Modern Era Star Wars Prototype Fakes
Originally written by Greg Edwards with additional information by Chris Georgoulias.
Article Revamped by Robert Musco.
During the late 1990's, Star Wars collecting saw an increase in a segment of the hobby pertaining to pre production action figure items. New outlets, such as the Internet, allowed collectors from all over the world to interact with one another; expanding knowledge and communication. With this increase in interest, dishonest sellers attempted and even successfully scammed collectors out of money by selling fake prototypes.
The most common pre production items that were faked during the late 1990's, in regards to modern era Star Wars action figures, were first shots. The popularity of collecting first shots was due to the action figures being created quite often in vibrant multi colored plastics, as the main purpose of first shot is test the mold. When inspecting a first shot prototype there are several signs to look for. Chris Georgoulias offered the following tips:
The dead giveaway is the material itself. It must be able to flex like a normal figure.
- Inflexible material. This means it is made of resin and not injection molded plastic. Toy manufacturers use a wide variety of plastic for toys, but all of it flexes.
- Visible air bubbles in the plastic. Injection molded plastic doesn't bubble up. However, resin poured by hand into homemade molds can and does.
- Lack of footholes, but with copyright dates. Dates without holes is impossible. This means the counterfeiter plugged the holes in his master so that it would be easier to mold.
- Torso would not seal properly. The two-part torso should have fit together tightly, like a glove. If the crotch area had a gap it means that the newly molded resin could not hold the exact tolerances as the original. Thus, a gap would form between the legs.
In 1999 the first batch of fake prototype first shots were being sold. eBay was a source for this batch of fake first shots - dubbed "pastel". The following Episode One action figure characters are known to exist in "pastel" form:
All of these fake first shots are from the Episode One waves 1 and 2. Originally, when the fakes first appeared on eBay, C - 3PO and Padme Naberrie were sold at the same time as a set. When an example of one appeared for sale, the other did as well. Even though the approximation of sets to exist was at nine, it is truly unknown exactly how many of each of the fakes listed above exist. Pictured below are examples of both the C - 3PO and Padme Naberrie "pastel" fakes. Also, included is an image of a "pastel" fake Darth Maul (Jedi Duel).
- Darth Maul (Jedi Duel)
- Ben Obi - Wan Kenobi (Jedi Duel)
- Qui - Gon Jinn (Jedi Duel)
- Padme Naberrie
- Jar Jar Binks
- C - 3PO
The main giveaway that these first shots are fake is the plastic that was utilized to create them. The plastic is brittle and has a strange rough texture to it. In addition, speckles of another color appear through them. Some of the joints on the action figure are stiff. In some cases the figure is partly glued together and not sonic welded. Also, of note is that the "pastel" fake is more brittle and weighs less than an actual production figure. The texture is the giveaway as if you hold a production figure in one hand and a "pastel" fake in the other the difference can be seen. In addition, all of the fakes have their accessories, peg holes and the copyright information markings because the fakes were created after production was started. Another giveaway is that the lightsaber accessories are not made out of clear plastic. In the cases of the Qui-Gon Jinn and Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi fakes, detail loss can clearly be seen particularly in the facial area.
Unfortunately, images of the Qui-Gon Jinn and Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi fakes, with the fake lightsaber accessories, are no longer available, and an image of a "pastel" fake Jar Jar Binks has yet to surface.
Also in 1999, another batch of fakes hit the market via eBay. The character selection was greater than the "pastel" batch of fakes. This second batch of fakes were dubbed "berry". Not only did the new Episode One action figures appear as fakes, but some Power of the Force II action figure did as well. Fortunately, almost all of the images from the dishonest seller's auctions have been saved for reference. Several points stand out that clearly can be seen as to why these figures are fake. First the poor quality of the figures clearly can be seen as shown in this image of the Power of the Force II Princess Leia action figure:
Besides the very poor quality of the figure, the odds of a Power of the Forice II action figure first shot (that was created years before) would have the same colored plastic as a (then newly released) Episode One action figure was extremely unlikely. The images of these poorly created fakes speak for themselves, so I personally do not feel there is a need to elaborate on them. What follows are images of twenty different examples of the "berry" type of first shot fakes.
If you happen to have a known modern era Star Wars fake prototype and would like to assist the collecting community by supplying an image, please feel free to drop me an email at SemsFir@cox.net.
Discuss this article here: BTT Forums
This article originally written by former Star Wars collector Greg Edwards that was accessible on Allen Hayden's (now defunct) Toyomahn's Star Wars Prototype Web Page. My personal thanks to Greg Edwards and Allen Hayden for permission to recreate this article. It will be a valuable tool for educating collectors on fake Star Wars prototypes.
This article has been edited (or revamped), to bring some information up to date. In addition, Chris Georgoulias, one of the editors of the SWCA, granted permission to include some additional information. My personal thanks to Chris as well.