Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, my generation was the first to be exposed to the cartoon antics of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But little did we know how much of an influence the series would have on the action figure world. Star Wars and He-Man we just getting done dominating the toy market for the past decade, and then along came these heroes in a half shell.
Now 20 some years later there is a new interest in the series, Playmates Toys is producing a whole new line of action figures, vehicles, playsets, costumes, and more! With the new TV show on Nickelodeon, kids are ninja kicking and pizza eating their way into toy stores once again. This time around there are some differences in the characters, but the basic premise still exists. I must admit that I find the show very entertaining and I am happy to see the franchise taking off once again.
There is so much interest that we will finally be getting another live-action movie, ala Michael Bay, which is making its way to theaters this summer. DFAT was lucky enough to get a look into the “secret room” at Toy Fair which showcased the upcoming toys and playsets from this highly anticipated flick. It was really cool to have that opportunity and see first hand what the Turtles are going to look like, sorry guys no pics were allowed, but if you have been lucky enough to see any of the leaked pictures that had made their way online, then you know what I am talking about. Even the Shredder looked very cool, and I had heard early reports that he looked the worst out of everyone. There will various lines available from your standard action figure size up to the larger scale collector’s figure. I think that it’s the right way to go when it comes to appealing to all the age ranges of fans. Nothing can be revealed until the first trailer hits, and there is no word on that as of yet.
I had some favorites that Playmates had on display. First up is the new Casey Jones figure. The character just made his first appearance on the show not too long ago and of course it’s time to immortalize him in plastic once again. I like that it is a departure from the classic hockey mask look, and the skull is actually pretty intimidating. Next up we have a blast from the past, the Turtles flying vehicle of choice, the Turtle Blimp! I had this toy as a kid and it got a lot of play, even after the blimp part was destroyed, the bottom piece continued to be a vehicle for my figures. The look of this new toy is very, very similar. The paint scheme and the look of the blimp part being the changes here. Lastly, Playmates has been doing a great “Classics” series based on the designs of the old figures from the original line. The next wave of figures for this will be the original movie figures which were on display at Toy Fair. I almost mistook them for the normal versions of the characters from the first wave of classics, but you can see that they are pretty accurate to the movie version.
Playmates is also expanding outside their main action figure line with some new products. Look for Half Shell Heroes, which will be a smaller scale figure that is aimed towards the younger crowd. These of course will come with plenty of cool vehicles and accessories for the figures. There are the Interactive Talking Turtles which when all four of the brothers start talking, they exchange phrases and seemingly have a conversation. Also on hand were the new Stretch’n’Shout Turtles, very similar to the old Stretch Armstrong concept, except these start talking when you pull on them, and they get louder as you pull more. “Sounds” like kids are going to have a blast with these! Finally a series called Z Line Ninjas, a concept that I tried to create on my own numerous times as a kid, and always had a blast doing so. This time around Playmates is making it easier to send your figures flying across the room! These zip-line figues can attach to the wall or any playset for hours of fun.
Well I had a lot of fun reminiscing about one of my favorite toy lines of my childhood and seeing what the kids of today are playing with. It’s great to see one of the best Geekly properties being rejuvenated and I hope that it last for a long time, it should if that movie ends up being amazing! Thanks to Playmates for taking the time to show me their great booth and giving me a sneak peek into what’s coming down the line, cartoon and movie-wise from our favorite heroes in a half shell. TURTLE POWER!
About Playmates Toys
With a history of over 40 years, Playmates Toys is today among the most well-respected and innovative marketing and distribution companies in the global toy industry with a proven history in the creation of imaginative products as well as the development and management of profitable, long-term brand franchises. Key brands include TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, HEARTS FOR HEARTS GIRLS and WATERBABIES. From its offices in Hong Kong and California, Playmates designs, develops, markets and distributes its products in over 60 countries worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.playmatestoys.com or http://facebook.com/playmatestoys
Nickelodeon, now in its 33rd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 18 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB)