LUKE SKYWALKER - BESPIN FATIGUES - The Mystery Variant

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LUKE SKYWALKER - BESPIN FATIGUES - The Mystery Variant

Post by General Kahn on Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:05 pm

LUKE SKYWALKER - BESPIN FATIGUES - The Mystery Variant

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Over the years in the hobby I've been lucky enough to 'discover' or be a part of the discovery of several previously undocumented variant's, not all but the majority of course have been localised to just the one character.... Luke Bespin, understandably because of my focus. For the most part, once you have a basic understanding of how the figures are produced, released, the factories in which they originated and a study of MOC examples with maybe a touch of theorizing in some cases, a time frame and cardback history can usually be attached to the specific variant. For example, Luke Bespin was produced by 3 factories, Smile, Kader and Unitoy, all originally producing the figure with blonde hair. The change to brown began with the 41D cards, so in terms of Kenner variants, all blondes are pre 41D.
However, every once in a while a variant surfaces that produces way more questions than answers and literally goes against the grain of just about everything we know, this happened to me about 5 years ago when a very interesting Luke Bespin caught my eye while trawling through countless auctions on the old bay.

Now in terms of Luke Bespin, once you've stared at as many of them as I have, identifying the three different families can be easily done at a mere glance, Unitoy, probably the most normal looking head, simple eyes, Smile, fatter head, simple eyes, Kader, smaller looking head, big round eyes and curved eye brows, almost looks startled.
The example that caught my eye was clearly on first glance from the Kader factory, the head and eye print where instantly recognizable, but the eye print looked unusually bold and a bit poorly applied which is what initially caught my attention so I had a closer look and this is what I saw.....

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Once I saw the bigger pic, my attention was no longer in the facial detail it was somewhere else, something I had never seen before on any known Kenner variant, the presence of an unpainted hip!!! When I looked at the back of the figure it was even more bizarre, not only was the COO that of the Unitoy factory but there where also melt marks. Needless to say I had to have a closer look so I bought the figure.

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When the figure arrived it certainly was unusual, everything was in some way wrong, the weird eye print, generally sloppy paint work, wrong COO for the head, melt marks, unpainted hip, unusual paint colours. Just a generally odd figure.
I'm going to skip forward now before explaining in more detail about the oddities of this figure. I figured that this wasn't obviously a one off so I began searching endlessly for more. As of this time I have found several examples of this figure and have bought most of them. I have also seen several other examples that have not passed through my hands but have compared the pictures of these examples with mine for the purpose of my research.
Interestingly there are several variations of this figure, primarily the figure can be found with either the unpainted hip or the painted hip. The unpainted hip certainly appears to be the rarer of the bunch. Also there are several variations concerning the boot colour which seems to be different with almost every example to some degree. Obviously this is not the case but so far this is my run...

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Let's now skip back and break down the figure. My early thoughts initially where, was this some kind of Spanish variant that had slipped under the radar, the reason for this was that it shared so many traits almost uniquely associated with Spanish production at PBP, for example


  • Sloppy Paint


  • Mixed Up Parts


  • Unpainted Hip


  • Melt Marks


Sloppy paint work is not something commonly associated with Kenner production but often associated with PBP production. Mixed up factory parts is something uniquely associated with PBP production. The Unpainted hip exists on NO Kenner figures and is only associated with PBP and the first Lili Ledy Lukes. Finally, melt marks, now these can be found on figures produced anywhere and can be found on Kenner figure, however, they very rarely appear on Kenner figures in contrast to appearing on the vast majority of PBP figures.... Every example of this strange figure I have handled or seen has, in some way, to some degree, the presence of melt marks.

Now it is important at this stage to understand that this figure is 99.9% almost certainly not Spanish in anyway. I spoke early on with a couple of noted Spanish collectors about this figure and we all concluded that it was not. Only the traits are similar, everything else is different. Although one example was found in Spain, all the rest have been found else where, a couple in the U.K. one in Australia and the rest in the U.S.

So where the hell does this figure fit in??? To be honest that's still an answer I can't provide. Another early though concerning the head was of course the possibility of a head Swap, this kind of seemed more and more unlikely with the more that turned up of course but it's also worth noting that the paints don't match.

Let's take a look at some of the comparisons

Hair Colour

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Hair comparison to Kader Luke - Kader Left, Mystery figure Right

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Hair comparison to Unitoy Luke's - Unitoy Left and Right, Mystery figure Center

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Hair comparison to PBP Luke - PBP Left, Mystery figure Right

As can be seen from the pic's the hair colour doesn't match any of the paint schemes used by Kade, Unitoy or PBP which certainly helps rule out any thoughts on a head swap. A similar result can be attained with the boot colours.

