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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Donatello Review

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About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line is one of the all-time great action figure lines in history, and the 2012 relaunch of the brand is the first iteration since the original line to truly take hold of collectors' attention.

Donatello is one of the four primary ninja turtles around which the new cartoon is centered, and this take on the character's appearance in the cartoon is a near-perfect representation and an incredible action figure on its own right.

Donatello has a stylish modern look, a plethora of accessories compared to many recent figures, and all the details and articulation that have often been lacking in Playmates Toys' previous examples of the character. This may not look exactly like the Donatello collectors have come to know and love over the years, but it's a new take on a classic, and it gets everything right.


  • Name: Donatello
  • Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
  • Series: Basic Action Figures (modern)
  • Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
  • Scale: 5-inch
  • Acccessories: Bo staff, naginata, segmented bo staff, two throwing stars
  • Image Gallery: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) Donatello

Sculpt and Design

Donatello is a fantastic looking action figure. The squat and hunched, though charming, designs of the original turtles are long gone, as this Donatello finally brings the turtles into a welcome new era. The design is dynamic and animated, with a more upright appearance and human proportions. The muscles and proportions look great together, while Donatello's shell is the perfect size to complement the design. Even the figure's head looks more fluid and elegant than past designs, with a flowing headband and grim expression that make Donatello look much more serious than in the past.

And Donatello's sculpt adds to the great design. It's full of tons of details and textures that help bring the figure to life. Its skin is grainy and striated with muscles. The shell has intended dents and scratches, as if the figure's been in a fight or ten. All of the simulated cloth has folds and wrinkles, showcasing an amazing attention to detail.

Even Donatello's accessories get everything right. The highlight is the chest strap and holster on the figure's chest. Instead of simply being sculpted into the chest, Playmates Toys employed a more expensive option, giving Donatello a unique strap that goes on over the top of the figure, adding real depth and uniqueness to the character. There are lots of small sculpted details in both the straps and the weapons, making it a fun and engaging figure that stands out from the character's turtle brothers in the line.

Paint and Color

Donatello's paint and color scheme are almost as good as the sculpting and design. Instead of bright and bold characters that would make the figure look too cartoonish and childish, this color scheme was designed for collectors' eyes. The muted greens and browns worth together to create a subtle character that looks more realistic than artistic. In combination with the bright purple sash around Donatello's head, there is a perfect balance between vibrant colors and subtle hues.

The paint applications are also well done. There aren't many complicated applications required with this character, but what few there are were executed well. The lines are crisp, the colors don't bleed, and there's no sloppy or messy applications to complicate things.

Donatello's accessories totally lack any paint, instead being cast in a simple brown plastic. This may be an homage to the classic figures' simple accessories, but still leaves the buyer looking for more with the bladed areas of the weapons, which should be gray or silver instead of brown. It's a small issue in an otherwise wonderfully painted figure.

Articulation and Posing

The best part of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line is the increased articulation. Playmates Toys has rarely given their figures a diverse articulation model, but the four turtles in the modern line all have a wide assortment of joints. Donatello features a ball jointed neck, swivel-hinge shoulders, swivel-hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel-hinge hips, and swivel-hinge knees. It may not be a revolutionary articulation model, but it's more than Playmates Toys' turtles have ever had before and it's enough to make Donatello an extremely fun figure.

Overall Thoughts

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back, and they've never been better. Donatello is a top-notch action figure that changes a lot about the character but still manages to capture the charm in plastic form. It's loads of fun, looks great, and will leave any action figure collector with a smile.

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