Kez Iban: The Phases of Development
The following pieces represent several of the iterations in design and process that Kenner went through back in the mid-1980's. These pieced were acquired from different sources over a period of several years. Each piece has it's own part in the creation of the Kez Iban action figure.

The first figure shown here is an original acetate sculpting done as a conceptual piece. The sculpting is very clean and almost worthy of production in it's own rights. The size is a whopping 5 1/8" tall and although it bears resemblance to the final figure, it's details are different in every way. I don't think the same sculptor created the final version of the figure though. This is the finest example of a conceptual sculpting that I have ever seen.

Acetate was the material of choice for only one Kenner sculptor. Utilizing milling machines and true artistic talent, he was able to remove material until he got the desired form, much like the statue sculptors of ancient times. This sculptor's abilities were admired by all of his peers. Typically, toy sculpings are done in wax which can be more easily manipulated through the process of removal and addition of material. However, acetate pieces are far from the fragile beasts that wax sculptings are. It is truly incredible that organic shapes such as this could have been created in such a way, but the truth is that this sculptor was best put to use doing more mechanical characters and playsets.

Skipping down a few iterations, we get to the point of making hardcopies. This is a painted hardcopy of the action figure, but the unique coloring is what is most striking. Although it does not match the final action figure it does, however, match some early Kenner photography from the 1985 Toy Fair catalog as well as the Droids cardback.

We skip a couple of iterations to get to this point. This piece is an "internal" first shot meaning that it was created internally at Kenner from crude Kirksite metal molds. This method allowed Kenner to quickly churn out many samples with only a small investment. These internal first shots really didn't come into heavy use until almost the early to mid-1980's.

Most of the colors have been corrected. However, notice that the pouch and strap are brown. Aside from this difference this internal first shot is an accurate representation of the action figure to be offered for sale to the public. The figure is totally assembled and painted by hand.

Once the production tooling is created, injection molded figures can then be produced by the foreign vendors. Here is a first shot molded some odd colors. Like most first shots, this figure has no dates on it's legs, but it is otherwise made like a normal action figure.

And the final result of all this work is the production action figure you see above. After the final approval stages the copyright dates, which generally show up on the legs, are added into the molds. This is what the figure looked like when it was sold at retail outlets.

Description by: Chris Georgoulias
Photo: Chris Georgoulias
From the collection of: Chris Georgoulias
Country:United States
Film:Droids Cartoon
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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