With 2018 rapidly approaching and marking three decades of Ninja Turtle licensed toys, we have seen a lot of different items over all of those years.
So it can be kind of surprising when they manage to find a new way to sell the TMNT license. And when I recently found out that the Ninja Turtles
would be making their debut in the Be@rbricks line which itself has been running for fifteen years, my first thought was "how has this not happened
already?" And my second thought was "when can I get them?" Fortunately I did not have long to wait as they were being released already at the end
of November. And I wasted no time in getting a set of my own.
For those that may not be familiar with the Be@rbricks line, it began in 2001 as a spin off of a line of collectible Lego like figures called Kubricks made by a Japanese company. The concept of the line was to develope a single, simple body mold which would be redecorated in a wide variety of ways including colors, patterns, artists' designs and licensed characters. Over the years the company has produced over thirty series of figures with hundreds of different designs. And as of October, the classic cartoon Turtles have joined the list of licenses with Leonardo and Raphael Be@rbricks. The Turtles are available in three sizes and as three different sets. There are two sets which each include a normal sized Be@rbrick of either Leonardo or Raphael and a larger 400% version of the same. And then there is the huge 1000% version of Leonardo which is sold on its own.
Packaging - 6/10Each of the TMNT Be@rbrick figures or sets is packaged in traditional boxes with no windows or any means to see the actual toys. The graphic design of the boxes leans heavily towards branding these as Ninja Turtle products rather than part of a larger Be@rbricks line. That works well for me as these are the only Be@rbricks I have and am likely to buy. But the design is also fairly generic and doesn't make the toys look very interesting.
Sculpting - 100% & 400% 4/10, 1000% 2/10The entire conceit of Be@rbricks is that all of the figures use the same generic teddybear sculpt. That is going to have to be something you are either okay with or you aren't going to like any Be@rbrick figure. Personally I'm fine with the basic mold for the regular size figure and even for the 400% versions. But of course, as you make the figures larger and larger, any issues are made larger as well. So by the time you get to 10X the normal size for the 1000% Leonardo, it is hard to overlook even the smallest of imperfections.
Paint - 5/10Each of the Ninja Turtles Be@rbricks has the graphics printed on the body instead of traditional paint applications. That means that the quality control is spot on. But it also means that the designs are fairly limited and simple. It actually works reasonably well for replicating the modern interpretation of the the classic cartoon designs. But I still prefer the actual designs from the 80's cartoon over the modern reinterpretation.
Articulation - 100% 6/10, 400% & 1000% 5/10The 100% Be@rbrick body has eight points of articulation. That includes ball joints for the hips and shoulders and rotating joints at the neck, waist and wrists. The 400% and 1000% versions of the body drop the ball joints in favor of all rotating joints with the hips and shoulders now having a ratcheting mechanism. The ratcheting joints probably aren't necessary for the 400% body. But with the size of the 1000% body, they are probably a good idea. However, this is a body that was designed more than a decade ago and it shows its age with the lack of knees or elbows.
Accessories - 0/10As far as I know, Be@rbricks never come with accessories and the Ninja Turtle Be@rbricks are no exception. That's a bit of a shame. The hands are shaped in such a way that they could hold weapons. So while this is no loss to Be@rbrick collectors, it will likely be disappointing to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans.
Value - 1000% 2/10, others 4/10The normal retail price for a Be@rbrick is 450 Yen or just under $4. If you could buy the regular sized Leonardo and Raphael for that price, I'd be all over it and I suspect that many more Ninja Turtle fans would as well. But they are only available in a set with both the 100% and 400% version of Leonardo or Raphael packaged together. And the sets carry a price tag of 12,000 yen or just over $100. And if that isn't pricy enough for you, the price tag for the 1000% Leonardo is 42,000 yen or roughly $375. And then shipping was another $100+ due to the size of the packaging. And all of that is assuming that you can find them for the retail price. But given that these are import figures, you are likely going to have to either pay extra to get them from an importer or pay extra for international shipping. At these prices, the potential audience for these is going to be extremely small.
Happy Hunting:The Ninja Turtle Be@rbricks are a Japanese release. So if you do want them, you are going to need to find an importer that carries them or buy them directly from a seller in Japan. I ordered my three from a seller via eBay. But with a little patience, they may begin to turn up in most locations given a little time.