Bespin Control Room Mock-Up Boxes
This page features photos of three different packaging mock-ups for the Micro Collection Bespin Control Room playset. They were used to develop the box style of the Micro Collection in general. All of them consist of dummy cardboard boxes onto which photo and graphic elements have been meticulously pasted. These things aren't printed, in other words, they were put together by someone with scissors, some glue and a lot of time on his hands. As you can see, all three boxes are different colors--one black, one gray and one blue--and two of them feature a nifty cut-out portion in the upper left corner, which allowed consumers to view one of the figures in the playset.

The first pair of photos shows the gray and black boxes side by side, each paired with an example of the production box for sake of comparison. I could point out a bunch of differences concerning the placement of text and images, but I think the photos speak for themselves. However, it's worth mentioning that the images used on these prototype boxes differ from those used on the final product. Notice in particular that the Bespin skyline, so apparent on the production box, is replaced by more abstract backgrounds on the prototypes. Also, the Luke figure depicted as tumbling out of the break-away window on the box front is accompanied by a painted motion-blur effect on the mock-up boxes, whereas there are only some white "swoop" marks on the production package.


Now here you see the top portions of the two boxes. Again, the differences vis-a-vis the production box are readily apparent. Note in particular how the Micro Collection logo was removed from the top flat portion of the mockup to the lower front corner of the production item.

That bright sheen you see on the black box is due to a covering of clear plastic film, probably added to these boxes by the design company in order to protect the various pasted-on elements. For whatever reason, this feature is lacking from the gray box, which makes it considerably easier to photograph than its counterpart. So the remaining few photos are going to be of the gray box. It and the black box are virtually identical anyway, so you're not missing anything.

This next photo shows the back. Note how the design was modified to include, among other things, an advertisement for the Build You Armies mail-away promotion. The large Micro Collection logo that appears on the mock-up is also absent from the production box.

Here's the bottom. As you can see, the close-up of the playset's figures was changed to a shot of the playset itself. Additionally, the proof-of-purchase logo, originally placed on the bottom of the box, was placed instead on the back of the finalized version.


Finally, we have the coolest feature of these boxes, the figure display cut-out. Of course, this feature was changed to a simple inset photo of several figures on the production box, and I think we can say with certainty that this was done as a cost-cutting measure: it would have been pretty expensive over the long haul to package the toy in this manner.

It should also be mentioned that the Luke Bespin figures used on these boxes are what are known as "squeezings," prototype resin castings made using the final production molds.


Now, this blue example was probably made around the same time as the other mock-ups on this page, and it's pretty much identical to them in terms of pasted-on detail, but with one exception: instead of a figure cut-out, it features the inset photo of several figures, just as the production boxes do.

Here you see a comparison shot of the inset photos featured on the production and mock-up boxes. On the mock-up, this photo is reversed; this was corrected before production.

Items like these provide a fascinating look inside the development of toy packaging. These are about the nicest mock-ups of this type I've ever come across.

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


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