Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Action Figure Review: Shredder #2 from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Playmates Toys

     As I said in my review of the SDCC 2013 exclusive Shredder, there's no doubt that the Shredder is one of the most iconic villains around, but has he ever truly had a perfect action figure made in his likeness?  He's had plenty of figures, and I've owned most of them, but I've never felt that there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest.  Last year when I bought the entire first wave of Nickelodeon's TMNT figures, I was really disappointed by the Shredder.  On my Amazon review of him, I wrote:

     "I'm really disappointed with this figure. The Shredder usually makes an awesome toy, but I'm not exactly sure what happened here. He looks ok as part of a display, but if you put him by himself or try to play around with him, I think you're going to be disappointed. Hopefully, Playmates revisits this character down the line (although there is a talking version with a cape available currently) because this guy just doesn't cut it for me."

     At SDCC 2013 Playmates released an exclusive version of Oroku Saki that was taller, articulated a bit differently, and featured vac metallized blades and armor. He was also $35, about 4 times the price of your standard TMNT figure. I decided that the figure simply wasn't worth the money. At the time, I didn't realize that Playmates would be relasing the same exact figure (minus the vac-metal) in the regular TMNT line for around $9. Is this guy an improvement and worth your money? I'd say definitely, but read on to learn more after the break.

     Shredder is about 5 3/4 inches tall from his boots to the top of his head.  He's sculpted with his legs stretched out a bit, so he'd probably be around 6 inches if he were standing straight.  This makes him a good bit taller than the turtles, which isn't out of line with how they're portrayed.  Stylistically, he'll fit in well with the rest of your Nickelodeon TMNT figures--he's not any more or less detailed than they are. Remember, this is simply a repaint (or perhaps the exclusive version was a "pre-paint") of the SDCC figure, so if you have that one you know exactly what to expect.

     Shredder features the following points of articulation: hinged knees, ball jointed hips, a swivel waist, ball jointed shoulders, swivel wrists, swivel neck, and hinged shoulder pads.  The articulation isn't terrible, but it's not much better than the first Shredder figure released last fall.  While this Shredder features hinged knees, he's missing the hinged elbows from the first release.  Why not both? Honestly, those two combined would have really helped this figure to excel, but as it stands he's pretty much equal to the first release in regards to the articulation.  The hinged knees definitely give Shredder some better standing poses, but the arms are largely preposed and not as versatile as I would have liked.

     The sculpt isn't bad compared to the other figures in the line; there's no reuse from the first version of Shredder, and the figure is appropriately menacing. I like the newer chest and thigh armor, but the shape and bulkiness of the claws still hasn't grown on me since the first release of Shredder last year.  Maybe it's just me, but I really prefer a sleeker look for Shredder rather than the bulky gauntlets that surround his wrists and ankles.  I do like some of the smaller details, such as the spikes on his knuckles, but I think a large part of this look is lost on me.  The face sculpt is cool, although he does kind of look like Voldemort, perhaps due to the bald head and the sneer on his face.

     The paint is OK--it's not too different from the first release of Shredder from last year. While the SDCC figure featured some minor shading on the chest and thigh armor along with the shiny vac metalized blades are quite nice, these features are missing on this guy. The blades and armor are a slightly shiny gray, which looks fine for this figure. Most of the damaged side of Shredder's face is depicted with paint, and it makes him look like a "Saturday morning cartoon friendly" burn victim. I do like the splotchiness on the face paint though, as it gives it a bit more character.

Shredder only comes with two accessories- his cape and his helmet.  The cape is molded in a deep purple plastic and easily fits on Shredder's back.  It attaches via a peg and also stays in place due to his pauldrons. The Shredder's helmet matches his armor and fits easily on his head. I like both of these, but do wish he contained a sword or something- TMNT figures just need more accessories.

     I typically don't deal with pricing much when reviewing figures, but I decided to with the SCCC 2013 Shredder. He was a $35 dollar figure that didn't warrant that type of asking price, especially considering Playmates was releasing the same figure to retail. That was my biggest problem with the figure. This guy cost me a little under $9 at retail, and you know what? I like him. He's easily worth that. He's fun, durable, and has some neat features like the cape and the removable helmet. I'm giving him a Great as he is a dramatic improvement over the first Shredder figure released last year. Unless you're a completest, you'll probably only need one version of this Shredder, so unless you're obsessed with vac-metal, go with this one. Easier on the wallet and just as good.

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