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SWTNZ New Word Review - "Prototoy", What is it and does it taste good..


The word "Prototoy" is used by myself on occasion to describe the item/s
in question, the definition would be something like this...

Proto - (Adjective), indicating the first, earliest or original.
Toy - (Noun), A nonfunctional replica or an artifact designed to be played with.

Hence this new word "Prototoy" or "Proto-Toy" (Ad-noun) means
the earliest or original replica artifact, such as a prototype toy..

Have a look at other Prototoy's below and on this page Here : Toy Concepts

SWTNZ - Toy Review - 3 Position Laser Rifle & The Sonic Neutralizer, Kenner

3 Position Laser Rifle & The Sonic Neutralizer
Above, comparisons of both toys, (Click To Enlarge)

Back in 1990 Kenner chose to issue a modified version of a pre-existing
Star Wars item as their new Batman toy weapon. The altered Star Wars
3-Position Laser Rifle produced back in 1978 was re-issued with a Batman
theme and renamed the "Sonic Neutralizer". Its barrel was capped with
a dish that carried the Batman symbol and the old Star Wars logo was also
replaced including the color of the original telescopic site. The new Sonic
Neutralizer was able to produce two different sound effects described as
"stun" and "full immobilization" and the gun itself is around 19 inches long.

3 Position Laser Rifle

Above, The original Star Wars 3-Position Laser Rifle, it sported a unique
internal rotating drum inside its barrel, which was battery driven and
the stock or folding shoulder rest was what gave it the 3-Position label..

SWTNZ Toy Review - Vintage 3-Position Laser Rifle, Why is it "3"

Vintage 3-Position Laser Rifle
Click To Enlarge

Ever wondered why they refer to the Vintage Three Position Laser Rifle as "3"
position?, well the above kenner graphic explains all. These various stances
are proposed by the child holding the toy above, the folding stock sets the pose.

Pos #1 - Sneak Attack, Pos #2 - Standing Guard, Pos #3 - Laser Battle

SWTNZ Toy Review - Han Soliander Jones, The Re-Usable 12inch Figure

Han Soliander Jones, The Re-Usable 12inch Figure
Click To Enlarge

In 1979 Kenner produced a 12 inch figure of Han Solo that was a excellent
representation of Harrison Ford and in 1981 after the release of "Raiders
of the Lost Ark" Kenner decided to take advantage of the already created
head and body molds. From this they created a new 12 inch figure but this
time based on the Indiana Jones character, the two figures are identical
except for the difference in hair color. This was the only large scale figure
created for the Indiana Jones line and it came equipped with a Whip, Gun,
removable jacket, hat, shirt, pants and boots.

SWTNZ Concept Review - Original Millenium Falcon Please Step Forward

Original Millenium Falcon
Above, The original Space 1999 Model and
the first concept designs for the Falcon, (Click To Enlarge)

"SPACE 1999" the television series began filming back in 1973 with special
effects shooting at Bray Studios, Brian Johnson and his team provided the
spectacular model work for the series and Johnson also designed what some
would say was the real star of the show, the Eagle transporter. George Lucas
originally approached Brian Johnson in 1976 to do the special effects for ANH
but Johnson was busy with year two of SPACE 1999, instead in 1979 he was
head of effects for the Star Wars sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back". The
standard of effects for SPACE 1999 was a benchmark for the special effects
in Star Wars though Lucas insisted the models and explosions should be
better than what was seen in the television series. Consequently the early
designs for the Millenium Falcon resembled the SPACE 1999 Eagle and
featured side legs, rear engines, side docking ports and a cone shaped nose.

 The blockade runner model
Above, The blockade runner model

But rather than imitate the "Eagle" design, Lucas had model makers re-tool
the Falcon, creating its unique shape that we all know today. The original
Falcon design then became the "Blockade Runner" that appears in the
beginning sequence of "A New Hope", the ship that is being pursued by an
imperial Star Destroyer. The blockade runner model is 194cm's long, which
is actually larger than the Star Destroyer model. The ship was re-scaled,
redesigned and the cylindrical cockpit was replaced with a hammerhead
design. The blockade model was reused for Return of the Jedi with only minor
alterations and It also served as inspiration for the Republic Cruiser seen in
episode one, "The Phantom Menace". The new Falcon shape was supposedly
based on George's favorite food, inspired by a hamburger with an olive on the side.

