Bagged Micro Collection Paint Samples
These Micro collection production samples provide a revealing look into the approval process involved in determining how exactly each Micro figure was painted. One of the earliest steps in this process was the creation of a 4-up paintmaster--an oversized prototype, fully painted, which would help to determine the desired color scheme for mass production. But where the 4-up hardcopies could be painted by hand, and provided a lot of room for human error, the small injection-molded figures would be painted in a factory, by a mechanical process in which precision of masking and application procedures were of the utmost importance in producing an accurate product. These 1:1 paint samples document a portion of the process involved in taking the Micro Collection's figures from the designers' original ideas of what the figures should look like, to retail products, capable of being mass-produced with maximum efficiency.

The R2-D2 and Boba Fett figures you see above are probably among the earliest examples of each of these figures to be sent from the factory to Kenner for approval. You'll notice the hand-written date on the bags, as well as notes on what stage of production the sample represents.

You'll also notice that the R2, as well as this Luke Stormtrooper, has the abbrevation "2nd ED" written on its bag. I'm not certain what this notation signifies, but its safe to assume that it designates these pieces as the second stage of paint sample sent back to Kenner for each of these figures. My personal feeling is that the black, white and gray paint samples that have turned up in small numbers are examples of the first (or at least earlier) paint stage, the purpose of which was to determine, not the exact production coloration of the figure, but the way in which it was masked--or how specific colors were applied to different areas with accuracy and efficiency.

Here you see one of those black, white and gray samples, pictured beside its production counterpart. Notice the "first ED" notation.

Now, take a look at this Han figure, which bears a paint job identical to the production figure. I'm thinking the "2nd mask submission" bit is analogous to the "2nd ED" we've already seen.

Just for good measure, here's one last example for you to look at. The Micro Collection is a line for which there are many types of pre-production items to collect. These paint samples are just one of the many items with an interesting story to tell regarding how these toys were developed.

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


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