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Ninja Turtles Art Attacks!

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By George L. Nitti

Although the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was a comic and television series phenomena in the 1980s and '90s, a couple of more recent Hollywood film productions have helped to popularize the cartoon once again. Now the bit of pop culture has even been glorified on tow trucks.

Marvin's Tow Service, of Gardner, Kansas, has a history of dedicating its trucks to cartoon themes such as the TMNT.

When asked about the inspiration behind it, owner Marvin Vail credited his three boys, ages ranging from 9 to 25, for the design.

"My kids decide what we paint my trucks," he said.

On their 2015 Kenworth/Century 5130, one will find beautifully rendered custom-painted graphics depicting major characters from the series along with colorful backdrops of New York City and its underground water system. Masterfully painted by Scott Thomas, the project, involving four other people, took seven weeks to complete.

"I like paint," Vail said, "not plastic/vinyl. It has better texture and the colors are more vibrant. With a wrap it is easy to peel off, whereas using custom paint involves making a commitment to your truck.

"I met Scott in 2009, when he painted a rotator of ours, and then brought him on full-time, when we started D & M Body Shop," said Vail.

On the side of the wrecker, the turtles—Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rafael and Donatello—are prominently displayed, each wielding their unique weapon as they stand guard, battling petty criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures and alien invaders.

Found next to the turtles are two other main characters from the series, reporter April O'Neil and mentor Splinter.

On the hood, the four turtles reveal their faces, pushing their heads out of a manhole cover against the city backdrop. On the side doors of the Kenworth, the four silhouetted turtle mutants band together with the name of the company written in a creative font also found in the series.

According to Vail, the children in the community have been exhilarated by the cartoon themes as they make their rounds to birthday parties and special events showing off their brilliant graphics.

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