LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review - Part One

Hello everyone,

Anyone who knows me, and if you pay attention to this blog, will know that I LOVE the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). They are by far my favourite characters of all time, and as a child were my heroes. One of my favourite toys as a child, and again, if you follow this blog or know me well, you'll know is still one of my favourite things as an adult, is LEGO. In 2013 LEGO struck a deal with Nickelodeon, the owners of the TMNT to create a LEGO line of TMNT sets. To say I was excited would be an understatement!

Two years later, and sadly the deal has now ended, but in that time, LEGO managed to churn out a total of eighteen sets, plus three exclusive ComicCon/in store events exclusive minifigures, varying from vehicles and scenes from the popular Nickelodeon series, and the 2014 live action movie. Sets ranged from little bagged sets with just a minifigure, to the TMNT's lair and beyond.

I realise that the line has now ended, but given personal circumstances I was never fully able to complete the sets until very recently, and being the huge fan of both TMNT and LEGO that I am, I still wanted to share my thoughts on the sets with you all.

In this part of my review, which is part one of two, I am going to cover the fourteen sets from the Nickelodeon TV series core range and the LEGO Junior set (which for some reason was treated differently from the core line). In part two I will review the three 2014 movie sets, plus cover the alternate build options from the TV series range.

As a note before we begin, due to the same personal circumstances I mentioned above, the sets had to be removed from the boxes and stored, and so when I came to do my review, I didn't have the opportunity to photograph every box, like I have done for previous reviews. Also, some of the minifigures appear to be standing on an orange box, that's because they wouldn't lay flat, and so I had to prop them up, just in case you're wondering why they are like that.

Anyway, let's get started, and dive right in with reviewing Baxter Robot Rampage (set number 79105), which contains 397 pieces, including four minifigures.

The contents of the box:

What I had after bag one was complete:

The product of bag two:

And finally the finished set:

This is a pretty cool set. You get Donatello and Raphael, as well as April and Baxter in his giant robot along with a Mouser, so you get a good mix of TMNT, allies and villains. The Baxter robot itself has some neat features, such as the bombs and grappling hook that fire out of his hands. Baxter can easily sit inside, and you can get him in and out without much issue (though locking him into place when he's facing forward with no front access can be a pain). It's nice that as well as just providing the TMNT to fight Baxter, that you also get two smaller vehicles for them. The only thing I disliked about construction of the set was the placement of the sticker around the clear piece that Baxter looks through. I felt that this should have been a custom piece, as it would have looked much nicer, and you would have been able to actually see Baxter; what you get instead is a sticky looking clouded window where you can barely make him out.

Let's take a look at the minifigures up close:

I like how April and Baxter have reversible faces with different expressions, which is pretty common amongst LEGO minifigures now. I just wish that there had been a couple more Mousers included in the set, because in the cartoons and comics, Baxter create an army of these - one to me doesn't really scream mad scientist evil robot army! It should be noted that this is the only set in the Nick TV line that features April and Baxter (and therefore a Mouser also). Donatello's expression in this set is unique, however Raphael's expression can be found in one other set.

Overall I would give this set four and a half out of five. I love the Baxter robot, I love the minifigures, the Mouser is cool, and you get the additional vehicles - I just don't like the sticker wrap-around on the front, as I mentioned before.

The next set is Karai Bike Escape (79118), which contains 88 pieces, including two minifigures.

The front and the back of the box:

The contents of the box:

The finished product:

This is a nice little set that contains two core figures, Leonardo and Karai. I like the fact Karai has a bike, and there is the newspaper dispenser and road sign, which sets the scene for New York, where the TMNT live. The newspaper dispenser is meant to break open when it is damaged during battle, but that creates one gripe for me - the road sign is way too loose. It wobbles around all over the place, and the street names continually spin around. I would have preferred it if they had made them more fixed, and not bothered with the breaking-open-dispenser.

Let's take a look at the minifigures up close:

It should be noted that this is the only set to contain Karai, and the Leonardo in this set has a unique expression not found in another set. I like that Karai has two expressions, plus she can either wear her helmet or her hair.

I would give this set four out of five. I like that you can get Karai, and her bike is cool, but other than that, there is nothing remarkable about it.

The next set is a small bag set, Kraang's Turtle Target Practice (30270), which contains 36 pieces, including one minifigure.

The outside of the bag:

The competed set:

I'm not really sure what the purpose of this small bag set was, as I don't see the Kraang having target practice with four TMNT milk bottles when they are trying to take over the world. I see this set more as a way of letting people build up a Kraang droid army, which of course, every TMNT fan must have!

