Trend > Culture > Playmates TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Action Figures And Pizza Van Capture The Spirit Of ’90s Toys – /Film
Playmates TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Action Figures And Pizza Van Capture The Spirit Of ’90s Toys – /Film
Playmates TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Action Figures And Pizza Van Capture The Spirit Of '90s Toys - /Film,Along with TMNT: Mutant Mayhem comes new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures and toys, including a pizza-shooting Turtle Van. Let's take a closer look!

Playmates TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Action Figures And Pizza Van Capture The Spirit Of ’90s Toys – /Film

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” enjoyed quite a heyday throughout the early ’90s. Along with the success of the live-action comic book film that debuted in 1990, the franchise was bolstered even more by the animated series that began a few years earlier in 1987. In fact, it was the animated series that inspired the beloved Playmates action figure line that churned out endless versions of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, as well as the extensive array of mutant villains for them to face off against. Some of those weird toys even inspired a few sneaky Easter eggs in the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.”

Speaking of which, since there’s a new “TMNT” movie in theaters, of course there are new toys on shelves inspired by the stylish movie that refreshes the franchise in exciting and visually stunning ways. Paramount Pictures and Playmates sent /Film the basic action figures of all four heroes in a half-shell, as well as their new pizza van, to give us a closer look at the new toy line. Though intended for kids rather than adult collectors who might be picking up Indiana Jones action figures or McFarlane Toys versions of DC Comics film franchises, the new “TMNT: Mutant Mayhem” action figures from Playmates capture both the style and spirit of the ’90s toys in a way that is satisfying for both kids and adults. Plus, the “Mutant Mayhem” toys bring modern toy sensibilities to their playability and replicate the film’s visual style in a mostly satisfying way, albeit with a few minor shortcomings.

Man, I love being a turtle!

Ethan Anderton

It goes without saying that Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo are the most important part of any new “TMNT” toy line. The original 1987 animated series made each of the turtles look largely the same in cartoon form, with only their bandana colors, weapons, and labeled belts identifying them individually. But the Playmates “TMNT” action figures that followed made sure to keep each turtle distinct from each other with different shades of green skin and unique head sculpts, even if the basic body shapes were pretty much exactly the same. 

Ethan Anderton

The design of the characters in “Mutant Mayhem” follows in the footsteps of the toys by giving each of the Turtles a different green skin tone, but the filmmakers took things even further by giving each of the Turtles drastically different bodies, faces, and other trademark characteristics. Thankfully, Playmates didn’t take the easy way out with the creation of these action figures, and they accurately modeled each one after the character’s appearance in the movie.

Ethan Anderton

Each of the figures looks almost exactly how they appear in the movie, with the exception of some of the sketchbook-like qualities of the animation itself. Sure, there are scratches and lines here and there in the plastic sculpt that replicate some of the animation traits, but the paint jobs are much more basic, which is a bit of a disappointment. Having figures that more closely resemble the animation style would have been preferred, but since these are rather basic toys made for playability, they need to be on the cheaper side. Thankfully, for collectors, Playmates did make figures that have a cel-shaded appearance, but they cost three times as much as the regular figures, and they were also Walmart Collector Con exclusives that you can no longer get unless you want to overpay on the secondary market. 

Ethan Anderton

However, there is one aspect of the “Mutant Mayhem” toys that excels where the original Playmates line failed. The signature weapons for each turtle have two different colors. In the ’90s, all the weapons were a single color, typically a brownish-orange plastic. That same color still lingers in these weapons, specifically for the handles. But the blades of the swords and sais, as well as the chains of the nunchucks, have graciously been painted silver. Sadly, since Dontello’s bow staff is made entirely of wood, his weapon is the only one that is a single plastic color. And all the weapons fit perfectly in their respective belt holsters on each of the figures. The only downside is that Michelangelo’s nunchucks could have used some flexibility for the chains. 

A nice throwback

Ethan Anderton

But for an extra dose of nostalgia, each of the figures comes with a rack of plastic accessories, similar to what was included in the original Playmates line of action figures from the 1990s. Each rack contains a canister of ooze (some of them look cracked open), a slice of pizza, and an assortment of weapons, ranging from throwing stars to a three-section staff. Michelangelo actually has an awesome deep cut to a classic figure in his rack: a pair of microphone nunchucks, inspired by the 1991 Rappin’ Mike action figure.

