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Thread: Molded Head Jedi Luke - Why the switch???

  1. #1
    Captain nohandluke's Avatar
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    Molded Head Jedi Luke - Why the switch???

    Hey all,


    Been pondering the Molded Head Jedi Luke variant in recent days. Can't figure this one out. Went back and looked at all my vintage figures. For all human characters with uncovered heads, the heads are almost always molded in a flesh color and the hair painted on.


    Molded faces:
    Luke Skwalker Farmboy
    Han Solo - big and small
    Princess Leia
    Ben Kenobi
    Death Squad Commander (had a helmet, but still molded head)
    Han Bespin
    Luke Bespin
    Leia Hoth
    Leia Bespin
    Lando
    Lobot
    Ugnaught
    Imperial Commander
    Han Endor
    Leia Endor
    Leia Boushh
    Han Carbonite
    Rancor Keeper
    Lando Skiff
    Lando General
    General Madine
    Luke Endor
    Luke Stormtrooper
    B-Wing Pilot
    Anakin Skywalker
    Bespin Security Guard (white)


    Then we have the few human faces where the face is painted on. Usually this is because of a helmet that would be the dominant color, so they painted the face to simplify manufacturing -


    Luke X-Wing
    Han Hoth
    Luke Hoth
    AT-AT Commander
    Rebel Commander
    Rebel Soldier
    Rebel Commando
    AT-ST Driver
    A-Wing Pilot (while B-Wing pilot got a molded face...)
    Bespin Security Guard (African)
    Dengar
    Imperial Dignitary
    Cloud Car Pilot


    Then there's Jedi Luke - a major character that would surely be seen as a high seller. Initially released with a molded head as per usual for all of the heroes (with the exceptions of the Hoth Luke and Han and X-Wing Luke - all of which have helmets). Then very quickly he's switched to a painted face which is super easy to scratch during play and leaves him with the fugly brown-nose look.


    Has there ever been an explanation on why Kenner would make this change? I could understand going from painted to molded, but this one is weird to me. Any conjecture?
    Last edited by nohandluke; 08-19-2013 at 02:51 PM.
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  2. #2
    High Admiral ChrisB's Avatar
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    I think you might be over thinking it a tad, but either way, your list is off slightly.

    The Rebel Commando can be found in both molded/painted faces. And I'm almost positive General Madine can be found in molded/painted face as well.
    andrewcikatricis likes this.
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  3. #3
    High Admiral Kenner76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I think you might be over thinking it a tad, but either way, your list is off slightly.

    The Rebel Commando can be found in both molded/painted faces. And I'm almost positive General Madine can be found in molded/painted face as well.
    I can confirm that General Madine comes with both molded and painted faces. I have both versions in my collection.

    Not sure why Kenner made the change, but I can tell you that the molded face Luke Jedi looks MUCH better than his painted face version.
    Last edited by Kenner76; 08-19-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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  4. #4
    High Admiral Shawn_K's Avatar
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    I certainly agree that the molded head looks best, but this was most likely a factory decision and nothing to do with Kenner in the first place. I don't know about the other characters, but based on my research, the molded Luke Jedi can only be found on the Kenner 65a card and from Taiwan. At the same time, there were two other Hong Kong versions and those always had painted faces and even those the face color is slightly different. Some of this was mentioned on a fairly recent chivecast, but there could be a few reasons that this change was made. Some examples might be: the flesh colored plastic costing more that the hair colored one, or maybe it was easier to apply the various paint masks on the face as opposed to having to do the hair color too.

    Jump to the 48:00 mark and you'll hear some great info on this.

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    Last edited by Shawn_K; 08-19-2013 at 03:50 PM.
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  5. #5
    Captain nohandluke's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great info Shawn!
    I make videos about the history of vintage toys at http://www.youtube.com/retroblasting !!!!

  6. #6
    Sith Lord bigbarada's Avatar
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    Wasn't there a version of the A-Wing Pilot where the head was molded in flesh colored plastic and the details were painted on? Or am I mistaken on that? I do remember hearing about a slight color variation that appeared in A-Wing Pilot helmets, so maybe that's what I'm thinking of.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
    HWR
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    I have never heard of an A-Wing pilot with molded face.

    To my knowledge the figures that can be found with either a molder or a pinted face are:
    Luke Jedi
    Rebel Commando
    General Madine
    Klaatu.

  8. #8
    High Admiral MightyMegs's Avatar
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    I think it had to do with complaints about paint-rubs that appeared on the heads after a lot of play. Of course... they just traded hair-rubs for nose-rubs.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMegs View Post
    I think it had to do with complaints about paint-rubs that appeared on the heads after a lot of play. Of course... they just traded hair-rubs for nose-rubs.
    I don't think the molded-face Luke was in circulation long enough for there to have been such complaints.

  10. #10
    High Admiral Yehuda_K's Avatar
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    Even as a kid I was bothered by the figure back in the 80's when I saw his painted zombielike face . ( although he did come with a saber and gun like luke bespin plus a cloak, which made it forgivable). Although I am not a variant collector, when I found out that a molded face version existed, I hunted one down immediately. It's a better version and it came with a snapped cape.
    Kenner probably painted Luke's face because his hair was very prominent on the figure and had a greater percent of surface area making painting the face a cheaper option.
    http://powerofthetoys.com/afa please check this out!

    It's so rare it wasn't even in the movie.- Rick Springfield, Chivecast 46





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