This is another fantastic restoration by Tom Spina of Tom Spina Designs. This is Tom’s accounting of his work and process in restoring and creating a custom display for a Leonardo costume from the film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Below you’ll find photos of a recent head-to-toe restoration and display project that has just been completed.
Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had spent many years stored away. Our client felt that this Henson Creature Shop piece used in the 1990 film, deserved better and sent the costume to my company for an evaluation.
Condition on arrival is shown in the lower picture. Overall condition was generally “good”, but it had a great deal of cracking and some areas/components were extremely brittle. Further, some areas, like the neck, crotch/inner shell and inner thighs, had major tears and areas of missing material.
A customized display body was created to support the piece and fit it properly in a dynamic pose. The costume was mounted to the body and most of the restoration work was performed on the form. Some areas were repaired and sealed (cracks and such) but others needed to be rebuilt, then retextured and repainted to blend into the surrounding areas.
At the client’s request, the snout was repainted and blended to the paint style on the rest of the head. This was to improve upon repainting/repair that had been done many years ago which had left the snout too yellow. The head was also repaired around the neck, corners of the mouth and lips as part of the restoration process.
A custom manhole cover display base was created to give the display a little extra pop.
Last but not least, artist Kelly Delcambre and I recreated the missing the elbow & knee pads, the wrist wraps, and his belt & straps to complete the display.
As always, the entire project was discussed at length and in extreme detail with the client. The goal was to make it look “good for its age” and not “brand new”. Great care was taken to ensure paint touch ups matched the surrounding, aged areas and any skin repairs or recreated accessories were visually consistent with the rest of the piece’s “feel”.
This was a long, difficult project but both the client and I are extremely proud of the completed display.
Higher Resolution Archive: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Restoration “Before”
Higher Resolution Archive: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Restoration “After”
Higher Resolution Archive: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Restoration “OPB Exclusive”
Jason De Bord