12" Raphael Review (Playmates Ninja Turtles Movie)
There's a lot of hoopla going on around the Internet about the Ninja Turtles from the new movie. The Turtles have all been drastically redesigned, which naturally rubs some fans the wrong way. But I think this movie needs to bring something new to the table, something that can distinguish it from the previous TMNT movies and make the Turtles more visually interesting for the big screen. And these new Turtles could do just that. Sure, they're a little on the Rob Liefeld side (actually, they scream "Kevin Eastman", so I'm sure he had a hand in the designs), but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I've been really looking forward to getting some of the movie action figures, so I'll start my foray into this new Turtle universe with 12"-scale Raphael!
Why not the 4.5" figures, you may ask? Well, that was the plan at first. I was going to go with the smaller figures because they would work so well with the rest of my TMNT collection. But when I saw them in person, they all look sparse on detailing and pretty shrimpy. I guess I was expecting them to be a little larger since the Turtles are kind of massive in the movie.
I can get past all that, though... the real dealbreakers are Mike and Don, both of which have droopy bandanas which cause their eyes to droop too. I'm not sure what they were thinking with those sculpts; maybe they meant the bandana eyeholes to lay on the face unevenly and then sculpt the eyes inside them and lined-up with each other. But the paint apps turn the entire bandana eyehole into the eye, which then makes the eyes look too big and droopy. So I just couldn't fork over the dough for them. Eyes are really important for the look of an action figure for me, and if they're screwed up, they screw up the entire figure.
Instead, I opted to start collecting the much more impressive 12" figures. The 12" Turtles have eyes that are sculpted and painted separately from the bandana holes, and they look way better. The rest of the sculpt is nice and there are a lot of interesting details, even if the textures are a bit soft. The paint apps are flat but they give the figure some nice color variation. This isn't a collector-grade figure but it looks cool nonetheless.
Speaking of this not being collector-grade, don't expect hyper-articulation. Raph is articulated with a ball-socket neck, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel-hinge hips, and swivel-hinge knees. The hip articulation is hindered by the "skirt" and I would have preferred to have some elbow articulation. At least there are no ankle joints, which would undoubtedly undermine the figure's stability on the shelf. Regardless, the movement is not too shabby for this price point.
Raphael comes with a set of his signature sai, which is a nice bonus. I say that this is a "bonus" because figures in this scale rarely come with accessories, but it is absolutely essential that the sai are included. The sculpt on the sai is pretty soft, which makes me wonder if they were just upscaled from those that come with the 4.5" Raph.
The 12" Turtles clock in at about $20 each. Considering the size of the figure (check out the comparison shot above with Movie Masters Kilowog and Marvel Select Avengers Hulk) that's a great value. Still, the price is a bit prohibitive. I just can't drop $80 at once on a set of the Turtles, so I'll have to be patient and buy them as my budget allows.
Spending that much for a set of the Turtles (not to mention devoting shelf space to four figures of this size) is a pretty big commitment to make to a movie that I haven't even seen yet, but I think it will be worth it. Even if the movie is awful, the figure designs are such an interesting deviation from the TMNT norm that they'll add some much-needed visual variety to my TMNT display. Of course, if the movie is awesome, that will justify this purchase that much more, so let's hope for the best!