Boot Colour

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Comparison to Kader - Kader two on the left, Mystery figure Right

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Compariosn to Unitoy - Unitoy two on Left, Mystery figure Right

As I said before, the boot colour on these seems to change a lot so it standards to reason that it's going to be similar to something and a couple are quite similar but in hand just not quite the same as hopefully can be seen below.

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There are numerous boot colours that can be found, varying in some way, matte, glossy and various different shades as seen below...

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Varying boot colours of the mystery variant

One of the interesting paints schemes used on this figure is the bright, peachy sun burned hand colour. What is interesting with this paint is that it regularly seems to deteriorate and discolour to yellow. Examples can be found that have discoloured to yellow with remnants of the peach in places and even finding examples with one yellow hand and one peach appears to happen also.

Hand Colour

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Original hand colour

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Discoloured hands

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Yellowed with remnants of original colour

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Yellowed with remnants of original colour

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Example with discoloured and normal hand paint

One potentially interesting thing concerning the hand colour and also to some degree the boot colour is one of the figures produced by Unitoy. I have only ever confirmed example of this particular Unitoy variant on the ESB 31B card (Luke's first appearance) it is unquestionably the hardest and rarest Unitoy variant to exist and because of it's early appearance it's possible that it was the earliest figure produced by Unitoy. It features, pale yellow hair, peach hands and dark brown boots. this is the figure below...

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Early Unitoy variant

This early Unitoy variant interestingly has peach hands and dark boots, both of which are very similar to paints used on the mystery variant as seen below...

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Peach hands - Unitoy Left, Mystery figure Right

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Boots comparison - Unitoy Left, Mystery figure Right

Although in the photo's they do look very a like and they are they still have differences. The peach used on the Unitoy figure is ever so slightly paler and from all the examples I have seen, doesn't seem to discolour to yellow so it's unlikely that they are from the same place.

Another interesting thing with this variant is the sloppy paint application that seem to appear on these figures quite often, from faint paint work, general sloppyness too very un neat lines.

Sloppy Paint Applications

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Sloppy hair paint

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Faint and blobby paint

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Uneven lines

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Off print eye brows

Like I said earlier, Melt marks can be found on Kenner figures but it does appear to be quite rare where as every example of this figure I have had or seen has some form of melt mark, either to the belt, lke hip on the leg or the left side of the torso.

Melt Marks

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One very interesting thing concerning the melt marks is the presence of identical melt marks which so far seem to be isolated to only the unpainted hip examples. They come in the form of three marks on the left side of the torso. Every example of the unpainted hip variant I have seen (only 4 so far) has had the same three marks in the same place.

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Finally there is the unpainted hip which is possibly the most significant  feature of this figure because it's something not associated with any Kenner variant and as said before, this figure is almost certainly not Spanish so it is possibly the first known Kenner example of an unpainted hip. The hip kind of has a light over spraying similar to the earliest so called Poch unpainted hip variants.

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Mystery variant Unpainted Hip

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Comparison to early PBP Unpainted hip - PBP Left, Mystery variant Right

So where does this variant fit in? well unfortunately, as of present I can not answer that. All I know is that it is not a common figure, since I first discovered it about 5 years ago, I have seen less than 15 examples and so far have not been able to identify any on an MOC example even through my extensive archive of collected pictures.

I have wondered if they may have been created through an outside vendor, Overstock from factories? That said, it's not even certain they came from the factories as the plastics, particularly in the face don't seem to match Kader or Unitoy either?
One thing I do know is that the 41D card brought changes, it saw the end of the yellow hair and the end of production of Luke Bespin for the U.S. market from both Kader and Unitoy. Kader ceased production completely as it's mould was altered for and used by PBP. Unitoy reduced it's production numbers and produced for Europe only. Is it possible overstock from both factories was used in some way to produce small numbers of figures?
Another intersting thing about the 41D card is that I have seen several examples of Kader figures with Kader accessories packed on Smile factory cards. Given that Kader ceased Luke Bespin production completely about that time, it's not impossible that they shipped unused stock to be packed at another factory which inherently used their own card stock. So I guess nothing is impossible, just as Palitoy employed outside vendors to plastic inject some of the larger ships because they didn't have the means in house.

So I guess I'll have to leave this on a bit of a cliff hanger, but trust me, I will get to the bottom of this somehow!

To Be Continued....

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General Kahn
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Re: LUKE SKYWALKER - BESPIN FATIGUES - The Mystery Variant

Post by Commander Clint on Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:37 pm

Interesting figure and it raises a lot of questions. I'm looking forward to hearing more.
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Re: LUKE SKYWALKER - BESPIN FATIGUES - The Mystery Variant

Post by Nico on Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:38 pm

Alex I always enjoy your threads mate cheers very interesting, look foreward to hearing more Very Happy
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