The Kraang minifigure up close:

I like the Kraang minifigure. It's quite detailed, and makes a nice, cheap addition to the minifigure line-up.

Being such a small set, it's hard to rate. I suppose I'd give it three out of five, simply because it doesn't serve much purpose except building my Kraang army! (Which of course is a great thing, actually!)

Continuing the Kraang theme, the next set is Kraang Lab Escape (79100), which contains 90 pieces, including two minifigures and a Kraang alien.

The front and back of the box:

The contents of the box:

The completed set:

This is a good little set, that was affordable at the time, and offered fans the chance to get their hands on a TMNT minifigure, a Foot Soldier minifigure and an actual Kraang alien at a relatively low cost. Michelangelo is apparently the one escaping the Kraang lab, and can be shut inside the chamber. Apparently with his pizza he can break free and defeat his enemies. The Kraang mini spaceship is probably the best thing about this set, complete with firing rockets.

The minifigures up close:

It should be noted that this is the only set you can find the Kraang in alien form, and so if you want a Kraang alien army, you would have had to buy multiple of this set. Michelangelo's expression is also unique to this set.

I would give this set four out of five. It isn't a particularly exciting set, but it does give you a Kraang alien and a cool looking space vehicle, as well of course as two other minifigures.

Next we come to Turtle Lair (10669), which contains 107 pieces, including two minifigures. It should be noted that the title of this set could be misleading - this is the LEGO Juniors version of the TMNT lair, and not the full lair set (which I will get to later in this review).

The front and back of the box:

The contents of the box:

The completed set:

Despite it being a very basic set, it does give younger fans the opportunity to build something that looks cool, is easy to build, and has two minifigures. I liked that the pieces with designs on them in this set didn't require a sticker, and were custom made. I hate having to put stickers on LEGO, as they always end up wrong somehow. The wall with the clear screen on it, which are both custom designed are cool, and Leonardo's little car is neat, but the Foot Soldier's boat is extremely basic (although I do like the custom front piece with the Foot logo). There is a catapult that fires manhole covers, too.

The minifigures up close:

Neither figure or their expressions are unique to this set, unfortunately, so for the character collectors, there isn't much incentive to buy this one.

Overall I would give this set three and a half out of five. It tries to offer something for a different age span, and while the minifigures are not unique in any way, there are some cool custom pieces for the fans.

The next set is another small bagged one. Mikey's Mini-Shellraiser (30271) contains 47 pieces and one minifigure.

The outside of the bag:

The completed set:

Not to sound negative, but this set seems more pointless to me than the Kraang bag one. Perhaps it was an attempt to get kids to be able to collect one of their favourite characters if they had some pocket money and parents were unwilling to "shell" put any extra expense for a larger set?

Michelangelo up close:

Sadly Michelangelo's expression in this set is not unique, and therefore even for the relatively low price of the bag set, there isn't much that draws me to it.

I'd give this set two out of five, which will be my lowest rating of any of the range. I feel that as a fan I was forced to get this so that I could have all the sets, including that mini Shellraiser, but ultimately, there wasn't really any need or point.

The next set is Stealth Shell in Pursuit (79102), which contains 162 pieces, including three minifigures.

Due to various reasons, when I started photographing this one, I had already completed bag one, so we'll start by looking at where I was at after completing bag one.

Here is the fully completed set:

I like this set for multiple reasons. First of all it has Fishface in it, which is a good addition to the range, plus you get the Stealth Shell, which is a vehicle actually from the current TV series.

Here are the minifigures:

I think Fishface looks really cool, and this is the only set you can find him in, which makes this one a must have. Sadly Raphael's expression is not unique to this set, neither is the Foot Soldier.

I would give this set four and a half out of five. I like that you get the Stealth Shell, a boat and Fishface, however Raphael and the Foot Soldier are yet more duplicates.

The Shellraiser Street Chase (79104) is our next set. It contains 620 pieces, including five minifigures.

Here are the contents of the box:

Here is what I had after bag one:

Here is what I had after bag two:

Here is what I had after bag three:

Here is where I was at after bag four:

And finally the finished product after bag five:

I really like this set a lot. The Shellraiser is such an awesome vehicle to have in LEGO form. I do feel that perhaps the insides could have had a bit more detail, but overall it's a great set, and very well designed. The trash cannon at the top actually fires, which is cool, the doors open up to reveal a weapons stand, a skateboard and a computer, and even the wheels retract so that it can run on (LEGO) rails! The little Antonio's Pizza van complete with mutagen in the back is a fun addition, too.

