TMNT 2K3 Ninja Turtles Review: Toddler Turtles

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The TMNT 2K3 toy line by Playmates was what really got me back into toy collecting. Before that, I grabbed little things like a Spider-Man figure on occasion. But once I started getting the thrill of the hunt back, my toy collecting became full blown. Many of the Ninja Turtle figures released didn’t exactly hold up to the offerings of Toy Biz at the time, but one pack blew me away.

Before they were teenagers they were toddlers!


Vehicle of Choice: None (they didn’t have any yet!)
Weapon of Choice: Uncertain… but getting there!
Birthplace: New York City Sewer
Height: 3′ 6″ (Average)
Weight: 98 lbs. (Average)
Age: 8
Previous Form: Pet Baby Turtles

They weren’t yet lean, nor mean, but they were green! The Toddler Turtles are in their earliest stages of ninja training, eager to choose their signature weapons and begin learning and mastering the secrets of ninjitsu. Their bodies may not yet be the well-toned fighting machines of their teenage years, but their hearts and minds are in the right place – these toddlers want to kick butt, any butt, especially each other’s! And it takes all of Master Splinter’s patience and control to keep the four boys in line!

When this set got released back in 2004, the toy landscape was very, very different. ToyBiz reigned supreme with their Marvel Legends and Lord of the Rings lines, while Mattel had just begun dabbling in 6-inch DC Super Heroes. Hasbro hid behind their Star Wars and G.I. Joe and didn’t bother joining the 6-inch scale. It was also the beginning of the end for Xevoz. But more importantly, this set originally retailed for $6. And it included four figures.

Each of the four Toddler Turtles use identical sculpts that got colored differently to set them apart. With wide legs and spindly arms, the turtles look like little kids. Their shells are a little wider, the head looks slightly too big. They’re absolutely adorable at just under 3 inches tall! By just making a slight change to the shape of the eyes, the turtles look far more innocent, especially with the half-smiling mouths.

Since they aren’t out fighting crime yet, the Turtles don’t have their knee and elbow pads. Besides their belts, the only stuff on them is their masks. Most likely inspired by Leonardo’s mask from the Next Mutation (or the original Donatello Rising Sun redesign), their masks cover the entire scalp. In this case, it makes sense that Splinter would have them wearing bright colors – they live in a sewer after all! Imagine trying to find someone who is green and brown in a dark sewer, a dash of color must have made Splinter’s job much easier.

The paint is well done on all four figures, even if there isn’t much paint on them. All four of the turtles are cast in their different shade of green and have their chests and shells painted. It’s all very crisp along with the plain, charcoal belts. Each of the bandanas is actually a separate piece that’s glued on, so there’s no spill there and the eyes are all perfectly done.

Articulation is kind of odd. The legs are cut joints but at weird angles so they can really only stand. It’s basically articulation that is there based on how the toys were put together. The neck is also a standard cut joint which works but a ball joint would have really helped out these little guys – they really need to be able to look up! Their shoulders are a rotating hinge joint that almost makes them a ball joint but not quite.

While the packaging claimed the turtles didn’t have their signature weapons yet, each of them comes with a single weapon. Leonardo has a wooden sword with a tied together hilt. Raphael made himself a wooden sai out of what looks like Popsicle sticks. Michelangelo’s single nunchaku looks the most finished, but instead of chains it’s made with rope. Finally Donatello’s bo staff is just shorter than normal and padded on both ends. Amazingly, each of the weapons has paint applications so they actually look like they’re made out of wood and cloth. The only weird thing is that since each figure has the same arms, they all hold their weapons the same way.

Of all the Ninja Turtles figures that came out with the new TV show, these four are some of the favorites. Sure, they don’t hold a candle to the NECA TMNT figures that are quite possibly four of the greatest action figures ever released. But four toddler turtles with adorable weapons that originally cost only $1.50 each? Now that’s a value that’s barely ever seen in the toy aisle nowadays.

Written by jestergoblin

November 19th, 2010 at 12:00 am

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