#2181: Robin & Raphael



Obviously, no company in their right mind would release just *one* of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so that means for the purposes of these here Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles packs there’s a necessity for a Batman-character to go with each of them.  Yay for the Bat-Family and their now needed inclusion!  Today’s pack is all about teenage rage and an appreciation of the color red!


Robin and Raphael are set two of the GameStop-excluisve Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  They actually ended up showing up at the same time as the Batman and Leo set, despite the initial plan being one set a month.


There have been six Robins in the mainstream DC universe, and the crossover opted for the most recent of them, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s teenage son.  For the purposes of unique builds and designs, he’s actually a pretty solid choice.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to the last animated-inspired Damian figure I reviewed, this one’s a far better articulated offering.  Additionally, his smaller stature means that his joints have a better range of motion than his father did, making him easier to get decent poses out of him.  Robin’s sculpt is a clean recreation of his animation design.  The build is conceivably accurate for a young teenager, going for a slightly cartoony interpretation without looking too goofy.  Unlike Batman and Mikey, Robin gets a sculpted cape rather than a cloth one.  Given the smaller size of the cape, it actually ends up working out alright.  He’s got a separate folded down hood piece which sits atop the shoulders of his cape.  It doesn’t stay in place amazingly well, but it’s easily removed if it bugs you.  Robin’s paint work is certainly the most colorful of the bunch we’ve gotten so far, which is a nice change of pace.  The application is still clean, and the line work still works very well.  Robin is packed with an even more impressive selection of accessories than his dad, with three sets of hands (fists, open grip, and closed grip), a batbomb, two batarangs, a grapple with two hooks, an extra head with the hood pulled up, a staff fully extended and collapsed, a Gotham City manhole cover, and a slice of pizza.


Raphael is something of a rage machine, which makes a degree of sense for pairing off against the usual ragey Damian.  Raph stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Raphael’s construction is much like the other two Turtles, and the articulation works much the same as with the others.  The range of motion’s pretty solid on all of them, and his joints are tighter like Leo’s.  Raphael’s sculpt goes for making him the largest of the four turtles, which is an approach I can certainly get behind.  It makes him a rather hefty figure, which pairs him off well with the quite small Robin figure.  It’s a strong sculpt, and I think it’s probably my favorite of the three Turtles I’ve looked at so far.  Raph’s paint does mix things up a bit, making his skin tone a duller shade of green than the other two turtles.  The lines here are also a bit bolder, adding to that overall chunky thing he’s got going.  Raphael includes three sets of hands (fists, open, and gripping), an extra head wearing a helmet, his sais, and a slice of pizza.


I picked this pair up at the same time as the other two, and this was honestly the set I was slightly more interested in.  While Damian’s not my favorite Robin, I’ve developed a real appreciation for him.  This figure’s honestly the best one the character’s ever gotten, meaning he’ll pair off real well with Batman in that regard.  Raph is a pretty darn solid figure in his own right, though, and I don’t feel this set is quite as one-sided as yesterday’s.

#1972: Raphael



C’mon, c’mon, I’ll review ya with one arm tied behind my back!  Or, tied to my front.  Restrained, is what I’m getting at here.  Confused?  Totally fair.  Allow me to sum up:  thanks to one of my shoulders taking on the properties of a chunk of rock, and thereby rendering me down a hand for this review.  Obviously, things had just gotten too easy for me, so I had to take things up a notch.  Because stress certainly isn’t an issue.  Why would you say that?  So, without further ado, here’s this Raphael figure!


Raphael is the second of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA.  Like Donatello, he’s based on the first live action TMNT film (and, by extension, the second as well), and is a down-scaling of NECA’s 1/4-scale figure from back in 2017.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  As with the larger figures, most of Raphael’s sculpt is shared with his brother Donatello.  Fortunately, it’s a really solid sculpt, so it works out really well.  Raph gets a new headsculpt.  He’s more intense than Donnie, with his Brow furrowed and his teeth bared.  It’s definitely appropriate for Raph as a character, and matches his depiction for most of the movies.  Also unique to this figure is the belt.  It’s just across the waist this time, and actually sits far more naturally.  Also, the storage for his weapons is way easier to use than on Donatello.  Raph’s paint is pretty much the same as Donatello’s, swapping out red for the purple on the bandana.  Raph is packed with his sai, two sets of hands (in gripping and relaxed poses), two styles of ties for his mask, and a slice of pizza (the same one included with Donnie).


As with his brother, Raphael was given to me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, along with the rest of the set.  Raphael has all of the pluses of Donatello, without the one main drawback of ill-designed weapon storage, which is a definite plus in my book.  And look at that, I’ve written this whole review one-handed.  How about that?