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

It's really good that you get five minifigures with this set, including Dogpound, who is unique to this set. The weapon the Kraang droid holds and the backpack it has are also unique to this set. Leonardo's expression is unique to this one, however Michelangelo's is not.

Overall I would give this set five out of five. It has so many winning elements to it, with Dogpound, the pizza van, and of course the awesome Shellraiser itself.

Our next set to look at is Shredder's Dragon Bike (79101), which contains 198 pieces, including three minifigures.

The contents of the box:

The completed set:

There are three reasons why I like this set. The first is that you get a unique Shredder, the second is that you get a unique Donatello, and the third is that you get Donatello's sewer skateboard, which has had an incarnation in old TV series. Honestly, I don't care much for the bike itself, and it is difficult to seat Shredder in it, and makes Shredder's cape get all crumpled up.

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

As I said above, Shredder and Donatello are unique to this set. I like the red look for Shredder. The Foot Soldier is yet another duplicate.

I would give this set four out of five. It gives you the chance to get Shredder at a reasonable cost, as well as one of the TMNT and a Foot Soldier. The bike is cool, but not my favourite vehicle from the range, but it isn't bad either.

The next one is a bit of an odd one. Flashback Shredder (5002127) is just a bag with a Shredder minifigure in it. What makes it important is that it is completely unique. This was an exclusive from the LEGO Store when you made a qualifying purchase in the summer of 2014.

The bag:


I like this minifigure bag for the simple fact that you get a completely different Shredder. He has two expressions - one pre-fire, and one post fire. It's just a different take on a character, which LEGO didn't have to do, but they did.

Simply for what it is, and the effectiveness of getting a completely different Shredder, I would give this one five out of five.

Keeping with the Shredder theme, we now come to Shredder's Lair Rescue (79122). The set contains 478 pieces, including five minifigures.

The contents of the box:

Where I was at after bag one:

The set after completing bag two:

And finally the finished set after bag three:

I really like this set. It has a lot of cool things about it, such as the Foot Bot, the collapsing stairs (which reveal a deadly trap) and the little plane that Raphael flies. According to the set title, it's a rescue, and the box depicts Raphael picking up Michelangelo - I guess that makes twice in the range that Michelangelo has been captured! (The other one being the Kraang Lab Escape, discussed above.)

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

Shredder has a unique outfit for this set, and the Foot Bot is also unique here. Raphael's expression is unique, however and Michelangelo's expression is not - but the other set he has this expression in has him with a different body, so I guess this combination is at least unique. The other Foot Soldier is another clone.

I would give this set five out of five. I think this is a really great set. You get five minifigures, which is really good, and the characters, for the most part, are unique in some way; not to mention Shredder's throne room itself looks really cool and the stair trap being a smart inclusion.

Next we come to Mutation Chamber Unleashed (79119), which contains 196 pieces, including three minifigures.

The back and front of the box:

The contents of the box:

What I had after bag one:

And here is the completed set after bag two:

I think this is a really fun set. I love the colours of it and how vibrant it looks. The computer panels at the side at nice touches (even though they are decorated with much-loathed-stickers). It gives a good amount of interactivity, since you have Victor in human form, then he can enter the mutagen chamber, which turns around and opens up, "mutating" Victor into Spider Bytez.

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

It's interesting that you only get three minifigures in quite a substantial set, two of which are technically the same character. However, I do think it's cool that you get both human Victor and his mutated Spider Bytez form. Raphael has a unique look in this set, too, which is great.

I would give this set five out of five. The design, colours, details, and the uniqueness of the minifigures make this a great value and fun set to have in your collection.

Next we are going to look at T-Rawket Sky Strike (79120), which contains 286 pieces, including four minifigures.

The front and back of the box:

The contents of the box:

The completed set:

This is an odd set for me for one main reason, really. The episode that this rocket is based on was featured in the season two opener. In that episode Michelangelo does indeed have a glider, but he adapts it into what becomes known as the Turflytle. This is a really great moment for Michelangelo, and the episode has a lot of funny moments because of it. Oddly enough, LEGO decided not to depict Michelangelo as the Turflytle, but instead gave him a regular glider like the other TMNT have. They did give him some sort of jumpsuit, but they didn't give him the goggles, and the glider doesn't have the fly wings. Even Playmates made a Turflytle action figure just from the episode, so I think that it is odd LEGO chose not to. The rocket itself is pretty basic, and honestly, I think the Kraang spaceship is the best part about the set. Also, the rocket is sided by no less than four stickers, plus four on the wings. By now you know my hate of the stickers; this set is my worst nightmare!

