The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Classic Collection really surprised me when I first heard about it a few months ago. I wasn’t expecting Nickelodeon or Playmates to invest this much in the franchise so soon. An amazing new toy line to support their new cartoon would have been enough, but the companies decided to release another line of action figures, this one designed to look like the characters in the original Fred Wolf cartoon.
In my opinion, these are about as perfect as they possibly could have been.
Even though they were deeply connected, the original cartoon and the original Playmates toy line were always separate in my head. The characters never looked exactly like their animated counterparts with a few exceptions. They were still great toys, but I always wanted action figures that looked like they jumped right out of the cartoon. The TMNT Classic Collection is exactly that. This week I’ll be looking at all four Turtles, starting with Leonardo.
I’ll get my one complaint out early. These action figures look too angry. It’s forgivable on Leo or Raph, but Donatello and Mikey should at least have optional happy faces. The Classic Collection Turtles look serious, like the intro to the cartoon. It’s not even that big of a deal, it’s just the only gripe I could think of with these almost perfect action figures.
The first thing you’ll notice (besides the sculpt) is how large these figures are. At over six inches, it’s the biggest version of the Turtles ever, besides the huge 12″ toys. I didn’t put any other toys in these photos to compare scale (I’ve got that coming later), but when you see the package it’s a little surprising at first.
I almost wish they were smaller, but then I think of how awesome Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady could be in this scale with the same level of detail. I hope Playmates didn’t design these toys just assuming that they would only sell enough to warrant making the four Turtles, because I want to see more TMNT characters in this style.
Wouldn’t Bebop and Rocksteady need to be a good seven or eight inches tall to match this scale? If so, those would be some kick-ass action figures. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
The package for the TMNT Classic Collection has a cool retro design, but no promise of more characters on the back. Or pizza points. I really wish they would have brought back Pizza Points. Leonardo comes with two painted katanas, and a sewer cover stand. The katanas look great, and they fit in a sheath on his shell.The articulation on these guys is insane. You can get them into all sorts of crazy poses, and they balance really well. I can’t wait to see what the stop-motion crowd can do with these toys.
I can’t look at this Leonardo without hearing Cam Clarke’s voice and imagining it slicing through ridiculous giant robots like they’re made of butter. This figure oozes nostalgia, and that’s just fine with me.
They take up a lot of space compared to the Nickeloden TMNT toys, but I’m going to find some prime shelf space to show these guys off. I’ve seen a lot of attempts by toy companies to mine nostalgia in people my age and older, but this seems like a really genuine effort by Playmates, and I love that they spent the time and money on these. I’ve never bought doubles of any toy in my life, but I might have to with these just to do my part and help the line sell well.
If you’re a TMNT geek like me, you’re going to end up with these figures. Even if you think you can resist, once you see them in person you’re going to put them in your cart and take them home. At $10-15 bucks they’re a steal with the size and level of articulation alone. To be honest, I would have spent that much on a far less awesome version of Leonardo.
I can’t help but think about what could come next in the Classic Collection. A cartoon version of Splinter would actually be awesome, as well as about every villain they ever fought on the show. I doubt we’ll ever get vehicles in this line, because they’d have to be huge, but I’d be happy just having one more series to round out the cast.
The TMNT Classic Collection Leonardo should be showing up on shelves in your neck of the woods soon, but if not, you can do like I did and just grab him on Amazon. The price changes almost daily, but if you wait you can get him for a good deal, without the hassle of fighting little kids at the toy store.
Make sure to tune in every day this week for more looks at the Classic Collection, as well as some more cool TMNT stuff.