Rocket Firing Boba Fett Kit-Bashed - Final Concept
Due to a fantastic find of original photographic reference material, we are now privy to some never before seen images of the infamous Rocket Firing Boba Fett action figure prototype and these file photographs are undoubtedly the basis for the images so widely recognized on the Star Wars 20 Back action figure packaging. The firing photograph was retouched by hand with an airbrush to a large degree making it appear to be completely hand painted. The full figure photo here was actually turned into original artwork although it's essentially a direct copy of the photo.

This figure is a reworked version of the original concept figure and the key identifying feature of it being the same figure is the gap in the chest plate armor above the insignia. This gap is consistent across the various photos of the original figure. Since the armor plates were hand-glued individually the mis-alignment of one is understandable. Another identifying feature is that the jet pods simply had the cone portions cut off, leaving the swivel ball ends. It makes sense that this would be the reworked original simply because the changes made are cosmetic and there wasn't a need or desire to maintain the history of the first one. After all, Kenner wasn't collecting these, they were trying to get a toy out as quickly as possible.

Probably the main change separating this from the original was moving from a pointed rocket to the rounded Shogun Warriors style of rocket and it may actually be one of those Mattel rockets since that's where the mechanism originated. Plus, it's just a safer design than the wickedly pointed one. This figure also has a more plain appearance when compared to the original version as Kenner worked to make it a more cost-effective toy. The backpack jet pod cones were simply cut off and the paint colors reduced from 4 to 1. The launch button was painted blue, again to reduce colors. The range finder on the helmet was removed, undoubtedly. because it was too fragile for a toy. The leg pouch tools were painted the same color as the knee pads, saving another paint color. The arm and leg armor went from red and yellow to orange which may have been a way to compromise on a single color for those areas. The fine black painted details like the blocks on the arm, the stripes on the boots, the circles on the hands, and the "eyes" of the helmet have also been removed, saving yet another color. Although Lucasfilm removed the helmet "eyes" from the actual costume pretty early in the development anyway. The reduction in parts and number of paint colors would be done for financial reasons so while it might not look as accurate, the toy would better meet its cost objectives as dictated by Sales and Marketing

The Mail-In offer for Boba Fett was Kenner's first action figure giveaway and the process of redeeming Proof of Purchase seals for free figures or toys continued almost up until the end of the toy line in 1985. The initial selling point of the figure was of course its backpack rocket launcher, which was advertised as including 2 missiles in the 1979 January/February Product catalog. The imagery in the catalog is a larger version of what is shown on the cardback, but the added textual information drives home the notion that Kenner was really hyping this action figure. The story only grows from this point because after this conceptual stage the injection-molded plastic prototypes went through many versions of their own. The most widely recognized prototype for the Rocket Firing Boba Fett is the version that collectors have dubbed the L-Slot version, but ultimately the design went to the J-slot version at the (canceled) final stage.

The rocket-firing feature of Boba Fett was indeed removed for safety reasons following the tragic death of a young child who choked on and died from a Battlestar Galactica toy missile. Those Mattel toy problems were well-publicized at the time and covered in detail here.

Description by: Chris Georgoulias
Photo: Cloud City Collectibles
From the collection of: Cloud City Collectibles
Country:United States
Film:A New Hope
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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