|Yoda (El Maestro Jedi) Painted Hardcopy|
Pictured here is a hand-painted Top Toys Yoda (El Maestro Jedi) hardcopy. Painted hardcopies like this one, known as paint masters, would have been used for a variety of purposes including photography, samples for trade shows like Toy Fair, or examples of color scheme for foreign vendors. This particular one was created in-house at Top Toys and probably used to test the color matching capabilties for this particular figure to match the US and other foreign licensed paint decos.
If you look at the photo you can see that this foreign hardcopy is held together by metal pins as most domestic harcopies would have been, though these pins are a bit thicker than the style used domestically.
This image is a side by side comparison of the hardcopy (left) next to a production figure (right).
The next image is of the prototype (left) and production (right) cloaks.
Next we have both of Yodas sporting thier Jedi robes.
Because of the way this hardcopy was created it is slightly smaller than a Kenner production figure. Top Toys basically used Kenner production figures as the sculpt stage in creating a hardcopy. As a result of this the Top Toys figures are a bit smaller than their Kenner counterparts. Due to cost, Top Toys chose to make their own molds for their star Wars figures, rather than pay Kenner for molds. Top Toys was a company already manufacturing toys, so they had molding capabilities. For a while there was much speculation as to why Top Toys would even have to create thier own hardcopies but the answer is quite simple really. When a production mold is cut a machine called a pantograph traces the contours of a hardcopy and cuts the mold. A production figure would have been much too soft for the stylus to work, thus a hardcopy would have had to have been made for tooling purposes. An example of this method being used domestically would be the hardcopies cast from production figures to create the TRU Classic 4 pack in the mid 1990's.
Like all hardcopies the figure lacks both foot holes and copyrights. An interesting aspect of Top Toys figures is that the production figures also lack these details.
The final image is a group shot of what Nathan has assembled so far. Included in the image are a production Top Toys Yoda on the left, and a Top Toys carded sample on the right. In front of that are the cane mold, loose production figure, and a complete Top Toys painted hardcopy.
The Yoda figure is one of the harder to get Top Toys figures so it's a treat to see a prototype of this rare figure.
|Description by:||John J. Alvarez|
|From the collection of:||Nathan Alexander|
|Film:||Return of the Jedi|
|Category:||Prototypes / Action Figure Related|