|8D8 Internal First Shot
|Cool, cool, cool. "First Shot" is the term commonly used to refer to injection molded figures, made just prior to full mass production, and often bearing distinctive mold features (such as a lack of dates and copyright markings). "Hard Copy," on the other hand, refers to a handmade figure created, not out of plastic, but from a cold-cast urethane material. Hardcopies commonly lack joint hardware, the figure's limbs and head being attached to the torso by metal or plastic pins, and feature a torso made from a solid piece, rather than from two distinct halves, which have been joined through a sonic-welding process.
This figure, however, represents an intermediate stage in the figure production process. Its made from injection-molded plastic, but, as you might be able to tell from this photo, its torso is one solid piece. Furthermore, its limbs and head are affixed via cylindrical plugs, which fit snugly into corresponding holes in the torso. What is it? Well, by the time of the ROTJ toy line, Kenner had begun producing early-stage injection-molded figures entirely in-house, using relatively inexpensive, low yield aluminum molds. Such figures appear to have partially replaced traditional hardcopies, which both took a long time to produce and were very fragile. We've taken to calling these types of prototype figures "internal first shots," a term which emphasizes their having been produced wholly inside Kenner, as opposed to through an outside vendor, as standard first shots were.
As you might notice from a look at the 2-Up hardcopy of the 8d8 figure, the plugs used to connect the joints and legs of the first shot to its torso appear to have been copied and reduced directly from the metal pins of the hardcopy. Its quite possible that this was done entirely within Kenner.
Also included with the figure is a rectangular slab of plastic material, of a color similar to that in which the figure itself is cast. It is believed that this had a similar function to the paint chips found with some "paint masters," which were used to indicate the proposed paint schemes of the production figures. In this case, it is possible that the plastic chip was intended to demonstrate the color of the plastic used to "shoot" the 8d8 figure. This is still a matter of some debate, however.
In any case, its a neat piece, and one of some significance to those interested in how the vintage Kenner line was developed and produced.
|From the collection of:
|Return of the Jedi
|Prototypes / Action Figure Related