Our own yo go re has already done a terrific job breaking down the ins and outs of these exclusive sets - how they were made, why they were made in such short supply, and how absolutely amazing the hero contingent of the two sets is. Now, I'm here to cover the other side of the coin, the villainous Foot Clan!
As previously covered, NECA have faithfully and cleverly continued their 8-bit videogame toyline by boxing up this exclusive with terrific artwork from the original arcade cabinet; here, said artwork has been graffitied and defaced by the evil Foot! There's 8-bit "Foot"
and the Foot icon defacing the front graphic, and pixelated fire beneath the shot as a reference to the burning building from the start of the game. The back side features photos of the villains in place of the different turtles, with the Game Over icons above their character shots. It looks awesome and is a great way to differentiate between the two sets. As with the previous set, this is a window box that opens up to reveal the toys inside, in front of a Technodrome background, complete with the same arcade stick and buttons as you'd have seen on the original cabinet beneath the window. This is absolutely A-grade packaging and MIB collectors will be delighted with the presentation of these amazing toys.
For many years NECA have teased us with prototype shots of the Mirage Shredder figure in the background of their workplace photos, and it is absolutely thrilling that we'd finally get this guy in a set. He's the star of the Villains box, so we'll start with him.
He stands about 6⅝" tall, in scale with the turtles and keeping
in line with NECA's 7-ish" scale. This is a perfect sculpt of the mythic character The Shredder - the one everyone forgets was offed in the very first comic of the original series - with a tremendous paintjob accurate to the arcade game and with the same neat pixellated effects as the Turtles. He's very well articulated, and his costume doesn't get in the way of this - the shoulder pads are of a softer plastic which moves, ditto the cape, and even the helmet doesn't restrict the neck movement too much. There are plenty of great poses here and, as a very durable figure, a lot of play to be had.
Moving onto the Foot Soldiers, which are all the same fantastic sculpt, standing about 6½" tall and each decoed differently to be
accurate to the game. The most notable and recognizable is the purple Foot Soldier, as seen most often in the cartoon, as well as his orange and white colleagues. Pallete swaps were very common in early videogames to bulk up a character roster without using up too much disk space - look no further than the similarly dressed Sub-Zero and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat to see how prevalent this was - and it worked pretty well in the TMNT Arcade Game to have more difficult Foot Soldiers in different attire. Usually a pallete swap just changes the color and leaves all the mechanics the same (cf. Ryu and Ken, Mario and Luigi, Donald Trump and a mangy howler monkey throwing its own diseased feces), while the different coloured Foots (Feet?) each get their own animations and movements.
The paint apps here are terrific and match the onscreen presentation: each Foot Soldier includes accurate colors, utilising the neat blocky pixelation effect as was seen on the Turtles in their set. As
with Shredder, these guys are very nicely articulated, with balljoints at all the expected points as well as swivel biceps, double-joints at the elbows/knees, articulated wrists, so on. One really smart thing here is that the neck actually features two balljoints: one at the base of the neck, and one at the base of the head. I'm amazed I haven't encountered this earlier (and if I have, my dumb ass hasn't noticed it) because it's an ingenius way to give a character amazing movement at the neck. It's terrific. These are very sturdy, durable toys, and the bottom of the Foot Soldier attire is moulded in a soft plastic so movement is not restricted at the top of the legs. It all works together to make for fantastically articulated action figures.
Accessories are where NECA have gone above-and-beyond for these action figures. To start with, each one of these guys has interchangeable hands so they can wield different weapons. And what a large glut of weapons they have!
The set includes a goofy rifle, a giant hammer, a throwing star, two different samurai swords, a spear, a knife and a stick of dynamite. It's a great arsenal of arcade-accurate weaponry, complete with the same clever pixellated paint job. In the game, each of the weapons is used by a specific color of Foot: the gun is used by Orange, the hammer is used by Pink, the spear and dynamite are used by Purple, and the knife and sword are used by White; we're already short a pink-suited Foot, so you can feel free to hand the weapons out whatever way you want. Give them to the Turtles if you want!
As someone very fond of hammers as weapons,
I especially like the big goofy mallet; it looks fantastic and is hollow, which means it is light enough for any of the figures to hold. Honestly, the toys hold all of these perfectly and you'll have a blast arming them up in different ways and putting them in different poses. These are amazingly fun toys.
Which sort of gets to what is really the only problem with this set - the exclusivity. Anyone interested in army building these guys is looking at a pretty penny to get multiple Foot Soldiers, which is a particularly asinine First World Problem but,
insofar as this being an issue with most exclusives, it's especially problematic when the exclusive includes army builders. I recognize that this is a problem specifically to this set, as in, the only way NECA was able to sell these guys is as exclusives, but it does stand. My collector ethos, and ethos in general, is that people should be able to get the things they want if can afford them and they're not hurting anyone, and that things like this should be affordable.
(No, Matty, it's not "fun" when most people can neither afford or have toys made available for them, that's bullshit and comes from a pathetic, ugly place.) I am well aware of the extenuating circumstances that led to this particular set being made, and being made in short supply, but it's still a little sad. I'd love to say that this is a "Must Have" set for TMNT fans and collectors, but because of the expense and limitation it's really not, and that's sad.
And so it is that this is easily one of the best exclusives of the SDCC 2016, and one that you should have no caveats about buying if you can. These are amazing figures and ones that any TMNT fan can appreciate, and they look great on the shelf among the other NECA videogame figures. It is my fondest wish that we see more figures like this - especially with the groovy pixellated paint touch - but in larger supply.