|Preliminary Wax Sculpting for Unproduced Ewoks Kaink Action Figure|
|When this figure representing Kaink the Ewok priestess first surfaced, it inspired some debate as to whether it represented an Ewok, a non-Ewok character from Ewoks, or something wholly unrelated to Star Wars, like a berserker mogwai.
Here's the figure from a slightly different angle. As you can probably tell, the legs are not articulated.
This model cel, created for reference by the animation company Nelvana, shows the character as she appeared in the show.
The horn-like protrusions near the ears, not present on the model cel, are odd, as is the rather unadorned nature of the figure's form. All of the other figures in the Ewoks line feature molded-on apparel and accessories.
Fortunately, this image, from a batch of reference material sent by Lucasfilm to licensees, makes it clear that our Kaink figure represents the character sans exterior cloak.
Interestingly, none of the figures released (or almost released) in association with the Ewoks line features removable pieces of apparel. Had Kaink been produced with a separate cloak, it would have been the sole figure in the line to bear such an accessory. From a manufacturing standpoint, this was a fairly costly proposition -- especially since Kaink was a minor character, appearing in only two episodes of the show!
Of course, it's also possible that, had development on the figure progressed, that cloak would have been integrated into the body of the figure.
This second image, also provided by LFL to Kenner, demonstrates that, early in the development of the series, Kaink had a longer mustache and horn-like protrusions of hair. Clearly, it was from early images such as these that the folks at Kenner worked while developing their prototype.
I think we can be reasonably certain that the appearance of Kaink was modified prior to production of the animated series. In particular, her hairiness was toned down.
As you may have guessed, this and the similar figures representing Latara, Teebo, and Kneesaa are composed of wax of the kind used by toy creators to sculpt action figures. However, they differ in notable ways from finished pieces of three-dimensional toy art.
Although the limbs are affixed to the torsos via steel pins, as they would be on a finished sculpt, the joints lack the nylon disks typically incorporated into a wax sculpt at the very earliest stages. It's hard to tell just by looking at them, but I believe they also lack the brass "buck" that is commonly incorporated into the torso of a wax sculpt.
So what are these? My hunch is that they represent preliminary sculpts -- modified wax reworkings of earlier clay roughs -- dating from the early days of development on the Ewoks line. At that point in time, all of these characters must have been intended for release by Kenner as first-series Ewoks figures.
Further indication that these were developed early in the line can be gleaned from the chronology of the Ewoks cartoon. As already mentioned, Kaink appeared in only two episodes. Both of these episodes aired during the show's first season. As there was no Kaink in Nelvana's Ewoks: Season Two, there would have been no Kaink in Kenner's Ewoks: Series Two.
Had Kenner opted to release these characters, it's likely these pieces would have been utilized to create more refined sculpts, incorporating all of the typical hardware, for use in generating hardcopies and then tooling.
In fact, evidence that further work on these figures was planned exists in the form of a brass buck created for use in the never-executed final sculpt representing Kaink.
The buck, owned by collector Tracey Hamilton, would have been incorporated into the torso of the Kaink sculpt, and would have allowed the sculptor working on Kaink to properly proportion and articulate the figure.
The steel pins you see extending from the machined brass block would have been inserted into a nylon disk recessed into the joint of each wax limb, allowing for a snug fit and smooth movement. As the buck includes pins corresponding to the figure's legs, it proves beyond doubt that Kaink's legs would have been articulated.
As it happened, Kenner nixed Teebo, Latara, Kneesaa, and Kaink, and instead released a bunch of Duloks. That decision left these pieces as developmental relics. To collectors they represent tantalizing suggestions of what might have been had the line followed a different course.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|Photo:||Ron Salvatore, Tracey Hamilton|
|From the collection of:||Chris Georgoulias, Tracey Hamilton|
|Category:||Prototypes / Action Figure Related|