NECA has worked very hard as a toy company to get where they are today and they always have the fans in mind. It was no easy task in acquiring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles license as Playmates toys has held the master license since 1988. In order for the more collector’s driven company to make action figures for the property they needed to jump through a number of hoops to make sure that whatever they offered did not directly compete with Playmates’ own main toy line at retail. This unfortunately meant not having major retail presence at all… until now.
These sculpts first saw release as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive set of two four packs based on the classic arcade side scrolling beat-em up by Konami. The packs featured the four main turtles in one set and Shredder with various colored Foot Soldiers in the other. NECA’s wonderful cartoon turtle sculpts were painted to reflect the pixelated characters on the game screen and many wished for a more traditional, plain paint job. Flash forward a couple years to 2017 and once again NECA offered two four packs at SDCC. This time with animation accurate matte paint jobs and including a brand new Krang sculpt in the bad guys set. Both sets were a hit, naturally, and sold out immediately. Like many Comic Con exclusives these sets became increasingly expensive on the after market and became unobtainable to most.
Finally, in January of this year we broke the news that it was rumored that Target would be carrying four NECA TMNT cartoon two packs as store exclusives. For those of us that grew up in the 80’s, and were at the key demographic age when Turtles mania hit, this was fantastic news that these action figures would become widely available at mass retail.
The four turtles all share the same base body. Their accuracy to the cartoon models is amazing. Each one has a unique head sculpt as well as their signature initialized belt buckle. Donatello and Leonardo feature sculpted weapon storage on the back of their belts. The shells are a softer overlay, so that they don’t impede articulation.
Shredder and the Foot Soldiers share many parts, which makes sense as ninjas and ninja clan leaders should probably have a strict dress code. There’s enough overlays and unique tooling to separate the two from looking too similar. Krang is wonderfully brain like and his mechanized walker with transparent windshield really sets him apart from the rest as the best of the baddies.
The matte tones and bright colored bandanas are all on point. The bad guys all have their appropriate cool tones. NECA added a slight cel shaded effect on each figure where each color has a darker shadowed application for the backside of limbs, pads, etc. Also to mimic the hand drawn animation, black lines have been painted in on muscle contour, belt folds, mask folds, and shells. The overall two-toned effect really works and makes each figure pop on the shelf.
The turtles all share ball jointed necks at the head as well as the base of the neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivel, swivel and hinge elbows, swivel and hinge wrists, universal joint hips, swivel thighs, double jointed knees, and ball ankles. The range of motion is a bit limited though. It all feels well constructed though. Something that constantly worries me with NECA products is their fragility. Here though, I feel like they’ve made their most durable figures to date. Your mileage may vary of course, and always use caution when manipulating any joints.
The Foot guys feature ball jointed necks, shoulders, biceps swivel, double elbows, hinge and swivel wrists, waist swivel, universal hips, thigh swivel, double knees, ball ankles and a toe hinge! These guys really remind me of old Toy Biz Marvel Legends releases. Krang features ball jointed tentacle arms that are removable and fit into his mech suit to complete the look when you place him into it. The mechanized suit itself features opening canopy, hinged hips, knees, and ankles.
There are a ton of accessories included in these sets. Naturally you get all the weapons familiarized with the fab foursome. Michelangelo additionally has a swinging nunchuck effect that pegs into one handle. You get turtle grappling hooks, communicators, additional hands, blasters, laser rifles, ooze containers, pizza, swords, and even a tripod pedestal to put Krang on when he’s not battle ready. NECA uses a harder plastic on most of their accessories and weapons, so please be careful. This can result in fragile parts and breakages. One of my pair of nunchucks did not survive the photo shoot, breaking at the tiny plastic ‘U’ that holds the real chain to the handle.
Retail at Target on these sets is $51.99 each. That’s $25.99 a figure before tax. Honestly, that’s what these 7 inch scaled figures would retail for individually in today’s climate with the amount of articulation, paint, and accessories these have. For me it was worth it. I now have a kick-ass 1988 TMNT cartoon display with many of the main players represented perfectly. NECA has said that they have plans for many more characters in the cartoon line and that the Target two packs will continue. Bebop and Rocksteady were just recently shown at NY Toy Fair in February. It’s good to know that after investing over $200 into the line that it has legs, and will deliver more great toys.
4.5/5 Wizard’s Stars
NECA continues to improve in many ways as a company. I really couldn’t ask for more with these sets visually. The articulation here is all very impressive and functional, the accessories are all great and welcomed, but there’s still problems with quality and durability that has always plagued NECA figures. I’m very cautious and careful with anything I purchase from this company and yet I still end up with a small broken weapon. That being said, the action figures themselves seem to be much better constructed than anything NECA has put out in the past and I hope to see that bar met or exceeded in the future of this line.
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