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Donatello Rearmed

On August 26th, I bought several secondhand toys and a 4 oz. bottle of white glue (I can never have enough of that stuff) from one of the local thrift stores. The two larger ladies pictured are both 2010 Disney/JAKKS Pacific fairy dolls, Fawn (left) and Rosetta (right), that I believe came from a big Target-exclusive Disney Fairies boxed set (Tinker Bell, Vidia, Iridessa, and Silvermist rounded out that assortment). Fawn's wearing Rosetta's pink dress and Rosetta has Iridessa's yellow outfit on (that's what they were wearing when I purchased them, but I swapped their clothing around after taking this photo--I still need to braid Fawn's hair how she usually wears it too, but I've been too lazy to untangle and comb out her locks). The brown-and-gold robot is a 2004 Hasbro/Takara Transformers: Cybertron Autobot Landmine figure, and the other, smaller doll is a 2002 Bandai/American Greetings Strawberry Shortcake Berry Sweet Princess rendition of the titular girl. And, last, but not least, as he's the focus of this project, is the first 2012 Viacom/Playmates Donatello action figure, which is based on his appearance in Nickelodeon's current, computer-generated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

As he's a loose, used figure, Donatello didn't come with any of his original weapons, but, on a whim, I decided to replace them from scratch. Now, that's not something I usually do, as I'm constantly buying toys with missing pieces, so, if I were to attempt to make every one of them "complete" like this, that'd be a never-ending job that would consume vast amounts of time and quickly burn me out. That said, I am rather fond of fabricating toy weapons, and I haven't made any for a while, so, Donny got lucky.

If you buy this version of Donatello new, his bou (pole/quarterstaff) is ready to go, but all the rest of his weapons [naginata (a glaive-like implement), sansetsukon (three-section staff), and two shuriken (throwing stars)] are still mounted on their sprue tree (which is how they're arranged when they come out of the plastic-injection mold at the toy factory in China), so you have to twist/cut them free yourself. They're also all cast in the same brown color, 'cuz Playmates couldn't be bothered to paint them. Although, to be fair, that's the same approach that the company took with the accessories in their original TMNT toy line back in the late 80s and early 90s, so they may have simply been trying to replicate that look for nostalgia purposes. I did find it particularly disappointing that Don's sansetsukon is one solid piece, rather than the separate, chained elements that it's supposed to be. And lest you think I have unrealistic expectations on that account, I owned a 1989 G.I.JOE Snake-Eyes action figure that came with a fully-functional sansetsukon when I was a kid--if Hasbro managed to do it twenty-six years ago, and with a smaller figure to boot, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the same from Playmates today.

Anyway, in the interest of "correcting" those gripes mentioned in the previous paragraph, the two improvements I really wanted to make on my weapon set were to fully paint them and to make the sansetsukon work like it's supposed to.

Here are the roughed out papier-mâché bou, naginata, and sansetsukon. I fabricated the sansetsukon's chain links from paper clips and I put a metallic veneer on the naginata's blade (using a Pop-Tart wrapper of all things) to make it look more realistic.

I had intended to make the pair of shuriken too, but, after laying/measuring out a template and doing the math, I came to the conclusion that, given their fairly intricate wheel-within-a-wheel design, they'd be more time-consuming and aggravating to fabricate than they were worth for a little side project like this, especially if I gave them a chrome veneer like I did with the naginata blade, so, I nixed them.

Here are the finished results. Donatello is well-equipped to wail on Shredder's Foot Soldiers once again!

Newsprint, white glue, cardboard from a cereal box, a Pop-Tart wrapper (chocolate fudge--yum!), paperclips, acrylic paint, and pencil.

Bou: 9.6 cm (3.8") long x 0.4-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.
Naginata: 10.0 cm (3.9") long x 0.3-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.
Sansetsukon: 11.0 cm (4.3") long x 0.4-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.

I made all three implements on September 1st, 2015.

  •   OAFE Rustin's Spoils of the Week #76 blog entry (complete Donatello toy photo).

  •   Wikipedia bou, naginata and three-section staff articles.

  • « Return to my Miscellaneous Artwork Gallery Index Page

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    Any and all copyrighted imagery, terminology, etc., depicted on this page belongs to its respective holders/owners, namely Viacom and Playmates.

    The MIDI music playing is the theme from the first stage of Konami's TMNT arcade game.