|Yoda Play-doh Figure Silicone Mold|
|Silicone molds are considered quite rare in the world of
pre-production collecting. A miniscule amount have surfaced over the years for 3 3/4" action figures. The 3 3/4"
figure silicone molds present on the Archive include the following:
Rancor Keeper torso,
alternate Han Carbonite block, and produced
version Han Carbonite block, and unproduced 2nd series Ewoks Chief Chirpa. A more plentiful amount exists
for Micro Collection 4-ups, but they typically enter long-term collections
rather quickly upon their occassional public offering.
As you've probably realized by now, the Yoda silicone mold featured here relates to neither the 3 3/4" action figure line nor the Micro Collection line. This mold served in the creation of Yoda hardcopies for the Play-doh Yoda Playset, which was one of two The Empire Strikes BackPlay-doh sets. Children squeezed a two half mold piece, filled with their favorite colored Play-doh, to yield a figure containing detail on both the front and back. The back detail on the plastic molds is present in the Star Wars and the two The Empire Strikes Back sets. For the Return of the Jedi set the detail on the rear plastic mold sections was abandoned.
The two photos shown above illustrate the fine detail found within the figural cavity of the mold. This silicone mold was created directly from the original Play-doh Yoda sculpting as part of the production process. The pliable nature of a silicone mold allows for removal of the hardcopy part once the liquid urethane is poured and solidified. Proper mold half alignment is achieved during hardcopy casting process through the presence of "keys" located on each of the mold halves. The front mold half possesses square shaped "negative keys" into which the back half's square "positive keys" join perfectly. Upon close examination of the right picture, you will detect a small amount of remnant carbalon on one of the middle mold keys. Carbalon, a brown colored urethane, was prominently used for hardcopies during this mold's era.
The left picture above affords a view of the front, outer mold face, while the right picture affords a bottom view illustrating the mold's appearance when the two halves are joined. The small hole presence in the mold bottom is referred to as a "gate". The gate provides a means for liquid urethane to enter the mold and fill the inner cavity. The mold exists solely as a means to produce hardcopies, which would later serve in the creation of steel production tooling for the plastic molds found in the Play-doh sets. Once the suitable number of hardcopies were cast, the utility of the mold ended.
The reddish colored silicone material of this mold appears prevalent on earlier pre-ROTJ molds. ROTJ and beyond 3 3/4" figure silicone molds, and the majority of Micro Collection molds known to exist are white in coloration. An absolute, definitive statement on this issue is difficult to state, but the color-time correlation is certainly an obvious emerging trend at this point. A very limited amount of Star Wars Play-doh prototypes exist in collectors' hands, so this piece offers a glimpse into the production process of a more obscure segment of Kenner's Star Wars products. Yoda's prominence in the Star Wars saga also lends to its appeal from my perspective.
|Description by:||Michael G. Mensinger|
|Photo:||Michael G. Mensinger|
|From the collection of:||Michael G. Mensinger|
|Film:||Empire Strikes Back|
|Category:||Prototypes / Miscellaneous Toys|