Wood Pattern for Back End of X-Wing Fighter Fuselage
Look familiar? It's only a small part of a greater whole, but this piece should be recognizable to most Star Wars collectors. It's the pattern for the end cap of Kenner's X-Wing fighter, one of the most iconic toys of the last three decades. For the most part, patterns represent the original three dimensional art on which many production toys are based. In this respect, they're quivalent to the acetate and wax sculptings that were done for most of Kenner's popular action figures. For collectors, the implications of this fact are tremendous; it means that not only is this X-Wing pattern a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, it's the master from which each and every plastic example of this part, on each and every X-Wing toy sold throughout the world, derives. It's not just a prototype, it's the prototype.

As you can tell from a look at the X-Wing body pattern seen here, patterns are created in many separate parts; typically, a wood pattern is made for each separate component of the final production toy. The above detail shot attests to the level of detail Kenner's pattern makers were capable of bringing to their work. Each of those details was hand-crafted and carefully applied in a process that could sometimes take months to run it's course.

The 2:1 scale of this thing is typical; the larger size allowed the pattern makers to bring a greater degree of precision to their work. However, working in this scale created a prototyping problem: since the piece was larger than the intended production scale, any hardcopies made using it would also be two times larger than the actual toy. So, in order to create production-scale prototypes of the piece, for pre-tooling use in testing, presentation, etc., the pattern had to be subjected to a pantographing process, in which it was simultaneously diminished in size and translated into a metal mold. In the creation of such molds, which served only to produce in-house prototypes, Kenner used aluminum, a cheaper and less durable alternative to steel, the standard material for producing production molds. Above you see the wood pattern beside the aluminum prototype mold that was made from it. As you can see, the detail is the same, but the scale of the mold is greatly reduced. This is the only aluminum prototype mold I've ever seen. It's actually a blessing that it survived, as most of these things were scrapped and recycled after they'd served their purposes. This particular example was rescued by a Kenner employee who pulled it from a scrap heap composed of many similiar molds because he had saved the pattern and thought the mold would make a nice companion to it. More photos and information about this prototype mold can be found here.

The pattern for the rest of the X-Wing fuselage, which looks like it was created at a 1:1 scale, can be seen here.

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


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