I posted this over at RTM and it got a good reaction, so I thought I'd see what we thought of it here...
Collector interest in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line has taken a nosedive in the last several months, and it didn't have the support of a great many collectors to start. I am hanging in and remaining hopeful things will go back to their former glory (I can't wait for Karai), but I think there have been some key mistakes that may cost Playmates an extremely profitable line in the long run.
No Show-Accurate Turtles: Despite the fact I love the four basic Turtle figures (I think I'm the only one alive who does), I recognize Playmates has erred by not putting out at least one set of Turtles on-model with the (excellent) cartoon, which is something they actually did for the old show. That would have hooked more collectors from the start, and still would draw them now, but Playmates has never done it.
No Quarry: I'm sure she's not missed by many kids, but Playmates teed a lot of collectors off by keeping us hanging with Quarry for quite some time before finally letting her fall by the wayside. The Underground monsters are not remotely my favorite characters, but I would like to have Quarry to go with my Stone Biter and Razor Fist.
No Foot Mystics: Having the Fire Mystic is cool, but where are the rest of them? I'm pretty sure at least one other was shown somewhere along the line. Where are they?
No Mouser 6-Pack: I think Playmates really miscalculated where this was concerned. I was STOKED when I saw this was coming out and quite disappointed when it was cancelled. I would have bought a LOT of them and I know I wasn't alone. Foolish cancellation.
Baxter Stockman: I think the figure they released has its merits, but most collector feedback on Baxter was positively venomous and for good reason. If Playmates didn't think A Guy In A Labcoat would sell, that's fine, but why not make a figure of any of Stockman's fifteen other configurations from the show? The upcoming Turtle Mechs were a PERfect opportunity to make Baxter in his armor suit from round about episode ten or twelve, and it would have given the Turtles someone to fight with their Mechs. Another lost opportunity.
The Worst Action Feature of All-Time: Traximus and Gen are great characters. Why in the world Playmates decided to hamstring them with the crumpling string puppet action is completely beyond me. Even as a kid, this would have ruined these figures for me. If Playmates was going to use this feature, why not make a Foot Soldier or a Dark Assassin that has it? The idea of the Turtles bowling over a group of collapsing Foot Soldiers has a bit of appeal to me. A Traximus I have to keep away from drafts and loud noises does not.
Failing Diversity: As textual said, no new characters have been announced for quite some time. Where's the Garbage Man? How about some more Battle Nexus fighters, or some Federation soldiers for General Blanque to lead? We have Commander Mozar and his troops, where's Zanramon to lead THEM? We got his cruiser. Where's the rest of the Justice Force? Silver Sentry and Dr. Malignus were a great start. Where's Bishop? Where's Touch and Go? There are so MANY charaters still available to Playmates, what's going on? It's not like the supporting characters and villains don't sell; the only one I've ever seen peg warm is April. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is about the most diverse universe out there, keep taking advantage of it.
I'm sure people can come up with other reasons, but those are mine as to why collectors are turning on the TMNT line. I don't think any of them are themselves dealbreakers, I think it's been a series of little disappointments until people just say the hell with it. I haven't said that yet, and I probably won't until the line is cancelled, but Playmates is leaving me less and less to buy. After Karai, I have nothing to look forward to.