Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Action Figure Review: Raphael in Disguise from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by NECA

   It's not often (although it's probably happening more and more frequently due to me getting older) that I can legitimately say that I have been waiting 28 years for an action figure. I have been waiting 28 years for this action figure. In 1990 my father took me to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I was blown away. Well, he took me to see the movie, I got so excited that I got sick in line, I had to go home and rest and recuperate a bit, and then we went back and then I was blown away. Still to this day I don't believe there has ever been a better incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than the 1990 film. It's a solid story with excellent pacing, good characterization, fun action scenes, just the right blend of humor and seriousness, and the best looking turtles we've ever seen on screen. You would think that in the following 28 years that someone would do a better job with creating amazing looking on screen representations of the TMNT but nope, it hasn't happened yet. Raphael has always been my favorite turtle and I absolutely loved the fact that original film depicted him wandering through the streets of New York City in his trench coat and fedora similar to the disguises worn in the 1987 cartoon. It's probably my favorite look for the character and has been an action figure I've always dreamed of owning. Now, thanks to NECA, it is a reality! Raphael is part of NECA's quarter-scale series meaning he is around 16 1/2 inches tall and overall I do believe he's quite similar to the quarter-scale regular Raphael, but this time with new accessories.  He's a big dude who is cool but rude. What more can I say? Quite a bit, actually; let's talk turtles after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 16 1/2 inches

Articulation: Ball jointed ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, balljointed mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, double swivel/hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a balljointed head.

Accessories: Trench coat, fedora, two sai, pizza slice, four interchangeable hands, backpack, and a baseball bat.

Non-Scalper Price: $100-$130 (BBTS has him for $100, so check there)

 The Positives:

* First things first, while Raphael is quarter scale he also is still a very well articulated and durable action figure. The range of motion on this guy is quite good and he is lots of fun to pose. The neck and torso articulation really allow for some very expressive poses while the other joints are plentiful, most of which are quite well hidden.

 * Now, let's talk about the headsculpt. Holy snap. This is amazing. I now actual living, breathing people who look less life-like than this action figure. The work on the bandanna, the shape of the head, and the work on the skin is just incredible. Of course, NECA also made sure to include the scar on Raph's left cheek. Hot diggity dog.

 * Check out those eyes, too. They're incredibly realistic and absolutely look like the character from the film. And the mouth and teeth! This is quite possibly the best work I've ever seen from NECA which is really saying something.

 * While the bandanna around Raph's head is a sculpted piece the tails of the bandanna are made from actual soft goods. Not only does this add a bit more realism to the sculpt (as the bandanna tails hang better) but it serves as a way to attach the fedora to Raph's head, too. More on that in a bit!

* Raphael's shell is covered with a cool turtle shell texture as well as lots of scratches and dents. You can tell this dude has seem some action along the way.

* Raph's plastron is also really well painted and sculpted with incredible realism. I love the dark paint details that help to bring the figure to life.

* The skin has an incredible texture, too, as well as excellent paintwork on all of the little spots covering Raph's body.

* Here's one of Raph's elbow pads. Not only is is fantastic looking but it also nicely hides the double swivel/hinged elbow joints.

* The knee pads also look pretty righteous, especially the threading and eyelets on the sides that help keep the pads in place. Like the elbow pads, these also help hide the knee joints for an overall more realistic aesthetic.

* The realism continues down to Raph's feet which continue to feature awesome skin texturing and some great paint washes to help sell the fact that this guy spends his days walking through the sewers.

 * It wouldn't be Raphael if he didn't come with his sai, would it? He comes with both of his signature weapons and they look amazing. Just like in the film, the yoku (the prongs on the sides) are covered with the same leather that wraps around the handles.

 * The sai also fit effortlessly into the slits on Raph's belt. Tubular.

* Raphael comes with four interchangeable hands. The first two are two standard grips (right and left) that allow the figure to hold the included sai, pizza, or the baseball bat. The third is an open palmed left hand that is great for conveying various expressions.

* The fourth hand is my favorite. It's a pointing right hand that just seems to fit with Raphael's angry attitude. I love this one! You can just hear his voice shouting off some angry remark, can't you?

* Another really cool accessory Raph includes is the Jose Canseco bat he swipes from Casey Jones during their encounter in the park. It's not the most detailed accessory but it looks cool and fits the particular outfit Raph is wearing. The bottom of the bat seems to pop out so you can slide this into the figure's hands a bit more easily without over stretching the fingers. 

* When Raphael goes out he wears this massive backpack, probably to help cover up his shell. It's solid plastic and doesn't function but the sculpted folds and creases are pretty nice. The straps easily unplug at the top so you can throw it over the figure's shoulders.

* Raph has to come with a piece of pizza, right? This is definitely one of the most delicious looking fake pieces of pizza I've ever seen.

* Here's Raph's fedora. Nice sculpt, nice paintwork, and a really good fit on the figure. There's a hole at the back so you can thread the tails of Raphael's bandanna through to help keep it on his head.

 * OK, finally: Here is Raphael in disguise! The trench coat looks great on him. It fits quite well and features some excellent stitching. I love the real buttons and working belt used on this piece, too.

 * You can easily do some cool stuff when displaying this figure. Choose which buttons to have unbuttoned, open the coat a bit to have Raph menacingly showing off one of his sai, or have him completely bundled up with the collar up for maximum disguise.

 * Here's another close-up of the jacket. The pockets along the front are actually functional!

 * With the hat and coat on Raph looks even more impressive. I love the realism of this figure.

* The backpack fits great over Raph's coat and helps complete the look.

* I just took some random shots here to show off Raph interacting with different accessories. Here he is menacingly pointing while holding Casey Jones' bat.

 * And here is Raph doing his bed Bogie impression. Here's looking at you, kid!

 * Absolutely menacing!

 * Probably one of my favorite pictures I've taken in forever and not because of my photo taking abilities: It's simply because I just love the look of this figure so darn much.

* "Come back here! I'm not finished with you! Damn!!!!"

* "Why? Why, oh, I don't know, 'cause I wanted to redecorate. You know, a couple of throw pillows, a TV news reporter. What do ya think?"

* I thought it was a negative that a bit of the lining of the trench coat ripped but Jualrus pointed out to me that this is actually accurate to the film. I checked and, sure enough, it also shows up on other figures and in press images. Wow. that's a heck of a detail.
   I like most of the action figures I buy but Raphael in disguise is one of those rare action figures that I absolutely adore on a different level. He's amazing looking, probably more impressive and lifelike in person than most other toys I've ever seen. Of course, there is also a tremendous amount of nostalgia attached to this guy, too. This has absolutely been one of my most desired toys for years and finally, finally someone has made it! While Playmates has the master license for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NECA is the company making the most exciting product out there. I'd love to see them somehow get a better license as right now they can only release prop replicas, product in larger scales, and limited convention exclusives. If they could release whatever they wanted to, it would truly be amazing. Raphael in Disguise is an Epic TMNT figure and probably my favorite TMNT toy I've ever owned.

I've reviewed a few other Raphel figures from the Nickelodeon inspired line such as Battle Shell Raphael, Ooze Tossin' Raph, the D&D inspired Raph the Barbarian, and Stealth Tech Raphae. From the 2014 film I also reviewed Raph in Disguise and Raphael from the Secret of the Ooze classics line.


  1. I tried watching the first movie tonight and just couldn't stay interested. The movie may have run its course for me.

    1. Really? My little one loves it now too. Heck, I'm pretty sure me and my friend The Reel Brad did a rewatch podcast on it a few years ago on the Technodrome Tales podcast.

  2. Man, I would LOVE to get a figure like this! I just don't have the room for something of this scale. Amazing work, nonetheless.

    1. I only have a few quarter scale items. It's definitely a scale you have to be careful with. I have this Raph, the NECA 89 Batman, the Sideshow premium format Batgirl (a statue rather than a figure), and the old McFarlane Ash.

  3. The ripped part of the coat is actually a detail in the movie as well. You should retract that negative score.

    1. Oh my gosh. You're absolutely right! Yeah, I do plan to change that. Thanks for pointing it out!


What'chu talkin' 'bout?