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View Full Version : Vintage Artoo's "face" details



JEDIpartner
08-16-2001, 09:38 AM
For as much as I love the vintage line (for it's purity), does anyone know why Kenner did such an awful job with Artoo's dome details?

I mean... how hard is it to place more than 3 circles on the "face" and call it done!

12inch Lando
08-16-2001, 09:44 AM
I'm sure it has alot to do with the available technology at the time. I didn't notice how crappy my vintage figure was until 20 years later when we got new ones.

Mandalorian Candidat
08-16-2001, 03:53 PM
The newer Artoo figures are definitely much better, but there's something about the vintage ones that make me like them better. It's probably nothing more than good memories when I was younger and would bust them out after school for a couple of hours of play. What I like the most about the vintage ones is that all the heads clicked. The newer ones don't do that except for the CT R2 and R2-B1 and the red version (and we know how hard it's been to get a hold of these).

evenflow
08-17-2001, 01:04 PM
Basically, technology has progressed. Even today, the POTJ are better than the figures that came out in 1995.

Eternal Padawan
08-17-2001, 04:26 PM
I think Kenner was lazy. They couldn't do just a weeee bit of sculpting on his cylinder body? It was probably a money thing. Slap a sticker on him and call it a day...

bigbarada
08-18-2001, 12:55 AM
I don't think it was laziness, more like panic. The movie was breaking records everywhere and Kenner had no product. They had to rush these toys through production just to have them available for Spring 1978, nearly a full year after the movie's release!

Rollo Tomasi
08-18-2001, 03:51 AM
As a young chap I always wondered why they couldn't add an optional third leg to that empty body.

Later when the flashback version was released I kinda longed for my vintage !

MisterPL
08-18-2001, 08:18 AM
Regarding Vintage Artoo's dome detail, that was sculpted in one piece and tooled unidirectionally from the top. Unfortunately, you can't get a whole lot of detail on a sphere this way. In the Modern line, Artoo's dome is made of two halves and pieced together to allow for the kind of detail we've got now. The processes are basically the same as today, but the materials hold detail much better.

I agree with big barada, Kenner was pretty hasty getting these toys to market. Star Wars came out in May 1977 and Kenner scrambled to get these produced, but still couldn't make it in time for Christmas. I couldn't find any figures until February '78 when I spotted a lone Chewbacca on the pegs at Fay's Drugs, almost a year after the film's release. Now we get Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park III collecting dust weeks before its tie-in comes out.

Go figure.

bigbarada
08-18-2001, 10:16 AM
I didn't see any figures until around Christmas 1978, but of course I was 5 years old and didn't do much shopping on my own.:p

rbaumhauer
08-22-2001, 06:01 AM
Originally posted by MisterPL
Now we get Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park III collecting dust weeks before its tie-in comes out.

Go figure.

Ya know, I was just thinking about this recently - how deadened I've become to all the hype about EVERYTHING. I know this sounds like a "things were better in my day" thing, but it's gotten to the point that I don't think anybody can tell what's important or even potentially good, because everything is hyped to the hilt before you even see it, whether it's music, a movie, whatever.

Ah, the innocent days of my youth................

Does anybody else think that this is another thing that "Star Wars" marked the end of - the genuine build-up of public anticipation over time, rather than "this week, this movie is a MUST SEE, easily the best thing since sliced bread................next week, after the reviews come out that it SUCKED, we'll have a new product to sell to you."

Lobito
09-27-2001, 03:53 PM
Not only R2-D2, but Luke (normal version) and Luke X-wing pilot. It was the tech. they had at that time that made those faces so funny. :D

bigbarada
09-29-2001, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by rbaumhauer
Does anybody else think that this is another thing that "Star Wars" marked the end of - the genuine build-up of public anticipation over time, rather than "this week, this movie is a MUST SEE, easily the best thing since sliced bread................next week, after the reviews come out that it SUCKED, we'll have a new product to sell to you."


I totally agree! One major thing ANH had going for it: there was simply nothing else like it at the time. Now Star Wars has inspired so many sci-fi and adventure films that Ep1 premiered in a saturated market where people see big budget SP/FX movies as old hat.

Plus, marketing has gotten waaaay out of hand. Ep1 was clearly too much as far as liscensed products go. Hopefully, with retailers treating SW like the plague, Ep2 merchandise will be less overwhelming.

JediCole
10-19-2001, 04:41 PM
Though the rush to get product to market and the lack of the technology we have today entered heavily into the look of a lot of the figures of the vintage line, you have to bear in mind that most of the circumstance was pure economics. The most important factor, this had NEVER been done before. Kenner was taking a huge risk in producing such tiny figures (inventing the modern small action figure scale), not to mention buying a license that EVERY toy manufacturer had refused (and today covet). Economic factor number two is the cost of producing molded plastic figures. To reduce the economic risk, Kenner mandated that all figures be designed to utilize the most simple mold procedures available. No complex, multipart molds could be produced, so designers and sculpters had to bear that in mind. Given the tremendous constraints, they churned out some remarkable products. The real scramble to get product to market came from the lag between buying the license, tooling up to produce, and suddenly discovering that Star Wars was going to be an international hit, but that had little impact on the quality of the sculpts and molds as those decisions were made long before the release of the film and the subsequent explosion of popularity and demand. No one would have dreampt of releasing a toy line based on a movie BEFORE the film was released, or even (back then) at the same time (Summer) that the film is released. By today's standards, Kenner was really caught with their pants down from a production standpoint, but it is far too easy to retrofit the history to fit the contemporary market. Remember that Kenner was a pioneer in this regard. Prior to Star Wars, their top selling toy was Play Dough!