Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nickelodeon Splinter Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5 Inch Scale
By: Playmates

Splinter is the Turtle’s father and sensei. He’s the wise old rat who not only taught them to be ninja teens (presumably just the ninja part), but helps to guide them through the world. He’s sort of like Mister Miyagi, but you know, furrier. Splinter has historically had two origins, but now technically has three thanks to IDW’s newest take. The original Mirage story is that Splinter was the pet rat of Hamato Yoshi and learned everything he knows by watching Yoshi. After The Shredder kills Yoshi, Splinter ends up accidentally mutated and swears revenge for his master.

Splinter and the Mousers

In the Fred Wolf cartoon, that most TMNT fans were first introduced to, the story is slightly different. In this version, Hamato Yoshi IS Splinter and was mutated as a result of Shredder trying to kill him. Nickelodeon’s new take on Splinter seems to be in line with that, although we don’t know the particulars. We just know that Hamato Yoshi is Splinter.

Splinter to the Fore

Confession time… It’s sacrilege to some Turtles fans, but I always preferred the concept of Splinter being Hamato Yoshi. It makes more sense as to why he’s so adept at the ways of the ninja and it also gives him a slightly more immediate reason for revenge. The Mirage story is a case of revenge for revenge for revenge, which gets a bit complicated. Also it’s more plausible to me that a man can turn into a rat than a normal rat can learn martial arts… But it’s hard to argue “logic” in a property that’s heavily reliant on suspension of disbelief.

Anywho, Splinter is back in the fold as usual and he’s back to being Hamato Yoshi. So does Nickelodeon really knock it out of the park with this Splinter, or is this toy a rat trap for your wallet?
This colorful package is a lot of fun and it definitely stands out in the toy aisles. One thing I haven’t mentioned up to this point is that the blister card has a nice shell design around the top and edges. See, I’m still finding new stuff to talk about!

The back shows off the other figures in the series and gives a pretty basic bio on Splinter. We don’t learn how he got turned into a rat, but it does mention that he was once Hamato Yoshi. It doesn’t talk much about his more “stern” sensibilities in this incarnation of the Turtles, but it certainly seems as though Nick is trying to make him a bit more serious this go around.

Probably of all the Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles figures I’ve reviewed thus far, Splinter probably has the most paint. Everyone else pretty much has a few painted parts here or there, but Splinter has a bit more. His design is more colorful than Splinter has ever been before.

Ninja Turtles Splinter Nickelodeon Review

Sometimes the Mirage Splinter was referred to as a big brown raisin (or worse brown things) because of his sort of clunky design. The vintage Ninja Turtles figure from Playmates was a fairly good recreation of that. However, the folks at Nickelodeon have decided to give Splinter a bit of a facelift (literally and figuratively) as he’s a younger version of the character and more colorful than before.

Typically rats are a brown or gray color and Splinter would follow suit, but this new version of the Turtles’ sensei is a reddish brown with black and white stripes on him. Some have said he looks a bit like a badger due to the coloring. He looks a bit darker in the cartoon than in this figure, but it’s a neat design regardless.

The paint is actually pretty sharp considering he’s got more than most the figures in this line. However there are a couple of areas where Playmates cheaped out. Specifically, his feet, which are wrapped in gray bandages and then should either be pink or furry. Instead they’re just gray. You can see the difference in the sculpting where they were supposed to be painted. Underneath his kimono, the whole leg is gray.

For the most part it’s not too distracting, because you barely see the legs and he’s got the gray bandages on his arms. But it’s a shame that they didn’t paint more. The paint work on the fingers is nice and it’s kind of neat to see Splinter finally get more rat-like hands than furry ones, but it’s nothing amazing. The kimono is devoid of any paint either aside from the buckle on the front, but that’s true to the design in the cartoon.

Someone call pest controll.

Splinter has actually had quite a few decent figures through the years. Most people’s default favorite version is probably the Movie Star version that was repainted three times in total. I really liked the TMNT version, whilst this new Nick version is a completely different take on the character. The design was so strange at first, but it’s grown on me.

