The Raddest ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Toy Never Made: A Transforming Party Wagon Robot
The year 1993, man. For Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their fans, it was the best of times and kinda the worst of times. On one hand several TMNT comics were going strong, the animated series was in its seventh season and Playmates was on the cusp of releasing some of its most tubular toys yet. On the other hand… the near-universally loathed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III dropped and a lot of kids were moving on to watch the newly-launched Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. With so much going on, many fans probably didn’t realize what they missed out on: A ninja-piloted Party Wagon toy that “mutated” into a giant mecha warrior suit.
As seen in the Playmates 1993 toy catalog so bodaciously posted online by Vaughn Michael several years back, the transforming “Muta-Party Wagon” — part of the wider Mutations line, which saw characters turn into either vehicles or unmutated versions of themselves — would have stood 19″ tall (that’s 8″ taller than the deluxe Krang’s Android Body figure), and come armed with a pizza cannon and a huge katana.
Just check out this product description. It wasn’t written by Stan Lee, but with all the alliteration I prefer to read it in his voice:
The trouble with being a Turtle is the minute you start to have fun, some foot fiend shows up to ruin it. This masterful Muta-Party Wagon is designed to combat that crisis. If Foot foes walk up to the Green Guys just move a piece here, pull a knob there, and this crafty classic Turtle vehicle Mutates into a giant fighting robotic Turtle — the meanest metallic monster those Foot fools will ever see! This mechanical Mutant’s got fully articulated arms for real crook crushin’ action: an automatic pizza thrower to unleash an arsenal of anchovie-covered dough discs: and a super samurai storage area just right for the goon-gashin’ giant katana! And the Green Guys get to ride high in this dangerous Mutatin’ monster. You get to choose who!
– Classic Party Wagon Becomes Giant 19″ Fighting Robotic Turtle!
– Super Mutatin’ Action Means Two Turtle Toys in One!
– Spring-powered Pizza Throwing Action!
– Giant Katana Blade!
For whatever reason, the item was never produced. The prevailing hypothesis among fans is that it was probably too expensive to mass produce or would’ve proven too expensive at market to be a hit. Me? I’d have begged my parents for 100 of them in the second grade. Playmates, you shouldn’t have given up!
To the company’s mecha credit, they did manage to release a line of awesome armored Muta Force figures a few years later, followed by a similar M.E.C.H. Wreckers line based on the 2003 TMNT cartoon, plus an “Exoskeleton” line of Mini Mutants. Still, I don’t think anybody would mind Playmates dusting off whatever plans it had for this thing and doing a limited run. I’d totally… shell out for it *gets struck by 30,000 rancid tomatoes*.