Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5 Inch Scale
They say all the good ones end in O, at least as it pertains to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’d be hard pressed to disagree as Raphael is my least favorite Ninja Turtle. He was the last one I opened in these new Nickelodeon TMNT and after fiddling around with him for a few minutes, I thought I liked him the least.
That may still be true, but the more I played with this figure, the more I came to appreciate it. Likewise, it seems that most of the early footage we’ve seen of the Nickelodeon show has a much more palpable (to my tastes) version of the character. So do all the good ones truly end in O? Read on to find out!
Yes, I still like this package. I’m sure in time I’ll tire of it, but for now I still think it’s one of the more snazzy packages currently on the market. The card I colorful and it’s easy enough to remove the figure.
The back shows off the other figures in the series and features Raphael’s bio. Nothing you don’t already know here. He’s a no nonsense type who likes to solve problems with his fists. He’s still Raph… Perhaps a little TOO Raph.
We’ve mentioned it before but each of these guys has a unique sculpt. Raphael’s really sticks out because he has a huge crack in his plastron. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of this. It’s true to the animation, but seems a little silly to me.
I’ve considered swapping it with another shell, in some sort of a custom… But who knows if I’ll ever really get around to that. Raphael’s damaged shell makes a great start for a Slash custom as well, in my view.
I do like the attention to detail and attempt to really add some uniqueness to each individual turtle. That is something that Playmates didn’t have to do, but clearly have spent some time on.
To that end, Raphael is drastically different in color than the rest of the TMNT. The action figure versions of the turtles have almost always had different skin tones, whereas the cartoons rarely do. There’s a few reasons for this…
1. It’s cheaper to produce animation in single colors, so it’s easier for the turtles to all be the same color. The new Nick toon does have them with very minor differences in tone, but it’s almost not noticeable.
2. This provides a different look for the figure and so kids can convince their parents to buy the extra character, because even though all the turtles have different bandannas and weapons, some parents might think all four figures are the same if they have the same color skin. This way there’s no concern that parents are buying the same figures.
3. Finally, it helps littler kids distinguish the differences between the turtles. Yes, the bandannas also cover this, but the skin tone is more of a subconscious thing as well.
All that said, Raphael’s skin tone is completely different than the rest of the Ninja Turtles. Perhaps it is a bit too drastic of a color change. A few shades lighter might have helped him blend in.
Because Raphael is showing so much of his teeth, they do look a bit off, especially in contrast to his dark skin. He’s got a bit of yellowing going on with his teeth and some have commented that it looks a bit strange. It doesn’t bother me too much, but I understand the complaint. Honestly, I think if they were bright white, they’d stand out even worse.
Ready to raise some shell.
One thing I haven’t really talked about is how well these guys interact with their vintage vehicles and playsets. Whether it’s the toys from the 80’s-90’s to the more recent 2K3 stuff, all the vehicles and such seem to be a solid fit.
That adds a lot of play value for kids and if you’re someone like me, it helps re-energize some of those old toys. I love it when I can inject some life into the old stuff and that’s definitely at work with Playmates new TMNT figures.
Raph is a pretty decent height, close to the same size as Leo, but shorter than Don and taller than Mike. Some folks think these guys fit in well with Marvel Legends. I think they’re a bit too short for that, but your mileage may vary.
Raph and the rest of the TMNT are a bit underscaled for the 2K7 line, but work alright with some of the older lines. Depending on the figure and how much you’re content to fudge scale.
There are some of Playmates better work and while they did omit the double knees from the early protos, I think they’re pretty good like this. The only joint I think that would add much is a possible ball joint at the ankle.
These are really some of the more poseable figures to come out of Playmates in the turtles brands and what makes these guys great is that the articulation is very functional. We’ve had better articulated turtles, but few that are this easy and intuitive to use.
Some people get way too caught up in articulation, but these guys should satisfy even most of your articulation nuts.
This is where Raphael really shines. As with all the Ninja Turtles, he comes with his weapons on a tree. I just recently noticed that these all have their names on them and I don’t think I’ve brought that up before.
Raph’s weapons are all in silver and for some reason, that definitely pops a bit better than the brown of Don, April or Mikey.
First and foremost he comes with two sais. These are ACTUAL sais, which is pretty much a first for Playmates. Typically Raph ends up with something that’s closer akin to a three pronged dagger, than actual sais. Sais don’t have blades on them, as they’re often depicted in the toys. Raph can hold them in between his fingers on one hand, but you’ll need to cut the other hands to do that popular pose.
Otherwise the sai sculpt is nice, albeit plain and he can handle them well. They fit nicely into his belt in the back as well. Always a plus, but is sort of par for the course with these guys.
Raphael benefits from a neat assortment of other weapons as well, including a pair of hook swords. Sometimes these are referred to as twin hooks or Chinese tiger head hooks or Hu Tou Gou. They fit nicely into his hands.
His other weapons include a pair of Jutte, which are like a sai, but with one less prong. Believe it or not, this weapon was used in ancient Japan as sort of a billy club for police officers. It makes a fitting weapon for Raphael, since it’s so nearly identical to the sais. They also fit into his belt.
Finally he has a pair of throwing stars. These are quite nice in comparison to some of the others and he can hold them between the fingers on the one hand where it’s a bit more separated. Pretty fun stuff. I realize these stars are easy to get lost, but I’ve always LOVED the throwing stars as bonus weapons for some reason.
One of the nicest parts about all these bonus weapons is that you can use them to help outfit your Foot clan if you so desire.
At $8.99 even Raphael is a great value. As much as I thought I wouldn’t like Raph, he quickly grew on me as well. Typically Raphael is just a guy I have to buy, because you need all four, but he’s managed to win me over because of his cool weapons and unique sculpting differences. These are just about the best $9 toy purchases around.
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 9
Paint – 8
Articulation – 9
Accessories – 2 Sais, 2 Hook Swords, 2 Jutte, 2 Throwing Stars
Value – 9
Overall – 9 out of 10
Raphael was always my cousin’s favorite Ninja Turtle and since he’s no longer with us, I often wonder how he would enjoy some of the new versions of the character. I feel pretty confident that he’d love this Raph and I wish I could share that with him. This figure (and the whole line to be honest) takes me back to that simpler time when we would mess around with the TMNT all day long. For that, I will always have a special fondness for these characters, particularly Raph.
This Raphael figure is not the best of the new Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles figures, but he’s a very solid figure. I gave him a 9 because of the cracked shell and whatnot, but this guy is a must have because the Turtles are sort of a package deal. While I thought I might not love Raph as much as the rest, the quality craftsmanship and playability won me over yet again. Go get these figures already!