Detecting Fake Prototype Figures
This guide will help you determine how to tell a real prototype from a fake.
There are several types of prototype fakes out on the market, so buyer beware!
Please read the
Prototype Phases Guide to
familiarize yourself with the figure making process.
Important Tip - Know who you are buying from. Most prototypes out on the market
do not include a certificate of authenticity as they were never designed to be
sold on the open market. There are companies that will authenticate a prototype
for a price, such as CIB. You can visit their website
for more information on authentication services.
Fake #1 (Paint Wash) - This is the easiest fake on the market. A paint
wash figure is simply a figure that had the paint removed with some type of
solvent. Here are some ways to identify paint washed figures:
- Figure will be in production colors, with copyright markings and pegholes
(Note: There are legitimate first shots that are in production colors with
copyright markings and pegholes).
- The solvents that are used to remove the paint will typically chemically attack the
harder plastic items, such as the torsos & lightsabers. This can
create a duller look, sometime sticky and with less detail as the original
figure. However, the limbs will typically show little to no effect as they have a different composition of plastic. See below Darth Maul fake first shot.
Fake #2 (Resin Casting) - This fake is more difficult than the paint
wash. Resin castings created by using a silicone mold and pouring colored
resin into the mold to create the effect of a non-production color prototype
figure. Here are some things to note:
- First Shot Comparison - Resin typically cures very hard and will feel
nothing like a production figure or first shot. The non-flexible limbs
are a dead give-away that it is not a first shot.
- Hardcopy Comparison - Since this method is the exact same process used to
make a hardcopy, this will require you to compare it to a first shot or a
production figure. Resin castings made from production figures will be
the same size, and a true hardcopy will be slightly larger in size than a
first shot or production figure. The injection mold process used to
generate first shots and production figures have some shrinkage involved.
Fake #3 (Injection Molding/Bootlegs) - This is the toughest fake to identify as
it will feel like a production figure. However, to fake this process it
will require some extensive tooling to generate steel molds. This is a
very costly proposition and would require a large production run to be cost
effective. Bootlegs typically have less quality than the original figure and can be considered a collectibles item by itself!