I have to start off by saying that this might be the nerdiest post I've written to date, and that's sayin' something! The amount of fun I've had working on these, and thinking about what kind of games or scenarios I could play with them has been pretty ridiculous. I'll admit that I fully intended to have these completed before end of the year...that obviously didn't happen.
There are a few options out there for figures, but they are either the wrong scale, too damned expensive of just don't capture the feel I was looking for; and then I found this!
The TMNT Foot Clan Street Fight board game was on sale for $12. After I liberated the figures out of the copy I bought, I made some cardboard standees so that I could still play the game with my nephews. It was a big hit during our Christmas holiday too!
Now about those figures...on the down side the plastic is pretty soft. The paint work is passable for a mass produced product, but (accurate to the current cartoon) each of the turtles is a slightly different colour which would make colour matching them quite tough. Their skin, chest shell, pads and wraps were all unique. Chopping them off of their coloured bases and putting them on 30mm rounds proved to be a cinch though and got me excited to get started. I had found my turtles!
The biggest problem was going to be their lack of weapons. The theme of the game is that the turtles have lost their weapons and have to find them (and some pizza) while avoiding members of the Foot clan. So I would have to do the same and find some weapons. And maybe some pizza too...
Donatello was the first candidate because he seemed like the easiest to create a weapon for. Uncle Mike let me dig through his bits bin just before Christmas, and I was able to find a very lengthy spear to use as a staff. First I tried drilling through the hand and threading it through but it proved impossible...and would have been too short that way. Instead, I chopped the staff at what seemed like the right spot and just super-glued a piece onto either side of his fist.
I was also curious if I needed to strip the paint off the figures completely, or just clean it up before highlighting. To test my theory I applied a liberal wash of GW Devlan Mud on Donnie to see how it would look without touching up the base paint. The wash gave him a much more depth, but it was pretty obvious I'd have to touch the paint up quite a bit on the others. Finding his colouring now to be far too dark I moved on to Leo, whose skin colour was much closer to what I was aiming for.
A good katana should be easy to find right? Not as easy as you'd think. There are a lot of figures in this scale that have them, especially Heroclix, but I tried a couple of these and they all seemed a bit too short. With a little more digging in my 'clix boxes I was eventually able to find something from a Hand ninja, along with a scabbard that I put on his back. You'll note that I repositioned his sword hand; I simply chopped it off and rotated it 90 degrees so he could hold the weapon without stabbing himself in the face.
It was after painting Leo that I decided I was going to forego the different skin colours on the others and make the figures much more uniform. It would make them look like a group, and also speed up the rest of my paint work.
Now, where to find a good sai? This was a tough one. I dug through more old Heroclix and considered making one out of a trident. I even contemplated clipping a sai off one of the extra arm sets from the Pulp City ninja box set, but that simply would have been a nightmare. In the end I made one myself by drilling a few small holes in the bottom of his hand and gluing in a few bits from a Mage Knight pride warrior figure. I found a small piece from the spear I used for Donatello's staff to represent the end of the handle and Raph was all set.
Where to find nunchaku? I was sure that at least one Heroclix figure has a pair and I was right. Those Hand ninja figures to the rescue again! (I'm sure there's some irony in that somewhere...) I chopped off the weapon and the end piece, but getting them to sit right in Michaelangelo's hand took a little trial and error. The end result is actually three pieces: the bottom piece, the chain and mid-air handle, and a small extra piece in between that and his hand. I very briefly considered giving him another pair but opted against it. Looks good though right?
My quartet of turtles was complete, but I knew it wouldn't be right if I stopped there. They were missing their master Splinter. I already had one of these so this was an easy hurdle to over come. In fact, the one and only reason to buy the Dreadball coach blister from Mantic Games is that it has a Splinter figure in it. In my opinion the other two figures are basically garbage (unusual for Mantic really), but that Veer-myn coach model was just the ticket.
The resin-plastic mix they use to make the original Dreadball figures is very hard. It took a lot of patience and a strong dose of caution to remove Splinter from the integral little round base he was cast on, but I'm managed it without any loss of limbs (mine or his). Splinter's paint job was the second one I finished, as I was working on him while waiting for various paints and washes to dry on Leo. That's not important at all, but there ya go.
I'd like to add an April O'Neil and a Casey Jones at some point. Maybe even a Usagi Yojimbo if I can convert one. All in good time...
Now I need to chose a rule set and come up with some TMNT gaming madness!