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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo Review

The Turtle is Mightier than the Sword

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


When it comes to important lines in the history of action figures, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is near the top of the list. For almost 25 years the turtles tried to regain the popularity among collecters they had in the early '90s, but weren't successful until the 2012 relaunch of the brand that brought new designs, articulation, and a hearkening back to classic figures that captured the hearts of collectors once again. The modern Leonardo is the result of that relaunch, and an incredible figure that's the highlight of a refreshed brand.

Leonardo is the epitome of excellence in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. The figure's sculpt, paint, and articulation are all extremely well-executed and represent a major change in the way Playmates Toys produces turtles action figures. If a collector were forced to buy a single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figure, Leonardo may be the one to get for its revolutionary take on the turtles and complete mastery in execution. This is a charming figure that doesn't disappoint upon closer inspection.


  • Name: Leonardo
  • Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
  • Series: Basic Action Figures (modern)
  • Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
  • Scale: 5-inch
  • Acccessories: Two longswords, one katana, three daggers, two throwing stars, and one knife

Sculpt and Design

Leonardo is another fierce looking take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, featuring a tough and action-ready design that's much more adult and tonally serious than previous iterations. This figure looks like it would love a fight and easily win it. The design features a plethora of unique details that sets Leonardo apart from the other primary turtles Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo, and Leonardo may look the best of the group when considering the overall design.

The details on Leonardo are amazingly abundant and always perfectly rendered. There are scratches, bumps, and loads of texture across the figure's skin, while each of the costume elements include a ton of scarring and detail as well. Even the figure's shell has unique scrapes and dents worked in. Leonardo's harness includes a double sheath, enabling the character to carry an array of weapons at once, also making the figure look better in the process. The grimace on the character's face is appropriate and each tooth is carved out for an extra level of attention to detail.

Inside the package, there are a number of new accessories. Alongside Leonardo's two main swords, there is a uniquely sculpted katana with neat details, a few knives and daggers that includes lots of sculpted elements, and two simple-but-elegant throwing stars. There are a variety of ways to pose and play with Leonardo thanks to the huge number of included well-designed accessories.

Paint and Color

Leonardo's color design is very iconic. Whereas the various other turtles in the line employ lighter, darker, or yellower shades of green, Leonardo's skin is a true unaltered green. It makes the figure look heroic and helps it to stand out on the shelf, providing a rich contrast between the subtle browns of the costume and the equally bright and bold blue of the headband. Leonardo's color design is simple, but it's also iconic and attractive.

The painted details are all crisp and sharp, allowing each of the colors to stand on their own and convey the sculpted details adequately. Anywhere there is a switch between colors, the lines are well defined and free from mistakes or sloppy paint. Leonardo's headband and eyes are clear, the handwraps are crisp, and all his pads look perfect. There simply aren't any noteworthy problems with the figure's paint applications.

Like every other figure in the line, Leonardo's accessories are not painted. They are cast in a silver plastic, which makes the look appropriately metallic. Brown handles on the silver swords would have looked even better, but the swords still look fine when in the figure's hands, making the lack of paint applications less of a problem than with some other figures. All in all, the accessories still look fine and are loads of fun.

Articulation and Posing

The Classic Collection figures feature more articulation than the modern assortment, but Leonardo has more than enough joints to make posing and play an enjoying prospect. The figure features a ball jointed neck, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel-hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel-hinge hips, and swivel-hinge knees. Between the huge number of accessories and the diverse articulation model, there are a lot of different poses and ways to play with Leonardo. Giving the figure a strong personality and a dynamic pose is a real jot, never a burden.

Overall Thoughts

The 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line is a refreshing new take on an incredible lineup of characters, and none are more enjoyable than Leonardo. Everything about this figure makes it stand out, and any turtles fan or action figure collector will find something to love and appreciate.

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