Prototypes: A top 10 list of collectibles we coveted, but (ordinarily) never got. Damn.
Today we’re having a plethora of nostalgic moments, and as such we’re looking back at some collectibles that were so very close to heading out of the factory door for mass release, but then right at the last minute got pulled by the dreaded Death Star tractor beam. Bumseywumsey. Canned. cancelled. Told to f*#k right off. There have been countless collectibles that this has happened to, which is an outright crime against humanity, Skynet and utopian thinking. Yet despair not, Collectorians, as today we are looking at extra special prototypes that we know you’ll find very bloody interesting.
1: Rocket Firing Boba Fett (Star Wars)
This is perhaps the most famous prototype of all time. The Rocket Firing Boba Fett was supposed to be the very first Boba action figure and available via ‘mail away’ (a common exclusive method of obtaining a rare figure). Unfortunately just before this was due to be released, the suits at Kenner got cold feet (about his rocket firing action) and pulled the plug. Instead they glued the rocket into his backpack (yes, really) and now the prototype of the rocket firing Boba figure is worth over a hundred grand. (KA-CHING). How many of these made it out of the factory is something many Star Wars fans debate; some put it as high as a few dozen, but others state that it must be much less. Whatever the weather, this baby is rarer than steak tartar.
2: Unicron (Transformers)
Hasbro did an inordinate job in grinding out pretty much every character that appeared in Transformers. Yet… the big bad baddy guy from ‘The Transformers: The Movie’ (an inspired title? We think not) was Unicron. He was a huge, 1 foot tall figure and was planned as part of the G1 line of Transformers. It was to be not just a mahoosive figure, but one that could talk and have a microphone feature also. The prototype of this figure has surfaced at many toy shows, especially Bot-Con, yet the reason it never made it past prototype stage was the humongous cost that the figure would have to have been sold at. Also, the overall quality was said to be quite low as Hasbro were doing all they could to make sure this was as affordable as possible. Sometimes you just simply cannot balance the scales. Close, but no cigar.
3: Tower Of Darkness Playset (DC Super Powers)
Ok so this is not an action figure per se, but basically a playset. Kenner actually had a good run with their line of DC Super Powers action figures in the 80’s, and for nearly two decades it was the only toy line that allowed the DC characters justice. Anyway, towards the end of the line this epic Tower Of Darkness playset was due to be released. Fans were stoked; It was very far along in development and had been seen by seekers many times. This was to be an action packed playset with a gazillion features such as cannons and a huge stone Darkseid who would be able to move his arms. This looked like it would be a very much revered playset, but sadly it is said that only a couple of these exist. Rocking horse poo.
4: Samara (The Ring)
Here we have a devilishly decent horror related figure that was never released, and due to extremely low production numbers, we imagine is one of the rarest figures on this list (but interestingly most likely far from the most expensive). The Ring was a huge hit. It was the most successful of all the Japanese-to-UK Horror movies at the time. Samara was a disturbing, repugnant and creepy character, and as such Neca wanted to make her part of their Cult Classics line. This line included many other horror icons. This truly was a great idea and from the prototype that you can see online it looks like it would have been a respectable figure. The reason she was never released is difficult to know for sure, but some form of licensing issue seems to be the main culprit. Sigh.
5: Greg The Hammer Valentine (WWF/E)
The 90’s line of WWF action figures from Hasbro was huge and something that is very collectible to this day. One of the most iconic figures that never winged it to retail was ‘Greg The Hammer Valentine’. Actually, he did make it to retail, but not the version people wanted. You see originally he was to be released in a two pack with ‘The Honkey Tonk Man’ as ‘Rhythm & Blues’ (they could have been released separately). A prototype was made and has been seen by many collectors, AND the figure was heavily advertised. But the tag team was short lived and Hasbro decided to change the attire of the figure before it made it to retail. This prototype is the most expensive of all the WWF Hasbro action figures…….. unless you know something that we don’t know OR the fabled Orange Card series turns up of course. Either way, finding this fabled figure is akin to finding a needle in a record breaking gigantium haystack.
6: G.I Joe original prototype (G.I Joe)
We doubt that you’ll see this one; there’s only one in existence. it’s the first ever G.I Joe doll prototype, and as good old Indy would say “It belongs in a museum!” Don Levine is the gentleman who created this special piece; it was hand sculpted prototype that was created before the doll went into production in 1964. Since then, this one of a kind original still commands huge value: it sold for $200,000 at auction in 2003, making it the most expensive figure in the world at the time. This figure ranks in the top three of rareness; and as such you’ve got a better chance of finding a redneck with a full set of gnashers.
7: Darth Vader with double telescoping lightsaber (Star wars)
Whilst perhaps not strictly a prototype, butsurely worthy of entry into this prestigious list is the very first Darth Vader figure. The earliest figures of Luke, Obi-Wan and Vader all had built in ‘extending lightsabers’ as a feature – you could slide a lever in the figure’s wrist to pop out the full lightsaber, like the blade was igniting as it did in the films. Sadly, the double-telescoping feature was deemed too flimsy for mass production, and was later changed to a single telescoping action. Some double-scoped figures made it to the market, and whilst Luke’s double telescoping figures were more common, it’s believed that less than 15 of the Vaders with the double-telescope exist in the wild. Seriously. There are however lots of fakes on the market, so BEWARE. Even uncarded authentic Vaders have sold for thousands of coinage, but a carded double-telescoping Vader can sell for a humongous amount: One has in-fact, going for $30,000 not too long ago, and that ain’t bad for a piece of movie magic plastic. These babies really are as scarce as unicorn tears.
8: The Dark Arts box-set (Harry Potter)
This prototype box-set doesn’t include any exclusive figures per se, but it’s a box-set that was never produced. Included in the set were Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix, Lestrange, Fenrir Greyback and x2 Deatheaters. However, just a select few prototypes were made, and here at OCC we’re proud as the heaviest, most jackhammering punch to own one. We’re as baffled as Adam on mothers day when it comes to knowing as to why this set wasn’t released, but what we do know is that this prototype set is darkly disturbingly decent. Avada-ke-bloody-davra!
9: Pewter cast Gollum (Lord of the Rings)
We’re not showing off (well; perhaps we are a lickle bit) but this is another piece that resounds resplendently within our collection/showpieces. The interesting fact about this piece is that after it was cast, it was discovered that production cost would have far outweighed any form of profitability; it simply cost too much to make (£450, and the general rule is to establish retail price by a factor of four, so if it had of been produced you’d have been looking at £1800!). So, as you can imagine, it weighs a bloody tonne, much like the Ring did to poor Frodo. This example exists as the ONLY version cast in pewter, and as such we’re thoroughly exhilarated to be in it’s possession. Our PRECIOUSSSS!
10: Lord Voldemort pre-painted snap vinyl kit (Harry Potter)
Like the Dark Arts prototype set, this was also produced by Popco. As you can see, the detailing is fantastic and he stood at a decent 15″ tall, so it’s a grand shame that the Dark Lord never saw the light of day. The snap fit figure was due to come with his own backdrop display. Two prototypes are know to exist, and yes, you guessed it, here at OCC we own one!
And there you have it. Do you have any yourselves or feel that we’ve only gone and omitted another rather quite special prototype? If so, leave a comment below and we’ll let you know our thoughts…