Friday, 15 August 2014

April O'Neil (TMNT 2012)

Company: Playmates
Year: 2012
RRP: (See “Availability”)


April seems to be far and away the rarest of the TMNT figures out there. She currently resells online for a ridiculous price. She seemed to be pretty readily available when I first bought the four turtles just over a year ago – but while every other character from that first wave still seems readily available, April is nowhere to be found on shelves.  
Why is she so rare?

Well, the smart money is on the “girls don’t sell in a boy’s toyline” theory, and she’s just been produced in smaller numbers than the other characters. In turn, this makes her substantially harder to find. A lot of boys do go through a phase where they shy away from “girl’s things”, but I would strongly debate that “I hate Barbie” does not necessarily equal “I hate April O’Neil.” But here we move into deeper waters, territory that demands an article of its own. Onto the review!

April’s sculpt seems to follow the animation model reasonably closely but this does mean that her proportions end up looking a little odd. Her legs are disproportionately large compared to the rest of her, and her head looks particularly small. Fine on film, not great when rendered in plastic. Given that the turtle toys look little to nothing like they do in the show (at least until the Battle Shell ones came out), I think it would have been fine to go off-model a little.  
Articulation is not great.

*ball-jointed neck
*swivel-hinged shoulders
*cut forearms

*swivel hinged thighs
I think the lack of elbows and knees is particularly disappointing. This alone will be a reason not to buy for many of you reading – and I don’t have much to say to try and dissuade you from that.  


The one really great thing about April is her accessories. She comes with a particularly long bo staff – longer than Donnie’s – as well as a rack of weapons which includes the following:
*2 shuriken
*a bokken (wooden practice sword)
*a shinai (bamboo practice sword)
*a tonfa                                                                                                                                                                     
*2 round objects which I assume are some kind of smoke grenades.
I’ve seen one reviewer speculate that April’s weapons rack was actually meant to come with Splinter, and this is quite possible this is the case. It’s possibly telling that the picture of her on the back of the box depicts her sans accessories.   


April doesn’t have a huge amount of paint, but she does have a lot more than most of the characters in the line. Most of it is pretty cleanly executed, though she somehow ended up with some black slop on the back of her head.  

Based on the box art, there’s one app that’s missing on the actual figure – her mouth. The finished toy just leaves it as the sculpted line. This is a minor detail, but I think it’s significant. April is quite cute and endearing on the show, but this lack of painted smile leaves her looking a little odd. I may end up fixing it myself, with an artline pen or something.  

In theory, April should only set you back around $AUD15. But she’s difficult to find in-store, and you’re likely to pay a considerable premium for her if you get her from a third-party reseller. I don’t recommend this, for reasons which I’ll go into in the next section. Buying stuff just because “it’s rare” is often not a wise move when you’re interested in something purely for play value, rather than resale value, and this is a classic example.

It should be noted that I found her in a Hawaiian Wal-Mart while on holiday a few months ago, and have not seen her again since. So if you are still keen, and you’ve got the opportunity to buy her for a reasonable price, take it.

Though I’m pleased to have gotten April for the collection, she’s not actually that great a toy on her own merits. I like the figure and can overlook her shortcomings on the basis of wanting her to complete a set, but taken purely on her own merits she is an easy pass. Hopefully, now that Casey Jones has been released we will soon see a new version of April on the market, with improved articulation. I don’t know that one is on the way, but I would advise waiting anyway. She’s an integral part of the franchise and it’s a shame she hasn’t received better treatment in plastic form.  

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