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

Despite my disappointment in Michelangelo not being fully depicted as the Turflytle, he does have a unique design to this set, as does Donatello. Kirby O'Neil/Kirby Bat/Wing Nut (he has so many names in the series, it's hard to keep track!) is also unique to this set, so if you wanted him, you had to buy this one.

I would give this set four out of five. I like that three of the minifigures have unique designs or are unique themselves, and the spaceship is pretty cool. The set loses a point for the rocket itself - and the fact it has eight stickers on it - and the lack of a proper Turflytle.

Let's move on now to Turtle Lair Attack (79103), which contains 488 pieces, including five minifigures.

The contents of the box:

The set after bag one:

Where I was at after bag two:

What we had after bag three (and yes, I realise I mixed up Raphael and Leonardo's bodies when I took the rest of these photos! Rest assured, they are corrected on my display now!):

And the finished set after bag four:

It's pretty cool to actually have a TMNT sewer lair in LEGO form, so the set is an instant win on that front. I do think it is odd however that the lair really looks nothing like in the TV series. Ok, so I know it's LEGO, but it is based on a ridiculously popular TV show, and the other sets in the range have managed to resemble the things they are based on (the Shellraiser is a great example), so the lair is an oddity. Yes, the training area, complete with the tree sort of resembles the show, but that's about as far as it goes. The kitchen area is just all wrong, and Donatello's workshop again doesn't look right. Having said that, it is a cool set. I like the TV area, I do like the training room, the pizza oven that shoots out projectile pizza is funny, and the street level at the very top is a neat touch that adds some dimension. I am not entirely sure what the dynamite thing at the back does though. No matter how hard I press the thing, I just feel as though I am going to smash the set to pieces. It's easier just to (literally) flick the wall out and pretend it explodes, rather press on that lever! Also, the spiral staircase is like a deathtrap for the minifigures. The gap between the steps is enormous, and the entire thing spins around constantly! I feel the stairs could have been better designed.

Let's take a look at the minifigures:

This is the only set that contains Splinter, so if you wanted him, you had to buy this one. Leonardo's expression is not unique, but Raphael's is. There is a generic Foot Soldier and a character that LEGO have called the Dark Ninja. I am under the impression that this was meant to be Chris Bradford (who later becomes Dogpound), so I don't know why they didn't just call him that. Either that or the internet is wrong, and this is some made up character just for this set. Either way, it's a bit odd.

I would give this set four and half out of five. It loses the half a point for the wacky staircase, the ambiguity over Chris Bradford and the fact it looks nothing like the actual lair. However, it scores high because it is a cool set, and it's great to have a lair - even if not the actual lair - in LEGO form, plus, it's the only set to contain Splinter.

The final set we are going to look at is Turtle Sub Undersea Chase (79121), which contains 684 pieces, including five minifigures.

The front and the back of the box:

The contents of the box:

The set after bag one:

What we had after bag two:

Progress after bag three:

The finished set after bag four:

This is my favourite set of the range. The Turtle Sub is really awesome and looks like it came right from the episode it was in. It has a lot of great details, and I think it even resembles a turtle! There is space inside for all four TMNT, which is great, the rocket on the top disguised as the periscope actually fires, and when you roll the sub along the floor the fins flap! The Kraang underwater craft is a good additional vehicle to have, and there is even a little underwater scooter thing for the TMNT to use.

Let's take a look at the minifigures up close:

All the figures in this set are unique in some way, which adds to the awesomeness of it. Donatello and Leonardo's outfits are unique, the Kraang have a different design altogether, and you get Leatherhead for the only time in the range.

I would give this set five out of five. Everything about it has a winning value, for me. All the figures are unique, the sub looks amazing and there are moving parts.

As a range, altogether, I would say LEGO did a fantastic job. It's a real shame that for whatever reason, the license was discontinued because I would have loved to have seen some more characters and scenes, such as Casey Jones, the new Party Wagon a scene from Dimension X, Bebop, Rocksteady, and so much more.

Finally, I put together some scenes using a variety of the sets and minifigures, which I thought would be fun to share.

In part two of my TMNT LEGO review, I'll look at the 2014 TMNT movie range and some of the alternate building options for the sets we've seen above.

Check out my other LEGO reviews, by clicking here.

Check out my other TMNT related reviews, by clicking here.

Have a great weekend everyone,