Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

The Samurai – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Playmates

I was walking down the toy aisle, and always stop in the see what is happening around the TMNT section. It is like the Little Engine That Could. Just when you think the latest gimmick is going to be the peg warmer, and kill the toy line, something new and exciting comes out. And when it is exciting and new, I am paying attention.

 

The exciting and new this time around was Usagi Yojimbo. I was so enamored with Usagi back in the 80s. He was like the Turtles, but different. And then they joined forces. A samurai rabbit hanging out with ninja turtles. Could there be a better team-up? I think not.

Well, the first one I saw was Usagi in his blue outfit. I grabbed him up, excited for this one figure. Looking at the back, I saw it was actually a line that included the 4 turtles in samurai armor as well. Exciting!  Usagi is well articulated, for this line. Thankfully as well at the turtles, who tend to get the best articulation. He comes with two swords that can be kept in sheaths on his hip. This first head design features a scowling Usagi with his ears sticking up in the back.

Not featured on the box is a second version of Usagi wearing full armor. He comes with a new head that features more of a smirk. His ears are down against his head so he can wear the helmet.

And what a fine helmet it is. The face piece is combined with the helmet (something that is separate with the turtles), and has amazing details.  Speaking of details, the outfit is so intricate and beautifully sculpted.

When you see the two side by side, it is clear that this is two completely different versions of the figure. No repainting this time around. It looks as though they only reused the feet, hands and swords. That is a great amount of new work for a line like this.

The 4 turtles use the same bodies with the fantastic sculpting on the armor. They have different colors on specific armor plates, belt, and knee pads that represent their color. This is a good reuse of a body, as they would have had similar armor for all samurai, and the color splashes really go a long way to change the look of each figure. And, since they do not have the same skin tone, that shows up a fair amount between the armor plates as well.

The big change comes with their helmets. Each Turtle comes with a unique helmet that has a change in side decoration, as well as the colored accent on top. They can wear no helmet, the helmet, or they can wear the faceplate as well. The four face plates are the same.

Each Turtle comes with a weapon that is somewhat similar to their original weapon(s), but changed a bit. They do not have any holders on their armor for this weapon. Too bad.

I really like this line of figures. There have been so many fun sub-themes of figures that have come out, and the line keeps pulling me back in. This is another set of figures that looks great on the display shelf together.

Click over to my Flickr account with the link in the sidebar to see more pictures ——->

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Dark Beaver – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The stuff of nightmares. Dark Beaver is one of the four “Dream Beavers” that haunt people’s dreams and use their fear to gain power. Somewhere between a Carebear and Freddy Kruger, these guys are bad news.

The symbol on Dark Beaver’s stomach looks amazing. A white flame around a skull. This looks very close to the cartoon version.

They did manage to take away some of the ultra creepiness of the characters. These guys were really out there on the strange scale. A nice dark wash could really help him to look a little more like the cartoon version. He would need a little extra work around the face too.

Their size is made to fit into the packaging that sets the size. Unfortunately, that is something that has hindered this line from the first wave. They don’t want to make figures outside of the bubble pack size, so we get a generic size limit. The Dream Beavers are either really big (in the dream world), or regular size (in reality). It would have been really fun to see them come in two 2-Packs like we saw with the baby Turtles a while back.

I have seen a picture of Dire Beaver (Purple), but I haven’t seen it in person, or anyone who has actually found one in the wild. I will hold onto my excitement for getting more of the Dream Beavers until I see them, but it seems like four similar figures would be a natural choice for Playmates.

Overall, Dark Beaver is a good figure. He fits in well with the rest of the line, and a big red beaver with a skull on his stomach stands out in any collection. Anti-Carebears to you nightmares!


Dimension X Space Battler Raphael – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Yeesh! I sure am glad I only grabbed one of these Dimension X figures. They are seriously weak! I decided to grab Raph. I am not sure what made me choose him over Leonardo, since he is usually my go-to trial figure.

These figures come with space gear, clearly for going into Dimension X. They are a standard figure with a new belt, and space gear (helmet, arm bands, hand things, and leg do-dads). They also come with futuristic weapons… or their same weapons with a tech flair to them.

