After being so into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles myself back when the original cartoon series aired in the late 80s, and the subsequent movies hit screens, I’m regularly reminded at how awesome it is to have two little girls that are so into Ninja Turtles nearly 30 years later. The TMNT resurgence shows no signs of stopping, with the hit animated series on Nickelodeon bringing new adventure on a regular basis, and Paramount Pictures’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows keeping the live-action adventure alive. Since the beginning, the folks at Playmates Toys have been releasing a fantastic assortment of action figures, vehicles, and playsets, and at the pinnacle of each collection has been the Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair. Like their go-to vehicle (whether it be a Party Wagon, Shellraiser or the recent “Turtle Tactical Truck“), their home base has gone through many evolutions, the latest of which is a reworked version of their Sewer Lair Playset, this one themed for Out of the Shadows.
The perfect “BIG” gift for the TMNT fan on your list, this massive playset stands nearly 4′ tall, and is packed with play features from top-to-bottom. There’s immediate “WOW” factor that has captured not only our own children, but their friends as well – each drawn to the size and detail. When Playmates sent our review sample, I set it up in my office, where our oldest daughter flipped when she came home from school and saw it. It’s the perfect place for adventure with all of our TMNT action figures (sold separately) both from the film or the cartoon.
At the “street level” top, there’s an NYC subway entrance, a manhole cover that functions as a trap-door allowing figures to slide into the sewer, a pizza-shooting street vendor cart, and a stop on the included elevator.
In the world below, there’s numerous platforms and action features including doors and ladders, along with individual locations that serve as Raph’s gym, Splinter’s meditation room, Donnie’s garage/lab and more. One of the coolest features is the way the Turtle Tactical Truck (sold separately) can park in the garage.
Points to be aware of: This set should be assembled by a patient grown-up. After unboxing it, lay out all of the pieces, and carefully follow the instructions. If done properly, this is a very sturdy playset that will provide many adventures for years to come. My only point of true criticism lies in the cardboard backdrop, which on this playset is larger than the previous version, themed with NYC graphics to match the most recent film. The backdrop is attached by plastic clips that can come off, and one thing we’ve noticed after having our playset for just over a month is that the backdrop tends to warp/curve a bit. That said, the backdrop does not affect the play value of this set.
Overall: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Sewer Lair Playset by Playmates is the type of large-sized playset that I would’ve loved to have had as a kid. As I’ve noted in the past, there aren’t too many toymakers producing big action figure environments and playsets at an affordable price these days (something that was more common back in the 80s), and with this one coming in right around the $100 mark, it fits the bill as Rock Father-approved! Want some extra-awesome? Pair it with the Tactical Truck and Krang’s Technodrome!