Cowabunga! The Best TMNT Action Figures Out There
Brought to the light of day in 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. By the end of the decade, the first animated series launched, followed by a live-action movie. Soon after, the ninja team grew into a worldwide phenomenon, and merchandise was not far behind.
Naturally, collectors and TMNT fans around the globe have developed a keen interest in action figures based on these heroes. If you're reading this, you likely fall into that group - or have a dear person who is a member of the TMNT fanbase. Let's get into the history of the Ninja Turtles, after which we'll recommend the best action figures from the franchise that you can buy in 2023.
The Iconic Evolution of TMNT Action Figures
The original Eastman & Laird comic book was staggeringly different from what most audiences think of today when they see our heroes in a half-shell. The comic was intended for mature readers and dealt with some extremely dark themes. Naturally, the turtle's development in pop culture would've been very limited if the franchise maintained that tone.
With the animated series that came out in 1987, the Turtles and their version of New York got a much brighter depiction, more focused on light-hearted humor and wacky hijinks. This was the version of TMNT that introduced the characters and their adventures to the mainstream. And when the animated series led to the live-action movie three years later, the turtles assumed a firm position in the pop culture pantheon.
Action figures started coming out in the early days of TMNT and have carried on to this day. Now, these figures represent more than mere toys. They're an important piece of popular culture and serve as collector's items and memorabilia for the millions of TMNT fans worldwide. With that in mind, we'll review the top figures based on the Ninja Turtles in the market in 2023.
Top TMNT Action Figures in 2023
Playmates Toys Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Leonardo Action Figure
As the leader of the turtle team, Leonardo is rightfully the favorite character of many TMNT fans. If you agree, then this 4 1/4 feet-tall depiction of Leonardo by Playmates will be right up your alley. This particular figure is stylized based on the character as he appears in the animated movie Mutant Mayhem from 2023.
NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figure
NECA is a renowned toy manufacturer that, among other products, offers numerous TMNT action figures. The selection here is truly expansive, including models from the Turtles in Time series, original designs from the Eastman & Laird comics, and even baby turtles from the movie version. Most models from this collection are 7 inches tall, although there are several figures done in 1:4 scale.
The Loyal Subjects BST AXN Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Figure
Featuring detailed articulation and, in many cases, plenty of additional parts, The Loyal Subjects BST AXN TMNT action figures are a treat for any collector. The Leonardo figure from this series is a smashing hit. With 31 articulation points, interchangeable hands and heads, double katanas, and sais, this figure will undoubtedly be one of the best in your collection. As always, Loyal Subjects figures don't fail to impress.
Super7 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates Glow-in-the-Dark Mutagen Man Action Figure
When talking about Ninja Turtles toys, the TMNT Super 7 figures are among the best currently available in the market. But in this case, you're not getting our famed quartet of heroes or their sensei. Instead, it's the Mutagen Man – one of the most authentic villains of the franchise. And since this 7-inch figure glows in the dark, you'll be able to see it in all its splendor once you turn off the lights.
Bandai Tamashii Nations Ninja Turtles Action Figure
Standing at 7 inches tall, the Bandai Tamashii Leonardo figure promises lots of fun. The figure, of course, includes Leonardo's signature double katanas as well as holsters for the dangerous weapons. Furthermore, this figure comes with no less than six alternative hands, and even two specially designed manhole covers when you want to pose the ninja turtle leader like he's just getting out from underground.
Super7 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates Michelangelo Action Figure
If you're yearning to yell "cowabunga," you'll be right at home with the Super 7 TMNT Ultimates Michelangelo figure. This model will bring a smile to every collector's face. Mikey stands 7 feet tall and comes with a slew of accessories. Specifically, the figure has six interchangeable hands and two heads, making it highly customizable. When it comes to the equipment, this version of Michelangelo naturally boasts his nunchucks plus a selection of other ninja weapons and a grappling hook.
Funko Pop! Comics 35 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder Vinyl Figure
Ninja Turtles toys don't always have to be realistic to be highly appreciated by fans. In fact, when the figures come in the form of Funko TMNT Pops, they become the cutest collector's items around. And sure, you'd never associate Shredder with something cute, but this Funko Pop! Shredder Vinyl figure is precisely that.
Super7 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates Splinter Action Figure
You can shop around for many different TMNT action figures, but few will come close to the awesomeness that is the Super 7 series. In this case, we're presenting you with the Super 7 Ultimates Splinter model that will have fans and collectors teeming with excitement. The figure has eight interchangeable hands, Splinter's famous walking stick, bow and arrow, and an assortment of other weapons. But most importantly, the figure comes with an adorable baby turtle that likely represents one of the four future teenagers.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a TMNT Action Figure
Getting a TMNT action figure isn't as simple as buying any toy depicting a character, vehicle, or gadget from the franchise. Instead, you should consider several important factors when choosing what to buy. In particular, the figures of your choosing should be authentic, collection-worthy, poseable, and sold in the original packaging. Let's break down these points in more detail.
Authenticity and Detail
Like with most products, authenticity is vital in TMNT figures. You don't want a knockoff variant of the toy in your collection, as it probably won't function as intended and will lack the detail and craftsmanship of the original.
For instance, the quality of the material will be a tell-tale sign of whether your figure is genuine or not. A counterfeit toy will usually be made of cheap plastic and will, as a result, be prone to damage and deterioration. On the other hand, originals are often made of quality PVC or similar materials that prove more resilient.