Full Scale Millenium Falcon Under Construction Full Scale Millenium Falcon Under Construction
Above, The full scale Millenium Falcon under construction for ANH
(Click To Enlarge)

1980 Toltoys Millenium Falcon Toy
Above, A photograph from a 1980's Toltoys Catalog Featuring
the first Millenium Falcon Toy, scaled to fit the 3 3/4 inch figure line..
(Click To Enlarge)

SWTNZ Prototoy Review - All the Colors of the Rainbow, 5 various Prototypes

Five Various and very Colorful Prototype Toys

Take a look at these five prototoys above, the colors used are not uncommon
for prototypes, bright blues, reds, dark greens, black and milky white. There
seems to be no system for the choice of colors, parts or even micro-figures
can even be made from a completely transparent plastic. The AT-ST featured
with the other examples above even has a violet gun and peach colored panels
on its underside. POTF2 AT-ST, POTJ TIE Bomber, POTJ Snowspeeder
Tatooine Skiff 1984 version, POTF2 A-Wing Fighter..

SWTNZ Prototoy Review - The First Prototype Remote Controlled R2D2 Toy

The First Prototype Remote Controlled R2D2 Toy Early Kenner Concept Photograph
Above, Prototype Remote Controlled R2D2 and a early
Kenner Concept Photograph (Click To Enlarge)

The picture above is early Kenner photography for the first prototype remote
controlled R2D2 toy, as you can see it is quite different from what the production
model turned out to look like with a huge difference. This unit is not wireless,
notice the heavy cable leading away from the control unit, but it looks like it may
have had manual control of not only the movement but the sounds also. This is
a rare example of a work in progress and i think the body design here is better
looking than the production model, wouldn't it be cool to have go with that control..

The Concept photograph above is a very early example of the remote controlled
R2D2 before it had even been made into a prototype, instead we have a rather
simple kit-bashed cardboard or plastic mockup. All the detail is painted on by hand
and the head looks like a scavenged lid painted silver..

Resources courtesy of & Kenner employee Jim Swearingen..

SWTNZ Creative Review - The Conceptual Prototype

The Conceptual Prototype

This first step in creating a conceptual prototype is at the drawing board, these
images will serve as a guide to the designers and sculptors who visualize the
intended product. The "Prototoy" designers create their ideas from many different
materials. Sometimes they are sculpted from scratch and other times they are made
from several existing items. Concept prototypes represent an early stage in the
production process of a toy and are often the most valuable of toy prototypes, items
of this kind are generally created by scratch builders who use a number of special
techniques such as "Kit-Bashing", basically this is a process by which a model maker
scavenges parts from pre-existing products such as toys or model kits. They also
use a technique called "Vacu-Forming", which allows the model builder to produce
plastic parts of odd shapes and sizes, when this isn't enough a form of sculpture or
carving is made using an epoxy putty.

The Concept model is then judged on its appearance so that changes or
improvements can be made before the final version is released. Legal experts and
engineers will then examine the model in order to determine the techniques
required for mass producing such a product and then consider any safety concerns
the toy may impose. Concept models were used for photographic purposes, it can
typically take a full year before a company goes from concept to mass production
and images of the toy are often needed before production has even begun, such
in the case of kenner back in 1978 when there was a mad rush to have a line of toys
available by Christmas. Kenner knew that the buying public didn't need to see the
product until it was ready to hit the stores so images of concept models were
employed and used in documents such as catalogs which specified the general
look and features of the product..

SWTNZ Conceptual Review - The Mysterious Un-Produced "Snow-Rider"

The Many Faces of Frank Hardy The Many Faces of Frank Hardy
Conceptual Drawings & Prototypes ( click to enlarge )

Above are drawings and mock-ups relating to an un-produced Star Wars ride-on
toy that Kenner may have worked on during the very late 1970s or early 1980s.
The artwork in the first picture depicts two different conceptual ride-on's, one
is very streamline and colored a deep blue, which although does not resemble
any known vehicle style it certainly looks more comfortable than the second
version which is based on a snow-speeder shape. From the drawings we can
assume that the ride-on was intended to project images of TieFighters or other
craft while simulating some kind of interactive combat. It is certainly possible
that the projection was just that, merely a film reel of sorts for entertainment
Because the shape of the ride-on is base on a snow-speeder it is easy to assume
that this idea was developed during the debut of "Empire Strikes Back", but
these original drawings were actually dated March of 1979, before ESB had
been released. There are two Mock-up prototype models in the second picture
above based on the snow-speeder drawings, both with varying style changes and
with one more complete. In the conceptual drawings the front console is more of
an elaborate housing, but in the second prototype image the console looks as
though it may have been intended to be a viewing screen, this would imply
more interaction. The prototypes in the images above do not exist in any form
or collection, in fact the only knowledge we have of this concept is through
these photographs alone. This would have been a large and awesome item
and its a shame Kenner never pursued it further..

