|Original Wood Pattern for Micro Collection R2-D2 and Related Prototypes|
|Kenner's Micro Collection included only one figure representing R2-D2, and it was part of one of the rarer items in the line, the Sears-exclusive Millennium Falcon. The line was really Kenner's attempt at doing toys soldiers. It's possible that R2's lack of posability, combined with the fact that he wasn't exactly a soldierly character, meant that he was given short shrift when it came time to determine the figures that were to be produced with each Micro playset.
Above you see a very special piece -- the original wood pattern created for the Falcon R2. It was created by Kenner's craftsmen using a combination of wood and wax.
The back is about as impressive as the front.
The pattern was constructed in multiple parts, and it can be dismantled with ease.
This second hardcopy of the piece was painted to reflect the eventual decoration of the production figure.
Most existing Micro Collection paint masters derive from a single cache brokered by The Earth, a former collectible-toy store located in Cincinnati, Ohio. This one, however, originated with a sculptor.
Although, as mentioned above, only one R2-D2 figure was released as part of the Micro Collection, various pieces of evidence exist which confirm that two additional R2s were developed for Micro Collection sets. Above you see one such piece of evidence -- a hardcopy for an R2-D2 figure that differs from the one released with the Falcon.
In fact, this R2 would have been released with the Micro set representing the large courtroom in Jabba the Hutt's palace. Above you see original Kenner documentation of this. If the line had not been cancelled, Jabba's Throne Room would have hit stores in 1983. The list of figures featured on this document and existing photos of a handmade model representing the play environ suggest this set would have been a large toy. It would have consisted of two levels, one for Jabba and his henchmen, and one for the Rancor.
Note that the base on this R2 differs from that found on the figure included with the Falcon. Also, several of the rectangular details on the droid have been given beveled sides. If you look closely at the pattern at the top of this page you'll see that wax has been added to these rectangular details to endow them with this beveled quality. This indicates that at some point the pattern was modified in order to create this later hardcopy. I believe the circular crater in the wax detail to the right of R2's "eye" was also made at this time. On the hardcopy this detail is wholly absent, having been replaced with a hole that looks like a gaping orifice. That may be the result of a pocket of air becoming trapped in the hardening Dynacast.
As you can see by taking a look at this entry, the body of this figure is angled to a considerable degree. That is, the cylindrical portion has been tilted so that the "head" is closer to the ground. If you look at the photo of the back of the pattern you'll see that the left side still shows evidence of the wax that was used to fill the gap that resulted between R2's body and leg when the figure's pose was adjusted during one of its design iterations.
By the way, at the time the previously linked entry was created it was believed that this R2 was just some kind of alternate. At the time no one realized there was an R2 planned for Jabba's Throne Room.
But that's not all!
Kenner also planned an R2-D2 for their Micro Dagobah set. You see the wax sculpt for that figure above. To my eye, with the obvious exception of the terrain-like base, it looks almost identical to the Throne Room R2. I think it's likely that the Throne Room R2 -- or the pattern that had been modified to create it -- was used to create the Dagobah one.
The Micro Dagobah set remains somewhat mysterious. Kenner is known to have done some work on the Dagobah environment at the line's earliest developmental stages. However, no Dagobah set was released in 1982, the lone year in which the Micro Collection was produced. Further, the list of product in development for 1983, from which the above-pictured piece of paperwork derives, says nothing of a Micro Collection Dagobah toy. It's possible that Dagobah, having been delayed since 1982, was eventually slated for release in late 1983 or 1984 -- and that this fact explains the connection between the Throne Room and Dagobah R2s. But for the time being it's hard to claim that with certainty.
Lastly, we have an assembly of 1:1 pre-production items related to the Falcon R2.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|From the collection of:||Broc Walker|
|Film:||Empire Strikes Back|
|Category:||Prototypes / Micro Collection|