And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
The Leonardo Celebratory Flip Off!!!
by: Wes

As I mentioned in the Free Food Day article, the local Toys 'R' Us is closing its doors. It's pretty sad, but I was able to pick up some pretty good deals before they apparently jacked up item prices to compensate for the closing discounts. (I'm not kidding about that, by the way; items that were regularly $14.99 are now suddenly $21.99 with the applied 30% discount. Now, I like TRU as much as the next guy -- probably more -- but with practices like this it's no wonder that the store is going out of business.) And among my discounted acquisitions, the Ninja Action Leonardo figure from the new TMNT line would provide me the opportunity to answer a question that had been bothering me ever since they released the new Ninja Action figures.

It's Leo vs Leo in this epic contest of FLIPS!

When these figures hit the stores, I admit that I looked at them and was somewhat disappointed. What I like about the new TMNT line is that the figures are largely better than the old figures, being larger and having better articulation and cooler sculpts. Admittedly, given that this new line is sticking pretty close to the television series, the figures lack the charm of the more unique entries in Playmates' old line, but it's still a worthy successor and has featured a number of toys that I'm very happy to have in my collection.

And then they started rereleasing figures I already have. In addition to the Mutations line, which I found kind of stupid to begin with -- yippee, they "mutate" into shoddy looking "regular" turtles that wear belts and are roughly the size of the Shredder, to say nothing of the fact that "Mutatin'" Shredder is the dumbest figure ever because simply putting on armor does not entail mutation -- they had to go and replicate the Ninja Action figures. The problem? I'd never known these things to work correctly. Yeah, my old Leo could nail a flip a good amount of the time, but he seemed just as likely to fly up into the air and come down flat on his face. Were the new figures any different, or had Playmates employed the same laziness with these figures that they did in reusing the Primal Rage molds and the same Turtle head sculpts umpteen times with the new line? In order to find out, I instituted The Leonardo Celebratory Flip Off -- a contest of flips between the old and new generation of Ninja Action Leonardo figures. And it's celebratory because they're jumping for joy on Scary-Crayon's second anniversary!

It's flippin' time!

Old Leo needs some help staying down.He's still pretty spry for a 10+ year old toy, though!Another successful flip.

First, we check out the old Leonardo's flipping prowess. Perhaps the ravages of time have gotten to him, making this flip off not entirely fair, but I seem to recall a time when he'd at least stay crouched for a second or two on his own before springing into action. Not so in 2006, when he requires someone to hold him down and then quickly remove his/her hand in order to ensure a successful launch. Still, the original Ninja Action Leo does a lot better than I remember him doing, successfully landing on his feet fairly regularly. (Dig this crazy flipping video!) In this flip off, he put up a valiant fight, hitting 22 flips in a row before finally collapsing awkwardly (see the video) -- which, to be fair, may have more to do with how I pushed him down and removed my hand than his actual flipping skill. Then again, my interference may also have worked to his advantage, seeing as how he probably nailed more flips during this competition than he has in the 13 years I've owned him.

Leo crouches for action......and takes to the air!w00t! He sticks the landing.

The new Ninja Action Leo, on the other hand, has actually seen considerable improvements in the flipping department. Not only does he actually stay down when pressed, but whereas I'm guessing the other Leo had some sort of suction mechanism that has likely long since crumbled within his hollow shell, the whirring sound produced by the new figure seems to indicate that his flips are powered by a small motor. Whatever it is, it's certainly increased his ability to hit fairly accurate flips almost every single time (it's textbook, baby), such that when he fails to stick the landing (see video) it seems like a fluke. I guess technically he should've lost this flip off, seeing as how his first flip set only nailed him ten in a row, but when I started on the second set he did a whopping 99 flips before falling on the 100th attempt -- and it's entirely possible that in the course of repeatedly pressing him down and watching him flip while lying on the kitchen floor I miscounted and he actually did 103 flips. At any rate, given that there's no way that the old Leo could pull that off, and that I'd quickly grow tired of holding him down and yanking my hand away, the prize must go to the new generation.


There there, new Leo.

All in all, though, the experience as given me a newfound respect for the new TMNT line -- or at least the Ninja Action figures. While I still think that Playmates should be spanked with a paddle for the Primal Rage repaints and the stupidity that is Mutatin' Shredder, and goodness don't get me started on this ridiculous "collapsing" feature that the Feudal Shredder and Rocksteady Gennosuke figures sport, they've really improved these Ninja Action figures. I mean now it actually makes sense to call them by that name, whereas before they might better have been called "Aimlessly Leaping" figures. What's next, battery-operated Talking Turtles (as opposed to the old scratchy-voiced ones with red phrase strips and giant manhole covers strapped to their backs)? Smash 'Em Bash 'Em Turtles with the strength to break a child's fingers? Headdroppin' Turtles whose heads go all the way into their shells? Only one thing is certain -- whatever improvements they make to the old Turtle designs, you can expect to see them discussed on Scary-Crayon in the future! You know, when they go on sale and get discounted and stuff. 'Cause accurate flipping action or not, $9+ for a 5" action figure is flipping ridiculous.

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