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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 here 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!