Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle RESTORATION (Leonardo Lives!)


Sr Member
Hey all,

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, our favorite seamstress Kitty Hebert 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.

Enjoy the pics. There are more photos and information in both our Movie Prop Restorations and Custom Mannequin Movie Prop Displays galleries.


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Sr Member

I always admire when you show off the restoration of classic movie suits and props. Thank you for sharing that with us. Always loved these costumes and now seeing them restored is just brilliant!


Well-Known Member
Amazing! I've always wondered what happened to those suits... The originals were probably my favorite movie costumes ever. I wish the owners of all of them would do the same. Thank you for saving Leo!

Any plans for katanas strapped to the back?
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Sr Member
When I was at college I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Henson creature workshop when it was in Camden Lock, London. I was taken around the various areas- foam rooms etc, and saw all of the fibreglass lifecasts for the TMNT, that this suit was built over. They were, and probably always will be, one of the best animatronic suits ever made.
What kind of work was needed for the shell, as it used to house the servo gear , no? or was that all stripped when the suit was originally bought?

Sweet ;-)


Sr Member
Amazing work on this! TMNT was always a fav as a kid and seeing this again as an adult still makes me jump up and down in excitement!

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
Another great restoration of a piece of movie history. Beyond belief what you are able to accomplish. You are a true artisan! :eek:thumbsup