It has been a long time in coming, but the fourth and final of the limited edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle statues
has finally been released. With Donatello, the green teens are whole once again. For those who don't know, these
are a series of four statues based on the first appearance of the Ninja Turtles. When all four stautes are posed together,
they recreate a panel from the first TMNT comic book. Mirage and Playmates Toys began releasing these statues in 2002 with
Leonardo and Michelangelo followed the next year. But unknown problems stopped the Raphael statue from being released last
year and the future of the series started to look questionable. But while the distribution has been more limited, both
Raphael was released this year and Donatello has snuck in right under the wire.
Packaging - 8/10The statues come well packed in styrofoam in a fairly attractive box. The front and back have an enlarged photo of the upper half of the statue against a negetive image of the comic panel upon which the statues are based. The sides have a smaller photo of the entire statue with a brief history of the TMNT and description of Donatello. There is also a photo of all four statues linked together. Ironicly enough, despite the statues being based on the original version of the Ninja Turtles where they all wore red bandanas, the boxes are color coordinated according to the cartoon version with a purple top for Dontello's box. If you are interested in keeping these mint in the box (MIB), shame on you. But if you really want to keep the packaging, you'll be happy to know that it is collector friendly in that everything can go back into the box for storage or for protection if one is moving.
Sculpting - 9/10The sculpting on the Donatello statue is excellent. It captures the shorter and slightly stubby look of the original Mirage designs. The statue is also surprisingly large. The box claims it is nine inches. But even with the legs slightly bent pose, Donatello stands at least nine and three quarters inches tall. And measured from the bottom of the base to the tip of the bow is slightly over a foot tall when the bo is held in the center. Of course there is no lack of detail either on Donatello, his bo or the base. Even the rings are visible on the end of the bo staff. There are just two things keeping it from being a perfect ten. The first is the hands which have a slightly rough look that doesn't match with the rest of the body. The other issue is the fit for the bo staff. The staff is a separate piece which slides into the preposed hands much like Leonardo's katana on the first statue. But the hands are molded just slightly larger than the diameter of the staff. The weight of the bo is enough to keep it from sliding out, but just barely.
One of the most interesting point of these statues has been the option posing them together. And now that the final statue has been released, we finally get to see what they look like with all four of the statues together. Donatello fans are going to be disappointed. The actual linking bases work well. It does take a little trial and error to figure out which order to connect them. For example, Donatello's base must be set down onto Michelangelo's base because of a slight taper to the edges. Once connected, all four bases look great together. But Donatello is all but hidden behind Leonardo. There are a few angles where he is more visible, but even then, Leonardo's katana is in front of him. I guess this explains why he was released last.
Paint - 9/10The statues are marketed as hand painted. They definately were not painted by my hands because they look great, but not quite perfect. The shading and detail work is very well done and quite effective. I'm also glad to see that the eyes and teeth, while still sporting a significant yellow tint, are not nearly as dirty looking as they were on the Leonardo statue. (I don't care if that turtle does live in a sewer, get a tooth brush!) There is a little minor sloppiness with some of the lines, particularly the edges of the arm bands and shell. But it nothing that is noticable when veiwed from more than a foot away. They also made an odd choice in creating a ring of darker bricks around the edge of the base. As a stand alone figure, it looks good. But when the bases are combined, it creates sort of a reverse shadow effect where the ground beneath the turtles is brighter than the rest.
Articulation - 0/10It's a statue. What did you expect?
Accessories - 5/10Like the past statues, Donatello comes with a signed certificate of authenticity which is really about the only thing that logically might come with a statue like this. I don't really see much point to the COA though. It is not like this is the sort of item that is likely to be conterfited.
Value - 8/10The retail price for the statues is $125. Unfortunately, while the more widespread distribution resulted in quite a few deals on the Michelangelo statue, you aren't likely to find this for less than the suggested retail price. While $125 may cause sticker shock to Ninja Turtle fans who are used to paying $5 each for figures. But when you compare it to some of the comic based statues, busts and mini-busts on the market, it is an extremely reasonable price for a statue of this size.
Happy Hunting:The offical TMNT website (ninjaturtles.com) has all four statues available right now for $125 each shipped. I have yet to see the Raphael statue show up anywhere else since its release and I won't hold my breathe for Donatello either. But there is a chance that they may be solicited through Diamond Comics Distribution at some point. If you are interested in tracking down the past statues of Leonardo and Michelangelo, it may pay to look around. Michelangelo seemed to have been overproduced. There were quite a few places like Amazon and Target.com that were offering it for significant discounts, in some cases as low as $25.