A GUIDE TO VINTAGE STAR WARS FIGURES & ACCESSORIES

Palitoy Star Wars Cardbacks

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SW 12A CARDBACK

The first set of 12 figures appeared in the UK in 1978. The front of the 12A card has the Star Wars logo  and is the same as that of the Kenner card from America with two differences. The white square in the top left hand corner where the price would be written is absent on the Palitoy card. The other difference is the Kenner logo is replaced with the colourful red and blue Palitoy logo. The back of the card shows the original 12 figures from the Star Wars film and 3 vehicles that were released at the same time. These are the TIE fighter, X-Wing Fighter and Land Speeder. The text for the TIE fighter and X-Wing Fighter says they have Laser Light and Sound. This was true of the Kenner versions of these vehicles but not the Palitoy ones. The Palitoy version of the TIE fighter also used the Kenner packaging with a Palitoy sticker placed over the Kenner logo. Below the figures there are some instructions for how the double telescoping lightsabers operate on Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Ben Kenobi. These were quickly replaced with single telescoping versions which were cheaper to make. The only known examples of MOC double telescoping 12-backs are on Kenner cards. None are believed to exist on Palitoy cards. This card variation, and all card variations up until 30B were manufactured in Hong Kong at the Kader Industries factory by the Palitoy (Far East) Company Ltd and then shipped back assembled to the Coalville factory in the UK. You can see it says Made in Hong Kong below the Palitoy logo on the back of the card and Palitoy, Coalville, Leicester, England to the left of the logo.

Jawa is the only figure unverified on this cardback variation. Death Squad Commander has been found on only a couple of examples so far so is very rare. If a 12A Jawa card exists, it should have Vinyl Cape Jawa on it, rather than the later issued Cloth Cape Jawa, but all the examples of the Vinyl Cape Jawa to date are the later 12B card. Another rare figure variation is the large head Han Solo with only 5 examples known to exist. They sell for thousands of pounds when they become available for sale. The small head Han Solo is much more common on this variation. All subsequent variations have the large head Han Solo on them.

 
The bubble used on the large head Han Solo has a wider footplate than that used on the small head Han Solo as can be seen below. This can be used to spot resealed examples of the small head Han Solo bubble which have had the rarer large head Han Solo figure resealed inside the bubble.

Single stemmed bubbles with a prong at the bottom of the bubble were used on these cards. These bubbles were sized to fit the size of the figure they were intended to hold. A lot of figures fell into a standard shape and size so there is a bubble size that is more common than others. The bubbles are flat with the exception of the cloth cape Jawa which appeared on the 12B variation of the card. Most figures had a flat footplate at the bottom of the bubble. Some had the footplate folded between the legs of the figure if the figures legs were further apart. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and C3-PO had folded footplates on this card variation. The single stem style of bubble was used on all card variations through to the end of the ESB card variations.

There are rare examples of Kenner style SKU footplates with rounded corners at the front edges and a serial number in white text at the back of the footplate being used on Palitoy cards. This has been seen on Chewbacca. This is because the Kader Industries factory in Hong Kong also produced Kenner cards.

Recarded 12 backs often use the original Kenner card front with a superimposed Palitoy logo over the Kenner logo, leaving the white square in the top left hand corner. If you see one of these for sale claiming it is an original carded figure then you know that it is a re-card.

A common collecting goal is to collect the original 12 figures MOC. This can be quite pricey as the rarer figures can cost quite a price premium. The rarest to find is Chewbacca, this is generally the figure you will need to find to complete the set of 12. Next is Luke Skywalker which is generally the most expensive to obtain. Next is Princess Leia Organa and Ben Kenobi followed by the small head Han Solo. Then comes Stormtrooper, Jawa, Death Squad Commander and C-3PO. The most common figures are R2-D2, Darth Vader and Sand People.