Ethan Anderton

Plus, each of the figures comes with a tiny turtle that matches their skin color. Donatello is the only character who gets bonus accessories outside of their signature weapon and rack, and it’s a pair of headphones and a fanny pack with an attached cell phone sticking out of it, both of which he can be seen wearing throughout the movie. 

Ethan Anderton

Sadly, all the accessories in the weapon rack are just like the original toys, and they’re not painted at all. While that’s a great callback to the original toys, it would have been nice to have ooze canisters with a little green on them, or at least a little red for the pepperoni on the pizza slices. 

Ethan Anderton

Otherwise, for the most part, these figures are solid. They’re far more articulated than any of the classic “TMNT” toys ever were, with joints in their shoulders, elbows, and knees. Making them even more posable are the rotating ankles, thighs, and wrists, which you don’t typically see on figures of this scale unless they’re “Star Wars” Vintage Collection figures. However, the size of their shells can make them difficult to stand in a variety of positions, so figure stands will be your friend if you really want to display these in a fun way.

But the best way to display these turtles may be with their new vehicle, which we also got to take a look at.

Pizza delivery!

Ethan Anderton

If there’s one vehicle that every iteration of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” has, it’s their own ride. Traditionally, it’s a yellow and green van equipped with a bunch of cool tech and contraptions created by Donatello. There have also been tactical vehicles and garbage trucks every now and then. But the new “Mutant Mayhem” vehicle scales things back while also making a callback to another vintage toy. 

Ethan Anderton

In “Mutant Mayhem,” rather than having their own vehicle, the turtles happen upon a regular pizza delivery van in the middle of the final act’s chaos as they try to stop a giant kaiju version of the villain Superfly. However, don’t count on this becoming their signature vehicle, because the roof is torn off of it by Superfly, and it’s basically totaled. But the toy will have a little more permanence in your collection (or your kid’s toy box).

Ethan Anderton

The “Pizzafire Van” takes a few liberties with the vehicle, including one major element that was invented for kids to have fun with at home. With the push of the giant pizza slice on top of the roof, the van’s side door busts open and allows a pizza-shooting contraption to fly out. Powered by batteries, this gadget shoots little plastic discs with pizza stickers on them as projectiles to take out the bad guys. Of course, none of that actually happens in the movie, but it’s been a long tradition for toys based on movies to do wild things that maximize playability over accuracy, and it’s actually a tribute to another classic Playmates toy.

Turtle power?

Ethan Anderton

Otherwise, the van is mostly a loyal recreation of the vehicle as seen in the movie, albeit with more proportional dimensions. There are still strangely shaped aesthetics that recreate the misshapen animation style, like the roof rack lights and the art style on the van itself. The stickers bring that sketch style to life too, though they can be difficult to place on the vehicle because of how sticky and delicate they are. For example, the side window sticker that shows the pizza boxes got ripped in half while I was trying to place it in perfectly. If the sticker gets stuck to the plastic, even slowly tearing it back off to properly place it is risky, which is exactly how I ended up with a tear right down the middle. Thankfully, it just looks like a window crack that happened in action, so it didn’t really run the look.

Ethan Anderton

However, there are also a few stickers that don’t work so well if you want a van that looks exactly like it does in the movie. The other side of the van features a side window sticker that shows Michelangelo inside holding a couple slices of pizza. It’s a weird choice for a vehicle that is made to fit the figures inside of it. Why not just make another sticker that just shows the interior without any characters? 

Ethan Anderton

Furthermore, there are two graphics that come on the van by default that say “Turtle Power.” One is on the van’s spare tire on the front, and it cannot be removed, because it’s painted on the tire. The other is a sticker. These are the kind of details that have always bugged me on toys. Sure, some kids might like little identifiers like this, but when I was a kid, I always wanted my toys to closely resemble how they looked in the movie. It always made me feel like I could recreate the movie myself with toys. Thankfully, the sticker on the side of the van can be removed, but you’ll probably have to scrub away some adhesive residue after that.

Ethan Anderton

Beyond the sticker difficulty, it can be a little tricky to get certain plastic pieces locked into place while assembling. A couple times, I was worried that I was going to snap off a piece of plastic while trying to lock certain accessories into place, but it just took a little extra pressure to assemble it properly. Ultimately, the vehicle looks cool, and it’s something that kids can have a lot of fun with too. It’s just a shame that we’ll probably get an entirely different vehicle in the future.

All of these “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” toys are on shelves now, along with villain action figures, a new sewer playset, and plenty of other things not featured in the movie.