#1039: Raphael & Michelangelo




Wait a second!  Didn’t I just say yesterday that I never found the other half of the NECA Ninja Turtles?  Fear not dear reader, this feeling indicates only that you are still sane.  No, I never did find those other two Turtles.  Well, not officially, anyway.  I’ve spoken once or twice about bootlegs, unlicensed action figures, usually produced by chinese factories as a way of making a quick buck.  They tend to be very cheaply made, and rarely can they be mistaken for any official product.  It does happen, though, especially if a factory producing figures for an American toy company decides to make use of some of the molds they have lying around to earn a little extra profit.  That’s what happened to NECA.  In 2013, it had been a fair while since NECA had lost the license to produce TMNT figures, and the main four had all shot up pretty far in price.  Slowly, more and more of these figures began showing on eBay, shipping from China, and selling at lower prices than usual.  As it turned out, these figures were clever forgeries of the real deal, created by one of NECA’s ex-factories.  While the initial bootleg Turtles were just straight recreations of the official NECA figures, the already unlicensed nature of the the figures quickly opened the door to variations of the NECA figures in the usual cartoon colors (which NECA had not legally been able to use).  Needless to say, I came into possession of the remaining two Turtles, which I’ll be looking at today.


RaphNECA2These two are one half of the set of bootleg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, patterned after the NECA releases.  As noted above, the bootlegs were available in both comic and cartoon color schemes (referring to the color of the bandanas).  These two are the cartoon color versions (though the two versions of Raph are the same).  As far as anyone can tell, the bootlegs are only available in the tube style packaging, likely due to them coming from the factory that produced that run of figures for NECA.  Both figures stand 5 ¼ inches tall and have the same 30 points of articulation as the official figures.  One thing I did notice is that these two have a tendency to pop apart at some of the joints, due to the slightly softer plastic that was used.  Like their official counterparts, Raph and Mike use the same body as Don and Leo.  There aren’t any sculptural changes that I can find, apart from some of the native texturing on the skin being a bit smoother.  The official Raph and Mike had unique heads, which is true here as well.  Raph sports one with a squinting, angry scowl, perfect for his more intense nature.  Mike, meanwhile, gets a much lighter expression, wide-eyed and smiling, RaphNECA2encapsulating his role as the team’s resident goofball.  Mike’s head is probably my favorite of the four, just for sheer expressiveness.  The changes between bootleg and official are most evident in the paintwork.  Obviously, Mike gets an orange bandana instead of the usual red.  It’s a minor change, but especially noticeable if you’re like me and the other three have red.  Raph’s bandana is more or less the same shade as the official figures, though it is a bit glossier in finish.  In fact, both figures as a whole are glossier than the originals, no doubt due to cheaper paint.  The greens of their skin are also a bit yellower than the official versions, and brown pads and belts are noticeably darker.  The black details have also been made a bit less striking, especially on the shells, and the accent work on the shading is a little more heavy handed.  As they are emulating the more bare-bones releases, Raph and Mike each get just their basic weapons: a pair of sai for Raph and nunchucks for Mike.   


When these bootlegs first started showing up, I was tempted to pick up some of them, since, as noted yesterday, my NECA Turtles were incomplete.  However, they tended to only be sold in sets of four, so I never got around to getting them.  Back in June, I was out with my brother, and we stopped by a local retro game store, who had just gotten in a set of the cartoon colored versions.  While I would have prefered the comic ones, just for the sake of matching the two I already have, I figured these two were close enough.  Perhaps one day I’ll paint Mike to match the rest.   but right now I’m happy to have all four, even if it is through questionable means.


#0404: Raphael



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.


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.


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.

#0398: Raphael – Comic



Uh… so, two days in, I’m kind of out of compelling things to say about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sorry. I just don’t have a lot of interesting history with the property. Um, so today is Raphael’s turn. He’s the only of the Turtles that continued to sport the red bandana when they moved to animation, so some people have a tendency to confuse a comic style Turtles display as “four Raphaels.” So, here he is.


“Quick to anger and slow to cool off, Raphael has mastered his twin Sai blades, but not his own temper. Easily the most fearsome and fearless fighter of the group, Raphael often leaps into battle no matter what the odds… and often without looking first.” Raphael is part of Series 12 of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line from Playmates. Raph is based on the character’s original comicbook appearance, but unlike the rest of the series, he can also function as a more conventional version of the character. The figure is about 4 ½ inches in height, with 17 points of articulation. I know I keep harping on it, but the lack of wrist articulation on these figures is killer. It’s almost impossible to get any sort of decent pose out of Raph with his Sais, and the missing wrist articulation is completely to blame. The figures even have wrist bands, so the articulation would be perfectly hidden. Raph’s sculpt is mostly what we’ve seen before on the other turtles, but with the usual character specific head. Raph’s head is angrier than the others, which suits his personality. It’s a small touch, but I like the fact that Raph and Don are opening their mouths on the opposite sides, conveying their opposing natures. On a side note, my Raph ended up with two right thighs. It’s not a major issue, but it’s a little annoying, so make sure to check the legs on these guys if you can. Raph’s paint is essentially the same as the others in the series, which is okay, but not spectacular. His is cleaner than Don’s, which is good, but he still has a little bit of bleed over, especially around the elbow and knee pads. Raph includes his twin Sai blades. They’re rather large, and a bit too flat, but that’s fairly typical for Raphael figures.


Raph was purchased along with the rest of the Comic Turtles from my local Toys R Us. Raph was actually my cousin’s favorite turtle, though he’s only my second favorite. He’s got some additional appeal in that his color is the one most commonly associated with the character, so that’s cool.