Hey there, mutant maniacs! At last, I've posted the next entry in my series of custom TMNT figures! It's been over a year since I posted Michelangelo and Leonardo, and I know a few folks were looking forward to the rest of the series and it felt like I up and abandoned you. Well fret not! I return to the Heroes in a Half Shell with a major entry! Behold, the Turtles' radical ride, the infamous Turtle Van!
As one of three entries in the Vehicular Toyslaughter Custom Contest, I had to keep my original description simple, since my traditional verbosity would have been a dead giveaway of my identity (let's face it, who else on the Realm writes an entire thesis on each custom they post?). Now, unencumbered by the limitations of anonymity, I can really discuss in detail the process by which this magnificent mutant mayhem mobile took shape!
I began my line of TMNT figures almost three years ago, before I even began posting my customs on Figure Realm. I made all the traditional main heroes, and several of the common villains (I won't mention who because, well . . . look at the left-hand sidebar, you'll figure it out), and after temporarily changing tracks and building Samus Aran's Gunship (if you haven't seen it, check it out, people say it's some of my best work), I found the confidence to tackle my next vehicle, so I thought I'd give the TMNT's classic transport a whirl. Given that my TMNT series is in a 6 inch scale, I needed to start with a like-scaled base vehicle rather than the old 5 inch scale accessories from the original cartoon. Naturally, the Cowabunga Carl party van from the 2007 film was a perfect choice. However, it lacked any real turtle deco (aside from the head on the roof, which just HAD to go), so I needed to pick up some appropriate accessories to finish the job. Two '80s TMNT Party Wagons sacrificed their mirrors, guns, radar, wheels, doors, front canopy, and roof panels to make this project possible.
I cut every turtle tile individually to make sure they fit perfectly and covered the roof properly. I cut a massive hole in the CC van's roof, and mounted the PW van's roof door and spoiler on the back. I swapped the CC mirrors for the PW mirrors (they have the big search lights, which I preferred) and mounted the windshield canopy on the front of the van. I cut the radar post off the canopy, smoothed it down, and plugged the hole that was left behind. I removed the PW armored door plates and glued them onto the CC van, and I mounted the guns and radar to the ball that once carried Cowabunga Carl's inflated head (and doubles as the trigger mechanism for the pizza-shooting action feature of the CC van . . . a feature that still works).
I then put the van in a box and left it there for three years, because I had other, more important things to do.
So, flash forward to the beginning of January this year, I pull this old project out of storage and say to myself, "I could finish this and enter it into this new contest on the Realm!" So for what it's worth, I want to thank Figure Realm for getting me off my @$$ and pushing me to complete a long dead project.
Anyway, I cut the shell off an old '80 TMNT figure and glued it on the front of the van. I replaced the clowny star hubcaps of the CC van with the shell-styled hubcaps of the old PW toy. Then I filled in all the gaps with LocTite epoxy putty, and sculpted the word "TURTLES" on the front shell. A full paint job and some appropriate decals (the trademark sneer on the bumper and a "TURTLES" New York license plate), and the van was complete.
The side door of the CC van originally opened to reveal . . . a fifth wheel that flipped over to add support to a figure standing on the platform. Kinda lame, and with the turtle tiles on the top of the door, it no longer fit properly, nor was it necessary as the extended door armor plates now fully supported the platform's weight all on its own. I removed the wheel and converted it into a collapsible tripod, on top of which I mounted a sewer plunger cannon from the 2003 TMNT series Sewer Lair playset. This entire apparatus is completely optional, and the vehicle can be stored with the weapon folded up inside the door, or it can be removed so the Fearsome Foursome can engage in vehicle-to-vehicle melee combat.
This year, Playmates is FINALLY releasing a series of '80s show-accurate, highly articulated, 6 inch scale, collectors figures for the long-time fans like me! We'll probably never see a show-accurate Turtle Van, but with all the work I put into this bad boy, I think it'll fill the void just fine. Whether it's my customs or the new figures, or even the classic toys from my childhood, my turtles will now be riding in style!