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

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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.





 
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The original wood pattern for the sandcrawler has survived and found his way to Gus Lopez's collection https://www.starwars.com/news/jawa-joy-kenners-sandcrawler-pattern-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/index.php?action=disp_item&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
 
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Isn't gus the collector that has the unreleased large size kenner figures as well.

He most have one heck of a collection
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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. B)
 
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http://theswca.com/images-kennerart.html


Here, if you scroll down and look through the "Toy Patterns" section you can see a wide range of vehicle and playset pieces that were wood sculpted. What's very interesting is that most of the "from the collection of" status is listed as anonymous. Not that I blame them since a lot of collectors with that high of a prize piece wish to not be known. Or it could be someone that everyone knows who publicizes a great many pieces of their collection, but wishes to keep certain items anonymous. Either way, would love to know more about the woodworking shop or shops that were pumping these patterns out.
 
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I own a vintage SKIFF prototype. It's missing one of the side rails and the front stand. One feature that makes it unique and differentiates itself from the common version is that the square floor panels are actually smooth vs. rough/textured. Not 100% sure which step in the prototype process this piece was but it was most likely one of the last steps as pretty much everything else matches the standard version. Kept the paperwork from when I purchased.

Always thought is was a neat piece.. especially since the SKIFF didn't have as large a production run as most of the vintage line to begin with.

 
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I own a vintage SKIFF prototype. It's missing one of the side rails and the front stand. One feature that makes it unique and differentiates itself from the common version is that the square floor panels are actually smooth vs. rough/textured. Not 100% sure which step in the prototype process this piece was but it was most likely one of the last steps as pretty much everything else matches the standard version. Kept the paperwork from when I purchased.

Always thought is was a neat piece.. especially since the SKIFF didn't have as large a production run as most of the vintage line to begin with.


Wow, what an impressive piece. It seems like after the bulk of the details were finished some fine tuning details were done. Similar to the way the Sandcrawler, in it's later production phases, had fine lines added throughout the body. I would imagine that some of the production techniques shifted slightly within Kenner to accommodate mass production as the went from ANH to POTF lines. I wonder if your floor section was more of a first shot or hard copy that was used for a "fitting" session to make sure all the pieces were lining up?
 
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Thank you. Purchased way back.. I am not 100% sure of the specific production stage with this piece, therefore I can't really confirm a first shot, etc.
 
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