The Ninja Turtles return to the world of classic movie monsters in Playmates’ latest Tales of the TMNT collection.
One of the coolest sub sets of TMNT toys back in the 90s was the Monster Turtles collection, featuring mash-ups of our Heroes on the Half Shell with classic Universal Monsters. The current Nickelodeon series paid tribute to this odd but awesome series, with the Monsters + Mutants story arc, and Playmates has returned to this concept in toy form as well.
The new lineup features Frankendon, Werewolf Mikey, Vampire Raph, and Mutant Mummy Leonardo, each featuring an all new sculpt that combines monstrous traits of the creatures with the respective brother. Frankendon is my favorite by far, with his creepy stitches, bolts, and electric augmentations. The sculpt is incredibly detailed, and his expression is packed with personality. As an added bonus, Don’s bo, which is not a lightning rod, can plug into his back instead of being used as a weapon.
Mutant Mummy Leo is also really cool. Instead of just being wrapped in bandages, he also features claw-like nails and a snake and scarab beetle which lend some visual dynamics to the sculpt. Mikey is a really fun concept… instead of being based on the classic Wolfman, he draws from Teen Wolf, with a torn varsity jacket (Wolfpack!) a fang-filled face, and lots of shaggy fur which looks interesting opposite his green reptilian skin.
Both Leo and Mike feature a new point of articulation we’ve never seen in the basic TMNT toy line, hinged toes. Each only sports this moving piece on one foot, which opens up the figures for mid-stride poses, without relying on the overused ball-of-foot sculpt we’ve seen on Playmates figures since the late 80s.
Vampire Raph rounds out the set, and there’s a lot of fun with this guy. His headsculpt sports a sinister grin complete with two fangs, and his tuxedo is accentuated with a cloth cape which connects to his collar as well as elastic bands at his elbows to help pose the cape. Raph gets one wooden sai… and one similarly sized stake, which is a great way to translate his signature weapons to vampire lore. He also includes a bat with a Turtle head, which is one of the most bizarre toys I’ve seen since the TMNT line in its heyday.
The new Monster Turtles shake things up compared to the originals, which featured Leo and the Wolfman, Mikey and Frankenstein, Raph as the Mummy, and Don as a Vampire. The new set of figures is unique enough to feel like its own thing, while being steeped in nostalgia for anyone who loved the original Monster Turtles. And they’re wicked fun toys, too!
The Monsters + Mutants collection is available now… just in time for Halloween!