Rebel Commander Unpainted 4-up Hardcopy (692-001)
Micro Collection figures were sculpted in either wax or acetate at four times their production size in order to get a maximum amount of detail into the finished products. A silcon mold would then be made of the piece, from which hardcopies like the one you see above would be cast in a hard, ceramic-like urethane capable of reproducing the sculpting down to the last detail. Typically, approximately three such hardcopies would be created of each piece, the functions of which might range from sculpting approval, to vendor reference, to, the hardcopy's most important purpose, the creation of 1:1 scale production tooling.

Nearly all post-1980 vintage Kenner hardcopies, whether they be from the Micro Collection or the action figure line, were cast in a urethane known as dynacast, a two-part product consisting of tan and blue portions, which, when mixed, would harden into a distinctive emerald green color. In itself, this is an interesting fact, but where it becomes important is in authenticating vintage hardcopy pieces. No vintage hardcopy should be blue in color!. If it is, its a 90's fake, either made from original silicon molds still in existence, or from molds created using authentic hardcopies. Authentic 70's/80's Kenner hardcopies should be either green or grayish-tan. As a word of caution to anyone wishing to seek these items out, there are alot more fakes out there than actual hardcopies. Authenticate what you buy.

For prototype collectors, "4-ups" provide an interesting item to collect. They are large, detailed, considerably different from their production counterparts, and look great on display. This piece, from the Hoth Ion Cannon, is of a Rebel Commander. The larger size really shows off the level of craftsmanship that went into the sculpting, and small details such as the mustache are more readily visible than they are on the production figure. As you can see, the gun was broken at some point, which is pretty typical, the Dynacast being fragile and prone to breaking.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:Empire Strikes Back
Category:Prototypes / Micro Collection


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