Rarity and Collectability
Action figures grow in value alongside rarity. The fewer individual items from a toy series there are, the more their price grows. Likewise, rare models make for great collector's items as they are often quite unique, and they grant you bragging rights.
You'll find rare figures mostly from limited editions and discontinued series. However, it's worth noting that such items will usually sell for a higher price, so they may represent a considerable investment from the get-go. However, paying more may be worth your while as the same figure might fetch a much higher price several years down the line.
Articulation and Poseability
When we talk about articulation, we're referring to the articulation points that allow you to position different parts of the figure. The more articulation points a model has, the more poses you can put it in. This brings us to the matter of poseability, which is more important than it may initially seem.
Being able to pose your figure precisely how you want it lets you set up the display to your exact liking. But poseability also matters when it comes to play. After all, stiff figures that don't allow for joint manipulation make for poor playtime.
Packaging and Presentation
For serious collectors, the way a figure is packaged and presented is crucial. Why? Collector's items aren't meant for play but rather for display. And if the toy or set is contained in a special edition packaging, the item becomes much more exclusive.
In case you're interested in building a collection, you might settle for a product in a regular box. However, you should always avoid unpacked figures because they lose value as soon as they leave the packaging.
Preserving Your TMNT Collection
If you want your TMNT figures to last a long time, you'll need to take good care of them. This will mean knowing how to clean your toys and store them to stave off the effects of time. In terms of cleaning, avoid any strong chemicals and try cleaning the figures with a soft, dry cloth. This will ensure no damage comes to your prized collection pieces.
For storage, choose a safe spot free of moisture and out of direct sunlight. If you keep your figures in their original boxes, make sure there are no water or sharp surfaces around that could damage the packaging. This is particularly important if you want to maintain the value of the pieces since boxed toys in mint condition can not only preserve but grow in value over time.
Where to Buy TMNT Action Figures
Everyone looking to expand their collection with quality figures should look to the most reputable retailers as their primary source of TMNT toys. In this regard, you can often find genuine products on websites like Amazon or eBay, although those might not always represent precisely what you're looking for.
Stores dealing with official TMNT merchandise are always a safe choice, but limiting yourself to only that type of retailer might devoid you of options. Fan conventions will often have an extensive selection. The trouble with them is that they aren't available all year round. That's why looking into reputable retailers is usually a wise choice. Stores like ToyShnip offer reliable product quality and numerous items, from common to premium.
If you decide to take your chances and shop outside of certified stores, you should be careful not to come across counterfeit products masking as the real deal. However, if you pay enough attention to them, you'll likely be able to spot the fake TMNT figures. For instance, a knockoff might sell outside of the original packaging, lack signature details that make the manufacturer recognizable, or show another red flag: a price that doesn't match the supposed product quality.
As with most products, what you pay for is what you get with TMNT figures. So if you're going for a rare collector's item and find it selling for something like $50, best to give it a pass. Chances are you're dealing with a counterfeit item rather than a bargain.
Join the Shell Squad!
When you look for the best TMNT figures, you might find plenty of standard products as well as some truly amazing catches. There are many collectible statues out there just waiting for the right owner to come in. And if you know what you're looking for, you might find just the item to expand your collection.
Our guide for the top Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures gave you a great starting point. You've learned a bit about the history of TMNT, which figures you can get right now, how to recognize genuine figures, and how to take care of your collection and extend its ideal condition. Plus, you have an excellent place to start shopping for figures.
ToyShnip has a broad selection of toys, posed and articulated figures, pins, and much more. Visit our online toy store and take your pick – chances are you'll find your next favorite model.
Which TMNT figures are worth money?
When it comes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, the value of the statues will depend on factors that apply to any other action figure collection. Namely, the figures will be more valuable if they are vintage and rare. It's worth mentioning that these two traits often go hand in hand.
Depending on when Ninja Turtle toys were made and whether they were released in a limited edition, some figures can cost over $1,000. Furthermore, if you find these toys in mint condition and unpacked, their price can reportedly grow several times.
What are the best TMNT toys?
Many fans agree that the best toys of the Turtle brothers fearsome fighting team aren't the ones depicting the actual ninjas. Instead, these would be the toys of famous vehicles, structures, and settings. Some examples include the Technodrome, the Turtlecopter, and the Sewer Playset.
What is the most popular version of the Ninja Turtles?
The question of the most popular TMNT version is about as difficult to answer as which is your favorite turtle. For many fans, nothing comes close to the original comics, while the animated series from 2012 represents another fan-favorite. However, the original Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird comic book series is too adult-oriented for most audiences. On the other hand, the 2012 animated version, although charming in many ways, simply looks too much like CGI - which it is.
For our taste, we'd have to go with the classic versions both for objective and nostalgia reasons: The 1987 animated series or the 1990 movie - the first live-action depiction of the ninja team.
Who is the best TMNT character?
We mentioned in the previous FAQ that choosing the favorite TMNT character is hard. Of course, there are four turtles to choose from, each with their own temperament and quirks, but that's nowhere near the full roster of the TMNT franchise.
For instance, the brave reporter April O'Neil is a favorite of many fans, as is the unrelenting hockey fan Casey Jones. Depending on your preferences, even villains like Shredder might take the number-one spot. And who knows, you might find Bebop and Rocksteady particularly endearing. For us, though, the best TMNT character would have to be the wise rat sensei Splinter - the one who made the teenagers into the legends they became.