Millennium Falcon Wooden Pattern
Much of the original artwork for the vintage Kenner toys was "patterned" from hard woods such as cherry or mahagony. Ideal for non-organic shapes, such as the hard lines and mechanical details of droids, weapons and vehicles, this process was equivalent to the sculpting done in wax and acetate for most of the figures in the 33/4", 12", and Micro Collection lines. Carved in several different pieces, both by machine and by hand, such patterns also incorporated numerous outside details, which might themselves be carved from another material or hand-cast from a rubber mold. Such patterns were often created at twice their intended production scale in order to allow for a greater degree of detail in the final production molds. Unfortunately, the intricate details of most patterns were destroyed during the creation of production tooling, having been torn off or distorted during the taking of negative epoxy casts, which would then be used in the final pantographing process.

The stained cherry wood pattern you see here is for the main portion of the Millennium Falcon's shell. From a quick look at the production toy, I think one can get a sense of the amount of work that went into building this thing--the toy is incredibly detailed. This quality is made all the more amazing when one considers that the pattern-makers had to keep in mind, not only the accuracy of the toy, but the way in which each of its details and each of its odd dimensions would function once the final tooling was created and production was under way. A single piece fixed in the wrong way, or a detail slanted at an incorrect angle could mean disaster during the injection-molding process.

At the time this pattern was being created, all of Kenner was in a full-tilt rush to get their Star Wars toys to market in order to tap into the film's unbelievable popularity. Above you see the pattern that was made for the vehicle's bottom hatch. It was built on top of a shaped template, in order to ensure the proper proportions. It took three people several months of work just to create what you see in these pictures, the band of mechanical elements that wrapped around the Falcon's middle, as well as the landing gear, having been shopped-out to a non-Kenner pattern-maker to help speed along the process. Its information like this that spawns an appreciation for these toys beyond their most obvious significance as nostalgia or movie memorabilia.

These incredible photos were uncovered thanks to the diligence of an anonymous collector, who's done us all a service by bringing these to light.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Anonymous
From the collection of: Anonymous
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Product Artwork


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