Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NWC Figure Fraction TURTLEMANIA: TMNT 2012 Raphael

By Geddy Cahoon

Hey everybody, Geddy Cahoon here with another edition of NWC Turtlemania. There's not much else to say here other than the fact that if you haven't been reading my stuff recently, all of my reviews for the next X weeks are going to be Ninja Turtles related.

Now that you're familiarized with the concept, let's dive right into the TMNT 2012 figure iteration of Raphael.

I've noted before that I haven't been a Ninja Turtles fan my whole life - In fact, I'm really more a fan of these figures specifically than I am the property/characters themselves. That said, since the Turtles are such a large part of pop culture, I've still always had them ranked in some sort of order, by favorite. 

Raphael was generally near the end of the list, I guess. His character never gelled with me. He's just kind of a generic, loud-mouthed, fightin' kind of guy. There's not much to it. Not that the four Turtles exactly have the most fleshed out or expanded personalities, but Raphael's always struck me as particularly boring/lazy.

I don't hate him or anything, but he's just... Ya know. Raph. I'm apathetic about him. However, my enjoyment of a character really has nothing to do with how I rate the figure (Or at least, it shouldn't). So how does this Raphael stack up objectively, just as a toy? Read on.

Packaging: 8/10

See my Leonardo review, as all of the Turtles share the same generic packaging. It's good. Nothing offensive, but nothing spectacular or face meltingly awesome.

Paint: 9/10

The paint on these new Turtles figures is minimal, but what is there is very well done on Raph. The bodies and shells are molded in whatever color they're supposed to be, with paint applied in small doses where needed.

One of the painted bits is Raphael's bandana/eyes. They look pretty great. With a mass-produced line like this one, you almost expect the paint to be a bit off in parts. But on Raph it's pretty fantastic through and through. There are no unpainted or flaking bits on the bandana, and the eyes are very clean, barely slopping at all onto his bandana. There is a small bit of unpainted skin around the very top of the bandana, but it's hardly noticeable.

Raph's other painted bits are his tape and elbow pads/knee pads. The elbow pads look pretty great, only a tiny bit of brown slops onto the arm, and his wrist is taped perfectly. Oddly enough, the tape around his hands is a different color than the rest of his tape. I can't even begin to fathom why that is. It isn't ugly or anything. Just strange.

Raph's leg bands and kneepads are the same dark brown color, and they look fine. No slop or anything, at least none that was noticeable even after close inspection.

Oddly enough, Playmates decided to leave the palms of all of the Turtles unpainted. It's definitely noticeable, but it isn't really that aggravating. Just strange. There's no reason for it, but it doesn't detract from the figure's overall appearance. The paint job on my Raphael is pretty great overall, and the issues are simply the same ones that affect every figure in the line.

Accessories: 9/10

These new Ninja Turtles are absolutely stacked with accessories. Raphael features his primary weapons as well as a weapon tree full of additional things, in a throwback to the accessories of the vintage line. They're unpainted, but don't look terrible or anything. Raphael's tree probably features the best additional weapons of all four Turtles.

Raph's weapon tree features six weapons (I broke two of them off). The four seen here are two throwing stars, which I never break off due to the fact that they'd just end up getting lost, and two additional sai with only two prongs each. I neglected to pop these off because they're basically just lesser versions of the weapons he already has. I noted in the Leo review that though I'm not terribly interested in the weapon trees, I still acknowledge what they bring to the table in terms of play value for kids and variety for any adults who wouldn't want to pose the Turtles with their standard weapons.

Though I'm largely apathetic about the weapon trees, Raph's did feature two weapons that I really did dig - a pair of hookswords.

I really dig these. They look pretty badass, and a bit more intimidating than Raph's usual sai. I don't actually pose him with them or anything - They just go in the holsters on his back for aesthetic enhancement. I will acknowledge that they just look awesome, and I felt more compelled to bust them off the tree than any of the other weapons included with all four Turtles.

And of course, Raph comes with his trademark sai. They look pretty good. Nothing too flashy or special, but certainly nothing bad. It's the same weapon he's always featured. A classic and the go-to weapon I pose him with on the ol' shelf.

Though none of these are painted and (In my opinion) the figures tend to feature more accessories than a sane person would ever know what to do with, they're pretty great accessories regardless, complementing the figure well and ensuring that you feel that bang for your buck.

Articulation: 9/10

As I noted in the Leo review, all of these guys feature awesome articulation. About 17 points by my count, which is a pretty large amount for a small, mass-retail figure, especially compared to the articulation of previous figure iterations of the Turtles (Barring NECA). Raph features:

A ball jointed neck, allowing 360 degree rotation...

Hinged, rotating shoulder, hinged elbows, and a cut wrist, allowing hand rotation...

And finally, hinged, rotating legs coupled with hinged, rotating knees.

The articulation does have a tendency to feel a teeny bit limited at times, but for the most part you can get Raph into a plethora of really fun poses.

Sculpt: 9/10

I was honestly tempted to give Raph a 10 in this department. I noted earlier that as a character, Raph doesn't do much for me. I felt a bit apathetic about purchasing this figure at first, and was originally planning on buying him out of obligation. The more I looked at him in the store and online, the more I realized that this fairly generic character had been rendered absolutely amazing by a fantastic, unique sculpt, and he became a top contender for my favorite of the new Turtles.

Raphael's headsculpt is pretty phenomenal. His lips curve upward a tad, but there's no mistaking his overall facial expression for a totally angry snarl. It fits the character quite nicely. I also enjoy the fact that the tied part of his bandana looks long and is sort of flowing behind his head.

I love, love, LOVE the sculpting on Raphael's body and plastron. All of the Turtles are covered in little bumps and nicks and whatnot to make their individual sculpts more unique, but Raph really lucked out in this department. I think the crack in his plastron is freaking awesome. It befits his character, and aesthetically it just looks fantastic. The thing I love most about Raph's sculpt, however, is the large number of scars that cover pretty much every part of his skin. You can see them all over his arms and head, but they're most obvious here on the neck. It just looks badass, and they almost tell like a silent story of violent battles, both won and lost. Raphael's scars really help him stand out amongst a group of very similar looking figures.

Raph's legs are also covered in scars, and his kneepads have some large scrapes and dents in them. This figure has character from head to toe. Obviously, the hands and feet on these guys are very oversized. That may not be highly popular among some fans, but I dig it.

Raphael's shell is a greenish brown color, and the holsters for his weapons are sculpted as well. Both pieces look nice, not a ton else to say here.

From the side, Raphael looks quite slender. Not too bulky or obnoxious. He won't take up a ton of space on the shelf.

Simply put, Raphael's sculpt is amazing. There's really no other word for it. Every element contained works, and he has so many unique aspects. He's really a notch above many of the new figures (Which are great in and of themselves) in terms of sculpting and attention to detail.

Overall/Value: 9/10

At this point I'm just reiterating, but this figure is freaking amazing. His paint is near perfect, the articulation is fun, he comes with an awesome amount of accessories, and his sculpt is just top-notch. I don't exactly love Raphael the character, but this figure is one of the coolest things I currently own.

These things retail insanely cheap. $9.99 at most stores, and only $7.77 at Walmart! You'd be freaking insane not to procure this guy for 8 bucks. Even if you're not a huge fan of Raphael or the Turtles in general, you'd be hard-pressed to find a nicer figure for a better value these days.

That's it for this week! Let's all keep collecting action figures beyond the age it's generally considered socially acceptable!

Next week, TURTLEMANIA continues with a review of the TMNT 2012 Michelangelo!

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