#1971: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Despite being a licensed property, rather than an in-house brand, the main license for Ninja Turtles has been held by Playmates Toys since the franchise arrived on the scene in the ‘80s, meaning that other companies have had rather little chance to give the characters their own stab.  Perhaps the only exception to this rule would be NECA, who first got into the TMNT-thing with a set of comics-based figures back in 2007, while the franchise was between re-boots.  Since the brand was bought by Nickelodeon in 2011, Playmates has had more of a strangle-hold on the main figure scales, but NECA again got their foot in the door by offering up some 1/4-scale figures based on the 1990 film.  Those were a rousing success, and through some loop-holer-y, NECA was able to parlay that success into a line of more conventionally scaled figures.  I’ll be looking at my personal favorite Turtle, Donatello, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is the first of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures, which started arriving at stores in the late-January/early-February time frame.  Based on his appearance in the first (and second, since they were the same suits) TMNT movie from 1990, the figure stands 6 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  All of the figures in this set are scaled-down versions of the 1/4-scale figure.  This means that the sculpt on Donnie has a ton of detail work, since he was originally 12 inches taller.  It’s a very sharp sculpt, and quite nicely recreates the suit from the movie, albeit in a slightly idealized fashion (because, let’s be honest, nobody really wants a straight re-creation; it would look pretty darn terrible).  The majority of the body is shared with Donnie’s brothers, but he has a few parts to keep him unique.  Obviously, he’s got his own unique head sculpt, which follows the more reserved and calm take on the character that we usually see, and works nicely for a number of poses.  The other unique piece is his belt/shoulder strap.  I’m admittedly not a huge piece, for two reasons.  The first isn’t really NECA’s fault, but I just don’t like how high on his chest the belt sits.  This is accurate to the movie, but it’s a design element that’s always bugged me.  Still, it’s accurate, so that one I can’t hold against NECA.  The second issue’s more on them, though.  See, the design of the back of the strap, where the Bo is meant to be stowed, isn’t so great.  They’ve just used cloth straps, which are tied in place.  The trouble is that they came untied almost immediately after I took him out of the box, they aren’t very easy to re-tie, and even when you do re-tie them, they don’t hold for very long.  Getting them to stay in place for the photos was no small feat.  I don’t foresee myself leaving the Bo on his back much anyway, but it’s a little frustrating not really being able to use this facet of the figure.  Donatello’s paintwork is a pretty solid offering.  There’s a lot going on, with tons of small subtle detail work all throughout, again mimicking the suit from the film very well.  Donatello’s accessory complement isn’t quite as extensive as his larger counterpart, but he’s still pretty well-packed.  He has his Bo, plus two sets of hands (in gripping and open gesture poses, two styles of ties for his mask (relaxed and dynamic), and a slice of pizza.  Not a bad assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There have been some definite horror stories from collectors trying to track down a full set of these figures, stemming largely from the problems inherent to giving a highly demanded item as an exclusive item to a retail chain that’s not had a particularly great history with this sort of product.  Fortunately for me, I have someone on the inside: Super Awesome Fiancee.  She was able to be assertive enough with her co-workers to net me a complete set, meaning I had no real troubles!  Donatello has some slight flaws, but is generally a very strong figure, living up the standards NECA has set for themselves.

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#1827: Donatello

DONATELLO

RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (PLAYMATES)

Donatello is the coolest tech wiz ever!  Being a soft-shell turtle may be a drawback in the ninja world, but with his series of battle shells and transforming bo staffs, Donnie can take on any foe!”

