Sunday, 1 December 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Part 1: The Turtles

And now for something completely different…

I've always been a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - firstly, when that goofy Fred Wolf cartoon came out in the 1980s; secondly, when I got a little older and delved into the original Turtles by Laird and Eastman. That eventually lead to an interest in Palladium's "TMNT & Other Strangeness", which sadly was discontinued many years back.

Now my children are into TMNT as well, through the new Nickelodeon CGI cartoon. It's okay, but not really for me: it's aimed (obviously!) at young children and loses at lot of the grittier tone of the original turtles. But it is not the worst version of the Turtles, at least.

Recently, I saw a new "Busy Book" range - they make these kids books with a map or poster, a hardback book and (most importantly!) a handful of scale plastic figures… The shop I saw these in had Batman (the sculpts were okay but not great) and TMNT. These sculpts were quite nice, and I suddenly thought of repainting them! The price was also great: £5 for 12 models (actually, I later found the book in another shop for £4!).

Using plastic toys or figures for gaming, by repainting them, isn't a new idea. Lots of painters have used Heroclix and the associated ranges and repainted them, but I've never done this before.

My first stop was to paint up the Turtles themselves. These were by far the best figures in the set (as we will see in later posts). I forgot to take pictures of them in their original state, but here is a shot of some of the other figures:


Here are the Turtles with an undercoat of black paint. Note that the mould lines on these figures are really hard to remove and quite pronounced! I decided to use some 30mm round-lipped bases, which I thought represented a sewer well.


Here are the finished Turtles. I went with a combination of the classic Turtles scheme (no pupils, all same green colour etc), but some more modern twists (different coloured eye masks). It's a shame that the Turtles aren't using their weapons (I'd have liked to do them all with red eye masks, to keep them really old-school).



As to the scale of these figures, I took some shots with other well-known ranges - here is a Heresy Hurn and Knight Models Dark Knight. The Batman figure is supposed to be 30mm - I'd say that the Turtles are really 32-35mm range, but they could probably be used alongside Knight Models figures (I'm not a scale purist really).


As can be seen, Bane is still bigger than the Turtles. The other figure is a 30/35mm Planet of the Apes soldier, from Graven Images.


Alongside another Batman, Judge Dredd and a Black Dragons Space Marine…


So, this is an interesting project and one I'm enjoying doing. There are lots of blank spaces on the models with low detail, so it helps to use a more "comic book" style by feathering the highlights. I also added some speckling to the joints and areas of the face, reflecting real reptiles. 

Next up: Splinter, April and Shredder...

12 comments:

  1. Very cool! I never would have seen these as figures worthy of a repaint. Nice job spotting a diamond in the rough, they turned out great :)

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    1. Cheers John! They also do Batman, but the sculpts were so choppy I thought it would be too much work to get them to a useable status

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  2. Totally radical dude. Cowabunga!

    :)

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    1. Glad you like them! I think that they now say "Booyakasha" or some such….!

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  3. Terrific work on the TMNT.

    Could I get some more info on the books you got them with? Purely so I can track some down for myself...

    Greg

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    1. Hey Greg

      Glad you like them!

      The books are called "My Busy Books", and are basically A4 sized heavy cardboard boxes with a 4 page card book, an insert tray and a game map. I bought mine from Tesco Extra at £5, but I've since seen the same books in Home Bargains for £4.

      There is also a large range of them in WH Smiths (but I didn't see the Turtles in there). Other licensed ranges included Toy Story - I reckon Buzz Lightyear painted up with really weathered armour, in an ultra-realistic way, which be a pretty awesome model….! Let me know if you need any more info or if I can help you find them.

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  4. Hi I found them, but they aren't available in Australia for anything other than silly money.

    Still, I'm happy to sit back and admire yours. I imagine they'd be great fun to use in something like a skirmishy, convention game.

    Merry Christmas,

    Greg

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  5. After seeing your post and amazing paint job! (Stellar by the way!!) I really wanted to do the same thing to go along with some of the other classic cartoon series (He-ma, Gi Joe) would you mind telling me what paints you used to paint the turtles if you don't mind?

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    1. Sorry for such a late reply - I didn't notice your comment! I used citadel paints, and the green was a combination of the old Catachan green highlighted with camo green, built up in layers. The browns were Rhinox Brown built up to Snakebite Leather. (I still have the old citadel paints I'm working through!). Hope that helps, let me know if you need any other colours - I used quite a limited palette, most variants of green or brown were done with those colours. The white parts are snakebite layered with ushabti bone.

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  6. Just discovered these - they look awesome! Shame I can't find the book anywhere in Australia for a reasonable price.
    Do Raphael and Michelangelo have weapons? From the pics, it looks not...

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    1. Richard glad you like them! Sadly, I think they are difficult to find in Australia - in the UK, they are widely available and cheap. Ralph and Mikey have no weapons, which is a shame.

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    2. That's a shame about the weapons - they look like reasonably detailed sculpts otherwise (eg. Raph seems to have the crack in his shell.)

      For any Australians reading this, the cheapest I've found the book is from Book Depository for about A$19.50 inc. postage.

      Anyway, cracking paint jobs! :-)

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