There are a couple of annoying parts that don’t relate to the design so much as the figure itself. For starters, although he has a plastic robe and it’s a nice pliable rubber, it’s sort of clunky in the back. There are a few spots on the overall figure where you can see it’s pieced together. I don’t know how Playmates could have avoided that, but it shows you why they’ve typically done cloth kimonos before.

He also has difficulty standing. He’s not as finicky as the Kraang I don’t think, but he’s pretty close. Splinter has the benefit of a tail that honestly seems designed to hold him up. Of course he can stand without the aid of his tail, but the semi pre-posed legs and heavy robe seem to be the culprit in making him lean backwards.

Ninja Turtles Splinter Review

It’s strange because there are some seriously frustrating parts of this figure and yet, the more I mess with him, the more I like him. This seems to be the case with all of these figures and I honestly can’t quite put my finger on why.

Splinter’s articulation is kind of wonky because he’s more or less as articulated as the 2K3 Splinter, but he feels less articulated because of the way his robe restricts movement. If the kimono was cloth, Splinter would move better.

The biggest issue is that robe, but if Playmates had given Splinter some of those “Hasbrows” that the TMNT have, he could really do some neat things with his arms. Instead he’s got good movement at the shoulders, but a swivel at the elbows that don’t do much for him. I’m not sure why it’s more restrictive on him, but it is.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t get him in a few good poses. Like I said, for all intents and purposes, he’s just as articulated as the 2K3 Splinter and certainly much more articulated than the last Splinter from Playmates. Of course if your intents and purposes are lots of wild poses, you’ll be disappointed.

To a lot of folks, Splinter need not do more than stand there and hold his cane. Maybe occasionally, point at something. He’s pretty great at doing that.

This is where Splinter is the biggest disappointment of the entire line thus far and that’s a shame.

Since the very first Splinter figure, he’s almost always came with some of the same weapons. A cane that turns into a sword and a bow and arrow. While there have been some variations, these are pretty much a given for Splinter.

Except for now… This Splinter comes with ONE accessory and that’s his cane. Nothing more. The cane itself is pretty cool as it’s made of a translucent, almost blue-green color. He carries this cane in the cartoon as well, so presumably we’ll learn why it looks the way it does. Some have speculated that maybe it’s made of mutagen or something, but it seems if that was the case it would be more green in hue.

I certainly don’t need anymore Splinter cane swords and I’m actually GLAD that he comes with this new cane as it’s something different and he looks great holding it.

But as my buddy Tokka pointed out, he looks so great with the 2K3 bow and quiver, that it’s a real shame he didn’t get one. Splinter’s archery skills aren’t often seen, but they are a part of the character and Playmates could have just reused the molds.

The good news is that April comes with enough training supplies that Splinter can borrow some, but it’s not really an excuse for this figure not to come with much. However up to this point everyone has come with a bunch of various instruments of destruction, so it’s not as big of a deal. I do think the “ninja arsenal” sticker might have been omitted from this package though!

At $8.99 Splinter isn’t as strong of a value as the Turtles. Not only is his articulation a bit weak (but we’ve seen worse for Splinter) he’s lacking some serious accessories. He’s also got a few missing paint applications and all those things combined make Splinter one of the weakest figures of the whole assortment. Yet, I actually don’t think he’s THAT bad of a figure. He’s got a neat design and he’s a fresh take on an otherwise stale character. I’m happy with my purchase, but you might not be.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 6
Articulation – 5
Accessories – Cane
Value – 6
Overall – 6 out of 10

Some of these auxiliary characters in the Turtles line just aren’t as good as the main guys. For the most part I think all of the figures are great values, but Splinter is definitely a bit weak. I really like him the more I have him, but I’m going to still give him a pretty average score. He’s just not as good as I know Playmates could have made him.

Ninja Turtles Splinter

I still think he’s worth grabbing and is a solid pick up overall, especially because he goes so well with the Turtles. But if you have another old favorite Splinter, you could just as easily use that one with the new guys.

What is a rat’s favorite game?

Hide and go SQUEAK!

I made a funny!

16 Responses to Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles Splinter Figure Review

  • Monte says:

    The CGI Splinter figure is definitely still the coolest, in my opinion.

    Also, I like that I get a heads-up about your new posts thanks to Flickr!

  • Design wise, I pretty much agree. I really liked that version.

