It’s been almost eight years, but I still think NECA’s original run at the Mirage turtles holds up as the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures ever produced. As good as the line was it was also short lived. A tumultuous relationship with Playmates resulted in NECA being unable to sell the figures at retail. The line ended with the four turtles, April, and some mousers released. Unfortunately, a Shredder and some Foot Soldiers were prototyped but never made it to production.
After all these years NECA is taking another swing at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Not only have we got these fabulous arcade game box sets, but later in the year quarter-scale figures based on the 1990 movie will be hitting shelves. It appears the six-inch line still holds the same restriction from the license holder, so the two arcade sets were only available at 2016’s San Diego Comic Convention. Unlike most SDCC “exclusives,” NECA claims that they were unable to sell it outside of the show. So is that it then for the arcade game set? Or will they have more available at other conventions like NYCC? Maybe they’ll release Mirage versions of Shredder and the Foot at a future convention? NECA has been pretty tight lipped about the future of these molds, but I’d bet big money they plan to use them again in some capacity.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael come packaged in an arcade-themed opening window box. I’m actually amazed that they did not need to get Konami’s permission to use both assets from the game as well as the arcade cabinet’s artwork. The box’s presentation is amazing and if it wouldn’t cost me an additional $200, I’d have gotten a second set to keep packaged.
Not only do you get the four turtles, but the set comes with a very generous helping of accessories. It includes four pairs of alternate hands, all of the turtles’ signature weapons, a spinning nunchuck effect for Michelangelo’s weapon, and a pizza. All of the hands are interchangeable between the four brothers, however, one pair is specifically made for Raphael to hold the sais between his fingers. I have not run into any issues with the wrist pegs being too tight or fragile. They appear to be strong enough to swap in and out without fear of breakage.
When the set was announced, I was very surprised to see that NECA put together all new sculpts for the turtles. I expected that they would reuse the original Four Horsemen sculpts from the 2008 line. However, they went back to the drawing board and gave us a set of turtles that are sculpted to look extremely cartoon accurate. I can’t imagine that this is a coincidence. Considering we live in an era where reuse is the rule rather than the exception, I would eat my hat if these sculpts don’t get used again. Even if it is only for another convention.
But enough about the reuse, these new sculpts are gorgeous! And the video game colors and pixelated shading only make these sculpts pop that much more.
NECA is really good at making Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. It is a shame that their distribution methods are so limited by their license agreement. Everybody should have a chance at these as they are truly amazing representations of our favorite turtles friends. This box set is also a great tribute to an arcade game that brings back so many memories of the Jersey Shore and all of the quarters my cousins, brother, and myself wasted to beat that stupid multiplying Shredder. I usually try not to beam this much over a toy, but having these in hand lived up to the pre-release hype in every way.
This set sold for $100 at San Diego Comic Convention. I’d expect that unless you have some really good friends, expect a markup to that price. Keep an eye on places like Amazon as price trends tend to fluctuate all the time, especially for a product that is going to rely strictly on after market sales going forward.