AT-AT Driver Guide

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DON’T RELY ON JUST THE COO TO IDENTIFY A FIGURE. Sculpt, Paint colour, plastic colour and figure assembly traits are also needed to confirm your figure’s origins.

Foreword:

The reclassification of the COO sheet for the AT-AT Driver has been a challenging task for the Variant Villains. This is first and foremost because the differences between all four families are so minute. Secondly, the previous COO sheet and the mould classification on “The Mould Family Guide & Discussion Thread” was missing an entry, as two of the factories (Kader and Unitoy) had been grouped together in one mould family, and in addition there were actually two Smile families hiding in plain sight.

Having collected a comprehensive catalogue of MOC examples over the last couple of years it has been finally possible to update the COO sheet with a degree of certainty. As with all Variant Villains’ undertakings it is a work in progress and we are still looking for more evidence to support some of the conclusions, in particular whether the moulds travelled from Unitoy to Kader for the very start of ROTJ production or once they moved production to their China plant.

COO Family I:

F1.1 KADER (MIHK)

F1 KADER AT-AT Driver is characterised by small black circles on the front of the helmet either side of the mouthpiece, as well as a pointed black triangle on top of the helmet in-between the emblems. Kader and Unitoy are extremely similar in appearance. However, there are small differences in the plastics used, the paint sprays applied and the moulds themselves that can sometimes help to differentiate Kader from Unitoy. F1 Kader have an opaque bluish-white paint on the gloves.

Kader are moulded in a darker grey plastic when compared to Unitoy. However, it is worth mentioning that this plastic is prone to fading and degrading to a yellow grey, and as a result can sometimes be confused with the Unitoy plastic colour. Kader also has a thin pointed right hand, whereas Unitoy have a rounded thumb and fingers. Ultimately, the safest way to differentiate between Kader and Unitoy is to look at the Country of Origin. There is no gap between HONG and KONG in the COO and this will categorically help you to distinguish between the two factories.

Kader emblem colours are also different to their Unitoy and Smile counterparts. In fact once you are familiar with the various colour palettes you will notice even the subtlest of differences between all the factories. The earliest Kader examples are found on the 41E and are an orange red in appearance. This figure ran throughout the ESB line up to and including the 48C Revenge Offer Card. We believe at this point the moulds were sent to PBP in Spain.

NEED TO CONFIRM IF RED EMBLEM KADER IS LEGIT AND WHEN IT OCCURRED (MOST LIKELY AROUND/PRIOR 41BK)

The F1 Kader AT-AT Driver was paired with the M2 Kader AT-AT Driver Rifle.

F1.2 PBP (MI____)

Kader HK half-altered the country of origin to create the “MADE IN _____” COO just prior to sending the moulds to PBP in Spain.

PBP‘s version has the typical hard plastic with a higher level of sculpt detail and is typified by a smaller black paint mask on the goggles and mouth, as well as a tendency to feature messy paint and overspray on the emblems. There are light and dark-orange emblem variations on this figure.

The PBP figure should not be confused with the F2.2 Kader “MADE IN _____” version with a similar appearance, but features completely different plastics (soft torso) and a different paint application.

PBP AT-AT Driver was paired with the M1 Unitoy AT-AT Driver Rifle or M3 Smile AT-AT Driver Rifle.

COO Family II:

F2.1 UNITOY (MIHK)

UNITOY AT-AT Drivers are also characterised by small black circles on front of the helmet either side of the mouthpiece, as well as a pointed black triangle on top of the helmet in between the emblems. Unitoy are moulded in a lighter grey plastic compared to Kader. However, because both factories are prone to discolouration is can be hard to distinguish between the two. Unitoy have a creamy-white paint on the gloves.

The right hand on the Unitoy figure has a more rounded thumb and fingers. The Kader figure on the other hand has a thin pointed right hand. The best way to differentiate between the Unitoy figure and their Kader counterpart is to look at the Country of Origin. There is a gap between HONG and KONG in the COOs.

The Unitoy AT-AT Driver debuted on the 41A card and carried through to the 41C card with orange emblems. By the time the figure appeared on the 41E, the emblems had transitioned to dark red, and this continued throughout the ESB line up to, and including the 48C.

The dark red emblem is the more common Unitoy figure found. It is also worth noting that while the orange emblem variant has a clean country of origin stamp, it is possible to find the dark red emblems figure with and without the raised bumps. The presence of the raised bumps is a result of wear to the mould cavities over time.