SW 12B CARDBACK

The reverse of the 12A card was changed to remove the fact that the TIE fighter and X-Wing fighter in the UK did not have laser light and sound giving rise to the 12B variation. The original text saying with Laser Light and Sound from the 12A is faintly visible despite being blacked out. This is proof of a later release date for the 12B variation. The text removal was done in the printing process rather than with a black pen which is common on the later ROTJ card variations. This card variation, and all card variations up until 30B were manufactured in Hong Kong at the Kader Industries factory by the Palitoy (Far East) Company Ltd and then shipped back assembled to the Coalville factory in the UK. You can see it says Made in Hong Kong below the Palitoy logo on the back of the card and Palitoy, Coalville, Leicester, England to the left of the logo.

Han Solo has never been seen on this cardback variation, only on the 12A variation. All the other of the first 12 figures are available on this card variation.

Single stemmed bubble with a footplate were used on this variation like with the 12A variation. There are examples of footplates with a black stripe down the middle being used on this card variation. This has been seen on See-Threepio (C-3PO).

There have been quite a few examples of opened and sealed vinyl caped jawas on the 12B cardback showing up in the last few years. There have been at least 4 opened examples with the correct smaller sized bubble which were used with vinyl caped jawa in the Kenner product line. And there are now at least 5 known examples of ones which are sealed. None of these were graded by AFA or UKG and until one was graded, there were two camps who firmly believed or didn’t believe that vinyl caped jawas were ever sold on Palitoy cards. As of March 14 2013 the debate ended as AFA have graded one of them as an AFA 75 example shown here. It’s serial number is 14166282 and can be verified on their website. The AFA graded example was sold on ebay for £13200, though it is believed that sale fell through and it was sold privately for a higher amount. And an unpunched example was sold by Vectis auctions for £8500 (£10500 after commission and VAT) on October 24 2013. The Vectis sale was well publicised in the press and even appeared on BBC Breakfast on the Monday before the sale. You can see the footage on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24611261. One of the open examples has a Zodiac toys price sticker which would indicate that it was shop sold. There is a clear plastic insert behind the figure and a yellow cardboard footer under the figure. The footer is present on all subsequent variations of the card. The left of the punch which is used to hang up the card is level with the left side of the ‘S’ in Star Wars on this card.

The vinyl cape on the Jawa was replaced with a darker brown cloth cape making the vinyl cape very rare. Initially, the bubble that was used for R2-D2 was used for the cloth cape jawa as it did not fit inside the vinyl cape bubble as it was too small. This bubble is quite deep so a folded yellow cardboard insert was placed behind the figure moving it towards the front of the bubble, the top of which can be seen at shoulder height behind the figure. The hood on the figure looks squashed as the bubble is not high enough. This temporary solution was used until a bigger bubble that could accommodate the hood was made. This new bubble had no kind insert behind the figure. With the new bubble and cloth cape figure the card did not hang correctly now, so the punch was moved to the left a bit so it would hang correctly again. The punch position is about 50/50 on carded palitoy jawas showing that it was a while before they made this change. Fakes are common and many collectors rue the day they swapped their inferior plastic caped Jawa for a cloth one in the school playground when they were kids. All subsequent cardback variations have the cloth cape jawa on them.

The bubble for the vinyl cape is smaller and flatter than the one used for the cloth cape which is not flat and slopes upwards towards the top of the bubble. This is the only figure that has a bubble that slopes in this manner. 

The difference in size between the Jawa and R2D2 figures shows why the folded yellow cardboard insert was needed for Jawa inside the R2D2 bubble. The 3 types of bubble used on Palitoy cards also match those used on Kenner cards which makes perfect sense since Kenner cards were also manufactured at the Kader Industries factory in Hong Kong. 
 

