Nov 7, 2008

TDJ014 - Leonardo TMNT figure by NECA

Earlier this year NECA Toys released their new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures both in single packs and in a box set based off of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original designs from the comics. These figures struck a very excited chord with TMNT fans of all incarnations. We've seen cartoon figures and movie figures by the truckload, but it's taken us about 24 years to finally see these amazing incarnations of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael from the original Mirage Comics designs.

Though I was highly impressed with these figures when I saw them, I'm pulled pretty thin by the other toy lines that I collect, both casually and emphatically, so I figured it was a good idea to avoid these guys all together. Luckily, as I've stated before, when I receive gifts from friends, they're usually of the plastic variety. Leonardo was a gift from Crowley this past Cinco de Mustache and I'm really grateful, as this is an amazing figure and I would have missed out completely.

The packaging features original artwork by Eastman and Laird and shows the turtles in their first encounter with the ooze. There’s a shot on the back showing all four of the turtles and it shows that the bases that come with each figure go together to form a nice city street scene.

This review took a little extra time since it was impossible to put this figure down. The articulation on Leonardo is super impressive and you can tell by the amount of pictures on this review that I didn’t want to stop with his set. Even hours after I was done taking pictures I continued to play with him while we were at home watching TV.

Leonardo comes with two katana blades (as most people my age, thanks to the turtles, we learned that these weren’t always called "swords"), two extra hands, the city street section with a fire hydrant and a pre-mutated version of himself. The katana blades fit snugly into sheathes which are attached to Leonardo by his belt. The alternate set of hands that aren’t made to hold his weapons feature spikes in the palms which would help in climbing as well as wounding the nearest enemy. His feet are very large and make for a very solid stance no matter what position you put him in. I’m usually really upset when I get a figure that due to its own design and weight, being top heavy or whatever, tends to fall if not propped up or placed on some sort of figure stand. (I’m looking at you 2002 MoTU Teela.)

The attention to detail on this figure is astounding; it’s obvious that the folks at NECA are actually Turtle fans and not just releasing a figure line to cash in. The figure looks like it jumped (or jump-kicked) from the pages of the comic with the black detail lines actually looking like someone took a black pen to each one to draw this figure into existence. You can also see between his shell on either side to see his actual body. I did want to point out that while each Turtle in this new line has a different teeth-showing snarl, NECA didn’t stick to the same designs that the Playmates figures of the 80’s sported in respect to which character had which snarl. The Playmates figures went; Raphael has both sides and middle visible, Donatello has both sides visible with middle closed, Leonardo has only the left side visible and Michelangelo has only the right side visible. The NECA figures are (from what I can see on the package photo); Raphael has a little bit on the left side visible, Donatello has no teeth visible, Leonardo has both sides visible with middle closed and Michelangelo has the same as Raphael with just a bit on the left side visible. That’s a weird thing to notice, but that along with the difference in color of the old figures was always something that stood out to me.

I truly hope that other toy designers catch on to these guys and see that this is the way to make a figure. The only thing that upset me about this review was when I was scanning around my house to find old TMNT figures to include in his photo set, I could only find the 2004 TurtleBot, the metallic TMNT marble shooters and the glow in the dark turtle that used to come with the ooze containers. Okay, I know I said “only” then listed a few things, but I was really looking for one of the original four Turtles to include in these pictures. I failed. I also didn’t realize how sad one of these guys would be without all of his brothers around to keep him company/annoy him. He just won’t stop staring out that window in hopes of seeing them skate by. C’mon lil’ guy, let’s go look in the sewers for them

Do yourself a favor and find Leonardo and his brothers for sale here and here.

Liz: When we were little, my sister Anni decided to be Donatello for Halloween. Unfortunately it was the same year that my mom decided to be thrifty for Halloween. Rather than buy my sister a proper costume, my mom forced her to wear the Donatello pajamas she wore to bed every night. For Donatello's accessories, my mom cut holes in a purple sock and wrapped it around Anni's head. As a final touch Mom went into the back yard and found a long straight-ish stick. She wrapped masking tape around the middle and sent us to the bus stop.

The accessories stayed
in a ditch, near the bus stop. Anni went to school in her pajamas that day.

As for this toy... nice try. My mom could have done it for cheaper.

Plastic/Material – 5/5
Poseability – 5/5
Packaging – 5/5
Design – 5/5
Playability – 5/5
Price (value) – 5/5
Overall – 5/5


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