To say the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is one of my all-time favorites is an understatement. By 1990 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were by far my favorite franchise and I was all about turtles at the time. I had a TMNT themed birthday party, nothing but turtle Christmas, and the movie was one of the few times I remember seeing my Dad in a movie theatre. But for whatever reason, I had a ton of cartoon based action figures but never bothered for the live action versions. Of course, that all changed a couple of years ago when I saw NECA was releasing a line of movie figures. Until recently, Playmates was the sole maker of TMNT figures. The only reason I think NECA (and others) got any sliver of the license is that fact that any TMNT figure they release is some sort of store or con exclusive. NECA always does their best to get things to as many people as possible. That said, some of these figures are harder to come by than others. What I have learned is patience is key.
The first wave of figures was a SDCC (2018) exclusive of the 4 turtles and optional street scene diorama. Those were available for preorder and sold out literally in seconds. Shortly after, they released the same figures individually packaged and sold separately at GameStop. They also released a generic street scene diorama for those who missed out on the exclusive.
After the initial wave of turtles, NECA released a second wave for this past year’s (2019) SDCC. The exclusive set was called “The Capture of Splinter” and had Splinter, Shredder, and two Foot Soldiers along with weapons and other accessories. This presale seemed a little harder than the previous ones, and I missed out on this set. Not to worry though, these too were released at GameStop and just started to come in stock. It was well worth the wait because these figures are great.
The GameStop exclusives are pretty much the same as the SDCC set minus a few accessories. Like the previous wave, you can also get them individually. There are two different foot soldiers, one with bladed weapons and the other with melee ones. Other than the different weapons, the actual figure is the same. Shredder comes with his cape, pointed staff, dagger and a few extra hands, while Splinter just comes with a mutagen canister, nun chucks, and a slice of pizza.
Although his accessories might seem boring, Splinter himself, is still a great figure. The articulation might be funky and lacking, but the well done sculpt and clothes definitely make up for it. The lack of certain articulation makes him harder to stand on his own. Luckily, his tail helps him stay balanced and upright. Another downside is his hands are open so he can only really hold the pizza and mutagen when balanced properly.
After seeing him at the NECA fan event back in June I knew I needed to grab Shredder. The detail on this one is amazing. Once you remove his mask you can see the detail in the face sculpt, scar and everything. The paint it also well done, with the hint of sparkle on his outfit. The blades are also pretty sturdy so there isn’t too much worry of them breaking while handling him. His cape is also easy to get off and on. NECA thought of everything, he even has an elastic belt to allow him to conceal the dagger.
I am more impressed with the foot soldiers then I thought I would be. So much so, that I got another set. I am not much of an “army builder” either so having more than one of anything is rare in my collection. Maybe this stems back to childhood and lack of money, or parents not buying another figure I already had. Either way, I recently started to break this rule with NECA’s Gremlins.
I am not sure which set of weapons I prefer, the melee or bladed. I will say, be careful with the nun chucks. I pulled my just the slightest bit too hard and broke the chain. Broken nun chucks aside, there are a lot of options for the foot to use in their attempt to defeat the turtles. The elbow and knees are double jointed so they can get pose in many different positions. There is also no stand needed as they stand on their own in the various poses pretty well.
These figures definitely bring me back to some good childhood memories. It also motivated me to sit down and enjoy the movie again with my own kids. My son truly enjoys it, and I still laugh when he says it’s an “old day movie”. NECA teased some more great TMNT reveals from the movie and its sequel this weekend at Toy Fair. If you’re not already, make sure to give them a follow on Twitter to get all the reveals from the weekend. As usual, they are expected to come out in force and blow us away.
As always, keep checking back for updated pictures. These guys are so much fun to play with that I don’t see us getting bored with them anytime soon.
They are currently sold out online at GameStop but should still be at some stores.