Friday, August 17, 2012

Toy Review – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles April O’Neil By Playmates

Back when the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures came out I hated the April O’Neil figure. She was taller than the Turtles (I didn’t know how short they were supposed to be at the time), that yellow jumpsuit was awful, and she was just a boring girl. And I had nothing against girl figures. I had plenty of females at that point. Figures, I mean.
I eventually caved and bought one after I read the comics and found April to be a much more interesting and integral character than she was depicted as in the cartoon.
While the versions of April O’Neil that have followed have changed quite a bit as characters, the one constant is that she is the Turtles’ human contact. Their main connection to the rest of the world. Whether she is a lab assistant, a news reporter, or a ninja-in-training, April is the one point of constant reality in the mutant heroes’ lives.
This time around she’s a high school girl who also happens to be (or ends up being – I’m not sure how the story will go yet) a ninja-in-training. I’m fine with the idea of Splinter training April after she meets the subterranean family. It only makes sense that they would all want her to be able to defend herself once she had been introduced into their dangerous and unpredictable world. I’m less okay with her being a high school student because that means I’m not allowed to think she’s hot.
A previous version of April is one of my favorite redhead figures and also resulted in one of my all-time favorite Dragon*Con costumes:
So I prefer being able to think of April as a hot lady rather than an off-limits youngster. Oh, well.
First Glance: This is probably the most interesting look April has had, if not the most exciting. This one has a lot more detail and different things going on. Even if it is just a chick in shorts and boots.
Sculpt: April has a big, round head. It isn’t bad, but it does look a bit like a marble. The rest of the body is that of a fairly stylized humanoid. The proportions are definitely high school girl and well done.
I wanted the head to be on a ball joint, but it isn’t. It just swivels. The shoulders are ball joints, the waist swivels, and the hips swivel at an angle and pivot. That’s it. I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the articulation, but that’s going to be a running theme for the non-Turtle figures in this series.
The head is stylized, but looks pretty good. The face has a lot of personality – probably best described as “spunky”. The ponytail is a separate sculpted but permanently attached piece. It looks good and is sized well.
The figure is made of a firm but slightly flexible plastic. The texture makes her look sort of CGI-cartoony. I’m not sure how to explain it.
April’s right hand is an open fist to hold weapons and accessories, but her left is just an open, relaxed hand. I would much rather she have another weapon-holding hand. I mean, it doesn’t matter too much because she’s in training and probably isn’t going to be dual-wielding anytime soon; but it would have made more sense to me.
The shorts, shirt, and boots are well done and look perfectly fine. April sports the same kind of big, bulky feet as the Turtles thanks to her clunky boots. I like the look, but maybe some buckles or straps on the boots would have been cool. They’d look less like galoshes and more like combat boots or something. I’d also prefer it if her socks were sculpted rather than decos.
Design: April has a great paint job. All of the details on her face are very tightly done, with accurate placement and nice coloration.
The shirt has the most detail of the body, with a little color variation at the top and the numbers painted on. It looks solid. Everything else is pretty much just one shade. All of the apps are done tightly, though the socks are just a tiny bit sketchy. They look a bit sprayed-on.
Accessories: Like the rest of the hero figures, April comes with a loose, signature weapon and a “rack” of extra accessories.
The loose weapon is a bo staff . It looks great. The sculpt is very nice, and I'm thinking of switching it with Don's. It fits perfectly into April’s hand.
On the mold piece are a bamboo sword, a wooden practice sword, one of those nightstick-type things, two wooden practice stars, and a couple of eggs. Or something. Smoke bombs, maybe?
I really love that all of these have the obvious look of practice weapons.
Packaging: The new Turtles figures come in some fairly unique, die-cut blister cards. The shape and design of the card is eye-catching and the blister has some nice sculpting and textures. Each character has a bio on the back with a cartoon-style illustration.
Overall: Just standing there this April looks pretty cool, but as a toy she isn’t that great. Without bending elbows or knees her action possibilities are limited and her weird hips don’t do much, either. I dig the form and the sculpt, but the functionality just isn’t very good.
3 out of 5
I’m not sure how tough April is going to be to find. Traditionally she has been one of the turtles figures that took a little extra effort and from what I’ve seen at Toys R Us it looks like she is one-per-case. If you’re buying these simply as toys I would say you can skip her, but if you need the whole set or are concerned about the way the story goes or the group dynamic I’d say she’s a perfectly good purchase.
Be sure and check out my reviews of the bad guys over on my side gig, the ESO Network.

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