Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Nick TMNT: Samurai Turtles and Warrior Horse (with Samurai Usagi Yojimbo!)
Whoa, haven't reviewed any TMNT in while! Good thing I'm back with some of the BEST variants in awhile.
I tried to keep up with TMNT for awhile there (even catching up with three huge posts that covered a lot of figures at once) but I fell off pretty quickly again. Not only am I not caught up with the toon, but I just haven't felt like reviewing some of the newer, almost blander options for variants and new characters.
That all changed, with these Samurai variants! WHOO BOY, these just screamed to be photographed, right out of the package!
Let's jump right in!
Each Turtle is using the same body, and they have the same articulation that the excellent basic Nick TMNT figures sported (from the first wave): Disk hinge hips, shoulders, knees, and elbows, ball jointed necks, and cut joint wrists. They're just as fun to pose as the first Nick Turtle figures, so you know you're getting good stuff.
Sharing the same buck means that Playmates was able to add a bit more paint this time, so the sandals are actually painted and not just green growths on their feet! Granted, you've still got some spots missing, like the ties around the wrists and armor, but it's pretty minor when compared to, say, the horrendous Mystic Turtles that had HUGE, glaring, unpainted wrappings and armor parts that seemed like they were growing out of their skin.
The drawback to using the same armored buck is the loss of the different heights - something fairly distinct in the Nick TMNT series. I find myself not caring, though. If we get four fully articulated and mostly painted Turtles at the cost of the different heights.... then, yeah. I'm all for it.
Now, they're not all the exact same! The differences come in the form of the weapons, the helmet crest, and the head sculpts (and colors, but that goes without saying). Raphael, for instance, sports a sharp, bladed crest and comes with ornate triple-bladed daggers (not really sais, since he wouldn't be able to hold the prongs on these). They're kinda neat, though the ropes hanging off the ends are a little odd, since they won't be hanging realistically most of the time.
Raph also has a removable helmet and dragon mask (though the dragon mask is the same across all Turtles, including Usagi). It fits pretty well, and the mask slides in sturdy enough. Not absolutely perfect, but if you're not knocking into it a lot, it won't fall off. Best part is that it's sculpted to fit one way, so the eyes always line up with the mask's eye holes.
Mike sports a circular helmet crest and two kusarigama with stiff plastic ball-and-chains hanging off the bottom. Like Raph's blades, the chains on the bottom make it a little awkward, but not enough for it to be a negative (I'm thinking of cutting them off an turning them into real chains, but we'll see). Out of all of them, Mike's helmet stays on the loosest, but not so much that it bothers me. I'm thinking it may be a case-by-case-basis kind of thing. Hopefully you don't get any super loose helmets on yours.
Donatello is the bruiser of the group, this time around. He sports a big face-breaking spiked bat and an angular crest (almost looks like a magnet, which is cool, since Don is the tech guy). For some reason, Don's armor is slightly darker than the rest, and the silver detailing is a bit more prominent on the front of his armor than on the others. The darker tone, his now classic unamused face sculpt, and the brutal spiked bat all make him out to be the guy you don't screw with - and that's saying something, considering Raph is still trying to eat his own teeth, like usual. Still, even Raph's Face of Hatred can't match the seething volcano that lays just underneath the crust of Don's seemingly complacent face.
When there's a full set of Turtle variants, there usually ends up being a "One to Get", and Leonardo is certainly it. It's hard to say why, since he's the same as the rest, in terms of function. There's something about the crazy sword and the more traditional samurai crest that makes Leo stand above the others. Plus: He can hold his sword with two hands!
I guess I would have liked two swords, like usual, but his katana is wicked and larger than his basic swords, so I think it works here. I mean this sucker is a CLEAVER! He's just gona be tearing through ninjas with that big badass slice 'n dicer.
Leo is the winner here, but I feel like they're all winners. If you don't usually buy variants, then push some shit aside and make room for these. They're THE best TMNT variants - possibly in the whole line so far.
Now, let's hit one more variant before we wrap up.
There is a basic Usagi Yojimbo, but I'll go over that one in his own post. There's also a single packed samurai armor Usagi with bronze armor, but WOW...skip him. Skip him for this. No question.
First things first: The picture above is the usual Playmates prototype picture, where they show you how they would paint a figure if they didn't have a budget. We don't get this much paint, but for once, I feel like the production paint is actually more striking than the proto.
Usagi has the same articulation as the Turtles, which surprised me. He's just as good, but better, since he doesn't have the huge shell body to get in the way. He can pull off all kinds of poses, from two-handed to standing stoically. His helmet and mask are a bit harder to line up with his eyes, but you can get it done, and it'll stay, for the most part. Turning his head may mess it up a bit, but you can reset it pretty easily. Best part about it is that the teeth on the dragon mask are painted! It really sets him apart from the rest, giving him a regal look.
The only drawback is the double sword sheath, which is kinda big and permanently attached. Still, it's not as large as Mystic Leo's and you don't have to worry about it falling off...so...I guess even that isn't much of a drawback. I'm grasping at straws here - he's damn awesome.
The horse is neat, if basic. There's no articulation, but he stands well and you only have to fiddle with Usagi a little bit to get him on there properly. Funnily enough, the horse is actually a mold from the 90's! It's straight from the third TMNT movie toyline, where they time travel back to feudal Japan. I only know this from other reviewers pointing it out, because otherwise, it just looks like a basic horse mold! The design obviously stands the test of time, so if you're worried about wanting this version of Usagi but not wanting the horse - just go for it! The horse is decent and will work for just about anything in the same scale. Don't let the two pack thing stop you from owning this awesome figure.
Let's wrap this up with a breakdown:
- Buy all of them.
Seriously, there's not much else to say. In terms of Nick TMNT figures, these are the best in awhile. They're well articulated, painted in key points, have awesome sculpts, and cool new accessories. Great figures, all of them.