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Monday, May 30 2016 13:03

TMNTweek - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figures... Three Decades of Fun!

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Part of #TMNTweek 2016 on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine! Check out TheRockFather.com/TMNT for more.

"FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE SEWER... the the top of the toy charts," that was how Playmates Toys' described the success of their 1988 launch of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Action Figures, Vehicles and Role-play. It was 28 years ago that the long-running, yet little-known toymaker burst into the action figure aisle with a small assortment of figures based upon the "classic" TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES animated series, which made its debut as a five-part miniseries in late 1987 prior to going full-steam-ahead as a Saturday morning cartoon in the Fall of 1988. In fact, like many toys of the era, the TV series and toys went hand-in-hand, with the series designed to sell toys, despite the fact that TMNT was based on the much darker 1984 comic book series. As the 30th Anniversary of the TMNT toys approaches on the horizon, the 'Turtles have gone through numerous incarnations across every medium, but at its core the basic action figures remain the heart of the brand when it comes to play. When the TMNT brand relaunched in 2012 with the Nickelodeon series, the 'Turtles were quickly back on top and a live-action movie soon followed, making its theatrical debut in the summer of 2014. Now, with the release of the second live-action movie in the new series hitting screens, it's time to take a look at the Basic Action Figure assortment from TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS!

Finley of THE ROCK DAUGHTERS
Rock Daughter Finley about to crack into some TMNT figures!

When it comes to the heroes, the first wave of Basic 5" Action Figures features new versions of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael - all presented with new sculpts and accessories based on their appearances in the new film.

Out of the Shadows!

They're well-articulated for poseability, and this time around they've got the oft-requested Casey Jones rolling into action on skates, complete with his hockey stick and goalie's mask. Personally, I like these a lot better than the ones from the first film. There's even spots on the 'Turtles to hold their accessories when not in use, and that's very cool.

Casey Jones

On the villainous front, The Shredder and Kraang are both here, along with a new version of the classic Foot Soldier (you might need to pick up a few of these to build a small army). Again, I like these better than the last versions, though it might be largely due to Shredder's simplified costume.

Finn, Kraang and Shredder

Kraang is a favorite of The Rock Daughters, with the little squishy guy and his robotic body getting a ton of action right off the bat.

Kraang!

A rare duo? Raphael in Wingsuit, and Michelangelo in Pirate Costume:

tmnt wingsuit

Having not seen the film yet, I can't be 100% certain as to how these play into the overall story, but we know from the trailers that Raphael does jump from a plane at least once... though I don't recall seeing him in a proper wingsuit. As for Mikey, why he's dressed as a pirate is a curiosity, but this figure has fast become one of Little Finley's favorites - right down to giving him a "pirate voice" and saying things like "Shiver me timbers, I'm Mikey!"

tmnt pirate1

While these are really cool and pretty detailed (though never as well-painted as the sample images we usually receive), it's important to note that these figures seem to be the ones being scooped up for the secondary market - so if your kids want them and you happen to see them in a store for $8.99, grab them! These have already been fetching up to $30 through third-party sellers, so please be aware of that.

Other Figures in the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA: TURTLES OUT OF THE SHADOWS Basic Line:

Splinter: We didn't get the new Master Splinter, simply because the first movie version does just fine for the girls. The new version has slightly better detail, but at the end of the day, he's a rat on two feet that generally doesn't see a ton of action.

Splinter, April O'Neil, Leonardo in Disguise

Leonardo in Stealth Disguise: This figure wasn't available for review, but it's just starting to hit retail right now. What's interesting about this figure moves into [SPOILER] territory for some... look at his hands. Leo has extra fingers and a more human-like stance, as part of the story in OUT OF THE SHADOWS involves retro-mutagen that can turn the Turtles human. Here we see Leonardo in perhaps the most human-like attire he's ever had.

Bebop & Rocksteady: These fan-favorites from the cartoon world make their live-action debut in OUT OF THE SHADOWS, and after picking up the figures based on their Nickelodeon counterparts last year (reviewed here), we opted for the Deluxe Rocksteady and Warthog Trike versions of the duo this time around. I'll show those off later this week.

Bebop and Rocksteady

April O'Neil: Again, a wave two figure that wasn't available for us to check out, April is devoid of her signature yellow outfit, but that's okay since we already have her like that from the first movie. Here we see her as she appears at some point during the new film. She comes with an Ooze Canister.

Casey Jones (Unmasked): Perhaps a wave three offering, photos of this figure have started surfacing as he's pictured on the back of the new April O'Neil. As noted above, the fact that the first Casey has a molded-on mask was irritating to the kids. Seeing Stephen Amell in plastic as he appears in much of the new film will be cool.

Stay tuned for the rest of #TMNTweek here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine and all of the social networks. We'll be sharing more features, looks at cool toys, and doing a little bit of "Toyography" along the way!

Special Thanks to Playmates Toys for providing us with select review materials for this feature.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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