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Thread: Prototype, Hardcopy, First Shot, and Protomolds for Vehicles and Playsets

  1. #1

    Prototype, Hardcopy, First Shot, and Protomolds for Vehicles and Playsets

    I'm curious to find out who within the community has information they wish to share on any prototype, hardcopies, first shots, and protomolds for vehicles and playsets that did or still do exist. Pictures exist of prototypes for mass produced vehicles like the falcon (pics below) as well as unproduced vehicles like the falcon's "cargo handler" and others seen in Kenner's blue binder of 1985-1986 product ideas. The recent conversations on protomolded figures sparked the idea for this conversation. Are protomolded vehicles that were produced "in house" at Kenner in low yield molds ever known to exist? Or were they a hardcopy, finished product, or something else in between that would have been ready to show at Toy Fair? I know a great many and most were likely thrown out, but perhaps some were taken home by Kenner employees, much like unfinished figures.






  2. #2
    The original wood pattern for the sandcrawler has survived and found his way to Gus Lopez's collection https://www.starwars.com/news/jawa-j...tern-unearthed and there is a neat vintage sandcrawler prototype in Chris Nichols' collection that can be seen on Sandcrawler.com http://www.sandcrawler.com/jawas/ind...m&item_id=4645

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by gerrit View Post
    The original wood pattern for the sandcrawler has survived and found his way to Gus Lopez's collection https://www.starwars.com/news/jawa-j...tern-unearthed and there is a neat vintage sandcrawler prototype in Chris Nichols' collection that can be seen on Sandcrawler.com http://www.sandcrawler.com/jawas/ind...m&item_id=4645

    Wow I've never seen those before. Gus has an amazing collection no doubt. I also have always incorrectly assumed that the mechanical patterns seen on the the ships and vehicles were molded in clay, but as the article you linked points out they were done in wood and clay was reserved for more organic shapes. That changes my whole process perspective on vehicle making. I'm would think that certain playsets like the droid factory were done in with a similar wood pattern fashion. So the wood patterns came from a company in Michigan and were then sent to Kenner? Or another party to be scaled down on a pantograph machine? Curious if the hardcopies or first shots for these vehicles were being done in the Kroger building at that time or somewhere else. The first shot sandcrawler from Chris Nichols is very interesting too, especially since the thin lines are missing from it compared to the final production version. Imagine they were added after to give it even further detail, so that it didn't look so flat and smooth. Would be curious to find out more about the missing link process(es) that occurred between Gus's wood pattern model and Chris's first shot. Thanks for sharing those links gerrit

  4. #4
    That woodworking detail is just incredible!!


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WampasGottaEat2 View Post
    That woodworking detail is just incredible!!

    It's a tue piece of art, i wonder if all the tiny details are made of wood or if it is mixed with model kit parts or resin casts.

  6. #6
    Isn't gus the collector that has the unreleased large size kenner figures as well.

    He most have one heck of a collection
    F.S.C.M.E. Vintage Toy Collector. TOYMANS FEEDBACK http://forum.rebelscum.com/t1113796/

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by gerrit View Post
    It's a tue piece of art, i wonder if all the tiny details are made of wood or if it is mixed with model kit parts or resin casts.
    I wondered the same. They appear to be all be wooden details which is interesting considering how small many of the pieces are. I would think that since many of them are rounded in shape that they were spun on a lathe and then cut in half so that the flat side could be adhered to the ship. I wonder where the wood shop was located in Michigan? The article doesn't go into that much depth. Not that there would be anything there, I'm sure everything is long gone by now, but knowing the name and location of it seems like a big part of the Kenner history. Would love to know.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by toyman941 View Post
    Isn't gus the collector that has the unreleased large size kenner figures as well.

    He most have one heck of a collection

    Yes, Gus has been avid in the game for a loooong time. Gus started the Star Wars Collector's Archive back in 1994 and you can see his and many other's (Ron Salvatore, Stephane Faucourt, etc) collectibles on file there.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by WampasGottaEat2 View Post
    I wonder where the wood shop was located in Michigan? The article doesn't go into that much depth. Not that there would be anything there, I'm sure everything is long gone by now, but knowing the name and location of it seems like a big part of the Kenner history. Would love to know.
    I presume southeastern Michigan/Metro Detroit. Would also like to know exactly where, though. Cool thread.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Z View Post
    I presume southeastern Michigan/Metro Detroit. Would also like to know exactly where, though. Cool thread.

    I would think the same too, but it could be in the middle of nowhere-ville. See what a little research digs up on it.

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