Toy Review – Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics

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by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Nerdy

In today’s toy collecting world, sculpt and articulation go a long way toward creating a popular action figure.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Collection succeeds in both categories, and many more.

Inspired by the 1988 TMNT series and Playmates toy line, these figures hit shelves (briefly!) in August 2012. The package touts these figures as “Collector Quality Figures”, and the product inside delivers.

I rank figures based on 5 categories: Sculpt & Paint, Articulation, Playability, Collectability, and Value; with 5 stars being the highest score.



Sculpt & Paint [rating=5]

Designed by Dave Cortes, one of the decade’s most well-respected toy and collectible sculptors, these figures deliver on many levels. For these figures to be popular with TMNT collectors, the nostalgia factor had to be perfectly fused with the new highly articulated design. The look of the figure absolutely brings to mind the vintage Playmates line, but with added detail and size. The depth of these figures is the best I’ve seen on a Ninja Turtle line. The bandana molds vary between characters, and the turtles still possess their trademark varying shades of green skin color.

I have read some varying opinions of the figures’ eyes (particularly Donatello’s), with some collectors not fond of their look. It didn’t strike me at first, but as I look at it more I can see why some may not like their eyes. That said, I’m not sure how they could be better executed.


Articulation [rating=5]

Sporting an impressive 34 points of articulation, these are the most poseable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures in history. All joints are tight, especially the shoulders and knees, but not so tight you feel like you’re going to break anything. Each figure has a solid overall feel, good weight, feels sturdy coming out of the box.

For fans of articulation, it doesn’t get much better than a figure whose fingers and toes move independently of one another. It makes for a new and different experience as far as how they hold their weapons, as you are no longer sliding or popping the handle into a pre-formed curled fist, you actually get to curl each finger around the accessory and determine the grip.

Speaking of the weapons – each turtle has a spot on the back of their belt (on the front for Raph) where they can store their weapons. Each weapon fits very nicely into it’s holster.


Playability [rating=4]

This category, like Leonardo’s weapon of choice, is a double-edged sword. On one hand, these figures are extremely fun to play with, and the poses you can create are seemingly endless compared to Ninja Turtles of old. On the other hand, these are clearly tooled and marketed toward the collector, who tends to display figures as opposed to handle them frequently. With this said, that would explain the lack of villains or ancillary characters in the Classics line. Technically, the only way to play with these figures is to have them spar against each other, or maybe you can go wild and have your 6″ TMNT Classics battle your similarly sized Marvel Legends villains (Crossover Alert!).

I have to admit, these figures are really fun to play with, so I can’t dock them too many points just due to a lack of villains.


Collectability [rating=5]

As with all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, you can’t stop at one. If you’re anything like me, you’ll plan to grab your favorite character first, and employ a “we’ll see about the other three” strategy, knowing all along there is no chance you can stop at just one. In a way, it’s nice to be able to collect only 4 figures to complete a collection, instead of having to hunt down and pay for 12 figures in a series.

These figures look absolutely great together.

Image via – check out Pixel Dan’s review of TMNT Classics here!

Packaging is part of a toy’s collectability. For display purposes, each figure comes with a manhole cover-styled base with their respective name on it.


Value [rating=5]

It is evident that a lot went into these figures. Aside from the points covered above, there are small touches such as the manhole cover pattern that occupies the top of the clear plastic on each package’s bubble. For the collector who keeps their toys in the box, this is a nice touch, and enhances the figure’s look in the package.

These figures seem to be sold out at most retailers, but at a MSRP of $15-$20, I consider these toys a great value. I challenge anyone to find a more fairly-priced 6 inch collector quality figure was as much articulation and fine detail.


Overall – 4.7 stars

I’m very impressed with this line, and it seems by the fact that they are sold out everywhere that Playmates has a hit on their hands. I hope the success of the line warrants a Series 2, with some villains and non-Turtle characters.



Visit for more on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and many other great toy lines!

Tune in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon – premieres Saturday Sept. 29!


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Howie Decker (@HowardtheDeck) is the co-creator and editor of UnderScoopFire. He likes fantasy baseball & taco night. You can read his Letter from the Editor here.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

SharePointJoe September 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

Bought them when they first hit shelves. Opened em…enjoyed them. Love the sewer cover stands. That’s what I loved the most actually. I felt the hands and feet were a little too over articulated. I know I know….

I just sold the set on eBay (open) and got my money back. They’re definitely awesome for TMNT fans.


Jin Saotome September 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

These are some very angry turtles, I kinda hsmiling ope we get an exclusive set with smiling or regular expressions. Their height puts them over Marvel Legends scale but instead with the 7″ Thundercats and He-Man unfortunately.


Howie Decker September 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

they do have quite a furrowed look in this line, don’t they?


Philip Chiappini September 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

I’m gonna have to pick all of these up. My nieces and nephews weren’t to kind to my originals that I had stashed at my parents. Great review!


Howie Decker September 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm

If you decide to pick them up, give the new line a look as well (also by Playmates Toys). They are a really cool design. Review coming soon!


ShezCrafti September 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Great review. I have all four of these guys sitting in a box, unopened. Now that I know they’re sold out everywhere, as you say, I think I’ll keep ’em that way. I’m having plenty of fun with the new Nick Turtles figures anyway.

Raph is my favorite figure of the four (and not just because he’s my favorite Turtle, honest). I love his gritted teeth and angry furrowed brow. His sais look bad ass. I have to agree too that Donatello’s eyes look…well…not good. =/


Howie Decker September 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Even though I knew I had to review them, it killed me to take them out of the box. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about playing with your toys – but sometimes the package and nostalgia factor team up on you and make you want to just display them mint in box forever!


Count Marzo September 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I regret not ordering these when I had the chance. They clearly did NOT keep up with the demand here. I never even seen them in any stores around here. My only chance was to order them online, but I thought I’d be able to pick them out myself at retail. All the “Derpy Donatello” eyes talk got me worried that I’d get shipped one with a major lazy eye so I passed and hoped I could get them at retail. Shouldve known better, there’s too many Scalp-Ors around here. A network of them even that have a booth every weekend at the flea market. I blame not finding anything at retail on them for the past 10 years.

Perfectly done TMNT figures though. I couldnt give a damn about the new ones compared to these.


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