Image courtesy of

SWTNZ Review - The Many Faces of "Frank Hardy", The Kit-Bashed Kenner Figures

The Many Faces of Frank Hardy
Click To Enlarge (1649x650 - Large 168kb)

Lets take a look at one of Kenners earliest and most Kit-Bashed abused Toy,
The "Hardy Boys" Figure "Frank Hardy". Based on the character played by "Parker
Stevenson" he was modified and redressed several times to portray Kenners
newest line of Conceptual Prototypes for the Star Wars saga. In the compiled
images above you will firstly see the original concept drawing for "Lando Calrissian",
next to that we have a mock-up doll put together to represent the drawing. The
figure used to portray Lando is in fact a Frank Hardy figure with its body and hair
painted black and a crude mustache has then been added. The next image is
an early representation of ANH Han solo, once again the Frank Hardy figure has
been used and the clothing fits him very well making a quick transformation
from Frank to Han. The next image is rather funny looking, Frank now takes on
the roll of ANH "Obi-Wan-Kenobi", looking like a cross between Kenny Rogers
and a monk this image appeared in a Kenner Canada "Irwin Toys" 1979 Trade
Catalogue. His hair and eyebrows have been painted white and a beard has
been added, probably made from epoxy putty. The final image on the right
is the Kenner "Frank Hardy" figure in his original packaging, this was surely
one versatile toy that served its purpose in more ways than one...

Ben-Kenobi images courtesy of Scott Bradley, "Canadian Star Wars Gallery"

SWTNZ Un-produced Toy Review - Seven Prototype 12 inch Figures

Seven Prototype 12 inch Figures
Click To Enlarge

Here are some very unique examples of early Kenner photography and their
subjects are even more interesting, "Un-produced 12 inch Figures". None of
these awesome toys made it into production, firstly we have a couple of Leia
figures adorning unusual clothing styles, an Arctic costume with fluffy boots
and a Poncho styled costume accessorized with binoculars. Of course her hair
style is that which we remember from ANH so it looks like Kenner was
experimenting with different clothing lines for this particular figure. Next we
have Luke in X-Wing uniform and Lando Calrissian from ESB, the head looks a
little large there, another one of kenners "Kit-Bashed" prototypes. The fourth
doll on the list is another Leia figure, this time dressed in her ESB Bespin
costume and sporting a very different hair style but with the same ANH body
mold, this is actually quite a good variation. Next up we have Luke in his
ESB Bespin gear, once again the standard ANH body mold, short saber and
quite plain. And finally there is Han Solo in ESB Hoth costume, check out
the mittens, very different from what we have seen. If i was to choose two
figures from these seven i would pick "Leia ESB Bespin" and "ESB Lando
Calrissian", check out the picture above, which two would you choose?..

SWTNZ Prototype Review - Conceptual Vintage, 12 inch Chewbacca - Kenner

Conceptual Vintage, 12 inch Chewbacca
Click To Enlarge

Back in 1977 when Kenner was creating advertising for their first wave of Star
Wars toys a whole line of photographs were taken in review for the final release
using various prototype figures and packaging. One rather good example is the
one above, on the left is a very different looking 12 inch Chewbacca figure than
what was released (center), he has a very unique looking head with little pointy
teeth and a dark brown complexion. The box he is featured in is also quite
different to the final released packaging, which is on the right. The figure used
by Kenner in this early photograph is actually a repainted Bionic Bigfoot from
the "Six Million Dollar Man" line of toys..

Bionic Bigfoot from the Six Million Dollar Man
Click To Enlarge

Above is the Bionic Bigfoot figure from the "Six Million Dollar Man" series,
compare this with the one used in the Chewbacca advertising.. The "Prototoy"
makers would create models and figures out of almost any suitable material they
could get their hands on, this would include dissecting other models for parts
and sculpturing from raw substances like plastics and epoxy putty.

SWTNZ Toy Review - Rare Vintage Prototype Jawa Sand Crawler

Prototype Jawa Sand Crawler

Click To Enlarge

Very few prototype toys are floating about on the market for lucky collectors to
snatch up and this is one of those very special items you just wouldn't see too
often. A Vintage Prototype Jawa Sand Crawler made by kenner way back in the
late 70's, this was an early test run missing many of the molding details the
final production item has. It has no marking like copyright or dates and the
separate parts are molded in varying shades of brown with even a bright blue
door .The base has more or less the exact same mold as the production piece
and with the same dark brown treads and a black axle section. The elevator
tube is a much lighter brown than the body, the stairs have black tread marks
on them and lacking considerable detail compared to the production toy..

