We’re not yet far enough removed from the holidays that Christmas has left my brain. And if you were to ask me what my favorite Christmas present was as a kid I wouldn’t hesitate to say my Super Nintendo. I had a real “Ralphie moment” in that I found it last having failed to notice it off to the side propped between the dining room table and the wall. It was an awesome gift and a memorable way to get it. My second favorite though was my Giant-Sized Leonardo. I got that gift from an aunt who must have talked to my mom and found out who my favorite turtle was. My dad is one of nine kids so Christmas with his family was always done as a pseudo Secret Santa, only it wasn’t a secret. All of the cousins (or the parents) drew names so that not every family was buying a gift for every niece and nephew. I think it was supposed to be a ten dollar limit too, but this particular aunt always loves giving gifts and is known to blow past such suggestions. I didn’t even know the giant sized line existed when I unwrapped that gift so I was blown away. My favorite toy turned into this massive figure? It was incredible! The only negative was he only came with one sword when we all know that Leonardo wields two.
It was my affection for that old toy (which I sadly no longer possess) that convinced me to collect NECA’s quarter scale line of figures based on the cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’ve already looked at Raphael and Donatello so with Leonardo there won’t be a ton to discuss. As is the case in the show, the turtles are all identical save for their weapons and colors so the figures follow the same style. They’re all the same save for the belts and paint, including the headsculpts. NECA used this line to unveil their new approach to turtle heads that come in two parts: eyes and mouth. This allows for the collector to change the expressions to suit their mood. You can have all of the turtles basically look the same, or make sure they’re all doing something different. It’s an idea so good that it’s been brought to the 1:12 line since.
Leonardo comes in the same “Giant Sized” box as the previous two figures and stands a shade under 15″. He weighs over 3 pounds so he’s a big, weighty, toy. The sculpt is the same as before save for the L medallion on the front of the belt and the holsters for Leo’s swords on the rear of the belt. Like the smaller figures, NECA uses it’s two-tone shading with dark colors on the rear and bright colors on the front when it comes to paint. Most of the figure is painted, which is good and bad. Good because it gives the figure a real depth of color, but bad because there are spots of paint transfer. The rear of the my figure’s thighs have some brown from the shell and there’s some blue above the kneepad of the right knee as well. It’s not terrible, but it can stand out on a figure of such size. The black linework is largely sharp and helps make the figure “pop” when looking at it. It’s an impressive piece, as were the past two, and there’s almost a sense of disbelief to have such a giant turtle in-hand.
Leonardo’s expressions are both familiar and different. NECA intentionally mixes up the included mouth shapes with each release. Raph has just two, while Donnie had three, and Leo reflects the Donatello release. His included mouths are a smile, open mouth smile, and a neutral expression. The one mouth he doesn’t have is the yelling mouth which was included with both Donatello and Raph. Donatello had both the smile and neutral mouth so Leo doesn’t come with anything new, but I’m glad he has three options instead of two. Swapping them can be trying. I had to heat up some of them to get the eyes to snap in place while others I didn’t have to. He comes with the standard eyes on the smiling mouth and the standard eyes seem to work better as a result. The angry eyes required more effort, but I didn’t have any problem getting them on and off the neck peg and none are too loose like they are with Raph so that’s a plus. In terms of hands, Leo was given gripping hands, open hands, and thumb’s up hands. He doesn’t get the finger-pointing hands, but more importantly, his gripping hands are the same as Raph and Don. In the 1:12 line, NECA actually created three different sets of gripping hands: standard with horizontal hinge, standard with vertical hinge, and a wider gripping hand so that Raph can be posed with the middle tyne of his sai in between his fingers. For the quarter scale line, NECA apparently chose to only adopt the wide gripping hand. I expected this figure to come with new gripping hands with a vertical hinge because the 1:12 version has them and the quarter scale movie Leonardo has them as well (the 7″ movie Leo unfortunately does not). It sucks because NECA is obviously aware of which hand works best for a sword wielder like Leonardo (I’d argue the vertical hinge is also appropriate for Raph and Mikey with only Donatello benefitting from a horizontal hinge), but it’s frustratingly inconsistent in its approach. The recent Hudson figure from the Gargoyles line has it, but a character like Usagi Yojimbo does not. Make it make sense! And for $125 for a figure requiring minimal new tooling, it feels like something that we should have got here.
As for accessories beyond the optional parts, we have the customary swords. They’re the same shape as the 1:12 version, just upscaled. They appear to be sculpted in white with painted handles. The one benefit of Leo having Raph’s more specialized gripping hands is that the handles of the swords fit easily into them. It’s also helped by the fact that the hands are fairly pliable. This means there’s less chance for paint rub on the hands, which is not something that can be said of the sheaths on the rear of the figure. The fit for the swords is a tight one, especially the sheath on the bottom. And you will get some paint rub onto the nice, white, blades so maybe don’t even bother. I got the top sword through with minimal rub while the bottom one lead to a lot. I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get most of the brown off of the blade, but I don’t ever plan on sheathing these again. If it’s something you must do, then maybe heat the sheaths with a hair dryer first and see if that helps. Aside from the swords, Leo just has the same two slices of pizza which can key into the slices that came with the other figures. He also has a communicator which opens and closes just like Raph and Don and he has one paper good. It’s a newspaper or magazine titled Crimestoppers Weekly. It’s fine and obviously something that’s cheap to include.
The articulation for Leo is the exact same as the other two figures, so I don’t feel like I need to get into it. I just want to highlight that, unlike the 1:12 figures, these quarter scale figures have double-jointed elbows. The elbow pad pegs into the center part of the elbow and you actually get decent range there, a bit past 90 degrees. The joints are pretty tight overall though and I had issues with the biceps swivel and thigh twists. The biceps just required some additional effort as I just needed to make sure I got some leverage on the shoulder before twisting. The thigh swivel is much harder to get at since these figures have legs that pin into the crotch piece. That’s because they need to be ratcheted to support the figure’s weight, but it makes it quite difficult to get any leverage on that thigh twist. Both are stuck and attempting to twist them just stresses that peg in the hip and could easily lead to an unfortunate break. There’s some traces of lubrication at the joint, but it apparently wasn’t applied well enough. I had the same issue with Raph, bt Donatello had a lot of lubricating oil in there and I was able to twist his thighs without issue. I assumed it was all solved, but Leo is like Raph unfortunately. I haven’t been able to get them to move and I’m guessing I never will.
Giant Sized Leonardo is a throwback sort of figure with modern engineering. If you have the other two, you basically know what to expect. Because of the lack of vertical hinges on his gripping hands, I might have to consider this figure the worst of the 3 given the issues with the thighs. It paints me to admit that since Leonardo is my favorite, so subjectively I like this figure more than the other two, but there are certainly some disappointments. If that is not an issue for you then you’ll probably be content. And if you have the other two then you basically already know if you want this or not. Had Leo been the first figure out in this line I might have been able to just go one and done with my favorite turtle in this scale, but since I started with Raph I pretty much have to have all four now. As for when that will happen, who knows? Michelangelo has yet to go up for solicitation, though a finished sample was present in a recent interview The Fwoosh conducted with NECA’s Trevor Zammit so I have to assume it’s either in production or in line to go into production. Which isn’t surprising since it’s the same figure as the other three. Leonardo started showing up last fall, the place I ordered it from seemed to get it in last, so maybe Mikey will show up on a similar timeline. I’m anxious to see how they do his nunchaku in this scale and to see if he comes with any extras. It will be nice to finally have all four together when that day comes.
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