Friday, 14 September 2012

2012 TMNT Donatello

Donatello 2012
Keeping in the theme of the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reviews, I have now the clever Donatello of the Turtles to look at.  The Turtles seemed to get a bit more love in the sculpting side of things when compared to the other figures.  No surprises there, after all the Turtles will sell more than the others by a long shot.  What is surprising is that Playmates toys, usually known for creating figures with little articulation, have actually done a pretty good job on the Turtles when they easily could have slacked off.

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Don has the usual blister card with a small bio on the back.  I like that the bio actually acknowledges one of his extra weapons.  In a nice throw back to the old TMNT toys, each Turtle comes with a little weapons tree that has extra weapons.  Don’s bio mentions his Naginata, which is the staff with the blade on the end.  A nice change instead of just assuming that the Turtles only use their trademark weapons.  Hopefully the new cartoon has them using the different weapons as well.

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Don is packed snugly into the backing plastic and the weapons tree is behind him.  His weapons are his usual Bo staff, the aforementioned Naginata, two big weird looking shuriken and a 3 section pole.  All are pretty cool, but I would have liked to have seen the Naginata be longer that the normal Bo staff, and the 3 section pole is in some strange configuration.  I don’t see how he is supposed to use it like this unless he is flailing it around, which is probably not the best way to use it.

Donatello 2012

The three sectioned staff is rarely used in this manner, mainly due to it being unwieldy and probably more dangerous to the user than to the enemy.  I couldn’t work out how he was supposed to use it properly like this, so since I had some chain left over from modifying Michelangelo’s nunchucks, I modified Don’s sectioned staff too.

The end result looks nicer I think and he can hold it properly as well.

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Post modding tree and the three section staff as it should be used.

Now onto Don.

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I got all 4 of the Turtles without really knowing much about the toys themselves.  I reasoned that, if they are bad, they will at least look a little better together.  Luckily they are pretty cool and what makes them even more cooler is instead of opting for the lazy way and just making the same toy 4 times, changing the mask colour and giving them a different weapon, they actually made 4 sculpts.  Don here is the tallest of the turtles and probably the skinniest.  You can see the difference in the shell shape and length of legs as well.  Each Turtle has different marks on their shells as well, which is a great bit of detail.

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Donny here has a belt that goes over his shoulder and can hold his bo staff.  The belt doesn’t come off, but you don’t really want it to.  Articulation wise it is pretty impressive.  Shoulders, elbows, hips and knees all have rotatable hinge joints, and most of them are covered by the sculpting, the elbows and knees in particular are good examples of this.  Although it does hinder the movement a bit it is no way destructive to the toy.    You can almost get a 90 degree angle on the elbows and knees, but it falls just a little bit short.  The wrists are hinge jointed and work well with the elbows.  There are no ankles though, which is a bit disappointing as they would be EXTREMELY cool with them, but the large and heavy feet allow him to keep his balance pretty well.

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His head is attached by a ball joint and can get a good range of motion.  The mask is stuck on and the ribbon pieces are really soft purple plastic and don’t get in the way.

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these bottom two pictures represent the purple the best.

The face sculpt is great and serious, although I would have liked a smile to show off the gap in his teeth that this Donny has.

One other point I feel I must make would be ‘ambient sculpting’ (as I am going to call it).  This is the general sculpting to add atmosphere to him.  Interestingly on his body, instead of leaving it smooth, there are areas with bubbles (warts?) and scales sculpted in.  Marvellous!  The bandages on his hands and ankles wraps all have texture on them and I was especially surprised to see that he has toe prints on the base of his feet!

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Donatello 2012


Naturally with all those articulation points, he can hold his weapons rather well and being plastic, you can bend them slightly if needed.

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I love this figure!  It doesn’t look like it’s capable of much, but once you start messing about with it, it’s quite adaptable.  Sure he has no waist joint or ankles, so you can’t get a crouch out of him (probably an issue with Raphael for example) but he is so much fun you soon forget about that and move on.

Donatello 2012

While this isn’t a masterpiece toy by any means, it is certainly a solid one.  Children will be able to bash it about a bit and man-children will be able to pose and enjoy the options this toy presents.  Luckily the Turtles are a great improvement over the likes of Kraang and the Foot Soldier, if the  same attention was put into the lesser characters that the Turtles receive, this would turn the whole line into something quite remarkable.

As it is, I could only really recommend the Turtles for the discerning action figure lover so far. Thing is though, I HIGHLY recommend these guys.  They are great and Donny here is fantastic.  Hopefully the popularity of the Turtles will see an increase in quality of the other figures too.



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