Vintage Star Wars Boba Fett Action Figure (1979)

Taras WOLF REVIEW. 10th March 2020

Interesting and factual information may be provided, but our review aims to deliver insight from the perspective of a designer’s mind and eyes.

Mr Popular!

Introduction

Product description

Boba Fett was an Bounty Hunter that featured first in Star Wars episode V- “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). Despite having relatively short screen time and limited lines he remains on of the most popular characters of the Sci-Fi Franchise. Most of this comes down to one simple thing- “His looks!”. As a toy action figure he made his first appearance as an early promotional toy released in 1979 just prior to the feature film release.

Price and Availability.

As a toys he is certainly “Mr Popular” and almost every Star Wars fan has one. Sold in large numbers he is always available for sale, but prices will vary depending on condition as he often endured countless hours of play. The most commonly available version is known as the Hong Kong Variant and at the time of this review sells from between $25 to$50(Aust), for one in reasonable shape that is complete with his original blaster. A mint specimen will be over $75 and can even go well over $100 depending on how fussy and desperate a collector is. Serious collectors will also hunt for all the other variations of this cool action figure, and some of these can set you back several hundred dollars for mint specimens.

Additional information

There are several well known variations of this figure further to the standard Hong Kong issue. The well known ones include:

  • Taiwan variant- with black belt and slightly different sculpt.
  • Tri-Logo Variant- with lighter blue plastic and slightly different paint colours.
  • Light or grey limb variant- with lighter colour limbs.
  • Lili Ledy Variant- with a darker blue plastic.

Less known variants include:

  • Head with blue paint variant.
  • Short hand variation- short pour in the mold.
  • Spanish Variation- lighter limbs with bubbles in the plastic behind his legs.

Further to this are multiple slight colour variations ( particularly with his green chest), which could also be a result of discoloration and age, rather than a factory variant. The most expensive and highly prized Fett’s are those prototypes or test pieces made for promotional purposes. He was originally advertised as having a rocket firing feature but due to safety reasons this feature was removed and never offered to the public. Working test examples do exist but most have ended up in the hands of the most lucky, serious or rich collectors.

 

Review

First impression/ Delight

This figure still feels and looks as cool today as he did back in 1979. He has been released in more recent times with incredibly accurate and relistic precision but such advances in toy making technology seem to make such toys feel more like collectors pieces to be displayed. This toy makes you want to pick him up and play make belief, and that’s something quite rare in this day and age.

Exterior Design Review

Compared to the real life character there is obviously a lot of detail in his costume that differs or is missing. Nevertheless the original toy makers did a good job of including all the important fetures. He actually looks quite busy by modern standards but at the dawn of the 1980s we all loved gadgets and gimmicks. Boba Fett’s outfit peaked the imagination more than most characters from the film. He has more paint colours than most Star Wars action figures with up to 6 different paints on top of his blue plastic body. The bright red rocket, which we know was meant to fire is glued in place, but you will still want to try and remove it.

Craftmanship.

The Boba Fett action figure is almost as tough as his serious looks. You dont find many with dismembered head or limbs. He was therefore highly skilled in battle or simply more loved and respected. Paint ware is found on 90% of these action figures and is particularly common on his green chest and yellow shoulder pads. Further to this are the high proportion of mint or near mint specimens with factory paint imperfections. Again this is often to the chest plate. Perhaps that was a result of poor quality control or just a byproduct of him having more than average detail and paint colours. That is why mint examples with perfect paint can command extremely high prices. Well played with figures will have what is known by collectors as “Loose Limbs” and don’t hold position very well. Good examples with less play have tight or firm limbs and again will command higher prices

The Taiwan Variant

The Taiwan version is the next most commonly found variant and traditionally commanded slightly more than the Hong Kong Variant. We have noticed in recent times that his value has slowly increased to be worth almost double that of the Hong Kong versions. He seems identical at first with the most obvious difference being his darker (often black) belt. On closer examination you will notice a different sculpt to the head and legs. Overall he also feels a little wider and more masculine in stance, but its subtle and hard to measure.

The Tri-Logo Variant

Known as the Tri-Logo variant because this version was available in Europe where the packaging had the Logo presented in 3 different languages. He is strikingly different because of the differences in colour. His blue plastic body is of a very pale blue and significantly lighter than the standard version. Tri-Logo Fetts are highly sought after and worth several times more than their standard brothers. There are also variations within the Tri-Logo brotherhood. These are mostly slight paint differences but more commonly known is the paint on the dart of his left forearm and the paint below his right knee cap. Some are painted, some are not and from our research the painted dart is the most rare of the Tri-Logo variations. An interesting thing to note is that the rocket on most Tri-Logo Fetts tend to be rather loose and we have even seen some where they are completely removable.

Left- unpainted knee. Center- painted dart. Right- painted knee

Tri-Logo Fett’s have the Country of origins(COO) removed from the rear of their right legs, also referred to by collectors as scarred legs

on the rear of the legs are also these very small bubbles in the molding.

The left figure has darker paint tones to arms, legs and belt compared to that on the right.

The Light or Grey limb Variant

It is unclear if these lighter coloured limbs are from day one out of factory or if they are a result of aging plastics over time. They are however clearly different and interestingly always have a misaligned seal to the red rocket.  This variation is quite cool in our opinion because his colours are actually more true to the real life character. Many of these lighter limb variants tend to also have small bubbles in the molding on the rear of their legs. Lighter limb Fetts with bubbles on the legs have sometimes been refereed to as a Spanish variant but this has yet to be verified as being unique to those originally sold in Spain. A really mint lighter limb Fett is quite rare and command over $100US.

