In 1990 a live action film based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released in theaters. Produced on a modest budget of $13 Million, the film became an instant hit, recovering it’s budget on opening weekend. The film went on to gross about $135 Million in North America, and over $200 Million Worldwide. Even without being adjusted for inflation, the 1990 film is the second highest grossing Ninja Turtles movie, out-grossed only by the 2014 reboot! The movie perfectly captured the spirit of the cartoon series, while mixing in some of the darker tone of the original comic series. To bring the titular Turtles to life, the producers turned to the puppeteer masters at Jim Henson Studio. Combining incredible costumes and outstanding puppetry, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were brought to life in a way kids never thought possible. Joining the great Turtle designs was an equally impressive Splinter puppet, and an imposing and iconic take on the Shredder. To many fans, this is still considered the best live action adaptation of the characters.
Over the last few years, NECA has been releasing outstanding 1/4 scale versions of the Turtles. They have released the 4 main Turtles, as well as a second version of Raphael with his Trench Coat. Due to popularity, NECA has kept all of the figures in circulation, and fans continue to buy them up. For San Diego comic-Con 2018, NECA has done what many fans had hoped for, and shrunk their excellent figures down to 7″ scale releases. Due to licensing restrictions, the figures can only be released as convention exclusives, with a limited online sale. The figures sold out each day of the pre-order in under 2 minutes. Along with the figures, NECA also offered a massive Street Scene Diorama, with movie themed markings. The full diorama has three tiers, stands over 18″ tall and over 24″ wide. This dio will see a general re-release without the TMNT artwork.
NECA was kind enough to send along the figures a little early, and offer us the very first look at the Street Scene Diorama. After the jump, you can see over 100 photos and read my full review of the TMNT 1990 Set and Street Scene Diorama.
This will be broken down into two separate sections. The first is dedicated to the TMNT figures. The second part will cover the Street Scene Diorama.
San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 Movie Figures by NECA
- Outstanding sculpts
- Highly detailed paint work
- Great range of motion
- Even better articualtion than the 1/4 scale figures
- Plenty of interchangeable hands
- Nice selection of accessories
- Perfect figure packaging
- Strong joints
Hard to get for non-attendeesUPDATE: Getting general release via GameStop
The TMNT figures come packaged in a large window box with a sleeve cover. The sleeve is designed to look like a faded VHS cover for the film. NECA used the figures to recreate the pose on the front of the box, and there are some additional product photos on the sides and back. The interior box features a large window, allowing you to see the entire set of figures and most of their accessories. This has a more modern design to it, with the sides and back featuring more photos of the figures themselves. The Turtles sit in a plastic tray, each held in by a twist tie, while the accessories have a protective overlay to keep them in place. The set includes each of the Turtles, their weapons, four additional sets of interchangeable hands, eight pizza slices, a Domino’s inspired pizza box and coupon, swap out bandana ties, and a Ooze Canister.
As someone who has picked up the four 1/4 scale TMNT figures, I was curious how these smaller scale 7″ figures would hold up by comparison. The initial photos NECA released looked phenomenal, but it’s sometimes hard to tell until you have them in-hand. When they’ve previously done this, such as their DC Movie figures, they have been handled well, but occasionally lose some articulation. With these figures, I was immediately impressed upon taking them out of the package. The figures have excellent sculpted detailing from head-to-toe. The skin has a noticeable heavy texture that is similar to the effect they achieved on the larger versions. The shell and carapace both have strong texture work, keeping these from looking overly smooth and cartoon-ish. The shells themselves are actually unique to each figure. Each of the turtles has a soft vinyl belt and/or belt and strap combo, with space to place the weapons, except for Leonardo who has dedicated sword sheaths on the back of his straps. Soft vinyl comes into play on the elbow pads and knee pads as well. This allows for a greater range of motion on those joints. The head sculpts for the figures are all spot on scaled down versions found on the 1/4 scale figures. As you can see from the gallery, these figures are over an inch taller than the cartoon Turtles released during last year’s Comic-Con, bringing them more in line with a standard NECA figure.
Articulation for the Turtles is excellent. When crafting the 7″ versions, the sculptors went in and adjusted the articulation to give the figures an even greater range of motion. The knees and elbows are both double jointed, allowing for some great battle poses. The added range of motion also allows for poses that just weren’t possible on the larger figures, such as Mikey swinging his chucks over his shoulder and grabbing the other end, as seen in photo #077. The joints are solid here, with no looseness, and they are free from any paint locking issues. The set includes numerous interchangeable hands that can be shared between the figures. these include thumbs up, pointing, relaxed, and alternate grip hands. Each hand pops off without issue and the new ones snap into place easily. Each Turtle has a swap out bandana tie as well. The additional ties simply place the bandana on the opposite shoulder, as cloth ones like the 1/4 scale versions, were likely not feasible at this size. Like the hands, those swap out with no issues.
