The original cartoon Turtles, when they needed to get anywhere their skateboards couldn’t take them, drove themselves around in a beat up van that kind of looked like my old family Volkswagen Westfalia Camper. It’s funny since that old van was a bright, mango yellow that was weirdly similar to the yellow that the old Turtle Van was covered in. It even had a shell top, though it was white and not green. The Turtles never did take the stealth part of their ninja training to heart, did they?
The toy comes in a purple box (which is cool) that displays the different features of the van pretty clearly. There aren't as many as you'd expect in a toy this size, which is probably due to the high cost of these things nowadays. Basically, what you've got is a plastic box on wheels with a toy rocket launcher on top and a figure launcher on the side. There's not much else going on here.
Let me tell you, though, it's enough to make this a worthwhile purchase.
The box contains the body of the van, undecorated, with several packets of parts wrapped up in plastic baggies.
"Some assembly required"!
The fact that I get to plug the wheels into the wheel wells, and snap the toxic wast barrel bumpers on the back is a total trip. The act of putting this thing together just takes me back to the days of assembling my G.I. Joe vehicles. And, oh, hey! Stickers!
When it comes down to it, there's not all that much assembly required. Like I said, the main body is pretty much a box. You just need to snap on the red, the black, and the gray parts (since they're all cast in different colors from the main brown piece). In total, it takes about 10 minutes.
It takes longer to sort out the decals, since they're not really the most intuitive of stickers. Very few of them are shaped like the areas they're supposed to decorate. Sure you can tell that the round ones go on the hubcaps, but where do you put those weird "U" shaped ones? Turns out they go under the windows on either side of the door. They don't even go all the way up the sides, but kind of end half-way.
Still, like I said, fun as hell.
Even after applying the stickers, the van looks kind of naked in a way. There are no paint applications at all, so it does look awful bare. The sculpting of the thing is great though, and if I had the customizing know-how to paint this thing myself, I know it would be a hugely fun project. There are sculpted gaps in the metal where you could put rust in, raised areas for the lights and rivets, etc.I especially like the huge shock absorbers that Donny's put over the tires.
The van is a little bigger than most 1:18th scale toys, but then again, Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures are about a half inch bigger than your standard G.I. Joe. Though it's not really big enough to really house 6" figures, it's size is enough so that you can fake it in a display, especially since there isn't anything inside aside from the figure spinner action feature's mechanism.
Here's a couple of photos with the Classic Collection Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to give you an idea what I'm talking about.
With the Modern Turtles, The Shellraiser feels a little too big. The lack of seats makes any figure you put inside it look like he's inside one of those old timey box cars, which, I guess, is appropriate since this is a converted subway car. Still, I can't help by feel that it's counter-intuitive. There should be a seat for a driver at the very least.
Where it really excels though is as a centerpiece to any Turtles display. It's crazy fun posing your Turtles hanging from the railings, swinging from the Ninja Flip action feature, manning the top-mounted gun turret, or just piling out of the doorways onto the two ramps.
Another thing on the plus side, is that since the interior of the vehicle is empty, you can basically store all of your Turtle figures in this thing. Well, all of the ones that came in the first batch anyway. I managed to fit all 4 of the Turtles, Splinter and April, Shredder and his Foot Soldier, and Krang in to the wagon. If I wanted to, I could have bagged all their accessories and threw them in as well. It wouldn't be the safest storage method, but I'm sure kids would love stuffing all their toys into a convenient little box they could carry with them.
So lets recap. On the good side, you've got a huge vehicle that fits all your Turtles in it and provides a good platform to play. It has a couple of good action features that aren't too obtrusive for the collectors, and are loads of fun for the kids (I don't have a video to demo the Ninja Flip action, but it works and works well). It has free rolling wheels so that your guys can zoom into action and tons of detailing sculpted right into the chassis. And it gives you the satisfaction of putting it together and stickerizing it yourself.
Bad stuff? No seats and no paint applications.
I think we have a winner!