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Playmates Brings Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows

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The Ninja Turtles are back on the big screen, and Playmates’ new toy line features all the movie mutant mayhem you could ask for.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows is in theaters now, and Playmates’ toy line is in full effect at retail.  Along with role play items, vehicles, and deluxe talking figures, the new series also includes a brand new assortment of 5″ action figures featuring the Heroes on the Half Shell, as well as their allies and enemies.

Each figure in the Out of the Shadows collection features an entirely unique, all new sculpt, and they’re nicely done.  Filled with much more sculpted detail than the animated Turtles toys, these figures are screen accurate, dynamic, and loaded with personality.  I’m still not sold on the weird, ugly aesthetic of the current Turtles movies, but Playmates figures certainly nails each design.

There’s a few things worth noting about the Out of the Shadows figures, which make them feel like a true step forward for Playmates.  First is the articulation, which varies slightly from figure to figure, but is overall executed perfectly.  The Turtles all include ball jointed necks, ball style shoulders and hips, half-ball elbows and knees, and swivel wrists, which provides a small but incredibly valuable addition to their range of motion. The end result of this design allows each figure to strike a few really great action poses, as well as stand in a neutral position, and they move very well overall.

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Scale is another thing Playmates has greatly improved with these figures.  The slightly revamped designs of the Turtles in the new movie saw them each get an even more distinct body type– Raph is hulkingly big and stocky, Don is thinner and lankier than ever, Leo looks more like a traditional, barrel-chested super hero, and Mikey is, well, Mikey.  Playmates paid close attention to each character with these new sculpts, and also in how they relate to one another, in terms of size.  The Raph figure is considerably larger than his brothers, standing almost a full head taller than Mikey, who is noticeably shorter than all three brothers.  It adds a sense of realism and film accuracy to the toys, for sure, but these body types and sizes also enhance the personality of each character.

I couldn’t resist the siren’s call my old friends Bebop, Rocksteady, and Kraang (nee- Krang), so I picked up these three bad guys as well.  In the past, we’ve seen some TMNT villains and side characters get short changed in the articulation department, but all three of the new bad guys hold their own pretty well.  Bebop and Rocksteady in particular match the Turtles in the number of moving pieces, and both feature a great range of motion in spite of their bulky, blubbery builds.  Kraang– or more appropriately his android body– is a little more limited in the arms, with simple cut joints at the shoulders and no wrist articulation, but he makes up for it with his size, standing about an inch taller than even Raph, which makes him a pretty imposing foe for our heroes to face.

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The bad guys don’t share scale as well as the Turtles themselves, but overall they still work well enough.  Kraang is huge, and the two dim-witted mutant thugs both feel bigger than the Turtles if only for their heft and bulk.  Each figure includes at least one accessory… Bebop and Rocksteady each get two street brawler-appropriate weapons, while the Turtles all carry their signature ninja weapons (most of which can be stored on their belts or backs).  Kraang, a soft, rubbery pink brain monster with tentacles, technically gets the biggest accessory, if you consider his android body an accessory, like I do.

Paint is the one area where these figures still really fall short.  Each figure gets the bare bones, basic paint job, but the detailing is weirdly absent or selective, from figure to figure.  The wonderful sculpted details of the Turtles’ piecemeal costumes gets lost in their simple paint decos.  Some added paint accents would go a long way in making these figures as eye catching as their sculpts deserve, and would only enhance the screen accurate appearance of each character.  Bebop, in particular, is full of odd choices.  The tampo work on his tattoos is great… but despite this attention to detail, the spikes on the figure’s vest and gauntlets are ignored entirely, and even his eyes are unpainted.  I’m tempted to give each figure a few more paint applications, as I feel they could really shine with this added attention to detail.

Overall, I have to say the Out of the Shadows action figures are a lot of fun, and while they’re not perfect, they definitely feel like a step forward for Playmates’ design team.  With the movie in theaters now, the latest Ninja Turtles toy line is out in full force, and thanks to Playmates’ excellent case packout practices, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding any figures you’re looking for from this collection.

Thanks to Playmates for giving us the opportunity to review these new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows action figures!

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