One of the oldest traditions in the world of action figures is the vehicle. Almost every toyline in the 1980′s had some sort of car, plane or contraption to cruise around in. Oftentimes they had multiple vehicles, many of which made absolutely no sense. The concept of vehicles in toylines is almost extinct these days, but Playmates still worships the old gods, and the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles toyline has cranked out more vehicles in their short year on the shelves than just about any other toyline on the market today.
While some of the vehicles are wacky and par for the course for the turtles, one of the newest vehicles shipping is the Kraang Hover Drone, which is a vehicle that more or less appears in the cartoon itself. In the Nickelodeon cartoon, the evil Kraang are shown flying on all sorts of vehicles similar to this. While I can’t say 100% for sure that one exactly like this model has appeared, it’s certainly not out of the realm of potential vehicles they would use.
The packages are all pretty basic for the $10 vehicles, but they have a nice simple design that reminds me of the old GI Joe vehilces from when I was a kid. I have many fond memories of visiting my Grandfather and going to a local K-Mart and having $10 to spend on a Joe vehicle. It was great times, so it’s nice to see that the tradition lives on in these TMNT vehicles.
Perhaps my favorite part of the whole thing, is the fact that the artwork on the box is based on the figures themselves. The drawings look like the figures, as opposed to being shaped in some other outlandish poses or mimicking the cartoon exactly. It’s a nice attention to detail. I also like that the back goes over some of the Hover Drone’s features. Something that’s lost on most packages these days.
This isn’t the same as a regular action figure, so it’s important to note that this is not all about sculpting and paint in the same way a figure would be. That said, a vehicle like this needs an interesting design and the Kraang Hover Drone delivers in spades. There isn’t much paint to speak of, but the sculpt is pretty solid.
Once you have the stickers in place, you can really admire the design here. As I said before, I’m not sure that this exact model has been used on the cartoon, but the Kraang have driven similar vehicles. The whole design definitely feels like a Kraang means of conveyance.
The Kraang fit onto the vehicle pretty good, but they have a bit of an issue holding the controls and placing their foot into the peg. I’m not sure who the peg was really designed for, because none of the figures can drive and have their foot in the peg very comfortably. It seems like the peg should be a half inch forward more.
It’s odd to say that a vehicle has articulation, but this one more or less does. The drone has wheels on the bottom that spin fans inside, creating a neat effect when you roll it across the floor. Likewise, you can spin the control handles left and right, to steer it (it doesn’t actually control any steering mechanism, it just moves) and create more flying poses.
The only real accessories are two rocket firing missiles. They don’t look stupid and they fire well enough, so you can actually have some functionality with them, but they don’t ruin the design. If anything, they boost the aesthetic, by offering more pink into the color scheme.
This is a nice vehicle, with a couple of fun “play” features and a pretty solid design that both kids and collectors will enjoy. The fact that it only costs a dollar more than a regular figure, shows that Playmates has been very smart in being able to create solid, basic price point vehicles. This is the kind of thing that would cost $25 or more on MattyCollector.
To me, that’s the one true sign of a good vehicle. This could be used in a lot of different scenarios, not just Ninja Turtle stories. Playmates has hit a nice home run here. The only drawback is the single peg placement, but otherwise it’s a solid effort.