Quick way to reproduce fully rigged, animated prefabs with different meshes/Materials?

Sounds simple enough but I must be missing something.

I’ve gotten the locomotion system working on my primary character but after that task I realized that making upwards of 200 npc mobs and enemies is going to take a great deal of time. I figured it would be easy enough to take my premade player character and just use a different mesh and materials in hopes of it just laying on top of the animated skeleton but that didn’t seem to work.

The formerly visable part of the model just disappeares on application of a new mesh.

I wouldn’t think it would be infeasible with going from one male human mesh to another. Is there a quick way to reproduce fully rigged and animated prefabs with different meshes/Materials?
(I’m not one to go asking questions on a forum without seriously giving it my best shot. )

Bumpity bump