Toy Review – Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

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.



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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.


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