So, arguably, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film released in 1990 is the best Ninja Turtles film ever made. It’s dark in tone, but light with humor. The Turtles are all very fun-loving, while showing great depth of character with each Turtle having their own dramatic and dynamic moment to shine. The action is shot well; it’s focused, believable and hard hitting while maybe a tad slower than the types of fight scenes we’re accustomed to nowadays. And the designs of the 1990 Turtles are more than likely the best physical representation we’ve seen before or since.
Okay, yeah, it’s definitely the best Turtles film ever released.
With all of that being said, it wasn’t until 2017 that we started getting action figures that really went all in with the designs found in that first film. Between 2017 and 2018, we received quarter-scale figures of the four heroes in a half-shell. That’s eighteen inches people, which basically make them statues. But, there was something missing. For months, unfulfilled collectors everywhere unfairly demanded that NECA produce 90’s-era Turtles in a six-inch scale to add to their NECA collections of TMNT figures. NECA, thankfully, went to Playmates Toys and worked out a deal to produce a small box set of 6.5-inch scale figures based on the designs found within the 1990 film. Unfortunately, these figures were a San Diego Comic Con-exclusive and are now available on ebay for around four hundred dollars. But never fear, GameStop is here(!), and as of the sixth of February, the near seven inch figures are available exclusively at the infamous games retailer.
So how do these new figures stack up? Are they everything the average Turtles collector has been looking for, or should they just stick with their dusty Movie Star Turtles from ’92?
Since I’m an out-of-the-box kind of collector, the packaging doesn’t really appeal to me, but I will say that the window packaging that houses each Turtle is a nice and fun recreation of the vintage VHS jacket from back in the day. Instead of static images from the movie, pictures of the action figures can be seen on the back of the package. Although, this is kind of sneaky on NECAs part as three of the four images seen on the back of the box are images of the quarter-scale Turtles figures released last year. You can tell because the bandanas on the back of the Turtle’s heads are made of cloth and the bandanas on the 6.5 inch figures found within are made of a soft plastic. Nice try NECA. But at least the group shot of the four Turtles found on all four boxes are the 6.5 inch figures. Plus, the images of the Turtles found on the sides of the boxes are also of the 6.5-inch figures.
Each Turtle has been painstakingly recreated from the designs of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop from back in the day. Sculptors Trevor Zammit and Jason Frailey should be proud. These figures look as if they leapt off the screen and onto my drafting table. While the bodies are all relatively the same between all four Turtles, the head sculpts are where these figures truly shine. Each Turtles identity is captures so well that it completely surpasses the uncanny valley and…well, actually, it is freaky how much detail NECA was able to capture at such a relatively small scale. Raphael has a small scar that is visible on his left check, Leonardo looks like he’s trying to tell you to not even try to muck with him or his brothers, Donatello looks like he’s planned his next forty moves and Michelangelo is grinning like a big dopey kid. It really is something special how much detail is captured on the head sculpts. The pain jobs and the shell designs all do a nice job of keeping the Turtles from looking completely uniform in design. The shades of green almost harken back to what Playmates Toys was doing with the ’87 Turtles paintjobs seeing as how there are different shades of green being used here. While Leonardo is a great neutral green color, Michelangelo is much darker, Donatello has more brown highlights to him and Raphael is much lighter than his brothers.
While each Turtle comes with an alternate set of hands, they can be shared between all four Turtles, and the amount of combinations of hands a lot of fun. You got everything from balled up fists to a good old thumbs up here and it should be noted that each interchangeable hand attaches to the Turtles arms by a peg that comes loose pretty easily and is held snugly in place once it’s plugged in so there doesn’t seem to be much need to worry about the hands falling out breaking off as long as you’re being gentle with your expensive stuff. The Turtles also come with an alternate bandana tails that plug into the back of each Turtle’s head thanks to a chunky looking peg. Based on reviews I’ve seen of the comic con versions of these figures, they’re kind of a pain to take off and plug back in, so I haven’t really tried to change any of them out for fear of breaking on of them. For me, I see no need to change anything about the bandanas right now. Each Turtle also comes packaged with their signature weapon (katana, sai, bo staff and nunchucks) , and I will say that from the outside, they look great and each Turtle has a nice, tight grip ensuring that you hero in a half shell won’t end up with a weapon on the floor or something. But, since it is NECA we’re talking about here, something had to go wrong. Michelangelo’s nunchucks broke as I was trying to pose him with one chuck in both hands while his second chuck was holstered. It was probably my fault…but damn it to hell I broke an accessory. But now Mikey has a kali stick in each hand so…Daredevil reference, I guess. Plus, each Turtle come with a slice of pizza, reminiscent of their quarter-scale brethren.
These are some of the most articulate Turtles figures we’ve ever gotten our hands on and are very reminiscent of the 80’s Turtles released by S.H. Figuarts back in 2016. While this is par for the course with NECA, this is also where things have the potential to get pretty sketchy as NECA is notorious for selling broken figures and not giving a shit. I will say though that these figures have given me no problems at all. All of the joins are tight and the hip joins in particular seem to be ratchet-joints in order to allow for a wider variety of poses. I will say though that the double elbow joints feel fairly loose as you’re posing your figure. They hold their pose nicely, but it is nerve-wracking as you’re posing them so tread carefully. I was also surprised that there was no bicep swivel to be seen, but that’s just me being greedy, you don’t need them. Also, the double jointed knees offer up some nice posablity while holding strong.
At twenty three buck, you owe it to yourself to purchase these figures. For the quality of sculpt, detail and articulation, I would’ve expected to have paid twice as much. So treat yo self…if you can find them. These figures are sold exclusively at GameStop and are currently unavailable online so good luck.
Also, if you’re in the market for more 90’s Turtles goodness from NECA, check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Baby Turtles Accessory Set. You won’t be disappointed.