All Terrain Trapper Engineering Pilot (Unproduced)




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The Tower of Darkness and All Terrain Trapper probably stand as the two most recognizable unproduced toys from Kenner's Super Powers line. All 3rd series action figure cardbacks advertised the pair to consumers, but sadly neither reached retail due to sluggish product orders and the eventual cancellation of what many consider to be the greatest superhero toy line ever produced. Production tooling, also known as steel molds, for the All Terrain Trapper were produced, but yielded only pre-production samples. The All Terrain Trapper featured in this entry, one of two confirmed surviving examples, is referred to as an engineering pilot (EP).

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As is common with many engineering pilots, this one features production quality packaging and inserts. The box itself, devoid of any graphics, mimics the exact dimensions and of the eventual production box. Test boxes and inserts of this nature ensure the toy fits properly inside its packaging. The EP packaging has the toy name and specific box dimensions handwritten in pen.

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The prototype toy itself is entirely cast in injection molded plastic. The wheels, cast in a milky white coloration, are non-production colored. An engineering pilot of this nature may have been subjected to various quality tests and scrutinized to ensure parts fit and operate correctly. Some parts on this EP exhibit coding written in black marker.

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The above photo shows a front view of the vehicle. The green sphere opens up to capture super villains.

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This shot shows the top and rear.

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This rear photo shows one of the numbers written on the toy. A platform resides in the middle allowing an extra action figure to travel on the All Terrain Trapper. A small protruding peg helps the figure stay attached while the vehicle is moving.

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Many collectors may be unaware that the All-Terrain Trapper was designed as a battery operated vehicle! The above photo highlights the battery compartment's existence. It doesn't open easily, so I've never placed batteries inside to test the toy's functionality. The vehicle itself is supposed to move forward. While the Trapper is in mothion, the yellow arm-like protrusions rise up and down causing the green sphere to crash into the ground. A single tread running around the sphere would cause the green sphere to spin, thus making the figure inside tumble around. I imagine a few trips in the All Terrain Trapper's green sphere wouldn't exactly leave your figures in mint condition!

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The cockpit hatch opens enabling a superhero to pilot the vehicle.

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The wheels, cast in non-production colors, feature great detail.

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While having the engineering pilot packaging to go with the engineering pilot toy itself is tremendous, I was also extremely fortunate to obtain a production quality, fully printed box for the All Terrain Trapper as well! An individual entry for the packaging may be viewed here. The box originally existed as a box flat, but the previous owner used the EP packaging inserts to help it take shape. I commissioned the construction of individual acrylic display cases for both boxes and for the toy itself to protect them all from dust.

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The above image featuring concept art for the toy is not new to the site, but I felt its inclusion in this entry was warranted given the presence of other complimentary material. A cromalin for the All Terrain Trapper also exists, but does not reside in my collection.

The deal that brought the All Terrain Trapper toy, EP packaging, and production packaging to my collection is one I'll always remember. Negotiations spanned a two-day period during the fall Atlantique City Toy Show back in October 2003, but in the end an agreement was reached, and I happily added these pieces of Kenner history to my collection. I'm proud to be able to share the images of these prototypes with fellow Super Powers enthusiasts around the world.

Given Kenner's propensity towards recycling past product for future lines, it's somewhat surprising the All Terrain Trapper was never reconsidered for inclusion in a different line. A vast number of recycled toys surfaced in the Batman: Dark Knight Collection. Surely a futuristic looking vehicle like the All Terrain Trapper could have aided Batman in his quest to capture Gotham City's villainous fiends. Toys from lines such as Robocop and Silverhawks were reconceptualized to reduce tooling costs and speed product development. In a way, all of this makes the handful of surviving examples all the more special and unique.

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