Ree Yees Painted Hardcopy
Fully assembled and painted figure hardcopies are among the most sought-after of action figure prototypes; in terms of significance and scarcity, they are second only to original sculptings. For the most part, hardcopies are painted for two reasons: 1. to serve as paint masters for foreign production vendors, and 2. to represent product to buyers, either at events like Toy Fair or in promotional photography. In general, two examples of an action figure hardcopy out of five might be painted, but this number could grow to as many as twelve if the piece was needed at Toy Fair, where loss and breakage had to be insured against at all costs. As you can see from the above photo, the pieces of hardcopies are often assembled using metal pins, which allows for articulation of the figure's limbs; but, as the figures were often used solely for purposes of immobile display, limbs were also sometimes glued directly to the torso, leaving them permanently fixed in one position.

As you can see from this picture of, from left to right, the painted hardcopy, an unpainted hardcopy, and a regular production figure, the injection molding process causes a large degree of shrinkage which is evident in the smaller size of the production figure. The paint of the leftmost hardcopy and the production figure are more-or-less identical.

The painted hardcopy still has its gun, which appears to be an early first shot, possibly injection molded at Kenner's Cincinnati headquarters from a low-yield metal mold. It is painted a bright gold, as opposed to the production Ree Yees gun, which was shot in a dull gold plastic.

Much different from first shots, which are essentially production-stage product samples, hardcopies have yet to receive their due of attention from most collectors. Most have yet to realize that, in fact, hardcopies are the true action figure prototypes: entirely hand-made and pre mass-production.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:Return of the Jedi
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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