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in a near constant state of reboot, and have been pretty much since they began.  Their ‘80s cartoon served to retool the comics, and was itself followed closely by the movies, which were then followed by The Next Mutation.  The less said about that the better.  With all that in mind, there’s traditionally at least some form of grace period between incarnations.  The latest reboot, dubbed Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, broke that pattern, being announced six months before its predecessor had even finished airing.  It’s still being met with some mixed reception because of that, but time will tell how it’s ultimately received.  The toys have just started hitting retail, and, like always, I’ve picked up the newest Donatello.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is part of the first basic series of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures.  He’s based on Donatello’s brand-new look from the new show.  It seems to take a little bit of influence from the recent movie designs, as well as keeping up with the 2012 show’s skinnier Donnie design.  While I’m still not 100% sold on the new designs in the actual show, I must admit, they seem to translate pretty darn well into toys.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He’s definitely the most posable Turtle I’ve ever gotten from Playmates, rivaling the NECA releases in that regard.  He’s still got a few areas where they could improve, but at this price point, joint layout is definitely a pleasant surprise.  The sculpt is clean, sharply detailed, and about as faithful as you’re going to get in the transition from 2D to 3D.  The shell and belt are separate pieces from the main body, as has become the common practice on the more recent turtles.  He’s also got his removable exo-shell, which slots well into place.  Like the sculpt, Donnie’s paint is clean and sharp.  There’s not a ton of detail, but what’s there looks nice, and he’s certainly bright and eye-catching, especially when compared to the 2012 and movie figures.  He’s got pupils in his eyes, which is accurate to the cartoon, of course, but also notable because the first round of Turtles from any given incarnation are usually pupilless.  Not sure what changed this time.  While I’m topically not a fan of the pupils, they actually don’t bug me as much here as I thought they might.  For accessories, Don is packed with two different versions of his new and improved Tech-Bo, a pair of throwing stars, and a backpack piece, which is apparently Donnie’s battle drone Sheldon.  That’s adorable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the 2012 series launched, I went all-in on the initial figures, and really enjoyed them.  And I enjoyed the first season of the show quite a bit too.  Then I fell out of watching it, and just sort of forgot about the whole thing.  When the reboot was announced, I wasn’t really sold, but then, I’m really only a minor TMNT fan anyway.  With the new toys hitting, I figured I’d at least pick up Donnie, since he’s always been my favorite, and I did want to give the new line its fair shake.  I have to say, this figure really surprised me.  He’s very nicely done, and I can see myself possibly tracking down some of the others.  I hope Playmates keeps the momentum going.

#1037: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (NECA)

DonNECA1

For someone who never had a huge attachment to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I sure do seem to have a lot of figures from the franchise. What can I say? I’m a sucker for cool toys, and there are a lot of really cool Ninja Turtles toys out there. For most of their 25+ year run, the Turtles toys have been handled exclusively by Playmates, but in 2007, NECA put out a set of Turtles based on their original Mirage Comics appearances. Today, I’ll be looking at NECA’s take on my personal favorite of the Turtles, Donatello!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DonNECA2Donatello was released in the first series of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, and he (like the other three Turtles) was available three different ways: single-packed (clamshell), single-packed (tubed), and in a boxed set with the rest of the team. The particular figure being looked at today is the clamshell version, which means he includes a few extras that the other releases didn’t have. The figure stands about 5 ¼ inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. All of the Turtles from NECA were sculpted by the Four Horsemen, based on Eastman and Laird’s original depictions of the Turtles. The four figures shared most of their parts with each other, with the heads (mostly their expressions) being their only distinctive features. This is true to the early depictions of the characters, so it makes sense. The sculpt is definitely top notch, not only capturing the distinct look of the art, but also offering a lot of really great texture work (which is far better handled here than it is on the Playmates equivalents). If I had one complaint, it would be the length of the neck; it seems just a tad longer than it should be. Donatello’s head sculpt is calm and pensive, which is pretty a good choice for Don’s personality. On top an already awesome sculpt is a very impressive paintjob which, in combination with the sculpt, really helps to sell this as the comics design for the character. The colors are nice and bold, and the black accent lines are sharp, and place just right to make it look like an inked drawing. All of the releases of Don included the basic gripping hands and his signature Bo staff. The staff is a really nice piece, and it spits at the middle to make it easier to get it in his hands. The clamshell-ed Don also gets a spare set of open hands for wall-climbing, a container of T.C.R.I. ooze, a small pre-mutation Don, and a stand that looks like a section of street. All of these are just as well-sculpted as the main figure, and the stand in particular is a really fun piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Don was the first of the NECA Turtles I got. The single-packs were rather difficult to find at the time, so I was quite happy when I found this guy at my nearest FYE. This was actually my first real introduction to NECA, and it’s one heck of an introduction. This is a fantastic figure through and through, and there’s definitely a reason that these guys are so demanded after the fact.

