This original Shredder TMNT latex helmet was used in both the original 1990 film and the 1992 sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. After filming was complete on the original Ninja Turtles movie, the production team reused and refinished the helmet to give Shredder a new look for the second film.
Over time a lack of interior support had cause the latex to lose its original shape, so in addition to the patching and repairing, we created a custom shaped insert to help the helmet keep its shape over time and help minimize the effects of gravity. Often times with latex and foam movie props, good support can be as important (if not more so) than the restoration work itself.
We started by creating a custom insert, carved by hand to support the helmet’s unique shape. We needed to make sure that our insert would fit this one of a kind helmet perfectly without causing undue stress or stretching. The helmet had lost some its shape over time and while we were able to reshape some of the areas, sometimes the material prevents certain repairs or changes. With the interior support built, our artists could then proceed and focus on the restoration!
As always, we discussed the direction of the conservation work with our client. It’s an interesting situation where you have a prop used in two films. Some clients choose to conserve as-is and others want to bring the piece back to the original look. In this case, our client chose to have us restore the piece to the iconic, first film look.
For TMNT 2, Shredder’s helmet received additional gold square plates around the perimeter. The plates had been removed prior to arriving at our studio, but some of the gold plating had transferred to the original latex below and additionally, there was a flattening of some of the original textures in places.
Our artists recreated the missing basket-look textures and painstakingly “in painted” the gold areas and any repairs, so they would blend seamlessly with the rest of Shredder’s mask. The silver portion of the helmet had also lost some of its plating over time. Using a mix of metallic colors, our team not only filled in the missing silver, but perfectly aged those areas to match the remaining, decades-old silver treatments. The result is another piece of film history preserved, while maintaining plenty of age and evidence of use in the films.
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