First-Shot Prototype Head for Vintage Jabba the Hutt Figure
Among hardcore Star Wars collectors, things related to the pre-proproduction phase of the original vintage figures are often the most sought-after. These can be proofs for the figures’ cards or packaging, the original wax sculpts for the figures, or things from a bit later in the process, like the first few parts that came out of the molds. This piece falls into the last category.
This head came from Kenner and would have been one of the first plastic versions of the vintage Jabba’s head created. It would have been used to check that the mold was working correctly. Here you can see the head next to a head taken from a production figure:
Obviously, the prototype doesn’t have the plastic eyes, which would have been inserted into the holes, and the difference in color is also pretty obvious. Of course, the prototype is unpainted, while the production figure has some paint on its front (the amount of paint varies quite a bit from figure to figure, I’ve found). But the color difference can be seen even on the undersides of the pieces, where there is no paint (see below). The prototype seems a bit lighter and greener, while the production part has more brown in it.
Since these “first shots” were just used for testing purposes, they are often done using plastics of different colors than that of the final production figure — basically whatever they had at hand. Sometimes the difference is very obvious — bright pink or green, for example. Maybe in this case they were trying to match the production color and got it slightly wrong, or I suppose it’s possible that they decided to adjust the color later on in production. I kind of prefer the prototype’s coloring.
You can see one other difference on the sides of each part. The production figure on the right has a hole into which a peg was inserted, and this is what Jabba’s arm would then attach to. There is no hole on the prototype — just a little indentation. It’s possible that this was used as a guide for drilling out the hole later on in production, but that’s just a guess on my part.
I’m happy to get a preproduction item related to the vintage Jabba figure. There’s a limited number of vintage prototypes around, and once somebody adds one to their collection it tends to stay there for a long time. I’d like to get some things like this for the newer Jabba figures as well.
I should probably mention something about provenance here. With prototypes in general it’s important to have some sort of proof showing where the piece originally came from (for a vintage item, this is generally something connecting to a known source from within Kenner). There was recently a problem where someone in the hobby was discovered to have been manufacturing pretty convincing fake prototypes, and with newer figures it’s not unheard of for factory workers in China to spend a few extra hours after work pumping out a bunch of “prototypes” in wacky colors for the express purpose of selling on ebay. You really need to buy from a trusted source. In this case, I have a note from a prominent collector stating that he originally got this part from someone at Kenner.