Thursday, September 27, 2012

NWC Figure Fraction TURTLEMANIA: TMNT 2012 Donatello

Hello all, Geddy Cahoon here after a brief pseudo-hiatus to once again give my verbose thoughts on various plastic playthings. One of the good things about running your own website is that you can kind of come and go as you please in a sense when things get hectic or whatever in your life. I'll admit I took advantage of that over the past few weeks, but now I'm prepared to get back into the swing of things and review a toy a week once more. Only difference is, Figure Fraction will now be updating on Thursdays due to a wrestling-related commitment I now have to honor each Tuesday.

This week, I bring you what could conceivably be the final edition of TURTLEMANIA here at NWC, a review of the TMNT 2012 Donatello. Why is this possibly the final edition of Turtlemania, you ask your monitor? Well like many things, I've grown bored with the idea of themed reviews each week. I'd rather be looking at varied things from my collection than have to punish myself by reviewing nothing but Turtles for the next two months. Plus these reviews tend to get a tad redundant.

However, I almost always finish what I started, so I'm at least reviewing the last of the 2012 Turtles before calling it quits on Turtlemania. Of course, with the new cartoon debuting in two days, my interest in TMNT could be re-piqued, and Turtlemania could very well go on.

But for now, let's just dive right into my review of the TMNT's resident geek, Donatello!

It's something of a generic choice, but I've always considered Donatello to be my favorite of the Ninja Turtles. He's often displayed as having a more stoic demeanor than his brethren, and I guess the idea of a more restrained character among the Turtles appeals to me. The 2012 version of Donny seems like he's going to appeal to me even more. He's apparently been transformed into an awkward, geeky tech-head and I've gotta say, I think his new characterization will make for some really memorable moments in this new cartoon.

At any rate, ramble aside, I've always quite enjoyed Donatello as a character. And without giving away too much, let's just say that this figure iteration has not damaged that enjoyment in the least.

Packaging: 8/10

See my Leonardo review. All of the Turtles share the same generic packaging. It's good. Nothing offensive, but certainly nothing groundbreaking either.

Paint: 9/10

As always with these figures, the paint on Donatello here is minimal, but what's there definitely works. Basically, Donatello is molded in his skin color (A pale greenish) and then whatever parts deviate from that color are painted.

The most important painted bit on any Ninja Turtle is his headband, and Donny's looks pretty good. It's just a solid purple color, and there's little to no slop on the parts of his head right around the bandana. His white eyes are also very well painted, with virtually no sloppiness or anything like that.

Don's elbow pads are painted as well. They're just a kind of darkish auburn color, and while they are a bit sloppy looking, I always say that in a mass-produced toyline such as this, you're almost always going to run into issues with things like paint and etc. I try not to fault these guys as much as I would say, a MOTU Classic for paint issues, because these figures could definitely have worse paint jobs (Look at anything by Jazwares) and the fact that the biggest issue with the paint on these things is usually just a little bit of slop is a freaking blessing.

Don's knee pads and the tape on his feet look pretty good. There's a slight issue with his knee pads not having enough paint on the top, but it's not a huge issue. Overall, the paint job on this figure is pretty great, and it features the same excusable flaws as all of the other new TMNT figures.

Accessories: 9/10

Don, like all of the other Turtles in this line, comes with a plethora of accessories. In addition to his generic weapon, he also features a weapon tree with several additional weapons.

The tree features another one of the ridiculous tri-nunchuks that came with Mikey, as well as two... Buzz saws, and a fourth thing I broke off already. Like I always say, though I don't pay much mind to most of the weapons attached to the trees, I will recognize their perceived value in terms of adding to both playability for children and display options for collectors.

The weapon I broke off of the tree was just a variation of Don's Bo staff, with a sharp blade at the end.

I think this looks pretty neat. I wouldn't pose Don with it or anything, I just have it in the holster on his back. It adds to the overall aesthetic of the figure. Of course, Don also features his classic weapon, the unbladed Bo staff.

There's not a ton to really say here. It's just Don't Bo staff. It does the job, and I assume this is what 90% of collectors will be displaying him with on the shelf, myself included.

Like most of the figures from this line, Don comes with a ton of well-done accessories, even if the majority of them don't appeal to me. These guys are just jam packed with stuff, and that definitely adds to their overall worth.

Articulation: 9/10

The articulation on all of these guys is pretty much flawless, and they all feature 17 points by my count. Those points are:

A ball jointed neck, allowing rotation...

Hinged shoulders, hinged elbows, and cut wrists, allowing rotation, bending, etc...

And finally, hinged, rotating legs coupled with hinged, rotating knees.

The posing options for this guy are pretty plentiful, though the articulation does have a tendency to feel somewhat limited at times. My feeling is that you don't need to get Don into a ton of flashy poses due to his demeanor, but it's nice to have the option. Articulation is one of the most well done aspects of these already amazing figures.

Sculpt: 10/10

I'm aware that it often comes across as cheesy or ridiculous to award something with the highest possible score, but Donatello's sculpt is frigging amazing. There is so much individuality to his appearance and he's easily the most unique of all of the new Turtles.

I really adore Don's headsculpt. Playmates chose to sculpt his mouth closed, which was probably for the best due to the fact that in the new cartoon he has a gap in his teeth which would've looked ridiculous in figure form. Really, this Donatello just looks absolutely pissed off and I love it. Each of the new Turtles has a highly unique headsculpt, but Donatello's is definitely a notch or two above the others.

Don's midsection looks pretty great too. He seems like his arms and legs may be a bit more elongated than the other Turtles', but don't quote me on that. His plastron is covered with nicks and scratches, and his belt/sash is sculpted and painted quite well.

I really like how slim the new Turtles look in profile, and Don is even lankier than his brethren.

Another thing I really love about Don's sculpt specifically is that he's covered in little bumps. It's a completely small and unnoticeable detail if you're not looking for it, but it really adds character and depth to the figure's sculpt. It also ups the figure's uniqueness factor even more, proving that even though they could've easily colored the same figure slightly differently four times, Playmates went all out when crafting these guys.

My favorite aspect of Don's sculpt by far is his height. He's the tallest of all the new Turtles, and I think it does wonders to make him a completely individual character. If he's supposed to be this awkward, overdeveloped, gangly teen, this fits right into that. Just based on the size and the details of this sculpt alone, I feel like I've intimately connected with this iteration of Don.

I just adore everything about Donatello's sculpt. From the head to the details on his body, everything on display here is a unique home-run.

Overall: 9/10

Donatello is pretty much my favorite of the new Ninja Turtles. He's unique, fun, and just a great value. These guys are only $8.50 at most stores, $7.77 at Walmart. That's a freaking steal for a figure this well done. He's a great addition to any collection, especially if you love TMNT. Can't recommend this guy enough.

That's it for this week! Leave a comment or like the NWC Facebook Page to tell us what you thought!

And so, NWC Figure Fraction TURTLEMANIA has reached it's (Possible) end. I think even I, in my Turtle-centric state, have had enough of the lean-green-butt-kicking machines for one lifetime, and this column can move onto less reptilian things in the coming weeks. I leave you, with this:

Thanks for reading, and let's all keep collection action figures beyond the age it's generally considered socially acceptable!

Next week, TURTLEMANIA continues with a review of... Earthworm Jim?

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