Action Figure Review: 4.5″ Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Michelangelo - TMNT

TMNT falls a little in the gap for me…I was a little too old when they first hit and already entrenched in my other interests…but, they are a classic toy line and I really do like the look and feel of the new movie designs.  The biggest question is…do they measure up and work in 1:18 scale?

Michelangelo from the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Out today! – 2014). Solid details, good paint and articulation, interesting construction…but what scale are these things anyway?

Deciphering the true scale of these movie figs has been a bit of fun detective work. Sometimes the start and end of it is looking at the actors height (see the Batman review), but in this case, we are dealing with mo-capped digital characters based on live performances. The trailers seemed to indicate a slightly larger than human frame…but a specific frame of reference eluded me. (Megan fox for example is only 5’4″, almost half a foot shorter than Shia Labeouf…yet they always appear much closer in height in the first two Transformers movies.  And don’t get me started on Robert Downey Jr.)

Then…just today I saw a featurette focusing on the mo-cap process. This frame caught my eye…



It’s hard to tell out of context what’s going on here…but if you look closely you’ll see Michelangelo’s digital form ghosting in over the top of actor Noel Fisher. More importantly…you can see the “eye-line” reference (the white ping pong ball) positioned just above Mr. Fisher’s head. A-ha! Google lists Noel Fisher at 5′ 10″…and I’m estimating the eye line to be a solid 6″ above that…roughly translating to the “runt” of the TMNT litter coming in at approximately 6′ 4″.

That number in 1:18 scale equates to a hair under 4.25″…making this figure at most 1/4″ taller than true 1:18 scale (and again assuming all of the above holds true). That’s certainly close enough in my book…and that 4.5″ measurement comes from standing the figure up as straight as possible…a pose that looks unnatural for the character. In a slight crouch (as pictured at top) the figure looks spot on size wise.

(As an aside…I’m not vouching for the rest of the line just yet…but, it’s pretty clear that while the Turtles themselves all seem scaled to one another, the human figures in this line look like they may be all over the place.)

So…I’ve welcomed Mikey here into the 1:18 movie club with open arms…what do we have with the figure itself?

The articulation is solid…hinged and rotating knees, T’ed hips (limited somewhat by the sculpt), hinged and balled elbows and shoulders, and a swivel head. Pretty standard, with good movement in the arms in particular for posing purposes. Kicks and jumps will be hard to pose, but crouches and weapons holding work well. Hinged ankles would be my only regret…but with a heavier figure such as this that might have worked against its ability to stand alone.

Speaking of weapons/accessories, Mikey comes with both a nunchaku and the larger 3-section sansetsukon.  Both fit well in either hand. A skateboard would have been a nice addition since we see that repeatedly in the trailer, but perhaps will see that in another release.

The construction of the figure is interesting…lots of heavy plastic with details in rubber such as the mask, shell straps, and sweatshirt wrapped around the waste. Having these pieces separate allows for them to be cast in color…reducing the need for paint apps. The sculpting details are solid…even without having seen the movie they convey the story of this character…the mismatched knee pads, rummaged tennis shoes cut out at the toes, the boxing style hand wraps with added metal knuckle guards, and the puka shell necklace to convey the California “surfer dude” vibe. There’s a little paint smudge here and there, but nothing distracting, and the fine line work in the shoes and pants look great.

The Verdict: This is a great movie toy…kid friendly (can’t hardly keep them out of my kids hands long enough to photo op them), and detailed sculpt with a good sense of scale. Keeper.

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