TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MINIMATES
I think it’s safe to say that Minimates, as a brand, is on the rise. I know, it’s my favorite line, and there’s bias and everything, but really, I think they’re moving up. Diamond is pretty consistently picking up new licenses and they’ve really started to diversify and find ways to reach new audiences. Sometimes, this goes beyond just new licenses and extends to how these figures are distributed. It seems that a number of retailers requested the blind-packaging method, similar to how the current LEGO Minifigures line is handled. I’m not a huge fan of the concept, but as long as they don’t go overboard with insane case pack-outs, it’s not the worst thing to happen to the line. The first license to have this method of distribution applied to it is the newly launched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Raphael is part of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates blind bags. This figure is specifically from the K-Mart assortment, which means he has an extra accessory, but otherwise he’ll be the same as other releases. Raph is just under 2 ½ inches tall and features 12 points of articulation. This figure, like all the others in this line, is based on the character’s appearance in the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Raph uses the basic Minimate body as a starting point, with non-standard pieces for the lower arms, hands, lower legs, and head, as well as an add-on for his shell. The hands, arms and legs are new to this series of figures, and they are shared amongst the four turtles. They’re pretty well done, and they make the figure adequately unique looking. The head is done in three parts, with the upper and lower most parts also being shared with the other turtles and the middle mask pice being exclusive to Raph. The construction of the heads allows for the mask to be a three dimensional piece, without any worries of it slipping down the head if it’s too loose. The last piece is the shell, which is also unique to Raph. It’s well sculpted, and it even has slots on the back for storage of his Sai. It would have been better if the crack in the front had been sculpted, but otherwise the shell is nice. What’s not quite as nice is the figure’s paint. It’s not horrible, mind you, and the detail lines used for the eyes and mouth are actually very clean. The problem is that the base paint work is really only placed in the general area of where it should be. There’s a lot of slop and bleed over, and many hard cuts aren’t a straight as they should be. Raphael includes his twin Sai blades (brand new to this figure) and a display stand painted up like a manhole cover, which is actually really cool. The K-Mart version also includes an extra keychain attachment. All you have to do is pop off the figure’s head, and voila, instant keychain.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Raphael was purchased along with several other blind bag figures from K-Mart. K-Mart isn’t my favorite place to go, but I ended up having some time to kill a few weekends ago, and K-Mart was close by. They had a strip of blind bag figures, so I went ahead and grabbed all they had. Out of the 11 I got, two ended up being this guy. He’s a pretty fun figure, even if he isn’t perfect.