I took the news of Playmates not continuing their “Classics” lineup as a good thing. I’m sure there were people out there that were disappointed with the announcement. But let’s be honest, they were phoning the series in the whole time. I’m actually quite happy it’s over because it at least opens up the possibility that they will start to license out TMNT to some more collector focused companies like NECA or Mezco. They are already doing it with the 1/6 scale, so what’s the hold up on 1/12? Time will tell, but in the mean time we get our first third-party Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles release: Cerebral!
Cerebral is a representation of Krang and his android body from the 1987 cartoon. First Gokin took some liberties of the design by not making it a direct translation of what we saw in the cartoon. The cartoon was a giant man in red underwear and suspenders that had short T-Rex arms. This look is much more sleek and a great modern interpretation of the android body. The size is also nice because it can work with just about any Turtle you prefer. My personal preference will always be the NECA Turtles which are still the best after all these years. The gigantic size of the Playmates’ Classics never set well with me, so I never bought them. I probably should get Bebop and Rocksteady one of these days, but I’m not in a giant rush for that.
The presentation of this figure is spectacular! He comes in a giant collector friendly box with a slide cover wrapped around it showcasing some artwork and pictures of the figure. Once the box is open the figure is safely snuggled into a whole bunch of protective black foam. Normally I would be fine with this, however it appears they packed up Krang (or Cerebral) before his paint was completely dry and little black specs are all over him. I’ve had him out of the box for about three days now and the paint is almost dry at this point. As far as the black specs I have been slowly scraping them off with my finger nail as I get the time. It appears to be working with no permanent damage to the figure’s paint job.
Cerebral comes packaged with instructions, the android body, Cerebral himself, two alternate axe-hands, and a screen for the torso cradle. The android body has a LED light that shines down on Krang while he’s sitting in the driver’s seat. There is a panel and switch on his back to activate it. The figure needs two AG13 batteries for the light function, and it should be noted the figure does not ship with them. If you have a Cerebral on the way follow this link for a cheap set of the correct batteries.
So we’ve discussed what he comes with but how is the actual figure? To be honest he is a bit of a mixed bag. Obviously price plays a part in that equation but we’ll get into that later. The figure is giant and imposing at almost ten inches height. He’s a great size for just about any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figure you throw his way. He sports diecast feet and shoulder pads which add some nice weight to the figure in addition to anchoring him down. The plastic quality overall is pretty good. He feels like an over-sized Figuarts action figure.
The articulation is about what you would expect of a figure his size: neck ball, shoulder balls, bicep swivels, double elbows, wrists, torso ball, waist swivel, ball hips, thigh cuts, double knees, ankle balls, and toe swivels. The amount of articulation is great, but his proportions limit his posing a bit. The shoulder pads keep him from raising his arms too high. Also his neck is able to look straight up but has issues with looking down. I like to have Krang’s android body looking down on his enemies, so this was a bit disappointing. Being that Cerebral has to sit in his gut you really are limited on the torso articulation in order to attain the character specific gimmick. Krang himself has a pair of arms with ball-swivel joints. Not bad for brain!
Now we shall talk about the hands. They made a weird choice here by giving him soft rubbery fingers plugged in to the actual hand. They can kind of be opened and closed, but they don’t hold things very well. I was able to have him clutching a Ninja Turtle by the neck! I’d have preferred fists instead of the hands we got, or better yet a third pair of fist hands! The hands can be swapped out for the axes, but be careful with the wrist peg because I found it really hard to latch it into hand sockets. In fact I dropped one of his axes and the pointy end is now broken. It’s a very slight break, similar to when the tip of a Hershey Kiss breaks off. While I’m wishing for things I’d want ratchets on the shoulders, because those joints can not hold up the weight of a single Turtle.
Cerebral is probably the best Krang with his android body we will ever get. That said he is not perfect, but he is still really nice. The going rate for the first run has been in the $150 – $160 range shipped. It’s a lot of money to fathom for somebody who is strictly used to retail. For a third-party action figure, though, it isn’t a bad price at all. Considering I spent a little over $100 to turn a Masters of the Universe Classics figure into a Minotaur, Cerebral feels like a bargain. There is no painting or customizing involved here, you will get a beautiful factory made made figure right out of the box.
So where can you get NT-01 Cerebral? Your buying options are a bit limited at the moment since not a lot of mainstream retailers picked him up. I personally got mine off of Chimungmung and have always had good experiences with them, they also have the figure in stock right now. I prefer importing, but if you don’t feel safe doing so (why not? if you are going to buy expensive stuff like this learn to love Japan and their EMS shipping) Lunar has a second batch on preorder for a slightly higher price. I’d imagine stores that sell Playmates’ product are not going to be quick to jump on this. Similar to a few years back when nary a big retailer carried Quakewave from Fans Toys.