Through the years, Playmates toys has held the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rights since the beginning. Even though they’ve produced hundreds of figures, some have hit the proverbial cutting room floor. Others, saw drastic changes between the first and final sculpts. Let’s take a look at some of the neatest figures that never saw release, or were changed heavily from the prototype.


First up is Splinter, from the “Warriors of the Forgotten Sewer” line. The name is appropriate, because this entire line was forgotten by Playmates and several of the figures never saw release. Only Rocksteady, Bebop, Leo and Don made it to shelves.


As crazy as Splinter looks, the entire series had this sword and sorcery style to it. There was even a pack-in comic featuring Splinter in this getup. None of this figure ever made it into any other releases, but it definitely shows off some of the creative liberties they were taking with the TMNT over at Playmates.


This early sculpt of Rocksteady, shows a much beefier representation of the character. He definitely would have been an even cooler toy, had he looked like this. Parts of this guy were resculpted to use in the Gatekeeper Rocksteady figure. I always found it interesting that pretty much no two Rocksteady and Bebop figures were alike. Playmates was constantly tinkering with their design.


When the TMNT were on their way back in the early 2000’s, Peter Laird actually had a working concept with WB Kids in which the Turtles were going to look significantly different. Playmates at least got to the planning stage, with this Leonardo. The head sculpt greatly differs from the 2K3 TMNT figures that saw eventual release, but the body is largely the same. The entire figure was originally sculpted for the alternate WB version of the Turtles, though.


Finally, perhaps the coolest of the old prototypes floating around is Casey Jones. As you can see the final product is almost identical to the proto, except for one thing… His alternate unmasked head! This was planned to be a swappable head and would have been one of the earliest figures to use that sort of technology, unheard of for TMNT figures. Another interesting aspect of the unmasked face, is that it appears to be scarred up. Casey was a normal guy in the Mirage universe, but he was never unmasked in the original 1988 cartoon. Perhaps Playmates knew a bit more about what was the cartoon character’s backstory? I suspect the disfigured element may have actually been what led to this extra unmasked head being cut from the final release.

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