SW 12c CARDBACK

The reverse of the 12B was then changed to clarify that figures fit inside non diecast vehicles giving rise to the 12C variation. There must have been reports of children in the UK trying to stuff Luke and Ben inside the diecast Land Speeder as parents were buying the diecast ships and vehicles in error! This variation was a recent discovery in July 2018 and the text correction has not been found on any Kenner cards as of yet. Maybe American parents weren’t so stupid! The 12B variation (and previous 12A variation) says ‘scaled to fit inside STAR WARS Space Vehicles) on the third line down on the back of the card. Whereas the 12C variation says ‘scaled to fit the large size non die-cast STAR WARS Space Vehicles’. This card variation, and all card variations up until 30B were manufactured in Hong Kong at the Kader Industries factory by the Palitoy (Far East) Company Ltd and then shipped back assembled to the Coalville factory in the UK. You can see it says Made in Hong Kong below the Palitoy logo on the back of the card and Palitoy, Coalville, Leicester, England to the left of the logo. 
 
Again, Han Solo was never released on the card variation like the 12B variation, and has only been seen on the 12A variation. So far, 8 of the remaining figures have been found on this card variation. Princess Leia Organa, Chewbacca and Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi are still to have examples found if there are any. Check your cards! Also, as it was phased out during the 12B variation, Jawa (Vinyl Cape) has not been seen on this variation either, it is only seen as Jawa (Cloth Cape).
 
This is an example of the 12C variation with the Dutch yellow wrap round sticker used to sell it in the Dutch market. This is normally seen on the Palitoy 41 backs rather than the 12 back. See the 41B variation page for more details.

Single stemmed bubble with a footplate were used on this variation like with the 12A and 12B variations.

SW 20 CARDBACK

Following on from the release of the first 12 figures were another 8 figures with the Star Wars logo and all 20 figures listed on the back of the card. This is the 20 cardback and since there is only one variation with this number of figures listed on the back there is no additional variation letter. These cards were released in 1978 and featured additional characters from the Star Wars film plus the first figure to be released again in a different costume, Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot. None of the original 12 figures were re-releasd on this card. The Palitoy logo on the front of the card is a little smaller than the one on the 12-back. The back of the card also features the cardboard Palitoy Death Star playset. This card variation, and all card variations up until 30B were manufactured in Hong Kong at the Kader Industries factory by the Palitoy (Far East) Company Ltd and then shipped back assembled to the Coalville factory in the UK. You can see it says Manufactured in Hong Kong for Palitoy Division of General Mills Fun Group Inc Coalville, Leicester, England on the bottom line on the back of the card.

The Palitoy logo on R5-D4 is centered in the middle of the card instead of being on the right hand side like all the other 20-back cards. This matches where the Kenner logo is placed on R5-D4 on the Kenner version of the card which would suggest that the Kenner template was used to produce the Palitoy card by overlaying the Palitoy logo over the Kenner one. Also, on some of the Palitoy 12-back cards you can make out a faint black square in the top left hand corner where the white square for the price tag on the Kenner card used to be.

Palitoy cards were resold in the German market, some of which had a blue General Mills sticker with the German company address on them. This sticker is quite rare on Palitoy cards.

Palitoy cards were also resold on the Spanish market. The yellow Spanish sticker on the front of the card is the same as is seen on Spanish PBP cards. It says 1 Figura Gratis Mira Las Instrucciones Al Dorso which translated into English says 1 Figure Free See Instructions on Back. This sticker is also quite rare on Palitoy cards.

All bubble types on this variation are single stemmed with a footplate. Power Droid has an oversized bubble to accommodate the figure and does not fit in the standard acrylic case used by AFA and requires a bigger sized one. It is over twice the height of a standard bubble.

The are 2 different single stemmed bubble types used on this card for Walrus Man. The first one has a shorter bubble with longer stem, whereas as the second one has a longer bubble with shorter square stem. Greedo also uses the second bubble type only.

Kenner released Boba Fett on a Star Wars logo as a mail away offer as a 21-back. I have seen recards of this Kenner card with a Palitoy logo superimposed over the Kenner logo. Again, any card claiming to be an original with this set up is a fake. Boba Fett debuted on a 30-back with Palitoy.

Another common collecting goal is to collect the second set of 8 figures MOC after collecting the first set of 12. Power Droid is considered the most difficult of these to obtain. R5-D4 is the next most difficult to find. Then Greedo, Hammerhead, Walrus Man and Death Star Droid are the next followed by Snaggletooth and Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot.