TMNT Mini Mutants Review: Leo’s Ninja Dojo

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Since Playmates figures collectors will buy all their stuff anyway, they can ignore that market entirely. That’s the only reason I can come up with for why Shredder was originally only available in a $20 playset.

It’s the bout of the century as Leonardo goes one-on-one against the Shredder! Use the power battle levers to face-off the bushido battlers in Leo’s Ninja Dojo! Make them smash through the breakaway battle wall! Watch as Leo’s fresh moves steer Shredder into triggering two hidden traps!

Leonardo is a straight repack of his figure that came with the motorcycle, which in turn was just a recolored version of his original single pack figure. Stoic and bright green, Leo doesn’t look that bad but the design of this line is a bit off still. The lanky limbs make Leo look like a frog.

Articulation is the standard seven cut joints at the shoulders, wrists, neck and hips. It’s serviceable but if Batman can have ball joints, so can the turtles! For weapons, Leo comes with his twin katanas and a sheath on his shell to store them.

Shredder is the real draw of this set though, since at the time it was released, this was the only way to get him. Standing a head taller than Leo, Shredder is just over three inches tall to the tip of his helmet. His design is movie-inspired but he never was actually in the movie beyond a single sketch so Playmates got creative. Shredder’s much lankier than Leo surprisingly with his super thin waist that makes me think he’s wearing a corset.

But all the classic Shredder elements are there, the spike armor, the samurai inspired helmet and the huge blades on his wrists. But everything on him doesn’t look quite right. The shoulder mounts seem way too high while his wrist blades seem to be on his elbows. Even his legs look messed up.

Articulation isn’t quite up to par with Shredder moving at the waist, shoulders and barely at the neck. His shoulders are inhibited by shoulder armor and his head moves because the helmet is actually an accessory.

At this scale, Removable helmets make no sense. Either the head has to be tiny to accommodate a helmet that looks right or the helmet has to be huge to cover an appropriate head. In this case, Shredder’s head is tiny. Awkwardly tiny, like it is the same size as his fingers. When Playmates did this with the vac metalized Shredder, it was awesome. Here, it fails miserably for more than just looks.

The helmet rips the paint off Shredder’s face. Any time it rubs against him, paint gets chipped away. So you’re left with a Shredder who has a black nose, graying lips and a chunk of his cheek missing. Shredder also comes with a bladed staff that isn’t bad but since he doesn’t have wrists, he can’t do much with it.

The playset included is much sturdier than the Super Hero Squad playsets, but surprisingly doesn’t seem to be as much fun. The upper “street level” portion of Leo’s dojo is rather dull. Stickers make up a majority of the designs showing off a closed subway entrance and the graffiti covered Red Eye Club where Leo and Raph squared off in TMNT. That is it up top.

The bottom floor took a page out of the TMNT 2K3 sewer by including “Battle Power Levels.” There are two stands for Leo and Shredder to stand on and if you push in the levelers, they spin blindly and might hit one another. If you’re lucky, a figure might knock into the break away brick wall. It’s a decent touch but not the most exciting.

The other two action features include a booby trapped pipe that spins around to hit someone unsuspecting or a training post which does the same thing.

Originally retailing for $20, this isn’t a terrible set. It has Leo looking normal and the Shredder. That would have easily been a two-pack to fly off shelves. The playset is okay but not super exciting either. What’s most remarkable is how much better the playset is for the same price as the Super Hero Squad ones. I just wish the Shredder figure wasn’t so bad.

Written by jestergoblin

April 21st, 2011 at 12:00 am

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