Death Squad Commander Action Figure Blueprint
The blueprint you see here was part of an incredible find of pre-production material relating to the design of the first Kenner Star Wars figures. The were made by one of the original designers of the line, a man who had a hand in the creation of every Star Wars action figure made prior to the debut of Boba Fett in 1979. Following his departure from Kenner, this designer took all the bluprints he saved--16 in all--and bound them in a portfolio with an attractive Star Wars cover. I don't think I have to resort to a lot of fancy adjectives to drive home how significant this stuff is-- it's representative of the design process behind one of the most popular toy lines in history. 'Nuf said.

Here you see the Death Squad Commander blueprint. As you can see, it's not incredibly precise in terms of proportions and details. This is likely because these blueprints weren't used to set exact sculpting/prototyping specifications as were some other blueprints; rather, they probably allowed the designer to work out his ideas on paper and present his concepts to other members of the Kenner staff. The image sort of vacillates between representing the character as seen in the movie and taking into account the features necessary on any mass produced toy. Thus, while the Death Squad Commander seems to have realistic rather than molded plastic "garments," thin lines have been carefully rendered around the shoulders and crotch area in order to indicate the nature and location of the figure's joints.

Here's a closeup. The text you see all over the image indicates what colors are to be used when painting and molding various parts of the figure (the eyes, the head, the helmet, etc.). It's interesting to note here that the blueprint makes no reference to the figure's being used to represent two different but similarly helmeted characters, the Death Star Commander and the Rebel trooper seen aboard the Blockade Runner at the outset of Star Wars. One early piece of presentation artwork for this figure does suggest that it was at one time seen as being capable of being repainted and re-issued as a Rebel. But since this change is not mentioned on the blueprint, I think we can assume that this idea was formulated after the figure was designed as a Death Squad Commander and not from the outset of its development.

This is the cover of the porfolio in which all of these blueprints are stored.

Make no mistake, this is neat stuff. The fact that it comes from so early in the history of the Star Wars toy line only makes it sweeter.

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


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