favorites of the series. They have more small details than most of the other figures. But there's also a fair amount missing too. Mainly, they need some shading for thier skin. It's also worth pointing out that there was a running change with Bebop. The original releases had Bebop's hair and glasses painted in pink. The later releases change that to purple which is more correct and contrasts with the figure's pale skin much better. Finally there is April and Kraang, both of whom have very limited paint work. And then, just in case the limited amount of paint wasn't bad enough, they also got sloppy with the paint for their eyes.
The Ninja Duel two packs each includes a villain figure that is identical to the regular versions and one of the Turtles with a slightly different paint scheme. Michelangelo gets new colored pants and a white sweatshirt around his waist. Raph has darker pants and belt and lighter colored straps on his chest. Donatello gets darker pants and purple shoulder straps. And Leonardo gets some tan pants and blue belts and knee pads. I like the change for Michelangelo. Both Raphael and Donatello seem like lateral moves, different but no better or worse in my opinion. Leonardo's the only one whose alternative colors look worse than the normal figures.
Articulation - April 2/10, Splinter & Kraang 3/10, Casey & Wingsuit Raph 5/10, others 7/10The articulation for most of these figures is decent. The total amount of articulation is on par with previous figures. The Turtles for example have nineteen points of articulation. That's enough to give them a decent range of motion and the articulation is all reasonably tight. So holding poses is not an issue. Casey Jones and Wingsuit Raph have minor issues with the range of motion being limited for some of their joints. For Casey, the issue comes for his jacket hanging down over his hip joints. For Wingsuit Raph, the wing material and the built in action feature limit his movement. The limitations are even more servere with Splinter due to his robe covering his legs. And Kraang is just lacking much of the articulation that most of the other figures have such as double jointed shoulders and wrist joints. The worst figure in terms of articulation is April who has just ten points of articulation: double jointed hips and shoulders, waist and neck joints. And then to make it worse, the range of motion for the hips and neck are very restricted. The original April O'Neil figure from 1988 ends up being more poseable.
Accessories - Kraang 0/10, Ninja Duel Sets, Pirate Mike, Casey Jones (masked) & April 4/10, Michelangelo 6/10, Others 5/10Most of the single pack figures come with a couple of sets of weapons while the Ninja Duel sets only include a single weapon or pair of weapons for each figure included. There are a few exceptions. Kraang has a removable rubber Kraang that can be removed from the figure's chest. That's a decent idea. But it doesn't fit into the chest well and looks very little like Kraang actually did in the movie. And for a character that literally had interchangable body parts in the movie, not including any for the figure is disappointing. Michelangelo comes with his rocket powered skateboard and a pair of nunchuks. The sculpting for the skateboard is pretty sad and it has no paint work (none of the accessories do). But it's nice that it didn't get omitted this time around since Michelangelo uses it so much through both movies. Donatello comes with his bo staff and his quad-copter drone. The inclusion of the drone is a nice touch. Unfortunately it is a rubbery brick that could just as easily be an end table as a drone. Pirate Mikey has a telescope and a hook to go over one of his hands. The hook is a nice idea. But it doesn't fit well. It's big and clunky if you are trying to put it over the figure's hand. And If you force it all the way over the fist, I suspect there's a good chance that the fist will come off and get stuck in the hook hand accessory. Casey Jones also has some questionable accessory design. Instead of regular roller blades, he is evidently using pieces broken off of the base of an office chair taped to his feet. It's a cute detail and very reminescient of vintage Ninja Turtles. But it makes no sense in the context of this movie. On the positive side, if you get the unmasked version, the mask looks great and fits well. Finally we come to April who comes with the ooze canister that she steals in the movie. It's a very sensible choice for an accessory. But it's also really small. And I really wish that it had been molded in translucent purple plastic and then had the sides painted black. As it stands now, the canister is just a bit too underwhelming on its own.
Value - Bebop & Rocksteady 8/10, others 5/10The Out of the Shadows movie figures sold for the same price as a normal, basic assortment TMNT figure, so $9 to $10 depending upon the store. The Ninja Duel two packs sold for $20 and the Mutant Melee six pack sold for just under $60. It's kind of disappointing that you didn't really save any money by buying the multi-packs, especially since they didn't come with all of the accessories. For the $9 price point, Rocksteady and Bebop are pretty solid figures. The other figures aren't bad figures. But whether due to time constraints, budget limitations or some other issue, all of the other figures in this series fail to reflect what Playmates Toys is capable of when they put the effort into it.
Happy Hunting:The merchandise for the Out of the Shadows movie hit stores early in the summer of 2016. As of the time of this review, it is currently mid way through the summer of 2017. So most of the OOTS merchandise has sold through and is no longer available at retail. Playmates did incorporate the movie figures into the regular, basic assortment of figures. So many of the figures are still available in limited quantities, particularly in stores that don't turn over their stock very quickly.