TMNT Tour Costume Restoration and Display

Restoration and custom mannequin display for a TMNT tour costume from the famed “Coming out of their Shells” tour!

A quick visit to our Movie Props Restoration Page will show we’re no strangers to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Our most recent restoration and display is this TMNT tour costume, used in the famed “Coming Out of Their Shells” tour that began in 1990. James from the HSPPA reached out to us after obtaining this rare and colorful bit of Ninja Turtle history, tasking us with restoring the suit, conserving it on a custom-fit mannequin and making missing elements, like a suitably bedazzled jean jacket vest!

The Donatello costume was made from a mix of urethanes and foam, and showed prior production-related repairs and plenty of evidence of stage use. The chest was sourced from another tour, but all other elements look consistent with the 1990 classic. The head was only a hollow skin, and one of the first things we did was create a custom-fit support shaped to perfectly fit inside the fragile foam. This new insert gave the TMNT Donatello mask shape and with the addition of custom teeth and glass eyes, he was brought back to life!

Much like any movie prop creature suit restoration, we began the body preservation with a customized fiberglass body form, made to fit and support the unusual costume! A standard retail mannequin wasn’t going to do for this Turtle! Once the costume elements were mounted, our team conserved and repaired tears and deterioration. Larger damage was retextured to match the original sculpture and then in-painted (only painting the repairs) to make any restoration invisible.

An XL jean jacked was bedazzled with yin-yang symbols and pink, black and silver gems. A pair of large white sneakers matched the show footwear, and a custom made headset completed this wild and wacky Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume from their first big tour!

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A few words from our client…

I very vividly remember seeing the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour in Chicago, October 1990 at the Arie Crown Theater…i was one of the older big kids (and still am!), the in-between stage of growing up and my love of action figures and rock music! This was also my first concert technically too and it was pretty mind blowing at the time…and quite frankly, just as mind blowing when this finished display arrived at my house – and here was Donatello the Rockstar/Ninja Turtle in my living room with me!! Absolutely surreal and I can’t thank Tom Spina Designs enough for the incredible conservation and display work they did! I forgot how truly rough some of those turtle parts were when I shipped them off…it is truly amazing what the artists at TSD do!  Thank you and COWABUNGA DUDES!!!!

James Azrael of The HSPPA