#0822: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Donatello2002a

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a trend that I seem to always juuuust miss, since the first cartoon and toyline were big right before I got into collecting, and the second cartoon was just after I was watching Saturday morning cartoons on a regular basis. The 2002 had quite a few fans, which included my younger brother. Since we were into a lot of the same stuff, I actually had a small handful of figures from that particular toyline. Today, I’ll be looking at my personal favorite member of the Turtles, Donatello.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello2002bDonatello was part of the first series of the 2002 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line from Playmates. He’s the first version of the character released in this particular iteration, so he’s just a fairly standard version, before the onset of the wacky variants. The figure stands 5 ¾ inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. The articulation isn’t terrible, but he can’t really do much but stand in the one pose. Later figures added a bit more, but these early figures weren’t so lucky. The sculpt of this figure is pretty good. It’s specific to Donatello, but it really could be any of the four depending on the paint. It captures the look of the characters on the show fairly well. He’s definitely a bit more detailed and “toyetic” than a straight translation would be, but it’s clear which of the incarnations of the show this is based on. There’s some nice texture work on the shell and the sides of his torso, but it doesn’t really extend to the rest of the figure, which is a bit odd. The paintwork on Donatello is pretty nicely handled; the basic colors match up with Donatello’s from the show, and he’s got a decent amount of accent work. The figure included his signature Bo staff, a sword, axe, and two throwing blades. Mine has none of these, however.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I actually didn’t get this guy when he was new. I ended up finding him at the same place where I purchased the recently reviewed Secret Wars Wolverine. I don’t have any undying need to own the figures from this line, but he was $1.99, so I figured he was worth it. The 2002 figures actually weren’t that bad, and they hold up pretty well over a decade after release, which can’t really be said of most figures from 2002.

#0439: Donatello

DONATELLO

FUNKO POP!

We continue on with the post-Christmas gift reviews today, with #2. While the vast majority of the gifts I received were either Doctor Who or Alien related, there were a few outliers. Today’s review comes from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, that cultural phenomenon that I keep missing but still have an oddly placed affection for.

This review is also the first time that I’ll be delving into the Funko Pop! line. Pop! is a line of stylized vinyl figures based on a wide gamut of properties (Funko has the rights to virtually every property in existence). There are well over a hundred figures in the line and there are a few different sub-headings (31 to be exact). Today’s figure, Donatello, hails from the Pop! Television line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is figure #60 in the Funko Pop! Television line. Numerically, he’s the first of the four turtle brothers. The figure is roughly 3 inches tall and features a whole one point of articulation. The articulation is limited, but it’s par for the line, and vinyl figures in general. Donatello is based on the character’s appearance in the 1987 cartoon, with the usual Pop! style applied. This means he has the solid circle eyes, the squared-off head, and the exaggerated, smaller lower body all native to the Pop! line. The figure features a completely unique sculpt. It’s pretty good for what we’ve come to expect from the line. The proportions are decent, from an internal stand-point, and it has cleanly sculpted details. It isn’t completely without issue, though. The biggest issue is very definitely the Bo Staff, which has been sculpted as part of the body. It seems the hands weren’t quite sculpted in the right positioning for the staff to fit them, and rather than fix them, the sculptor just sorta bent the staff a bit. It’s really obvious and it makes the figure look rather sloppy. Funko may be really good at getting every license under the sun, but they have yet to figure out the secret to a consistent paint job. Donatello’s isn’t horribly off the mark, to be fair. The colors are nice and vibrant, and they really reflect the color palette of the cartoon version of the character well. That said, they seem to be placed only in the general vicinity of where they should be, leading to a lot of bleed over. There is also a lot of fuzzy line work around the edges. Donatello includes no accessories, which is fairly standard for a Pop! figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Donatello here was a Christmas gift from my brother Christian. I’ve mentioned before that my fandom of TMNT is shared with Christian, so this gift has much more meaning coming from him than it would anyone else. Plus, it’s my favorite turtle to boot! Funko Pop! isn’t a line I follow religiously, but the style works pretty well for certain characters. The Turtles definitely fit the style well. Donatello is a fun little figure, even with his small assortment of issues.

