Saturday, January 31, 2015

Follow-Up Story: TMNT Puzzle Eraser Full-Set Review

Kind of an amalgamation of the various looks for the turtles...

Several months ago, I posted an article here on Doki Doki Arcade regarding a purchase I made at my local target. Although there were many items I discussed, there was one item that stood out from the rest, that elated me beyond all reason for the duration of that month. That item was none other than the Little Debbie Jack-O-Lantern Brownie, but the Donatello Puzzle-Eraser came in close second.

For those that don't remember, a Puzzle-Eraser is a mini-figure made out of eraser, made out of multiple parts that must be assembled, a little like a simple model kit. At the time, I had purchased a figure of Donatello from a series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles erasers, promising to report back when I had acquired the full set.

I never said I'd be punctual about it. I probably collected the full set within the month, but never really got around to doing anything with them until today, when I decided it was about time I let the world know whether the rest of the figures matched the impressive quality of the Donatello. Without further ado, I give you the complete run-down of everything you need to know about these Ninja Turtle Puzzle-Erasers I bought from Target.

So the first thing I should probably get out there is that these toys are based on the most recent animated iteration of the Turtles. No, thankfully not the Michael Bay nightmare (honestly, I didn't see it, so maybe it was good). These are based on the cartoon on Nickelodeon, which I really have very little experience with. My niece and nephew like it a whole lot, and the few episodes I've seen seemed pretty good over all, but for whatever reason it didn't really strike up my interest. Plus I don't get Nick or its affiliate channels. My Ninja Turtles are the ones from the 80's, for better or worse. 

That said, the designs, for the turtles at least, are pretty cool, and these are evocative of the basic, familiar turtle look, so it's okay. I'd probably personally prefer figures specifically based on Turtles in Time for Super Nintendo, but those would probably cost $45 each and be actually marketed to me and fellow nostalgia targets, which means I wouldn't dare buy them. These toys are definitely marketed towards kids, and that's just the way I like it.

Okay! On to the figures themselves. In terms of construction, the figures in general work really well. I haven't had any problems with the material breaking or tearing, as you might expect from eraser rubber, and all of the pieces fit together nicely. The only difficulty came in getting their bandannas on their little heads, but even that was relatively easy. For comparison's sake, there are also My Little Pony puzzle-erasers, and putting on their manes and tails is an awful experience. More on those later. Maybe.

Anyway. The sculpting is surprisingly detailed on all of the figures, and the resemblance to the cartoon characters is mostly really good. The faces are a little too small to be too accurate, but the various differences in size and body type are well captured. Donatello is a little lanky, Raphael is bulky and muscular, Leonardo is pretty average, and Michelangelo is on the small side. These little physical differences are one of the features of the new designs that I actually really like, so it's cool to see them represented here so well.

Unfortunately, the quality level of the figures is definitely not even, so I thought I would break it down by figure. Let's start with a quick recap of Don, who I think is probably the best of the bunch.

The classic Don-Chan.
First of all, Don's sculpt is probably the most accurate. Aside from his dead fish eyes, his head looks good, and his pose feels like he is ready for action. His bo stays in his hand pretty easily as well. He also stands very firmly, which I didn't realize was going to be such a big deal, but sadly its a major issue with some of the others. All said and done, Donatello is a solid little figure, and I'm glad he was the first one I bought.

I really thought I got a sharper picture of this... oops.
Next up is Raphael. I convinced a friend who I had bought dinner to repay my by getting this guy for me, so this guy came hot on the heels of the first purchase, since I didn't have to bother rationalizing spending my own money. Again, his sculpt is generally pretty good, but his face seems less right than Don's for some reason. His pose is also kinda lame, as it's hard to get him to do anything remotely interesting with his sai. His stance also makes it a little hard to get him to stand up consistently. Maybe the legs on mine were bent funny or something, but it really does take a firm hand to get him to stand. It's worth noting that he's the biggest of the figures and does have a satisfying heft to him. Not bad, but a little bit of a let down seeing as Don didn't have any of these problems.

It looks a little like he is crying, but that's just a small blemish.
I took a little break before getting Michelangelo, partially because I was a little let down by Raph, and partially because I was worried about my own mental state. When I did eventually pick him up, though, I was pleasantly surprised. His head sculpt is a fair bit better than Raph's, and captures the look of the cartoon character really well. He's got a nice firm stance, and you can even move his arms into some convincing actiony nunchuk poses. I sadly lost his other nunchaku, which only seems appropriate given as I don't think I still have ANY accessory from my classic TMNT figures. A good save with this one, and it managed to rekindle my interest.

I like to pretend that is a cool ninja pose, like he is reaching for his other sword... ugh...
That interest proved to be sadly misplaced, however, when I ended up getting Leonardo. I never really had a true Leonardo figure growing up, so I was looking forward to this guy a little more than I'd like to let on, but man was I ever let down. First of all, his face is about as weird as Raph's, with almost googly eyes, and no real resemblance to the cartoon character. His arms are frozen in really awkard poses, with one way to bent and the other way too straight, and for the life of me I cannot get him to stand in any remotely cool looking pose. His weight distribution is just all off, and he falls flat on his face if he is even a little off balance. I tried EVERYTHING to get him to stand, and the bizarre pose you see above is the only way he stands with any consistency. Considering his role as leader of the turtles, its a shame that this figure can't go front and center with the others. Easily the weakest of the bunch.

That said, I still found this to be a really cool line of figures. I love having little doodads around my desk, and these guys just look awesome, especially all together. They're also super cheap, which is nice considering how insanely expensive toys are, particularly collectibles. I can't afford to drop upwards of ten dollars on something I'm just gonna put on my desk, so being able to have the whole gang together, without any weird clashing themes like Astronaut Raph or Farmer Leo, and for a pretty low price tag, is really cool.

Unfortunately, these seem to be it as far as this line goes. I was really hoping for a series 2 with Shredder, Splinter, April, and maybe Casey Jones or something, but so far I haven't seen anything. In fact, the realm of puzzle-erasers seems woefully devoid of activity considering how cool these are. There are some My Little Pony erasers, and some Skylanders ones, but I was hoping to see more of these that would be up my alley, like Dragon Ball Z or Regular Show. Oh well, I suppose only time will tell.

In the meantime, these little guys will be happily stationed on my desk.

1 comment:

  1. Also....
    A kid did a youtube review of the puzzle erasers too.