TMNT fans are always quick to show off their amazing creations in celebration of the franchise they love. With good reason – there are many talented people (artists, designers, etc.) with the abilities to create beautiful pieces of ninja turtle memorabilia that no one has seen before. Of course, you don’t have to be an electronics expert or professional painter to make something amazing. Sometimes all it takes is a little ingenuity, the right scraps, and the desire to give someone else a wonderful gift. That’s what Ben Irving – a lifetime TMNT fan in his own right – did when his daughter, Evie received some ninja turtle figures for Christmas and needed a totally awesome play set to reenact her favorite scenes.
On Boxing Day 2013, Ben and Evie set out to make her the greatest turtle lair play set that’s never been released. The project started as a simple cardboard setup, but after a job that left him with some wood scraps, Ben decided it was time to upgrade. Screwing the wood together, Ben built a lair play set for the reptilian heroes, complete with all the accessories needed to replay adventures. With rope ladders made from kebab skewers and strings, wire railings, and dowel rods painted as TCRI barrels, the play set started to resemble the lair fans know and love. With a little paint, the filth and ooze of the NYC sewers came to life. But he wasn’t about to stop there.
The villain figures also needed a place to play, so Ben hinged another open lair set to his complete version, creating a wooden box that could be closed shut. The whole box was then painted and cut to resemble a skyscraper (including touches of the new show, such as Casey’s “Jones is Everywhere” logo), creating a great play set for any fan, big or small. A little research on graffiti art helped add something extra to the exterior, and he even left enough room to park the Shellraiser inside. When finished, the entire box stands 2.5 feet tall, and 1.5 feet wide. Evie added some of her own touches, as well. She helped her super dad create the whole thing, and put the pink ooze in the TCRI barrels. For final touches, Ben put in a trap door, tire swing, busted fire hydrant, a ramp, ziplines, and plenty of other features for hours of playtime. “I was fortunate enough to have the sewer system and other turtle toys when I was young but I also used to make boxes into other buildings to play with them,” Ben said.
Ben and Evie are both huge ninja turtle fans, and absolutely love the new animated series. While Evie is partial to Leonardo, her dad has a soft spot for Raphael (but, then again, who doesn’t). Evie loves her favorite turtle so much, that she even dresses up like the leader in blue for school events. They spend their time watching the show together, as well as playing with their turtle-y awesome lair. After seeing the first season, both are hooked. But they don’t have Nickelodeon, so will have to wait until Season Two comes out on DVD to enjoy the continued adventures of the turtles. However, fans everywhere will tell them that they are in for a real treat when the rest of the show makes it to their living room. In the meantime, both are going to have plenty of fun creating their own adventures, and watching as the turtle figures kick evil butt every day.
There’s not a lack of creative talent in the TMNT fan pool, and more and more individuals are expressing their love of the series through new and innovative ideas. Ben Irving’s creation is just one of many that show how wildly popular the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still are, and that they are going to continue to hold that popularity through new generations for years to come. Here’s to another 30 years of fightin’ the Foot for everyone’s favorite mean green fighting machines.