Ah, June 2009. It was a more innocent time. That’s when I bought this figure. I know this because that was also when I reviewed the Mini Mutants Shredder Exoskeleton toy. I say it was an innocent time, because NECA had announced that Wave 2 of the TMNT figures would be coming in October of that year. As October of 2010 starts to stare me in the face, I am slowly coming to the sad realization that NECA TMNT Wave 2 is never coming.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mini-Mutants
Michelangelo & Exoskeleton
2 1/2 Inch Scale
By: Playmates
2008
$14.99

The Mini-Mutants were some of the last TMNT figures to be released by Playmates and apparently were a pretty big success. As with all things, sadly they had to come to an end eventually and these exoskeleton vehicle packs were among the last figures released.

Shredder and his fightin’ Foot Clan’s mad scientists have created giant exoskeletons to wreak havoc on the city! Donatello quickly assembles four totally tricked out TMNT exoskeletons to even the playing field. Make that, BATTLE FIELD! Also Michelangelo is a party dude.

Interesting side note, spell check recognizes Michelangelo, but not Donatello. I originally picked these up on clearance, mostly because I just wanted a new Ninja Turtle toy. Is this still a worthwhile plaything though?

Packaging:
According to my old review of Shredder this is a busy package. Yeah, that seems about right. There’s a lot of logos and crap going on here. It can definitely get a bit confusing. I’m a fan of simple, clear branding and Playmates usually does this well. Not so much here.


Credit should be given where it’s due, though. The front of the package does tell you some informative stuff, like how to use the mech and also about the free game included inside. That might tempt people to buy it as well.


The back shows off the other figures in the series and it also tells you the story of why the TMNT are running around in these quasi E-Frames from Exo-Squad. That’s good enough for me.

Sculpt:
Since this is technically a figure and a vehicle, we have two wildly different sculpts to look at. They both need to portray pieces of Michelangelo though. So how does it shake out?


Well the included mini-Mike is quite good. The body is a stylized shape of the TMNT movie figures, which is a little odd since the TMNT movie figures were more or less stylized versions of the TMNT. You end up with double the stylization going on here, but it still comes out alright. The paint work is pretty weak, though.


Still there’s no real denying that this is Mikey and he looks good enough. He fits in well with the other Mini-Mutants and in comparison to a lot of the miniature figures out there, these guys are legitimate TOYS. As opposed to some of those others which seem more like something that should come out of a bubble gum machine.


The exo-suit is decent enough. It’s got some Mikey flavor to it, but it could easily be used as a generic E-frame as well. This one definitely seems more generic than the Shredder one, so if I was an Exo-Squad collector looking to beef up my arsenal of E-frames, I’d grab this dude.


I really can’t complain too much about either the vehicle or the figure. They are what they are. Sure, you’re not getting a Ashley Wood detailed robot or a really cool mini figure, but you are getting a well made, top quality mass market toy. I would have had fun with this as a kid and you can too.

Articulation:
Both the Mini-Mutant Mike and the exoskeleton are surprisingly articulated. Mike has cut shoulders, a cut neck and cut wrists. It’s not a ton, but for a figure in this scale that’s a pretty high level of articulation.


The exoskeleton is made to have a driver inside. The arms have a ball style joint, but it’s not a true ball joint but it does allow you to move the arms in a variety of different ways than just a cut joint would give you. It has elbow hinges, swivel wrists, cut legs, hinge knees, hinge ankles as well.


Finally there is a pincher-claw hand. It has a button on the elbow that you can press to make it open and close. It’s got a decent grab to it.

Accessories:
Surprisingly, you get a few accessories with this vehicle set in addition to the figure and the vehicle.


Mikey has a pair of nunchucks (but only one pair) and the exoskeleton also has a pair of nunchucks. The exo-suit also has a missile launcher on the top.


Also included is some sort of vat of mutagen. Sadly, I was ready to give Playmates some props for including the letters TCRI on the barrel, but oddly it just says TCR.


One kind of cool thing is that there are also a pair of grabbers included to put on the back so he can carry the barrel of ooze.

Value:
At $15 for all that you get here, this is a pretty good value. I scored it on clearance for about $5-$6 and that was certainly a better deal. Still this guy is worth paying the original price for, so long as you like Mini-Mutants. I definitely think it’d be a solid pickup for old Exo-Squad fans as well.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 9
Accessories – TMNT Game, Mini-Nunchucks, Large Nunchucks, Ooze Barrel
Value – 10
Overall – 8.5 out of 10


A little more paint detail and this could have been a 9 out of 10. The figures are pretty cool and the concept while not really what I consider TMNT, still manages to pack in a lot of play value. If you’re a casual TMNT collector, you don’t need this. If you have kids though, they’ll love this. This is a great kid’s toy. It’s a below average collectible. It is well made and sturdy and may have some crossover appeal for Exo-Squad fans. If you liked this review and want to find out when I’ll be doing live performances of my ukulele cover of Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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