The TMNT figures have been out a full year now and amazingly, we haven’t been flooded with nothing but variants. Yes, we’ve had variants in the past year, but the amount isn’t that much. One of the nicer sets of variants hitting the shelves in the past few months has been the “Stealth Tech” turtles. This Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo (who we’re looking at today) in spy type gear. As variants go, this makes a fair amount of sense, because you can imagine that the TMNT might put on some extra gear for a top secret mission.
Whether it’s lurking through the shadows to sneak into the TCRI building, or trying to stop some other Kraang plot, the Turtles have gone stealth before. Another thing that’s worth noting about these newer figures, is that they are softer more “animated” sculpts, to better reflect the Nickelodeon cartoon show. I’m not sure if that’s a positive or a negative thing, to be quite honest.
This is the same sort of package we’ve seen from the Nick Turtles from the beginning. The one real tweak here is that there is a tag running down the side that says “Stealth Tech”, and I definitely appreciate it. This can be a great way to see from the side if you’re looking at rows of TMNT figures.
I haven’t tired of the packaging yet, so that’s a testament to the colorful design. The back shows a nice assortment of figures, but doesn’t include everyone. The paper checklist inside is more thorough, though.
As mentioned above, the actual Mikey sculpt is considerably different than the regular figure. Playmates seems to be moving to a more “accurate” animated style with the figures and I must confess, I’m not a huge fan of it. Yes, it does make the Turtles look a bit more like the ones in the show, but I’m not sure that it’s a good thing to have it that way. A lot of the detail is lost in the sculpt and the figures end up being a bit angular.
Mikey isn’t bad by any means, but I’m not sure that the animated style really represents a step forward in the overall design of the figures. It still doesn’t look 100% like the Nickelodeon cartoon, so I think what we’re seeing is just a trade off to where things have less detail but don’t look that much more like the source material. I guess we’ll see as time goes on.
One of the neat elements is the visor, which has to be attached. Once it’s on, it can move up and down and give him two different looks. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really look good without it on because of the holes in his head to attach them.
A lot of the design is clearly based on the original Michelangelo figure, but there are a few differences that stand out. Detail wise, he has some nice spots on his belt and outfit that really give him an extra bit of pizzazz. One thing that I find odd, is that his belt has been modified so that it can only hold one nunchuk.
The paint work is just okay. I found a few rough spots in the sculpting of my figure (like he had been harshly removed from the mold) and some uneven paint on the hands and such, leave a bit to be desired. I suspect the cheap price point is to blame for some of this. The black and orange colors (as well as the other TMNT colors) work quite well in contrast. It makes these figures quite visually appealing.
The articulation is a bit frustrating. He’s more articulated than a lot of the figures in the line, but he’s not 100% the same as the regular turtles. The Stealth Tech TMNT are missing wrist swivels. It may not seem like a deal breaker at first, but the wrists aren’t necessarily sculpted in the right position, so I constantly want to turn his wrists, but I can’t.
I’ve considered seeing if I could swap lower arm pieces with a regular Mikey figure, but I haven’t gotten around to it. Likewise, although most of the rest of the articulation is the same, he feels more restricted. Whether that’s just owed to the design and some of the additional sculpting, or if it’s been modified in some other way, I can’t say for sure. He just feels a lot less poseable.
The Stealth Tech figures do benefit from a nice assortment of weapons. Michelangelo comes with several weapons and even a “zip line” that works more like a grappling hook than anything. It’s nice to see that several weapons are packed in.
He also has the zip line. I couldn’t find instructions on how exactly this is supposed to work. I found that the clip holds onto the nunchuck pretty well when it’s on his back. Perhaps this is why he only has a spot for one nunchuk.
Rounding Mikey out is a stealth tech listening device. It doesn’t say what this is exactly on the card. I miss the days when the Ninja Turtle cards told you exactly what the weapon was and gave it a crazy name and explanation. But I digress.
Overall, it’s a nice assortment of gear. The zip line/grappling hook is my favorite of the weapons, but I’m not sure it’s worth buying the figure for. I can see it being worked into some of my other TMNT figures, though.
You can still get these figures for under $10?! It’s a miracle! Actually the TMNT figures have stayed pretty consistent in price since debuting. While other figures continue to climb in price, the TMNT have stayed around $8.99 for the most part. You can still find them a bit cheaper if you show around. It’s a decent value for a Ninja Turtle figure.
This is a decent figure for a Ninja Turtle variant. I like the concept but I find the execution lacking just a bit. Mikey’s sculpt just feels a bit off to me and the tinkering to the articulation leaves me a bit cold. He’s close to be being a really good variant, but he’s just not quite there. Hopefully Playmates will improve with time and continue to give us Turtles figures on the level of the original Nickelodeon releases.