It's time for my final Half-Shell Heroes review. I covered all of the smaller Half-Shell Heroes Mega Bloks and Mega Construx sets
in my last review. So now it's time to get to the larger Mega Bloks and Mega Construx sets including the Turtle Chopper, Turtle Lair and
the addition for 2017, the Turtle Jet Blaster set. These large sets not only include some larger vehicles and the Turtles' home, they are
also include the only full fledged enemy figure in the form of Shredder. So these three sets have a lot of promise to them.
Packaging - Lair and Chopper 6/10, Turtle Blaster 7/10The packaging design for these three sets is the same as the smaller Half-Shell Heroes sets, but at this size, the design works much better. On almost any toy package there is a certain amount of space needed for the required safety and manufacturer's contact information which was all on the back of the boxes in the smaller sets. Here, the boxes are physically large enough that they were able to move those uninteresting items to the bottom panel. With that change, there is plenty of space on both front and back panels for large images of the sets, photos showing the features and even a window on the front so you can see the figures included. I still don't like the orange and yellow pattern used on the Mega Bloks version of the packaging. But it's use is scaled back quite a bit with the Mega Construx redesign which is a welcome change.
Sculpting/Design - Turtle Chopper 7/10, Lair 5/10, Jet Blaster 3/10These three sets are the largest sets released in the Half-Shell Heroes subline which also makes them Mega Bloks/Construx best opportunity to show what they can do with the line. Sadly, the best that they could do was/is not all that impressive. The Turtle Chopper is the best of the three. And it is a fine set. The chopper looks alright. It has the right shape and all the basic features of a helicopter. It also comes with a small platform to launch a barrel at the chopper. All of that is enough to make the set adequate. But what really sets it apart from any of the others is that it is the only set to include a full sized enemy figure, none other than Shredder himself. Much like the Turtle figures, Shredder is a bit lacking in detail for my tastes. But at least that means he matches with the rest of the line. The lair playset is pretty simple in design with only three interconnected platforms and very little in additional details. The one feature that does stand out is a standup arcade machine. The Lair does come with some nice enemies. It comes with a single mouser as well as a Kraang with a small, four-legged attack vehicle. The Mouser is a nice addition. But a single mouser is fairly underwhelming. The Kraang figure is nice and well sculpted. And the attack vehicle is nice little design. The adjustable legs give you plenty of options for play/display. The gattling gun style barrel on the front gives it a nice sense of menace. The only drawback is that the bubble on the top is not designed to actually attach securely to the vehicle. So it falls off easily and often. Finally we come to the Jet Blaster. Honestly I can't even tell what exactly this vehicle is suppose to be. It has the general shape of a plane and is called a "jet blaster", so my original assumption was that it was suppose to be a jet. But it has propellers on both wings instead of jet engines. And there is no cockpit... you know the place where the pilot is suppose to go. Instead it has a mechanism to launch one of the HSH Turtles when they are rolled up in a ball. That's nice. But you still need someplace for a pilot. The set does come with a Kraang flight pod to fight. But it is pretty underwhelming as well. It is the same pod as the walker from the Lair set, but instead of legs it has two tiny little wings, a canopy that still won't stay in place and no weapons.
Paint - Turtle Chopper 6/10, Turtle Lair 5/10, Jet Blaster 4/10The color choices for these sets are not as outlandish as I was expecting them to be. The chopper is the best looking of the three with the blue and greys used for the body working fairly well together. The green for the blades and tail fin is quite garish. But it's used sparingly enough that it doesn't bother me. The Turtle Lair is a bit more colorful. But the only colors that seem a bit out of place are the blues for the lowest level. Those color choices make it look more like that level is underwater. Finally there is the Jet Blaster which is comprised of two shades of green, red and grey bricks. The color choices aren't my favorite. But they could work if they didn't feel quite so randomly placed.
Accessories - Chopper 7/10, Lair 4/10, Jet Blaster 2/10These sets are generally pretty light on accessories. The Turtle Chopper set is the best of the three. It comes with a sword for Leo, two shell discs that can be launched from the front of the chopper and a mutagen canister/barrel and launcher for Shredder to use as a weapon. The Lair comes with two sais for Raph, a pizza disc and a transluscent shell piece and launcher to shoot out a balled up HSH Turtle. The inclusion of the launcher is odd as there is nothing designed into the set for you to shoot the figure at. The Jet Blaster has a pair of sais and a shell piece to use when curling Raph up into a ball. Given the size of these sets, these selections of accessories are quite underwhelming.
Features - Chopper 5/10, Others 2/10The Turtle Chopper has spinning blades, adjustable landing skis, a shell disc launcher on the front and a barrel launcher for Shredder. That's not all that creative or impressive. But it does everything I would expect from a helicopter toy at least. The lair playset has one of the launchers to fire a balled up Turtle figure, but doesn't really provide any target to shoot at or any feature that uses it beyond knocking over the Kraang walker. The playset does have a few features in it. There is a launcher to fling the pizza disc that is included. But it flings it end-over-end instead of firing it as a disc as one would expect. There is a slide hidden under the manhole cover in the top level of the playset that drops the figure out behind the arcade game which tips over to allow the figure to come out. Finally there is a screen of some sort which can be tilted though there doesn't seem to be any particular use for that screen. That's pretty sparse. And it doesn't get much better with the Jet Blaster set. There is a dome on the back which I assume is meant to be a holding cell for captured Kraangs, though at no point or place does it actually say that. There are clips on either side of the front where Raph can store his sais. Finally there is the primary feature. You can bend a HSH Turtle into a ball shape and place it in the front of the vehicle. There is a series of three paddles that when rotated will scoop up the figure and flip it forward. Technically the feature works. Though the paddles on mine fit very snuggly so they don't spin as freely as I would have expected. And as a result, it takes a considerable amount of effort to get the figure to go more than three or four inches before bouncing and potentially going off in a random direction. It does work. But it is extremely underwhelming. It certainly wasn't worth forgoing an actual cockpit for this feature.
Value - Turtle Chopper 7/10, Turtle Lair 5/10, Jet Blaster 3/10I have to give Mega Bloks/Mega Construx/Mattel credit, they did a admirable job of keeping the price of these sets down. The Turtle Chopper and Jet Blaster sets both sold for $20 apiece when they were first released. And the Turtle Lair was only ten dollars more at $30. The Turtle Chopper is the only one of the three sets which has a clear selling point to justify that price: Shredder. This is the only set where the Turtles' primary enemy is available. And the chopper itself is a decent vehicle on top of that. The Turtle Lair set is not all that impressive compared to the other Turtle Lairs that have been produced by Lego and Mega Bloks over the last few years. But for the $30 price, if you are a fan of the Half-Shell Heroes line, it makes a nice display piece or playset. Plus it does give you a couple of extra enemies including the most menacing looking enemy in the line in the form of the Kraang walker. Sadly, the Jet Blaster set doesn't really have anything significant to offer that isn't already available in other sets, generally for less money. The jet blaster vehicle is the weakest vehicle in the line. There's already multiple other ways to get a Raphael figure and the Kraang figure. So the one thing I might be interested in that is only available in this set is the Kraang flight pod. But compared to the Kraang walker, the flight pod is fairly underwhelming.
Happy Hunting:The Half-Shell Heroes Mega Bloks sets including the Turtle Chopper and Turtle Lair were first released in 2016. The Jet Blaster was released later in 2017. At this point, finding them at retail will likey prove difficult. Fortunately all three sets are still listed and available from Amazon as of the time of writing this review. But if you do want any or all of them, I would order them quickly while they are still readily available.