Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: Raph in Disguise from Ninja Turtles by Playmates

     As soon as I heard about this action figure, I knew I had to have it. Not only is Raphael my favorite turtle but this figure totally reminds me of the original movie scenes where Raphael travels above ground in New York disguised in a trench coat and a hat. Further, the action figure Don, the Undercover Turtle has always been one of my favorite figures from the vintage toyline so I was thrilled to have a new toy that somewhat paid homage to the original. If Playmates ever releases a disguised Raphael in their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics line, I'll freak out. I just know it. As I mentioned in my review of The Shredder, I'm currently cautiously optimistic about the new film that is slated for release on August 8th, 2014. I'm really getting into an even more hardcore TMNT groove than usual so even if the movie ends up being less than awesome, I'm still enjoying eating TMNT pizza from Pizza Hut, drinking TMNT crush, listening to Ninja Rap, watching the cartoon, and reading the IDW comics. Ready for a review of Raph in Disguise to help add to this radical summer? Then join me after the break...

     Raphael stands just a little under five inches tall which makes him quite a bit taller than the Nickelodeon turtles but still shorter than movie Shredder. While I didn't like the more realistic style that Playmates has used on human figures like The Shredder and the Foot Soldier, it definitely looks better on the turtles themselves. Since Raph is a CGI created character, he looks a bit better in this slightly realistic, slightly toyish style. For your information, I think the base figure under the trench coat is pretty much the same as the basic movie Raphael figures but with new arms and hands, no belts, and no paintwork. Interestingly, Raph in Disguise does not appear on the back of the package as an available figure.

     While Raphael has a little articulation, most of it is hindered by the trench coat. Raph features: swivel/hinge knees, swivel/hinge hips, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head. There's definitely not a huge range of motion here, but then again this is definitely a figure with a very specific purpose: to hang around in disguise. I wish the ball jointed head had a bit better range of motion as it almost operates just like a standard swivel. The figure feels very solid and durable, but he's not going to be busting out many ninja movies on your shelf. Still, if you bought this guy I imagine it's because you just love the concept of Raph walking around in public all bundled up.

     Most of the figure that you see is simply a thick, rubbery trench coat piece that is placed over the figures body. You could remove it, but I think you'd risk damaging the coat or have a heck of a time putting it back on the figure. The coat is pretty basic but does have a few nice details like buttons, pockets, lapels, some wrinkles, and what appears to be Raphael's shell bulging from the back. The hands and feet also appear to be wrapped with strips of cloth to conceal them. I've never been a huge fan of the bandanna covering the full head (and not just the eyes) look for the turtles in any media, but it is nicely sculpted here. Raph's head sculpt is fairly basic, but seems to nicely capture the look of the character, particularly a somewhat nasty scowl on his face.

     Like with many of the Playmates TMNT figures, the paint work is definitely a weakness. I'm not holding this against the figure but I will say that underneath the trench coat, nothing is painted. Raph's body is colored just by the solid green plastic he's molded in. His feet have the wrapped strips of cloth painted (as do his hands) while his bandanna is simply a separate piece molded in red plastic. I like that they went with all white eyes although the red paint shows through the red, making Raph's eyes look bloodshot and pinkish. The coat has a few dots of paint to represent buttons but other elements like the belt and straps on the sleeves are left unpainted. Honestly, one or two extra paint applications would have done so much to improve this figure.

     Raphael comes with three accessories that are really cool and help disguise him for going out in public or for playing theInvisible Man at his local community theater. He includes a scarf, a pair of sunglasses, and a fedora type hat. All three accessories nicely fit onto Raph and really make this figure look quite cool on display; they really elevate everything else about the toy! The hat does fit snugly on Raphael's head and is molded in a light tan with a brown band around it. The sunglasses are neon yellow with black lenses painted on and would be a great accessory for any Michelangelo figure. The scarf is a rubbery plastic piece with some really nice detail (including tassels) that easily fits over his lower face. All in all, these pieces really do make this figure and are neat little bits and bobs to have around.

     Overall, I can't help but feel like most of Playmates' movie toys were simply just phoned in but I do think Raph in disguise is a neat and creative variant. The figure underneath isn't super impressive nor is the trench coat expertly done. Still, when you put the glasses, scarf, and hat on this guy, he really does have a neat presence that lights up your shelf. Accessories can totally make me appreciate a sub-par figure. Overall I'm giving him a Good. For the price (typically he sells for around $9) this isn't a bad figure for your TMNT collection nor a regrettable impulse by. We've seen some images of Raphael in this disguise in film stills hanging out with Megan Fox's April O'Neil, so hopefully those parts will be pretty cool in the film. I know that's definitely one of the things I'm looking most forward to seeing.

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