|Bootleg Pewter Figures by Nevile Stocken|
These unlicensed figures were sculpted by Nevile Stocken and are different from the ones traditionally known as the "Heritage" figures. Though history is a bit murky on this series, these appear to have been manufactured/distributed by Archive Miniatures (also called R'kiiv) who specialized in early metal gaming miniatures. These are relatively rare compared to the Heritage set.
Lucasfilm and Archive Miniatures have quite a colorful history together and thanks to some diehard gamers we have more insight into that relationship.
Thomas Pope over at The Stuff of Legends writes: Archive Miniatures was formed in the late 1970's. Most of the miniatures in the Archive collection were the work of the infamous Neville Stocken. Somewhere near the end, Neville brought on another sculptor, the astounding Steve Lortz.
In many ways, Archive was a miniature company ahead of it's time. While not everyone agrees to the technical quality of the miniatures, no one can deny that those figures had character! Also, they were larger than the true 25mm figures that everyone else was sculpting at the time. A few years later, a little British company (that was the sole improrter of Archive Miniatures into the UK) would rise to the top of the industry with armies of larger, more characterful figures... but that's another story.
In 1977, Archive released an extensive range of unlicensed "Star Wars" miniatures, apparently hoping to make a killing before (if ever) the budding Lucasfilm found out. The miniatures were only released at Origins, before the plug was pulled. In the years that followed, Archive would frequently tempt legal action by releasing obviously "Star Wars" miniatures with easily removable details (Stormtroopers with rabbit ears, Darth Vader with bull's horns, etc.)
Fans of Archive miniatures need not dispair... although Archive is long gone, there are still miniatures by Neville Stocken and Steve Lortz still available in the gaming industry. Lance & Laser (Columbus, OH) has a selection of excellent science fiction models by Neville Stocken, and several entire ranges by Steve Lortz. Fortress Figures (Jonesburo, IN) also has an excellent miniature range by Steve Lortz. Both small companies, and could use your support!
And over at glorantha.info Richard Meints writes: Archive miniatures has a rather colorful history of success and failure. Regardless, the sculpting of the miniatures was always noted for its artistic quality. Unfortunately, the molds deteriorated over time and the quality of the figures produced by Archive declined as the 1970's faded into the 1980's. Subsequently, the earlier castings tend to have a much better look to them, with more detail and less casting flaws, such as bubbles, excessive flash, cracks, and a general lack of fine detail. Ultimately, the company went bankrupt when some of its unlicensed miniatures fell pray to lawsuits, like the unlicensed Star Wars minis that George Lucas liked, but his licensed distributors did not. You have to admit that even if you change the name and add antlers, Darth Vader is still rather distinguishable to corporate attorneys. Even changing the company name to R'Kiiv only delayed the inevitable.
See here for more information.
|Description by:||Pete Vilmur, Chris Georgoulias|
|From the collection of:||Chris Georgoulias|
|Film:||A New Hope|