Vinyl figures are something of a mystery to me. I know that one of the biggest toy manufacturers in the United States is Funko. Their line of Pop! figures is something that I think appeals to virtually anyone. There is just something in that line for everyone to enjoy. You like Back to the Future? They’ve got a figure for that. Resident Evil? Got ya covered. Are you a fan of Michael Jordan? You can find it on Amazon. And yes, they’ve even got some pretty sweet action figures covering the TMNT franchise. But recently, Playmates Toys has thrown their hat into the ring for vinyl figure superiority with the release of their Shadow Ninjas line of TMNT vinyl figures. I have a lot to say about these figures, so let’s just get to the review.
All right, never mind, I don’t have that much to say about this portion of the review. I’m not an “in-box” collector, but there was so much tape, twist ties and rubber bands on these figures that it took me a full half hour to take these guys out of their (shells) boxes. So I think in-box guys are going to be very happy with them.
So, please allow me to address the Doctor El in the room, these figures are almost a one-to-one copy of the massive vinyl figures from Big Boys Toys line of Bulkyz TMNT figures. There may be a few discrepancies with the paint and articulation, but on paper they are the same figures with only the scale being the soul difference. I don’t know if Playmates and Big Boys Toys made some kind of deal or if perhaps Playmates Toys owns Big Boys Toys, but the look of these figures really helps separate them from the rest of the Turtles figures hitting store shelves as of late. The paint if vibrant and eye-catching and the shading almost hearkens back to the the ’88 line of Turtles action figures.
I absolutely love the articulation with these figures. I know what you’re thinking, “How much articulation could a vinyl figure have?”, and you’re right to wonder that because the answer is usually bupkis. But with the Shadow Ninjas (no idea why they’re called that) figures, Playmates went all out with nine points of articulation. Two at the shoulders, wrists, hips, knees and one at the neck. Even though you can’t get the most dynamic poses out of these guys, I adore that the old style of Turtle figure is back, in terms of articulation. Each Turtle also comes with their own signature weapon which also adorns their signature color. This leads to my only real complaint with these figures; the paint on the weapons will rub off around the grips (Donatello’s in particular). This wouldn’t be much of a problem if the weapons stayed in place but, and it may just be me, I have noticed that the weapons tend to flop around while in their respective Turtle’s hand, if not fall out all together. But, if you play around with them a bit, you’ll find the right grip for each weapon and you shouldn’t have much issue with them.
I mean, I don’t want to tell you what to spend your money one, but if you’re a serious TMNT collector, or a vinyl figure junkie, you owe it to yourself to track these guys down. Your best bet for a decent price on these figures is the exclusive 4-pack deal found over at Big Bad Toys Store. With the basic flat-rate shipping, I spent just over a hundred dollars for them. You can find them at other online retailers like Amazon (good luck getting them shipped to you in less than two months) or eBay (good luck deal with the online price sharks), but if you want all four in one go, see the link above.