  • Col. Joe says:

    Thank god someone finally did a detailed review of this guy. The only reviews out there of Splinter are bunk. Great job Newt. Love that shot of the mousers attack and the comparisons with some of the other versions of this figure.

    The leg articulation don't bother me much. Splinter doesn't need to do too much.

  • Thanks man, I do what I can.

    I'm pretty much the same way with the articulation, but I may try rigging up a custom cloth kimono eventually. Not sure.

  • Agent 86 says:

    I also prefer Splinter as formerly being Hamato Yoshi. The few times the 80's cartoon touched upon the fact that he lost his humanity at the same time as he gained a family, it was actually pretty thought-provoking. I remember being quite confused when the first movie came out and Splinter was originally just a rat. A highly trained ninja rat, but just a rat.

    I also miss the more "rat" like design of Splinter. I do like the more ratty hands and (unpainted) feet, but the head sculpt and particularly the colours/design don't look like a rat to me. Still, it's not like the turtles really look much like turtles.

  • jestergoblin says:

    Splinter being a mutated rat or being a mutated human does drastically alter how mutagen works. In the comics, it turned non-humans into humanoid beings. But in the original cartoon, it was kind of messy. I remember the point being made that the turtles became humanoid because of Yoshi's contact, but he became a rat because he was last with them. What would happen if the rat and turtle were in last contact with each other? It gets really messy.

    But the ooze only changing animals does make it super weird as to why Splinter knows martial arts of any sort.

    The other super weird theory I have is this is partially why Super Shredder is so deranged, since he was last in contact with mutant turtles at the end of TMNT II. I always thought TMNT III should have had Shredder turning into a Slash-like character based on how mutantions had been shown to work.

    As for this toy, he's okay but feels almost more like an accessory than a figure. The lack of weapons (which I honestly think April was given Splinter's rack at the last minute) and relative lack of articulation leaves him just feeling empty. I really want to finally get an articulated Splinter that looks and plays like he is the master ninja he should be!

  • morey says:

    in the new IDW comic Splinter is originally a rat, whose mind is altered by a mutagen of some sort, and is able to realize that he is the reincarnation of hamato yoshi, and that the turtles are the reincarnations of his sons who were murdered by Oraku Saki. when i read that he was once human according to the file card i kind of hoped for this origin for the new cartoon, but after thinking about it it may be too difficult for the target audience to grasp.

  • Tommy says:

    I can't get over how much he looks like a Badger this time around.

  • Yeah IDW tried to split the difference and I'm just not sure what I think about that particular bio. The reincarnation bit didn't do much to alleviate the problems with believability, IMO. But again, it's probably a personal hangup of mine that I can accept mutant ninja turtles, but not reincarnation or rats learning kung-fu.

  • Yeah some interesting theories abound.

  • This is true.

    I get the humanity aspect, personally if I was doing a rewrite, I might try to do some sort of thing where perhaps Yoshi was mortally wounded when he was hit with the mutagen and his consciousness sort of transferred over to the rat that he was mutated with. Not that it's any less ridiculous, but at least there's a bit of a history with that, with Fugitoid.

    Then you could have the best of both worlds and no "we will try to turn you back into a human" bit that sometimes the old toon would touch on.

  • Mario says:

    Man, every review you've done that I've read so far has me wanting those four Turtles more & more. They just look so right, like a perfect cross between the original Mirage version, & their Fred Wolf counterparts. I'm trying to resist, but crap, I don't think I can hold out much longer.

    I gotta say though, I just held the "Classics" in hand yesterday, & despite my greatest attempts to the contrary, I'm rather disappointed with them. It'd kill me if they made great looking secondary characters in that line, where I'd be "forced" to pick up the four Classics just to have that unity.

  • H.R. says:

    Hey Newt,
    I feel the same way about having a cloth kimono for Splinter. I recently got him and removed the plastic one and put the 2k3 splinter's robe on him. The colors of the molded sleeves clash too much with the cloth and is about a half inch to short but one may be able to take the cloth robe apart and develope a patern off of it.

  • tOkKa says:

    –>> "Hide n' Squeek" – ughhh


    ~ t

  • Laxu says:

    Where did you get all those Mousers?!

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