Friday, January 25, 2013

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Ooze...And Some Series 3 (Playmates Toys)



Did March come early this year?  Apparently when Paula from Playmates Toys told us that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys would be out in late March/early April, what she really meant was, "Right about now."  While out poking around our local Toys R' Us and Target, we came across all these new toys!

To be honest, we're not sure if these figures technically count as series three, or if they're a sub series of toys entitled, "Mutagen Ooze," so for now, we're going to assume they're the third wave, and will update this post later if necessary.

***UPDATE***

The Mutagen Ooze labeled toys are indeed a subset, while the vehicles and playset which are not labeled as such are indeed the first sightings of series three toys.

Only four figures were released, and all four were a variation of one of the Turtles, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.  Each figure is brightly dressed in clothing that looks almost like a form of hazmat or riot gear, and comes with a backpack which is designed to coincide with the newly released Mutagen Ooze itself (see below).

Each figure sports a mouthful of a name; Ooze Scoopin' Donnie, Ooze Chuckin' Mikey, Ooze Tossin' Raph and Ooze Launchin' Leo.

These figures are very reminiscent of the later Turtle figures from Playmates original line of figures.  You know, the ones that got so ridiculous that it killed the series.  While we're happy to see new figures hit shelves, these aren't exactly what we were hoping for.  Perhaps with these out of the way though, Playmates can resume real focus and attention on the series.

The articulation is poor at best.  The arms and legs move up and down, and the head swivels.  Beyond that, nothing else.  Overall, these are the worst action figures in the line since Night Shadow Leo, which was nothing more than a glorified statue.  They're pretty disappointing.  The new head scuplt for each Turtle was a nice added touch, and probably the only saving grace of the series.

All four of the backpacks are the exact same, with the only difference being color.  Each figure is packed with three little plastic "blobs" that are suppoed to resemble ooze, and again only differ in color for each figure.  Each figure also comes with a batton, which again, the only difference is the color.

The back of the packaging is rather unique from the first two series.  Gone are the cut out bio cards, which have been replaced with a double photo of directions for using the figure with its packed in backpack.  The photo directions on all four figures are that of Michelangelo.

Also worth noting is that these new figures have the same assortment number as the prior two series.  The item numbers which used to be on the back are now on the front in the bottom left along with the assortment number, which is listed on both the front and back.

Unlike the second series of figures which showcased both series one and two, the back of this series only shows the four Mutagen Ooze figures, as well as the two small vehicles which coincide with the series.

***UPDATE***

As of July 2014, the Mutagen Ooze figures have been making their way back to store shelves, however this time they're packed in with bonus Mutagen ooze. So far we've only seen Leonardo and Michelangelo on store shelves, but the UK has seen all four variations, so we suspect the other two Turtles are just around the corner.





Two small vehicles were released with the new banner, "Mutagen Ooze," and much like the figures are desigend to coincide with the separately pacakged Mutagen Ooze (again, see below).

What's interesting about the packaging design is that the figures displayed on the box are the regular figures, and not the new figures which one would think so, since they are afterall designed to accompany them.

The boxes, and overall size of the vehicles match those of the first series released Rippin' Rider and Sewer Spinnin' Skate Board with Stunt Ramp, which are also advertised on the back of the box with the new Sewer Cruiser and Drop Copter.

While we haven't tested our own yet, the back of the package claims that the Sewer Cruiser actually floats in water.

Two medium sized vehicles were also released, though technically they are just two packs of the smaller sized vehicles.  The Mutagen Ooze logo is nowhere to be found on the packaging, nor are there any other advertised toys beyond the set of four buggies.

Leo and Donnie's Patrol Buggies and Raph and Mikey's Patrol Buggies can actually be linked together, and then launched off of each other, forming a set of larger vehicles that break down into the two smaller ones.  Though we honestly have to admit that we're not too thirlled with the larger price tag that comes with this fairly lame gimmick.

We acknowledge that creating vehicles for a toy line that doesn't necessarily have many references to them in an established cartoon or comic book series is a difficult challenge.  We respect the effort that Playmates Toys puts into the design and release of each one, but at the same time it gets rather difficult to purchase things of this nature when the end result is really just silly.

Playmates has already gone to the expensive side of the spectrum with their first playset, so it was nice to see them come all the way to the other side and release a fairly small, reasonably priced playset for those who couldn't find or afford the Toys R' Us exclusive Secret Sewer Playset.

The Pop-Up Playset: Anchovy Alley comes in a small squared box that resembles a pizza box, and as the name suggests, pops up to form the playset via various hinges.  What makes this item a little more fun than your average playset is that it's a transformer of sorts.  When you fold it back down, it litterally forms a small plastic pizza box.

It also comes with a few hidden playable aspects such as the shooting pizzas, flip up manhole cover, break away vault door, and a streetlamp for swing kicking enemies through the shop door.  For around thirty dollars, this little playset has a lot going on.  We dare say more so than the Secret Sewer Lair.

So, here it is - The Mutagen Ooze.  It's what made the turtles what they are today.  Each tube comes with a light bluish ooze inside, and if that weren't enough, each canister has one of four small plastic turtles inside.  Unfortunately no matter how hard you shake the bottle in the toy isle, there is really no good way to get a look at what turtle is inside as the goop is very thick, and the turtle can be anywhere inside.

***UPDATE***

After taking a closer look at the Ooze, we noticed that on the bottom of each canister is a number sequence ending with the letter A, B, C, or D.  After opening a set of each, the numbers and figures inside are as such;

NN2324A - Leonardo
NN2324B - Donatello
NN2324C - Michelangelo
NN2324D - Raphael

We also found a variant.  The canisters in our area have the numbes above printed on the angled side of the bottom.  Others we've seen online (eBay) have the numbers directly on the bottom adjacent to the silver screw.

At seven dollars per tube, it's a rather pricey bottle of gunk.  Especially considering that the majority of kids who get their hands on it are simply going to make a huge mess.  But, if other toy lines have taught us anything, it's that toys that are meant to be disposed of sure do skyrocket in value when they're suddenly not available.  It's amazing what some people will pay for a small container of Masters of the Universe Slime (as of today, $40.00 for one sealed container).  So for all you second hand sellers out there, we can't encourage you enough to buy as much of this stuff as possible, and store it somewhere where it will retain its sticky texture and color.

That about does it for our latest find of Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It's a pretty disappointing release, specifically with the figures, and we're rather worried at this point that Playmates Toys is already taking a dive on the series.  With such a brand new animated series to draw inspiration from, it's a real shame to see such poorly produced figures come about so soon.  It's a cash grab at its best, and a real stall out in the series which launched with such great success.

We'll keep you posted on any new findings that we come across.  Hopefully future releases will be a little more exciting.

***UPDATE***

It appears that when Toys R' Us put the non Mutagen Ooze titled toys out that they actually broke street date.  These toys are not scheduled for release until February 10, 2013.  Several Target stores have these items in stock, but will not put them on the shelf until this day - Though you may be lucky enough to have a Target in your area that will break street date.

We also got a look at a full case of the latest assortment.  To our surprise both April O'Neil and Krang were not in it.  Have these two figures already ceased production?  Will we see more in the future?  Your guess is as good as ours.  For now, don't expect to see these figures on shelves unless they are from older cases.

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