The main problem lies in the execution of the Space Gear. Of course that is all there is to the gimmick of these figures, so that is pretty bad. The accessories are very bulky, and make the figure stand weird. The real problem is with the helmet. It just doesn’t fit. It seems like they used a body mold that is just too small to fit. In the pre-production photos, the heads are centered in the helmet, but in reality, the heads are way down low.

They used the Battle Shell version of the figures, which are a bit smaller than the original figures, and that could have played into the problems. If you look closely at the back shell, you can see the hinge. It doesn’t open, since the belt wraps all the way around.

Overall, not a good figure. The parts fall off easily, the figure stands weird, and he just looks off. It is best to save your money for some of the new figures coming up that look to be much better. There is also a big pack that comes with the Turtles in this gear, but it is chrome. It looks to have the same problem with a shiny package.


Napoleon Bonafrog – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Napoleon Bonafrog was a hard guy to get a hold of.   There are still season one figures warming the pegs, but it is rather impossible to get my hands on some of the newer guest characters.   I am not fond of the previous season of TMNT,  where the Turtles spent their time on the farm, and running around through the forest.   There were some highlights, like the Vision Quest episode that gave us the Mystic Turtles.  Mostly there was some really strange stuff, like the mutagen car that tried to eat Casey Jones.   A few of the characters did stand out, and those made it to the shelves…presumably.   I am still looking for the Dark Dream Beaver, but it looks like they are listed on the back of boxes, but coming out much more slowly.    We end up with a lot of mixed story lines in waves.  We got Dimension X (space suit) Turtles, while we are still waiting for figures from last season.  So, things seem to be weird there.

Napoleon Bonafrog is a character that really stood out in the last season, since he was pretty much an homage to Napoleon Dynamite, and had him pegged to a T.   The figure is a pretty good representation, but that does not mean he is perfect.    Look-wise, he is great.  He has the mannerisms, with the great face, the giant forearms, and the fantastic clothes that include his unicorn shirt that says “Happiness is Friends,” as well as his amazing fanny pack.  Not to forget about his mud hat, that looks like a poop hat.  He comes with one accessory, his “Razor-Sharp Spear.”

The articulation is a bit wonky.  He has strange shoulder and hip joints that allow for swivel and pivot movement, to allow for some range of motion, but it is pretty robotic.  There needed to be one more joint in the elbow and knee to really work well.  He also has neck swivel, which is pretty standard with the secondary characters in the TMNT Playmates line.

Overall, I am glad I was able to find him, and add him to the collection.  He is a bit of an odd figure, and that is a good thing.   I would like to have seen more articulation in the figure for posing and photography, but a lot of these figures have been slight misses here, so you shouldn’t be too surprised.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles MiniMates – Wave 2

I love the number of accessories these guys come with.   Pizza in every box.  Weapons galore.   Don’t forget about the pets, Ice Cream Kitty and Spike.  What a great set of Turtles and secondary characters.  All of the figures come with a stand and a key chain.  I had so much fun taking pictures of these guys that I had way more pictures than I wanted to post here.  Check out the special album on my Flickr account for looks at the head swaps and more.

Leo comes with his standard head, along with scared face and Pizza Mask. Take off the pizza mask, and he has an unmasked face underneath.  He also comes with his two Katana as well as a grappling hook. He also comes with a pizza box.

Splinter has his cane and katana blade.

Casey and Mikey come with so much fun stuff. Casey comes with all of his sports gear including two hockey gloves, two hockey sticks, a baseball bat, and his scary mask. He comes with a painted face alternate head with his bandana wrapped around his head. If you take off his mask, you get a clean face Casey. You also get a set of hands to allow Casey to walk around in his normal street clothes.

Mikey comes with his nunchucks, happy face, smiling face, full pizza, skateboard, and Ice Cream Kitty.

Donatello come with a bladed version of his bo staff, as well as a grimacing face, love face, two slices of pizza, a mutigen finder, and a mutigen storage tank.

The Krang comes with a Krang, and a Krang’s gun. When you remove the Krang’s suit jacket, it reveals the Krang painted on the torso underneath.

This Donnie is the same version as the full color version, but you can see through him. He comes with his staff, but is missing the rest of the accessories.

The Krang in the set is the same as the Krang that comes in the standard set, but really, you need more than one Krang. It is a must for more bad guys.

