Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Night Shadow Leonardo Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
SDCC Exclusive
Night Shadow Leonardo
5 Inch Scale
By: Playmates

I blame myself. A couple of weeks ago when I was the first website to post about the Night Shadow Leonardo, I set off a chain reaction of hype that snowballed to epic proportions. Soon other sites were posting about it and before long, lots of people wanted this figure. I wrote at the time:

I don’t know if I’d buy this figure, but it is kind of a neat one off. Similar to the black and white NECA Turtles. Hopefully there are even neater things on the horizon. I could get behind a variety of fun repaints…

Ninja Turtles SDCC Night Shadow Leonardo

What a foolish man I was. You see as the hype built and Playmates put the figure on their website just as I had predicted, I caved in and decided I could handle having this variant. Turtlemania is running wild here at Infinite Hollywood HQ and Night Shadow Leonardo was mine! Now that he’s here, everything about this guy is a disappointment. Proof that not even undying Turtle love can prevent the occasional shellshock.
The package is pretty bleak all things considered, but if this was serving as hype for the new series, say a YEAR ago, it would have been pretty sweet. Now that we’ve seen so much of the animation and art, this is absolutely drab. It features the modern logo and not much else.

SDCC Leonardo

Since this is a collectible with a run of only a few hundred, I’m happy to report that Playmates stomped all over the box before shipping it out to me. Thanks guys! Perhaps it was UPS that did the damage, but regardless, the box is not as pristine as I’d like, given that it’s part of the presentation. Not that it matters, this box is made of very thing cardboard stock and won’t stand the test of time for anyone.

This figure is largely a repaint of the regular Nickelodeon Leonardo, except with a few notable differences.

SDCC Leonardo

First, let’s talk the sculpt and paint. The paint work is actually different than the original preview I posted up, but it does better reflect the promo art that this figure got his namesake from. The details in the sculpt are just as sharp as the retail figure and all things told, he’s pretty sweet looking.

In that sense, I approve. The neon green splashes really pop and the contrast of black elements, particularly on the shell, really show off some of the great texture on this figure. I could definitely see some repaints being fun (but not of this body mold, more on that in a minute) if Playmates were to go that route.

The teeth are white as opposed to the slightly yellow color of the regular figure and he’s got a few differences here or there in terms of paint application spots that help separate it from the regular release, aside from the complete difference in scheme, naturally.

Obviously the biggest change is the feet, which now reflect that animation a bit more. For my money, I prefer the retail figure’s feet. While those feet are definitely more like human toes, the SDCC Night Shadow Leo’s feet look far too much like hooves for my liking.

And then it all falls apart. Playmates could have simply repainted their retail Leo and pleased everyone. It was a cheap, inexpensive way to do an exclusive. Easy peasy, right? WRONG!

In someone’s infinite wisdom, they decided to remove ALL of the articulation from this figure. Not only are the knee and elbow joints missing, but the arm and leg movements are as well. Even the neck is static.

It serves no point, mind you and likely cost Playmates more to mold this without joints than to just repaint the retail mold… But hey, at least it’s a statue now! A very cheap one at that. The legs feel like they could be pulled off and the entire presentation isn’t as fun. Sure, if you like a little statue of Leo in this colorway, it’s great, but I’m an action figure collector, NOT a cheap statue collector.

Honestly if I didn’t know any better, I’d say they made this a year ago and just didn’t have it ready in time for the SDCC to help hype up the new TMNT figures. Unfortunately I do know better.

The best part about this figure is the accessories, but that’s sort of like saying the best part of a car wreck is the scars.

The swords are the exact same as the retail figure, but they’ve been repainted to reflect the color scheme. They’re actually a pain to get out of Leo’s hands and I thought they might have been glued at first, but it turns out Night Shadow Leo just has a deeper ridge in his hands sculpted in to make it so he can hold them better. Given that he only has one pose, I suppose that’s sort of important.

You can store them in his sheaths in the back, should you so desire. Giving you a whopping two display options.

Ninja Turtles San Diego Comic Con

You also get a manhole cover stand. It’s the best part of the whole figure. I kind of wish these had been included in the retail figures. Sort of like how the Classic Turtles got them.

At $30, this figure is arguably the biggest ripoff I’ve had in recent memory. This figure could have been a cool, cheap repaint of a neat toy that would serve as a nice limited edition piece. Instead it’s an overpriced rubber statue with sub par quality and no redeeming value. I like the stand, which he doesn’t even need and that’s it.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 2
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 6
Articulation – 1
Accessories – Katanas, Manhole Cover Stand
Value – 1
Overall – 1 out of 10

I really feel like this was a waste of a SDCC exclusive. What’s worse is, this would have been a neat item a year ago… But after already having the actual retail figures out, there’s absolutely NO point in a little inarticulate statue to “preview” what’s to come. We’ve already got the figures, so this feels a bit pointless.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Night Shadow Leo actually makes the Batsu Turtles look good in comparison.

14 Responses to SDCC Night Shadow Leonardo Review


    Dude…that is pretty depressing. I was thinking the same thought originally, how this repaint would be cool for all the figures of the turtles ala the NECA b&w figures. Darn shame that the ball was dropped this bad and we got a subpar plastic statue

  • Bill White says:

    Wow. Based solely on this review, this may be the worst con exclusive I've ever seen. Even the "shadow" paint job looks bad. It looks like he was splashed with ink rather than "shadows".

    I remain cautiously optimistic about this entire line. Playmates used to make really great figures, but the "Terminator" and "Star Trek" movie toys they did were awful. They were more like cheap knock-offs rather than officially licensed figures.

    Let's hope Playmates brings their "A" game to the Turtles, and that this figure is just a slight hiccup.

  • Trust me, I'm hugely disappointed. The fact that $30+ dollars went to this that could have went to other TMNT stuff annoys me greatly.

  • So far things have been great, I'm hoping this is just a random misstep. They've never been one to do much with SDCC exclusives before, so maybe they just botched that.

  • jestergoblin says:

    This whole figure has been a fiasco. A year ago, it would have been great but now it just doesn't make sense. I heard reports of it being extremely limited in production (like 600 total), the price point went up 50% the day of the SDCC, Nickelodeon's credit card machine went down and they were also charging sales tax.

    Then the big reveal that it isn't articulated? Sorry Playmates, but that just seems devious for no reason. Had the figure been advertised as a statue up front, I think people would be a lot more okay with it.

    I am okay with the fact that I wasn't able to get one of these. The price and the actual item are just so disappointing.

  • Mario says:

    I feel bad for you Newt. Sorry it had to be so shit.

  • clark says:

    That sucks big time. I don't think anyone knew ahead of time that this was just some statue made out of an articulated action figure. I can't even figure out what the point of this exclusive it, especially since for $30 you could almost buy all 4 turtles at retail.

    Sorry you got stuck with this thing. I thought it was going to be a cool figure.

  • It's okay, I've managed to get rid of it, haha.

  • It was a major letdown.

  • Mario says:

    Ha! Likely to someone who's not read your review.

  • PrfktTear says:

    From what I understand not only was this guy ten dollars more than what we expected him to be, he was also a bitch to get because of their 1-per limit AND the fact that their credit cards were down.

    Overall he's just not that impressive.

  • Some Random Guy says:

    The reason why there is no articulation is that the glow coming from the mancover creates the green on the leo figure and if he had articulation it would take away that effect. That's what playmates said when i emailed them

  • I get that, because the figure is designed for one pose only. Still, I think they missed an opportunity. Lots of figures have paint applications that only look good in a couple poses. Not being able to move this guy seems like a real misstep, but different strokes for different folks I suppose.

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