Pretty cool when you consider this is a remote controlled toy, check out the
electrics and wheel assembly in the picture above..

SWTNZ Toy Review - Rare Vintage Prototype Rocket Firing Boba Fett

Prototype Rocket Firing Boba Fett

Click To Enlarge

This is probably the holy grail of Star Wars prototypes, An original prototype
for a Rocket Firing Boba Fett. The red rocket slides downwards into the backpack
and a spring loaded release catch fires the dart forward as he fly's through the air.
Exceedingly rare and with a huge collectable price tag attached to this little item,
close to $10,0000us dollars.. incredible!

SWTNZ Vintage Prototype - Rare Gold Chromed, Darth Vader Case

Gold Chromed Darth Vader Case

One of the most infamous Star Wars prototypes, this vintage Gold Chromed
Darth Vader Case has been featured in almost every price guide published
about collectibles. This is one of the best examples known to exist and it
features a very clean gold finish with all its latches unbroken. Because of the
nature of the chroming process nearly all of the Vader cases needed to be
split along the seam but this example is intact and there are only a handful
of these known to exist. What happened was, when Kenner produced the
gold C3PO carrying case they wanted to see how much packaging they needed
to protect the finish during the shipping process. So they made around one
hundred Darth Vader carrying cases vacuum metalized with this gold finish
and then shipped them to and from Kenner headquarters.

Image courtesy of

SWTNZ Vintage Review - Rare Prototype Millenium Falcon Molded in White

Prototype Millenium Falcon Molded in White
Click To Enlarge

Obtained directly from a former engineer at Kenner and dated 1979, this
extremely rare prototype millenium falcon is not a re- issued item, this is
pure vintage. All parts including those for the interior are all cast in milky
white plastic. The gun turret , game table, hidden floor, landing skids and
flight chair are also the same cream color as the ship. A truly unique item
with a price tag of $1,500us..

SWTNZ Rare Toy Review - Un-produced Prototype "Gyroscopic Force Lightsaber"

Gyroscopic Force Lightsaber
Click To Enlarge

This unique toy was created by Kenner during the release of the Episode
5 toy line, "The Empire Strikes Back". The Force Lightsaber was a
unproduced item with some very special features. The idea behind this
toy was to take the simple "Force Lightsaber", add lights, sounds and a
gyroscopic mechanism that was built into the base of the handle. This
was supposed create motion and weight and looks quite bulky, as you
can see by the images above. Kenner had even created packaging
and advertising idea's with interesting artwork's, including a store display..

Image courtesy of

SWTNZ Rare Vintage Toy Review - The Un-produced "Talking Yoda", 1980

 Unproduced Vintage Talking Yoda
Click To Enlarge

This talking Yoda doll was an un-produced toy prototype from the vintage
Kenner Star Wars line, in the 1980's It was considered as a toy concept but
only got as far as sales samples with finished packaging. Early versions of
this prototype are known to exist with slightly different outfits and heads,
The toy featured rubber hands, feet, cane, head and a durable cloth outfit.
The pull string activates the voice producing random sentences sampled
from "The Empire Strikes Back", these lines were, "You seek Yoda",
"Beware the Dark Side" , "A Jedi uses the force" , "Feel the force" ,
"Size matters not" , "So certain are you" , "Try not. Do." and "Use the force".

In the picture above you can see the pull string visible on the bottom left,
it is actually an amazing quality toy and only less than a dozen prototype
samples of this talking Yoda are known to exist.

Image courtesy of

SWTNZ Humor - Even 12' inch Star Wars Figures Can Disco - Kenner 1979

 Even 12' inch Star Wars Figures Can Disco
Click To Enlarge

Here is a rather amusing image that was used in Kenner's 1979 toy catalog,
during the era it easy to see that a little bit of that Disco magic rubbed off
on the design. Looks like they are getting real funky, boogie down yeah!..

Star Wars Trader - New Zealand , 2005-2008 Copyright SWTNZ
Original photographs, graphics & text etc is the property of SWTNZ unless
otherwise stated, "Star Wars" related media including images, video and characters
etc are copyright to and owned by Lucasfilm Ltd. SWTNZ is neither sponsored or
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