Playmates celebrated the 35th Anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at New York Toy Fair.
Playmates Toys’ fan press event at Toy Fair of course focused on lots of future products from the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, but also looked back at the 35 year history of the TMNT franchise… with co-creator Kevin Eastman on hand to share anecdotes, discuss his inspiration, and remind everyone he’s a genuinely cool dude.
More on Kevin in a minute– first, let’s break down the 2019 TMNT toy offerings. The basic action figure line for the current Nickelodeon animated series will roll in to its second year with several new variants of the Turtles along with a surprising rogue’s gallery, including bad guys like Bullhop, Mezmer-Ron, Repo Mantis, and Big Mama. We will also see an extension of the vehicles line, and a second wave of 10″ deluxe figures, now with storage shells to pack their weapons.
One of the stranger new products was Nano Clix, a collection of 1.5″ Turtle minifigures which can connect and interlock (think Barrel of Monkeys on steroids). The resulting combinations can form various builds… including larger Ninja Turtles comprised largely of other, smaller Ninja Turtles. It’s weird, yet somehow fitting for this often odd franchise.
Half that oddness was courtesy of co-creator Kevin Eastman, who posed for photos and answered questions while explaining what TMNT means to him. Fun fact– although he finds something to like from every iteration of this often-mutating property, Kevin’s personal favorite Ninja Turtles were the live action 1990 movie brothers.
Playmates also showed off some of their other toy properties at the event, including Ben 10, Disney’s Aladdin, and more. Sadly, their excellent Voltron toy line is officially over, two Paladins short of a complete human team. Ben 10, however, is going strong. While sales were slow at first while the animated series was first-run on Cartoon Network, attention for the toys spiked as the show’s first season made its Netflix debut.
Overall, Playmates’ Toy Fair event was great, a perfect mix of new product reveals, a bit of behind the scenes discussion of the toymaking industry, and even the chance to meet one of my idols. It doesn’t get much better than that!