|Empire Strikes Back Jawa Vinyl Cape|
|Is it real or not? That's been the question for the last few years, with most collectors opting to consider it a clever forgery. But, lately, there has been a re-evaluation of sorts regarding this interesting figure.
The criticisms stem largely from the fact that the cape that is paired with the carded figure is substantially dark than the one that was found on the U.S. vinyl cape Jawa. As most collectors know, for years, fake vinyl cape Jawas have been surfacing on the secondary market, the products of unscrupulous people having cut down the cape of the Ben Kenobi figure. Since the Ben cape is darker than the legitimate vinyl Jawa cape, these fakes are fairly easy to identify.
As you can tell by looking at the above photo, which shows, on the left, a loose example of the Aussie figure beside its American counterpart, the Australian version is substantially darker.
Does this mean that, because this Australian piece has a darker-than-usual cape, it's definitely fake? Well, not exactly. According to Aussie collector Ben Sheehan, as well as several other Australian friends I've spoken with, all VC Jawas issued down under possessed a cape that was darker than that of its U.S. counterpart. So this piece should not be considered strange in that respect-- since it came from Australia, it makes sense that it has a darker cape.
So, what's the verdict? Danged if I know. Of course, the cape color is merely one interesting aspect about this figure-- the fact that it's on an ESB card is fairly astounding. But, according to Ben and some others, fairly small numbers of these figures were issued in Australia, all of them on the same version of ESB card. As one would expect given the time at which this would have been issued (early '80s), the piece features the later Jawa bubble type, which angles out at the top.
While I can't make any pronouncements concerning the validity of this figure, I have to admit, I'm inclined to believe Ben's word that the ESB VC Jawa is genuine. Keep in mind that, in the U.S., small numbers of small-head Han Solo figures--a variation that was discontinued in 1978--have turned up on ESB cards dating from 1980. So why couldn't the dark-cape Australian version of the VC Jawa have surfaced in a similarly unpredictable manner?
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|From the collection of:||Ben Sheehan|
|Film:||Empire Strikes Back|
|Category:||Toys / Action Figure Related / Small Action Figures (Licensed)|