What really helps make these figures look so exceptional is the highly detailed paint job. NECA figures tend to have strong use of paint in general. But the work here might be some of the best they’ve done, and possibly even more impressive than the larger figures. The tone and saturation used is just right, giving the figures an accurate film-like appearance. The skin has noticeable painted on spots throughout the skin, and those are accompanied by airbrushed shadows and highlights that add definition to the figure. There’s a ton of detail in the painted eyes as well. The whites are clearly defined, and the edges of the lenses and irises are sharp, with no noticeable paint bleed. There’s weathering paint on all of the accompanying pieces, such as the straps, pads, and bandanas.
The included accessories work well with the figures. For the most part, these mirror the items included with the larger figures. There’s four slices of pizza packed with the weapons, and an additional four slices inside the included pizza box. The box is a scaled down version of the one included with the Baby Turtles Set. The box also has a coupon. There’s an Ooze Canister included, which actually opens on the ends if you want to stuff some slime in there. The weapons are cast in a slightly soft plastic which prevents any breakage issues as some parts get pretty narrow. Thankfully, I didn’t run into any warping on the blades or Donnie’s bo staff. The only things I really wish were included were the items featured with the disguised Raphael, such as the trench coat and bat. But this is a jam packed set already. Who knows though, a future exclusive could easily include those parts.
In the end, the TMNT 1990 Movie figures are exactly what I wanted in this scale. They’re beautifully sculpted and painted, feature some great articulation, and are packed with movie themed accessories. They’re a blast to pose, and are a perfect companion set to the 1/4 scale figures. Unsurprisingly, these are neck and neck with the 1/4 scales as the best iterations of the 1990 movie Ninja Turtles. The retro VHS packaging is just the icing on the cake.
San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Exclusive TMNT 1990 Street Scene Diorama by NECA
- Excellent detail
- Makes for a massive display
- Can act as a 3-tiered figure shelf if desired
- Easy to assemble
- Fully modular design
- Lots of potential for future upgrade packs
- May take up too much space for some collectors
The street scene diorama comes packaged in a massive, though beautiful, windowless box. The front and back of the box feature a large photos of the dio with the figures displayed on it. Be aware, this box is extremely large, with the set weighing approximately 10 lbs in packaging. If you are shipping this home from SDCC, be aware of that fact. Inside the box, each piece is wrapped either in bubble wrap or individual bags. There are two front facing walls, four side walls, flooring pieces, plexiglass windows, individual brick pieces to fill gaps, and more. Thankfully, a full slate of instructions are included to guide the assembly.
From opening to assembling, this took about 20 or so minutes to set up. The assembling process is fairly straight forward, but there’s some small pieces, such as 40 brick pieces to fill in holes. The diorama itself is built with add-on pieces in mind. Each door and window is a modular piece that can be extracted from the wall (see Image #019 for an example). NECA could easily build different doors, plain walls or new window pieces that can fit into those spaces. Each front facing wall has three larger modular spaces, along with a number of open brick spaces that could see added pieces in future sets. Things like fire escapes, additional A/C units, pipes and more could be potential pieces. The window frames included here also feature removable plexiglass window panes (those smudge easily, so use caution). The last piece included here is a backdrop that covers the entire back piece of the dio, and rises above it to give a New York cityscape backdrop for the top of the dio.
Once put together, this dio is solid as a rock. While photographing the set, I had no issues picking it up and rotating it and moving it. No pieces popped off when doing so, which was impressive. It’s constructed in a way that you could easily fit 25 figures on there without much trouble. The dio itself is huge, over 24″ wide and about 18″ tall, not including the backdrop. Everything here is packed with sculpted detail. As someone who is used to shooting with printed backdrops, this is a dream come true. Not only is this fully sculpted, but the entire dio is full of highly detailed paint. The brick wall is extremely realistic looking, with weathering, dirt marks and faded brick colors all incorporated here. The flooring, shuttered door, pipe and A/C feature the same high level of paint application. Fans will notice a small change here, as the spray painted foot soldier logo has been moved from the front to the side of the dio. But even with the TMNT markings, this dio set can easily work with a number of other 6″ to 7″ scale figures. Characters like Batman, Spider-Man, Robocop, the City Hunter Predator, and more would be right at home here. I’ve included a few examples of additional figures displayed in the dio.
When I received the box from NECA, my first thought was “How is anyone getting this home from SDCC?” Be prepared to spend a little extra on shipping it home from the event. If you have the space available, and especially if you are into toy photography, this is a set that I highly recommend. If you miss out on this one, a version without the TMNT markings will be released in the future, so don’t fret. The Street Scene Diorama is well constructed, wonderfully painted, and gives off the vibe of an old school 80’s playset, only much more high end.
Check out an assortment of selected photos below. Check out over 100 photos in the full gallery after that.