The first wave of the re-released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was nice, if not overly impressive. As Poe said, the Turtles weren't screaming for a makeover the way He-Man was; as such, their revival wasn't the revolution that some other nostalgia properties have been. But now, with Fightin' Gear - the third variant theme, after "plain" and "extreme sports" - Playmates has improved not only on the old line, but on their most recent offerings as well.
When Donatello told his brothers to go out and find some junk to use as a material for some new armor designs, Mikey really took it to heart! Always one to stand out, Mikey found some old traffic signs and markers to base his Fightin' Gear on. While he might look a little "loud" with his new armor on, don't let it fool you - those extreme nunchakus will certainly leave a mark on the Shredder.
The theme of this sub-set is "armored." Shredder's been upgraded, as have the Foot soldiers and even our heroic terps. The turtles are all wearing what art teachers euphemistically call "found objects" as protection for their war on crime, and Michaelangelo is the junkiest of them all.
He's got a sort of homemade football helmet, a stop sign that's been sheared in two tied to his shoulders, a car's grill on his chest, shin guards strapped to his arms, a broken shin guard stitched to a piece of radial tire on his right leg and a traffic cone taped to his left. Each of the Turtles in this series comes with some sort of kitbashed version of their traditional weapon. Mike's "extreme" nunchucks are lengths of pipe, complete with nuts, screws and studded ends.
All that would be okay, but not cool enough to warrant buying the figure unless you really liked the look. Fortunately, Playmates went a little further with this series. First of all, all the armor is removable; every piece on every turtle is fully removable and interchangeable. You can strip your Fightin' Gear figure down to his bare essentials, even removing his belt if you feel like it. This allows you to customize your own armor scheme, if you buy more than one figure.
Once you get all the junk (and I say that in a good way) off Mikey, you find that this isn't just the same figure released a few months ago: this is a brand new, highly articulated body. Mike moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrist and hips, as all the TMNT figures have always done, but he is now also articulated at the knees, ankles, toes and fingers, which gives you a much wider range of poses.
All four Turtles share the same body, molded from different shades of green, which is why their armor is so easily swapped. Michaelangelo has the most neon look of the four. If you're only going to buy one Fightin' Gear figure, I'd recommend Leonardo: his samurai-inspired armor is pretty swank. Of course, if you buy the whole set, you can mix and match pieces however you want.
Which armor set do you like best? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.