Hammerhead Unpainted Protomolded Figure
Although it wasn't until the early 1980s that Kenner began using protomolded figures frequently, the company appears to have had limited production capacity from very early-on in the Star Wars era. Most injection-molded action figure prototypes--what we usually call first shots--are not produced by the toy companies themselves; they are vendor-supplied prototypes, meaning they're created by an outside company (usually in Asia) and shipped back to the States for approval, testing, what have you. On occasion, however, Kenner would create their own injection-molded prototypes, which they did using relatively cheap, low-yield aluminum molds.

This Hammerhead is the earliest example of a protomolded figure that I've seen. Oddly, though, the materials it is made of differ greatly from those used on later protomolded figures--the plastic is of a higher quality, more akin to that used in overseas production runs. Additionally, the torso has been "shot" in two separate halves, which are glued together around the limbs, a trait which stands in contrast to later internal first shots, most of which are constructed like hardcopies, with solid, one-piece torsos.

As you can see, the piece is molded in white and yellow colors, much like the early RocketFett prototype that has surfaced; and, of course, the date and copyright information is lacking from the back of its leg. The most interesting detail, however, lies in the bottoms of the figure's feet. Not only do they not have holes, one can see the slight stumps left behind when the parts were cut from the sprue, or the plastic that hardened in the runner carrying the molten plastic into the mold cavity. In fact, I've communicated with the Kenner employee who made this piece, and he distinctly recalls cutting the excess plastic away from the figure's body parts in the basement of the old Kenner building.

No doubt about it, this Hammerhead figure, as well as its companion Greedo, are very interesting early injection-molded pieces. Moreover, they have a significant story to tell about the way in which things were done at Kenner during the early days of their involvement with the Star Wars license.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Jordan Hembrough
From the collection of: Jordan Hembrough
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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