AT-AT Drivers (Loose Articulated and Deluxe)

Three prominent series of Eastern European bootleg action figures were released carded during the vintage years: a Turkish Uzay line, a Hungarian line, and a Polish line. But several other related series were issued solely in loose form. These were sold in novelty shops and dime stores, at prices far below those charged for the standard licensed products. The absolute cheesiest of these figures were totally non-articulated, meaning their head and limbs were not capable of being moved. Instead, they were molded in a single piece, usually out of a hard, dense rubber material. Some of these figures utilize the limbs of Kenner's Biker Scout, a characteristic they share with the carded Polish line. I'm kind of guessing here, but these were probably released in Poland, by someone who basically bootlegged the articulated bootlegs that were then available.

However, another variety of non-articulated rubber bootlegs has surfaced. These, rather than taking the limbs of the Biker Scout, are just rubber copies of standard Kenner figures. According to information provided by collector Christian Emery, several different waves of these figures were issued--some that were painted to look like their licensed counterparts, some that were molded in green or blue, and even some that were painted in metallic colors such as silver or gold. Other varieties were produced as well, as will be made evident to you as you look through this gallery; and truthfully, I don't think its prudent to try to pigeon-hole these things into systematized categories--one of the defining characteristics of the field is its utter lack of rules. Its a little difficult here sorting out what was made where, and where specifically each type of item was sold. But I've seen similar, even identical, figures come out of Poland and Hungary, so I think its reasonable to say there was some overlap.

In any case, these things are fun to collect, and there's always something new to discover. This photo shows, on the right, an articulated rendition of the AT-AT Driver figure from Kenner's Empire Strikes Back line. As you can see, it features the standard Biker Scout limbs. It probably would have come carded, much like the figure you see here. The bootleg figure to its direct left, however, is something different. It is a direct copy (with the correct legs) of the Kenner figure, and is fully articulated. Thanks to information provided by collector Christian Emery, I think we can say this figure is yet another type of Polish figure, one which Christian's contact refers to as the "Deluxe" type. Supposedly, bootleggers in Poland released some articulated figures, complete with accessories, in sealed vinyl bags. These included the AT-AT Driver you see here, Yoda and a Gamorrean Guard. I've had several similar AT-AT Driver figures in my time, all of which were painted differently, so I\'m assuming the colors varied considerably on these things.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Film:Return of the Jedi
Category:Toys / Action Figure Related / Small Action Figures (Bootleg)


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