This was supposed to go up last Thursday and for some reason, I missed doing it at the time. Then I tried for this week… and failed again. So to heck with it: here’s “Throwback Thursday on a Friday” for you.
I’ve talked about the Technodrome from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on this site before: once when I was examining the fate of the original, and again when I was talking about things I want to see revived in the current animated series. Chalk one up for me, by the way.
In any case, in the process of searching Turtlepedia for more info on the awesome new Turtle vehicle that Donatello made in Half-Shell Heroes: Blast from the Past (an animated movie on Nickelodeon and their website), I wound up coming across something else I didn’t expect. This:
Sadly, that’s as big as the image gets, but not the story. Way back in the early days of the franchise and Playmates’ run with the toys, they apparently planned to release a Technodrome toy in 1988. This makes sense, being the bad guys’ mobile fortress that was by and large the linchpin of like 90 percent of the old toon’s plots, at least before the “Red Sky” seasons.
But they never did… at least, not like the one above. Here’s the text, just in case anyone is having trouble with it:
It lives in the sewers beneath the city, waiting to commit the next crime. It’s the Technodrome, the evil Foot Clan’s powerhouse on wheels that stands 22″ high and 22″ long! It’s giant rock blaster cannon blows open tunnels as stone drills grind up and spew out the rock debris. “Eyeclops,” the detachable Foot radar, scouts out Turtles. Then the Foot’s dual rotating blimp blasters, two peripheral cannons and two toejammer torpedo guns roll out the welcoming party!
Technodrome’s vinyl blow-up dome is removable and features a secret drop chute down the center, perfect for getaways through the front or back portals. Inside the Technodrome are the command center rooms with enough space for over 15 figures! And the Foot rolls into action with the Technodromes’ [sic] detachable Technorover vehicle that features 2 “Eyespy” missiles and shellcracker cannon. Includes Turtle jokebook and armor patch kit!
That sounds freaking awesome. 22″ tall? That’s about as tall as Fortress Maximus, the Autobot who — as Matt from Dinosaur Dracula once put it on his old site, X-Entertainment — “is big enough to end a battle by stepping on it.” Not only is it nearly that tall, but also as long and — given its shape — presumably as wide.
I’m not sure if the toy design was based on the cartoon, or the cartoon was drawing from the proposed toy, but judging by the style, I think the image above would have been the box art for the toy. If the toy came first, then it apparently informed quite a bit of what we know about the Foot’s mobile fortress. For starters, I know I’ve seen that radar called “Eyeclops” before, in the instruction manual for the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Similarly, the Technorover vehicle mentioned was featured prominently in a few episodes of the cartoon — “Eyespy” missiles (which would later be used for the Footcruiser) and all! I had always wondered why they never released a toy of “the most heavily armed vehicle they have,” instead going with all sorts of strangeness that never looked like anything they used in the cartoon — unless it was specifically to promote said toy. Turns out they were going to, until this whole set apparently got canceled.
Incidentally, the one thing that eludes me from the description is how the vinyl blow-up dome would work while still featuring drop chutes and command centers big enough for 15 figures. I’d have loved to see this reach the market just for that bit of engineering alone.
Now, some of you might be reading this and thinking “but they did come out with a Technodrome! I remember it!” with a subset adding “I even had (or have) it!” This is technically true, but it’s not the same as the one above. Check out this catalog illustration:
I can’t find anything noting a precise size measurement, but near as I can tell, this one was nowhere near as big as the initial proposal. Looking at pictures of it with figures, the dome is roughly two figures tall, plus the Eyeclops and tread base. Big, but not “fits 15 figures” big, which you kind of want out of something like the Technodrome.
The colors in the retail version were a bit different and reflected the show pretty well, and you can see pictures of it here, with a more detailed look at the insides here. The dome was a solid plastic, and the central portion featured a jail cell for captives on the lower level while the above features a periscope/steering wheel for the Eyeclops radar. Along the sides were a spinning torture device facing the infamous dimensional portal (at a greatly reduced size), a mutation chamber, and a few other Foot amenities.
Sadly, nothing as cool as a Technorover, though.
One neat feature of this version that isn’t mentioned in the original is the ability to attach to the Sewer Playset via the pipes that protrude from the latter. Occasionally, you might even find the cover for the Technodrome doorway where it would connect in random parts lots here and there — I think I’ve even got one somewhere, despite never owning the Technodrome itself (I did have the Sewer Playset, though).
All in all, while I think the version we got was neat, I think the original idea sounds far cooler. It would have been much more timely as well, seeing as how the latter version only came out when I’d entered that sort of awkward “in-between” stage where I was too old for my parents to buy me much of anything in the way of toys and too young to buy them myself (entrepreneurial opportunities were very slim where I grew up, and I didn’t get an allowance; my parents still got me things on occasion, but it was more at their discretion, and giant toy Foot fortresses were not a part of that).
Still, it was cool to come across this older design and wonder of what might have been.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.