Raph comes with his grimace face (standard for Raph), as well as a startled face. He also comes with two sais, three throwing stars, two slices of pizza, and Spike (before he went and got giant and mean).

Anton Zeck is decked out in his pre-Beebop gear. Someday he will be an ugly pig, but not quite yet. He does not come with any accessories, but he sports his awesome see-through mohawk.

I really like how they are all slightly different shades of green with different colors for their shells.  Even their pads and wraps differ.

Lots of good guys, some bad guys, and a lot of pint sized fun.

If you are looking for more pictures of these great figures, visit my TMNT Flickr Album Here. Click on my Flickr folder on the right menu bar for even more pictures.


Custom Mystic Turtles – Complete

15 days and 4 turtles later, and I have a much more show-accurate set of Mystic Turtles from the episode Vision Quest.

Let’s take a look at each of the four, and I will tell you all about how I got them from their original close design up to where I feel happy with them.

Donatello was the first of the turtles to get paint applied to his body. I started with white, since that is what the turtles seemed to be wearing in the episode. It turned out to be WAY too bright, so I had to go over it with a wash to bring the color back a little. With the rest of the turtles, I went with more earthtones.

Donnie’s outfit stayed almost intact. It was a good design, and close to the show’s design. he had a star on his hood that needed to be removed, and a whitewash was applied to bring down the brightness of the purple.

Donnie’s original Axe was a good design. The only thing it was lacking was a handle that was long enough. I decided that it would be better to just go ahead and build a completely new blade and handle since the original was a bit soft anyway.

The handle is a wooden dowel rod that was colored with a marker to make it darker. The head of the axe was thick sheet styrene that was then formed into shape with a Dremel.

Michelangelo came with great detailing on his outfit. He is covered in tree bark armor. It was so well done that all I had to do was paint the different layers of bark and rope holding it on. Nothing but paint apps were applied to Mikey’s outfilt.

Mikey’s two kamas were bright orange. They were the only one of the four turtles to actually be hard plastic. But as I kept moving on the different turtle parts, it seemed the right thing to do to create new weapons for him. The handles of the Kama are wooden dowel rods with tape applied for the wraps. Thin sheet styrene was attached into grooves cut in the dowel and formed into shape.

Raph was the one I was really looking forward to working on the most. He had some great design aspects to his outfit. The more I looked at it, the more wrong it all was. He took a lot of work to get everything just right.

He came with only one Tegaki, and it was a dismal piece of rubber trash. It was bright red, floppy as a dead fish, and there was only one. A new set of two Tegaki were formed from sheet styrene and tube styrene.

His two fuel tank backpacks looked great. He needed two extra harness straps to attach the backpack to his belt in the front. Thin pieces of styrene were cut and added, along with ‘x’ stitches where the straps met his belt.  I also added a strap over the top of each fuel tank to make them look more correct.  Finally I added hoses to deliver fuel from the packs to the flame throwers mounted at his wrists.

Along with the terrible Tegaki, Rahp also came with a flame thrower (never appeared) and some weird extra neck piece that looked like a brain around his neck. Both were added to the pile of plastic extra stuff.

Leonardo needed the most work with weapons, but not as much with his outfit.

The only modification with Leo’s outfit was with the body length cape. In the episode it was torn mostly off really early on, so I wanted that look. I ended up cutting the cape on a wrinkle line in the rubber that matched the look of the hood in the rest of the episode.

He came with his two Katana blades. In the episode he mounted them to his hip. They did this for the toy, but the sheaths were GIANT!!! It was amazingly out of control. I used the really well made swords and made two smaller sheaths and mounted them to his hip using the available slot. The Katanas were painted with silver, grey, and gold to be more show accurate than just brown.

The next part that needed to be addressed was the bow and arrow. The one he came with was a single piece. Perfectly okay for a kid’s toy. No telling where a single arrow of that size would end up.
I took the dimensions of the bow and reformed it in a thick piece of styrene. I added a handle made of a piece of cut dowel and wrapped it. A piece of wire was added for the bow string.

A bow is no good without arrows, and arrows are no good without a quiver. I made a quiver using an old felt-tipped pen body. It was a thick piece of plastic, so I could use a dremel to rough it up and not have it a perfect cylinder.

The arrows were made from thin styrene rods with small cut pieces of flat styrene added for heads and fletching.

