Princess Leia 4-up (Alternate Sculpting)
Many of the Micro Collection's dozens of figures underwent considerable revision in the early stages of their development. Heads of figures would be cut off and re-attached at slightly different angles, bases were enlarged or cut down, arms would be re-positioned--in short, modifications were made during the production process whenever it was felt that the product could be improved in some way. Often, hardcopies would be made from the original wax sculptings before these changes were enacted; but in a few cases, figures seem to have actually made it to the final production stage (meaning the stage at which they could be produced as metal miniatures) before they were altered. In these latter cases, modifications were cut directly into the production molds, since starting over at the earlier, pre-tooling stages would have been too expensive.

Here we have an example of a figure that was substantially changed during the sculpting/hardcopy phase of production. Those of you familiar with the Micro Collection might have already noticed that this Leia is a little bit weird. Specifically, the head (and the hair in particular) is vastly different from that of the production version, and the arms are sort of reversed, so that, instead of the gun being in the figure's right hand, it's in the left. What probably happened here was that, after Kenner received the 4-up from the vendor that produced their hardcopies for them, they decided that the figure would best be posed in a different manner. So they either modified the existing sculpting or had an entirely new sculpting made, and had another round of hardcopies made of the revised pose.

What makes these pieces especially interesting is the fact that this figure is known to have undergone some additional revisions prior to production. Apparently, the original sculpting had a rather large posterior. The figure made it all the way to the micro-scale production stage before it was scrapped at the request of Carrie Fisher herself, who must have had rights to approval of her toy representations. I have seen only one plastic first shot figure with the larger behind, but the story was related to me quite vividly to the original engineer who worked on the Micro line. In this case, they must have gone back, reworked the the butt of the sculpting, produced new 4:1 hardcopies, and produced an entirely new production mold--definitely not an easy (or inexpensive) task. Of course, this puts a new spin on the relative dating of the other Leia 4-Ups that have turned up, including the above-pictured alternate.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Rob Amantea
From the collection of: Rob Amantea
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Micro Collection


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