2012 Ninja Turtles Toys Review

That’s right—the TMNT Crackpipe is back. They got me hooked young, and twenty-eight years later, I’m still buying their stuff. This fall marks the return of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series on Nickelodeon. The Ninja Turtles are sort of like Aerosmith—somehow they just keep coming back for yet another generation. This is the third animated series for the foursome, this time featuring spiffy CGI graphics. And alongside the new series is a slew of new toys.

The toys are just now beginning to trickle out onto the store shelves and are already widely available online. The first series is comprised of the four basic four-inch Turtle figures, plus friends Splinter and April, and enemies Shredder, Foot Solider, and Krang. There are also talking versions of the figures, as well as collector-size twelve-inch figures. I picked up three of the new figures, including Michelangelo, Raphael, and Krang. I bought them as a 3-pack bundle sold through Wal-Mart’s website for $25. At about eight bucks a figure, it’s a great price.

Krang was the highest on my want-list because Krang is basically the most awesome character in the entire TMNT universe. He’s a fussy, bitchy alien brain whose voice sounds like an intergalactic octopus with acid reflux. Plus he walks around in a naked doughy android body wearing nothing but red underpants.

The new Krang figure has ditched the naked doughy body in favor of a sleeker Terminator-style android. Which is fine with me, because honestly kids today couldn’t handle doughy nakedness like us 1980s kids. Us 1980s kids were exposed to all kinds of weird and dubious crap in cartoons. Little kids today would just be scarred by that stuff.

I still love the new Krang figure. He has a hip minimalism about him. He’s super tiny—the actual Krang is about the size of my thumbnail. I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to take him out of the packaging. A part of me wants to preserve him in the package so he’s worth a million dollars one day, and another part of me just wants to hug mini thumbnail Krang and feel him squish between my fingers.

Interestingly, Krang is spelled with two a’s on the packaging, but I refuse to spell it like that. I think it’s meant to denote the plural, because the back of the packaging describes the Kraang as “brain-like conquerors.” However, to me Krang will always be a singular entity.

As for the Turtle figures, I dig them too. They have a cartoonish chunkiness that reminds of the original Turtle figures, but with a modern sleekness. I like the artwork as well. I never liked the dark, boxy 2007 TMNT design. Similarly, I’ve never cared for the 2003 Ninja Turtles artwork either. Obviously I’m biased to the 1980s stuff, but I think this new 2012 stuff has a coolness factor.

Additionally, there’s also a series of classic-styled Ninja Turtle figures, modeled after the original cartoon series characters. Initially, I was most interested in these classic toys. Finally, figures that look like the cartoon version! As a kid I loved the figures, but I did always wonder why they didn’t look more like the cartoons. So yeah, I was all about these new classic figures—until I saw the price. Depending on where you see them, they go from $17-25 a pop.

They just know the people who are going to buy these things are the thirtysomethings who have been hooked on the TMNT crackpipe since 1988. We’re the reason the Turtles were ever popular in the first place. We’re the ones who became little fiends for everything Ninja Turtle. We didn’t care what it was—we bought it voraciously. No really, we did not give a shit what it was.

Random-ass figures of characters that were sometimes not even in the cartoon? Bought ’em.

Half-baked rock concerts with lip-syncing puppets on stage? Got the tickets.

Crappy frozen pizzas? Ate them like hungry dogs.

So you know what? I’m taking a stand. I’m not buying it anymore. These “classic collection” Turtles don’t even look all that great:

As a number of other reviewers and fans have pointed out about these figures, the paint-job on the eyes is terrible. All of the Turtles look a little cross-eyed—and some are worse than others. Normally, my addiction to the TMNT crackpipe is so strong that I could overlook a little strabismus, but for twenty-five bucks, you’d think these toys would come with corrective lenses.

My other problem is I think the packaging is ugly. I hate that homogenized artwork of the four Turtles. While the original ’80s artwork may have always been a bit doofy and kid-oriented, it also retained a bit of edge. But over the years, that edge has been totally washed out, and now all of the “retro” artwork of the Turtles just looks like cheerful milk toast. Also, I have one more small complaint, which is also my biggest pet-peeve: the mystery quotations around the “1988.” Why are they there? What do they imply?

You know what though? I’m probably going to cave and end up buying one of them eventually. Because I’m hooked:

16 thoughts on “2012 Ninja Turtles Toys Review

  1. I’m with you, dude. I think those classic figures look like ass AND they have lazy eyes. Not only did I buy duplicates of every new Nickelodeon TMNT figure, I got the Shellraiser, the Stealth Bike, and the Dragon Chopper– have you seen that thing? It is bad ass. If I were Raph I’d be pissed some stinkin’ foot solider has a sweeter ride than me.

    1. Just looked up the Dragon Chopper — yeah, it’s pretty bad ass. Why does Christmas have to be so far away? What is the next closest gift thing day? My one year wedding anniversary. (hint hint to the wife who reads these comments.)

  2. I’ve spent so much money on TMNT toys lately I feel like my parents in the 90s.

    I loved the Classics at first, but the lazy-eye thing is kind of ridiculous. I took them out of the package and posed them on my shelf, but I don’t regret picking them up. I just wanna see some villains in that series.

    The new Nick figures are amazing though. I wasn’t even expecting to care about them but I love them. You really need to open them up or buy doubles, because they’re fun to play with. I mean, blog about. Or whatever.

  3. @Impybat – Crocs are just the thing Krang would have unleashed on our unsuspecting populace!

    And I am in agreement with everyone here on the awesomeness of these new turtles. I originally thought I would care more about the Classics but now doubt I need any (well maybe just Raph) while I originally expected to only grab one of the new line and know I’m going to cave and buy them all very soon (so far I have Raph and April.)

  4. I can’t believe the Turtles are coming back again. I remember I was 7 when they came out. My older brother came running upstairs to inform the family that there was going to be a great new show called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We all thought he was lying. Did people say “psych” all the way back in ’88? If so, then it would be true to say we thought he was trying to psych us out. Turned out he was telling the truth. Not only did we have action figures, but some where along the line my older brother acquired a knit TNMT sweater (which was then passed down to my younger brother). I’m sure we thought it was totally boss back then. Now, I’m just glad I was a girl and there are no pictures floating around of me wearing it. Aren’t they doing another TNMT movie, too?

  5. I’m thoroughly enjoying the fact that they even brought back the plastic weapons trees. I NEED to catch these guys in the wild.

  6. Now my Mother gets the ultimate payback as I know I am going to be scrambling around to get these for my son. Of course she had it a lot easier than I will. I am jealous of that original Krang with body. I always wanted one but for some unknown reason I never saw it for sale in my state. The only time I saw one was when I went across the country to visit relatives and they had one.

  7. I like the new look of the Turtles, but I have to say, I kinda miss the simplicity of the sculpt and design of the original toys. Most of those figures could be used to hammer nails without taking a scratch.

  8. my new little rubber krang is only three weeks old and his rubber is drying out cracking.i say leave him in the package!

  9. I also grew up addicted to the tmnt pipe and bought all the side characters like usagi yojimbo and the frogs the duck with the flight jacket etc. I’m repulsed by the 88 inspired turtles lol bit I did by my sons the complete first wave of these new turtle that I will no doubt be playing with also! I too like the new /old styled art. Cowabunga! Or booyakasha!

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