Toy Fair 2014: Playmates TMNT Showcase

By bill - February 18, 2014

playmates-TMNT-featPlaymates hosted a special look at the big 2014 plans for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Toy Fair.  Get all the latest from the Nickelodeon toy line, new TMNT Classics, movie toys and more.

2014 will see a third promising year from Playmates’ smash hit TMNT toy line, and there’s some great new stuff on the horizon.  In addition to the new zipline themed playsets available now (which can be connected to attachments on previous playsets like the Sewer Lair), 2014 will see the release of a brand new Turtle blimp!  This vehicle was a great update to the classic aircraft, fits multiple figures and is compatible with this year’s zipline theme for added play value.

11″ interactive talking Turtles are also coming, which speak lines from the show and sport some cool hi tech gear on top of their ninja weapons.  We will also see Stretch ‘n Shout figures, with soft arms that can extend far enough to cause a voice response from the figure… they reminded me of Stretch Armstrong.

New assortments of the awesome basic figures are also on the way, including great new additions like:

  • Slash
  • Newtralizer
  • Rahzar
  • Dojo Splinter
  • Robot Foot Ninja (with four arms and multiple plug-in weapons)
  • Tiger Claw
  • LARP Turtles
  • Turflyte Mikey
  • Biotroid (yes, complete with butt cannons)

The third wave of TMNT Classics was also on display.  This set will see the 90’s movie Turtles in toy form, and they looked great.  With clever reuse of the TMNT Classics’ bodies with new movie accurate heads, belts, pads and weapons, the figures should be a hit for kids and collectors alike.  I was concerned about their smooth skin, but the very nice paint apps gave the impression of the scaly, textured patterns on our heroes in the movie, and helped make them stand out from the previously released Classics Turtles.  While nothing is set in stone, the Classics toys will likely continue as a Toys R Us and specialty store item, as opposed to true mass retail.

While there was no photography allowed, we were also given a chance to check out the toy line based on the upcoming Michael Bay TMNT movie.  I still dislike the new character designs– intended to be “realistic” and appropriately dirty considering our heroes live in a sewer– but Playmates’ toys looked very good, with an attention to detail and solid articulation patterns that I found quite impressive.

The lips and shell hunchbacks of our on screen heroes still bug me, and the Turtles’ wardrobes still seem unnecessarily busy, but the toys do a great job of capturing the new look.  The toys were good enough that even after only five minutes looking at them, the new designs started to feel much less abrasive.  And good news for those worried about the “Utrom Shredder” rumor… there was no sign of any creature living in the belly of the villain’s toy.

The movie toy line will include basic figures in the familiar 5″ scale, including:

  • Leonardo
  • Michelangelo
  • Raphael
  • Donatello
  • April
  • Splinter
  • Shredder
  • Foot Soldier
  • Undercover Raph (in trench coat, with removable hat, scarf and glasses)

The figures’ articulation will mirror the Nick line, with ball joint necks, ball shoulders and hips, and injection molded elbows and knees.  Undercover Raph and April will feature less articulation so as not to interrupt the sculpts, and each figure will feature multiple weapons and accessories.

TMNT Movie Deluxe will feature the four brothers in an 11″ scale as rotocast figures, which were remarkably detailed and looked very good together as a team.  These figures are big and sturdy and still featured quite a bit of articulation.

The van will also get a movie release, in scale with the 5″ figures.  The vehicle will include multiple action features, such as a low-launch cart hidden in the back of the van which can launch out with a figure riding it.  The movie line will also feature role play sets called Ninja Combat Gear, which will include a Turtle’s mask and their signature weapon.  Raph’s set appears to include a standard mask, despite his penchant for ‘do rags in the new movie.

I’m still not sold on the new TMNT movie, but Playmates’ figures looked so good I will be picking some up regardless of their dubious source material.  The movie line will be released on July 6th, about a month ahead of the film.  In the meantime, the new additions to the Nickelodeon and Classics lines look incredibly promising, making 2014 another banner year for the heroes on the half shell!

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