When all was said and done, only Leo kept his two Katana.  Every other weapon or accessory was either rebuilt or ditched.  This is the pile of extras that was left.

I think this project really gave me a push that I needed to try my hand at some scratch building, painting, and modifications. It was a lot of fun, and I proved to myself that I can do it, and that I should probably do it more.   These four turtles were going to be stand-out figures before, since they were so unique from the other turtles that came before.   Now they are really going to be stand-outs since they are modifies from head to toe, and everywhere inbetween.


Mystic Turtles – from Season 3, Episode 8 – Vision Quest

This was an amazingly fast turn around from show to toys. The show aired on TV probably one week before I saw these in the stores. I still haven’t seen them again in the week since, but I am sure they will be making a comeback.

I loved this episode. If for nothing else than the fact that the Turtles are finally getting their acts together and getting prepared to get off of the farm and back to New York.

I was very excited to see they were made these figures. They looked so cool in the show. Well, there are some short comings to each figure and it has pushed me to want/need to try my hand at customizing. It has been many moons since my model car days, but but I am ready for the challenge. I want them to look as good as the show.

Donatello:

Donnie might be the best prepared figure of the four.   He comes with his giant axe that he uses to bring down a mountain.  He also comes with a sledge hammer and a rope.  I assume the sledge hammer is supposed to represent the large hammers the foot soldiers used to try to bring rocks down on Donnie’s head.  Well, close but no cigar.  The hammers they used were much more crude and rudimentary.  He was never actually seen “climbing” the mountain, but I guess that is what the rope is supposed to represent.

IMG_3620I went back to the show to grab some reference photos the fastest way I knew how… camera phone.  The main details of Donatello are there.  There are just a few changes needed.  The colors are too bright on all of the purple.  He is missing a bunch of detail colors on his wraps as well, but at least they are all there.

Leonardo:

Ever since waking up at the farm, Leonardo seems to have a thing for the bow and arrow.  I was so happy to see that they actually went ahead and moved his swords to his hip as they were in the show.  They are gigantic though.  They seem way out of proportion.  His bow looks pretty good.  Maybe something can be done about both of them.

IMG_3627He has got all kinds of stuff wrong with his coloring.  What is up with the blue pads and belts?  Ah well, we will work on that.   And look at his sheaths on his left hip.  Those are pretty skinny and allow his arms to fall to his side.   I think I am definitely going to have to do something about that.  And it looks like the last part is the quiver on his back.  He can’t fight with only one arrow.

Michelangelo:

The head sculpt on Mikey is killing me.  He has such a chubby little face.  And smiling?  No, no, no!  This was not a time of smiling.  He has all of his wood bark armor, which is a great start.   He also has both of his kamas that he used so well in his spirit fight.  He was pretty hard core.

IMG_3615Overall his coloring is pretty good.  The orange is a bit bright in his head.  In the show it was much more of a peach color.  Something also has to be done with his pads.  And his Kamas need to be recolored as well.

Raphael:

Raphael might be the roughest of all.  He is going to take the most work to get into fighting shape.   Thankfully, once again all of the main details are there.  First off, he has a giant red thing around his neck.  I don’t know what the flat brain substance is, but it is NOT on his costume in the show.  That has to go.   He also has a flame thrower that doesn’t exist.   They gave him wraps around his arms that hold the tubes the flames came out of.  He never held anything like that in his hand.  Speaking of holding things in his hand, the Tegaki is terrible!  The main shape is sound, but it is made of rubber, and it is near impossible to get straight in his hand.  Besides that fact, he only came with one.  He needs two, so it will be easy enough to make two new ones as it would be to try to match the one that is already made.

IMG_3607There is also some work to be done with the fuel packs on his back.  They will need at least some paint, if not also some details.   Tubes will have to be made to go from the tanks to his wrist launchers.  One high point is that he came with a belt that has loops for his sais.  Now all he needs is a pair of sais that will fit in there.  I think that was a nice touch, since it seems Raph loves/needs his sais at all times.

Well, there you have it.  Four new Turtles.  They are a great starting point.  They look really good overall.  I would generally be happy with just putting them on my shelf, but I have that nagging feeling that they could be better.  So they are going to be my test subjects to see how well/if I can get them up to par.  Here goes nothing!


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