Monday, 20 October 2014

Donnie the Wizard (LARP TMNT)

Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Company: Playmates

Year: 2014

I love Dungeons and Dragons, and a number of other associated pen-and-paper roleplaying games. So earlier this year when I found out that the Playmates TMNT line was going to do a “Raph the Barbarian” figure and other, similarly-themed Turtles, I was over the moon. My love of Dungeons and Dragons, combined with my love of the Turtles meant that Playmates were onto a surefire winner.

Now I have the first of these figures in my hands – Donnie the Wizard. How does he match up to the expectations? Well, he’s pretty cool idea, but there are definitely some problems here. Read on to see more.


This figure is apparently based on an episode of the current series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in which they play a game called “Mazes & Mutants” (wink, wink) – however, the game rapidly becomes real and our reptilian heroes need to don some LARP gear to battle evil. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m keen to, particularly after the awesome DnD-themed episodes of Community that have seen release in the last couple of years.

(Fun fact: the TMNT themselves used to have a pen-and-paper RPG too!)

Somewhat surprisingly, this isn’t just a regular Donnie with soft plastics layered over the top to create a robe – rather, most of the body actually is the robe, with arms, legs and head stuck in. This is a decision I have mixed feelings about; though the robe is nicely detailed with a belt and hood, it makes him look kind of pudgy, rather than the gangly Ninja Turtle the current series shows him to be.
Here’s the articulation breakdown.   

*ball-jointed neck (inexplicably cast in purple)
*swivel-hinged elbows

*cut wrists
*swivel-hinged hips

*swivel-hinged knees

Given that the cape is made of hard plastic and actually forms most of the body, rather than being a soft plastic overlay, leg articulation is more restricted than many would like – and the knees are kind of on the loose side. But for me, the main problem is that there are no elbows – though both are preferable, I always take elbows over knees. This is further compounded by the right arm also being quite wonky.   

Donnie comes with two accessories – his bo staff, which looks to have been turned into a wizard’s staff via the judicious application of bandages and tape, and his wizard’s hat and beard. Both are cast in soft plastic, so you may experience some warping, particularly on the staff.

As for the hat/beard combo, it stays on reasonably well, but you won’t be able to turn his head while he’s wearing it.   

Paint has far and away been the weakest aspect of the current TMNT line, and this Donnie is unfortunately no exception. Though the prototype looked quite good, a considerable number of apps have been removed from the final product – most notably the stars that decorate his cape. They’re still sculpted details, but now they just look kind of awkward. This is one issue I think I will actually take the time to fix, as it’s a real shame to see it  almost ruined because of lax paintwork.    

Donnie the Wizard is a great concept, an excellent novelty addition to the TMNT collection, and a nice throwback to the more bizarre days of the 1980s/1990s line (I’m holding out for an updated Universal Monsters series, unlikely as it may be). However, the execution is sorely lacking, with some questionable sculptural choices, minimal paint, and loose joints. I was excited on initial purchase, but in practice it's quite underwhelming. I’m just hoping Raph the Barbarian is a better figure.


No comments:

Post a Comment