Mark Patraw

Donatello Rearmed

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On August 26th, I bought several secondhand toys, including a 2012 Playmates/Viacom TMNT Donatello action figure. As he was a loose, used toy, Donatello didn't come with any of his original weapons, but, on a whim, I decided to replace them from scratch. Now, that's not something I usually do, as I'm constantly buying toys with missing pieces, so, if I were to attempt to make every one of them "complete" like this, that'd be a never-ending job that would consume vast amounts of time and quickly burn me out. That said, I am rather fond of fabricating toy weapons, and I haven't made any for a while, so, Donny got lucky.

If you buy this version of Donatello new, his bou (pole/quarterstaff) is ready to go, but all the rest of his weapons [naginata (a glaive-like weapon), sansetsukon (three-section staff), and two shuriken (throwing stars)] are still mounted on their sprue tree (which is how they're arranged when they come out of the plastic-injection mold at the toy factory in China), so you have to twist/cut them free yourself. They're also all cast in the same brown color, 'cuz Playmates couldn't be bothered to paint them. Although, to be fair, that's the same approach that the company took with the accessories in their original TMNT toy line back in the late 80s and early 90s, so they may have simply been trying to replicate that look for nostalgia purposes. I did find it particularly disappointing that Don's sansetsukon is one solid piece, rather than the separate, chained elements that it's supposed to be. And lest you think I have unrealistic expectations on that account, I owned a 1989 G.I.JOE Snake-Eyes action figure that came with a fully-functional sansetsukon when I was a kid--if Hasbro managed to do it twenty-six years ago, and with a smaller figure to boot, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the same from Playmates today.

Anyway, in the interest of "correcting" those gripes mentioned in the previous paragraph, the two improvements I really wanted to make on my weapon set were to fully paint them and to make the sansetsukon work like it's supposed to.

I had intended to make the pair of shuriken too, but, after laying/measuring out a template and doing the math, I came to the conclusion that, given their fairly intricate wheel-within-a-wheel design, they'd be more time-consuming and aggravating to fabricate than they were worth for a little side project like this, especially if I gave them a chrome veneer like I did with the naginata blade, so, I nixed them.

Newsprint, white glue, cardboard from a cereal box, a Pop-Tart wrapper (chocolate fudge--yum!), paperclips, acrylic paint, and pencil.

Bou: 9.6 cm (3.8") long x 0.4-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.
Naginata: 10.0 cm (3.9") long x 0.3-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.
Sansetsukon: 11.0 cm (4.3") long x 0.4-0.5 cm (~0.2") diameter.

I made all three implements on September 1st.

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