Lighter limb Boba Fett is on the right and is significantly lighter than the regular version on the left.

The lightness of the limbs are most obvious from the rear.

The misaligned seal to the red rocket

The Lili Ledy Variant

Star Wars toys were released in Mexico under the Lili Ledy brand. In general they differed in paint, but the Lili Ledy Boba Fett also had a darker blue plastic body. The COO was also removed and he has what is known as a double scar at the rear of his right leg.

Lili Ledy on the left is noticeably darker next to a standard Boba Fett

A range of blue from Lili Ledy to Tri Logo

The Short Hand Variant

This variant is believed to be a result of not enough plastic in the mold. This is often referred to as a “Short Pour” mold.  With Boba Fett this phenomenon seems to occur most in his left hand and we’ve seen some shorter than others, but there are enough of them in general to be known as a variant.

Short pour- Short hand

Aging and discoloration

These figures are now in their fourth decade of age and even mint specimens can show signs of aging. Boba Fetts commonly have discoloration in the plastic. Figures exposed to UV rays will naturally have more significant colour differences than those sealed away in the dark. Some collectors will seek out such oddities for their unique look. The torso itself has been known to turn darker , sometimes even greenish. The limbs can also turn dark with a purplish tinge. One commonly effect are whitish blotches that can appear on the heads and limbs. Some collectors refer to this as a “Mottled effect” and while some consider it a variation it is more likely a result of aging. All the mottled effect figures we’ve seen also have the small bubbles at the back of legs which seems to suggest a difference in plastics used on figures with the bubbles in the mold. They also have the misaligned seal to the red rocket which suggest that they are related to the light limb Fett’s in some way. Are the Mottled Boba Fetts transitioning into light limb Fetts or are Light limb Fetts just more perfect discolorations?

The Mottled Boba Fett.

This figure also has swirl marks in the molding- a unique imperfection

Bubbles in the molding.

The figure on the right shows aging in the plastic of the legs. It makes him more interesting but not necessarily more collectible.

Factory paint errors

Occasionally the factory will make paint errors which gets through inspection and results in a unique piece. Often it is an unpainted limb or part of a limb but can also be paint applied incorrectly. It can be hard to tell if the unpainted component is genuinely a result of factory error or if it was intentionally removed and therefore a fake. For this reason they don’t sell easily and cant be considered particularly rare or collectible. They are only appealing for their unique look and it’s up to the buyer to decide what they are worth.

The figure on the left is a Taiwan version with an unpainted left arm. That on the right is has the Visor misprinted in slightly the wrong position.

Paint stripped or Test shots.

A test shot is a factory mold test prior to a production run. These a normally discarded but can occasionally find their way out of the factory and into collectors hands. They are essentially unpainted figures though the very first ones prior to the first production run are sometimes considered a form of prototype. They are valuable and highly prized among collectors.

A figure that has had it’s paint intentionally stripped will look like a test shot but obviously is not the same thing. Stripping the paint off figures is not an easy process and there is always the risk of causing damage to a perfectly good figure. Therefore it’s best to only strip the paint off relatively worn figures. The value of a paint stripped figure is again up to the curiosity of the buyer. Given that it’s not easy to do, a nicely paint stripped figure can be worth more than you’s expect but it also depends on which figure. Boba Fett is particularly difficult to paint strip because the plastic of his Torso is sensitive to strong chemicals and he also has a lot of detail that makes paint removal challenging. Be careful of people trying to pass off a paint stripped figure as  test shot or prototype.

A paint stripped Boba Fett

Collectability

We think he’s a must have for all Star Wars fans whether you collect toys or not. He’s just a great looking little figure you can have on your work desk or at home next to your TV. If you’re not too fussed over a little paint ware you could find yourself a nice example for under $50. Be weary of fake/replica guns which are plentiful in this day and age. There are ways to tell between genuine and fakes but it’s becoming increasingly hard so do your homework on this. For the average collector both the Hong Kong and Taiwan variants are important to have and will only go up in value as all the best ones continue to get snapped up. Beyond that are the myriad of more rare or obscure variants though some in our opinion are over inflated. If you ever come across any rare prototypes you will need very deep wallets to acquire them but there is also the headache of trying to authenticate their origins and genuineness- not always an easy task.

WORD OF THE WOLF

1979 now almost feels like a Galaxy far far away but Mr Fett still remains one of the coolest bounty hunters in our universe. Though he’s perhaps not as iconic as Darth Vader, the Storm trooper or Yoda, he will still be recognized by most people on the planet and all of this boils down to his looks. He looks mysterious and threatening without looking bad or evil. Underneath all that cool gear could be the nicest gentleman or lady. We sum this in up in two words- :Good Design”

The WOLF Army of Mandelorians

When the Star Wars prequel trilogy was announced there were many rumors surrounding Boba Fett and his origins. Eventually we learnt that Boba Fett was son of  bounty hunter Jango Fett who supposedly was a Mandalorean from Mandalore. There were rumours prior to the prequels that we would see multiple Fett like characters- possibly even a Mandalorean army. At that time in the mid 1990s this action figure went up rapidly in price. The Wolf Collection at that point had in it’s vaults a small army of one hundred mint Vintage Boba Fett action figures.

Disclaimer

The information in this review is intended for informational or educational purposes to provide readers an understanding of how something may be seen from a certain design perspective. In this case it is from the view point of WOLF DESIGNS. As design is subjective this review should only be considered as an independent opinion. Information further to being of an opinion is provided to the best of our knowledge based on our own research at the time of doing the review. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies and reserve the right to change or update any content as appropriate.
The final responsibility of the product and its design resides with the original manufacturer.