#0410: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MINIMATES

Today marks the penultimate review in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates reviews.  I’ve taken a look at three of the four Turtles, and now I’ll be looking at the last one, Donatello.  Donatello ended up being the short packed Turtle this time around, with just one of him for every two of the others.  Hopefully, Diamond will find a way to even things out.  In the meantime, let’s see how the actual figure turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello was released in the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates.  This particular figure came from the K-Mart assortment, so it was blind bagged and it included a keychain attachment, but other than that it’s the same as other releases.  Donatello is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and he has 12 points of articulation.  He’s been given the design from the current cartoon, just like the rest of the line.  The figure uses the standard Minimate body as a starting point, with a non-standard head, lower arms, hands, and legs, as well as an add-on for his shell.  He shares the arm and leg pieces with the rest of the Turtles, but that’s not a bad thing.  They’re well sculpted and they make the group stand out a bit more.  His head is the three-piece design, with the upper and lower most pieces being shared with the rest of the turtles and the mask being new to Donnie.  It looks pretty good, and the multi-piece nature means that the mask doesn’t slide out of place.  The shell is pretty much in line with the rest of the Turtles.  It’s been given the proper strap and a slot on the back for storage of Donnie’s Bo staff.  The details still seem a little soft, but at this point, it’s more important that he match the others.  Amazingly enough, Donatello’s paint isn’t terrible.  Sure, there’s still a few issues with bleed over or slop, but certainly not at the level of the others.  And look at that belt!  It’s almost entirely straight!  Also, the line work is really sharp, which is great.  Donatello includes his Bo staff, a keychain attachment, and a display stand painted like a manhole cover, which continues to be fantastic.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Donatello is one of the 11 figures I got blind bagged from K-Mart.  As he’s my favorite Turtle, I was definitely happy to get this one.  The fact that he ended up being the best of the Turtles is just icing on the cake.  All in all, Donatello’s improved quality actually helps bring up the others a bit when they’re set up as a team, which is definitely a good thing.

#0396: Donatello – Comic

DONATELLO – COMIC

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2012)

“Back in 1984, a single 40-page black-and-white underground comic redefined the comic book industry and created a world-wide phenomenon. For 30 years, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have entertained and thrilled legions of fans across the globe – and they’re still going strong!”

While I never seemed to get the timing right with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (all of the incarnations are well spaced enough for me to be out of the target audience every time), I still have a pretty decent appreciation for the characters. In particular, I love their early comic looks. A few years ago, NECA released a fantastic set of the main turtles in that style. Unfortunately, I only found half the team, and the aftermarket prices are far too prohibitive for me to finish the set. Thankfully, Playmates has seen fit to offer their own set of the original designs as part of their current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, originally based on the Nickelodeon cartoon. I’ll be starting with the resident tech guy, Donatello.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

“The usually calm and collected Donatello has difficulty containing his enthusiasm when encountering new technologies. Or when working on a new invention or being hot on the trail of a scientific breakthrough, plus his kick-butt mastery of the Bo staff, makes him one unique turtle.” Donatello was released in Series 12 of Playmates’ current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. Donatello is based on his original comicbook incarnation, which is a lot less unique than later versions became. He’s about 4 ½ inches tall and he’s got 17 points of articulation. The articulation is pretty good overall, but the lack of wrist joints hurts the figure quite a bit. In this day and age, such joints should pretty much be mandatory. His left hip is also rather loose, but this is likely to vary from figure to figure. From the neck down, Donatello’s sculpt is identical to the other three turtles. It’s a good sculpt, with decent proportions and quite a bit of texture. It’s a pretty good match for the art from the comics. The head is unique to Donatello. It’s a more passive look, though not as passive as Donatello frequently is. His mouth is open on the right side, but only the slightest bit. The texturing and lines on the skin haven’t been a hit with everyone, but I think they look fine. The bandana is a separate piece, and it doesn’t sit as flat as I’d like on my figure, but it’s well sculpted and the ties hang at a dynamic angle. Paint is probably this line’s weakest point. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing all that impressive either. Donatello is mostly molded in green plastic, with red for the bandana. The actual painted details are mostly clean, but there is a bit of bleed over, and the yellow on his torso missed a few spots. Donatello’s sole accessory is his trademark Bo staff. It’s decently sculpted, but it has no paint, which is a shame. Also, due to the lack of wrist articulation, he has difficulty properly holding it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased the full set of Comic Turtles from my local TRU while killing some time waiting to pick up my brother from a rehearsal. Donatello has been my favorite turtle for a while, so that’s why I reviewed him first. I contemplated just getting him, but that’s what I did with the NECA figures, and it didn’t work out all that well in the end, so all four it was. The figure is far from perfect, but he’s also far from terrible.