Unitoy AT-AT Driver was paired with the M1 Unitoy AT-AT Driver Rifle.

F2.2 KADER (MI____)

The F2 Unitoy moulds were sent to KADER HK after the Unitoy ESB 48C (at a similar time the original F1 Kader moulds were sent to PBP).

Kader half-altered the F2 COO to produced the “MADE IN_____” figure that appear on the ROTJ 48a2 cards.

The presence of the raised bumps on the majority of these figures help us to match these Kader produced figures to the original F2 Unitoy moulds with the same defects. Other tells to help differentiate include the blue-grey plastic and smaller goggle paint masks used by Kader on their F1 version.

MI__ ATAT Driver began with red emblems – carrying on from the Unitoy paint scheme, before the direction arrived to revert back to the earlier orange emblems.

At first glance this is often mistaken for the PBP figure but of course it has a soft plastic torso (as opposed to the typical PBP hard torso). In addition the rectangles on the square plate on the back of the figure and the strip on the helmet, are more orangey in appearance when compared to the redder orange of the PBP figure.

NEEDS CONFIRMATION We believe the F2.2 Kader AT-AT Driver was paired with the M2 Kader AT-AT Driver Rifle.

F2.3 Kader China (NCOO)

KADER CHINA From 65B onwards, Kader moved production of much their figures to their China operation and produced a No COO figure from the F2.2 (ex-Unitoy, ex-Kader HK) moulds. The COO at this point was fully removed.

This figure features orange emblems. The raised bumps can still be found on the legs as with the previous figures produced from this mould family.

Kader China AT-AT Driver was paired with the M2 Kader AT-AT Driver Rifle.

POCH:

F1 KADER & F2 UNITOY (MIHK)

POCH figures are made with a mix of painted and unpainted parts from both the Kader and Unitoy factories. They were painted/repainted by the Poch factory in Spain prior to packing and distribution.

There are two Poch variants: One with orange emblems made from Kader factory parts and another with purple-red emblems made from Unitoy factory parts. Refer to the Key Identifiers graphic below.

Most examples feature parts solely from the Kader factory, or solely  from the Unitoy factory. But examples have been found with mixed up limbs, though experience suggests less frequently than other Poch figures (some of which can be notoriously mixed up).

Identifying Poch figures can be difficult. The most important element to note is the Poch paint, particularly the bright white paint on the shoulders and gloves. The emblems on the Unitoy figure are an “Alizarin” Crimson which have a stronger purple hue than their Unitoy Kenner counterpart. Sometimes, though not always, melt marks can be found on the gloves and elsewhere.

The Poch AT-AT Driver was paired with either the M1 Unitoy AT-AT Driver Rifle or the M2 Kader AT-AT Driver Rifle.

COO Family III & IV:

SMILE (MIHK & NCOO)

In understanding the Smile factory variants, it is first worth noting that there are two different mould families for Smile. Family 3 was the first Smile figure produced, running throughout the ESB era. Smile only produced a HONG KONG variant of this figure.

SMILE F3 MIHK: This version of the AT-AT Driver is characterised by large black circles on the front of helmet either side of the mouthpiece, as well as a blunt black triangle on top of the helmet in between the emblems. This differs from Kader and Unitoy and helps to differentiate the figure from the front. This figure also has a more rounded right hand with large thumb. In addition, the earliest iterations feature dark rectangles on the square plate on the back of the armour, although these were later superseded by a version with orange rectangles. As well as that there is a small gap between HONG and KONG in the COO.

It is worth noting that there is a Smile variant that has smaller black circles on the front and a pointy triangle on the top of the helmet. This can be found of the earlier Smile card backs from the 41A. However, on the 41E it began to transition to the more commonly found large black circle variant.

SMILE F4 NCOO: For whatever reason, during the ROTJ era Smile produced a new mould which we’ve classified as family 4. There was never a Hong Kong variant of this figure, only a No COO figure. This new family can be identified by the fingernail details located on both thumbs. Additionally the left shoulder was re-sculpted and features flat rather than curved edging. There is a mould defect on the moulds around the COO that leads to a san serif “I” instead of a “1” in the date “LFL I980”.

The F3 & F4 Smile AT-AT Driver were paired with the M3 Smile AT-AT Driver Rifle.

SMILE (F3 & F4 Mixed Parts)

As mentioned there is no Smile family 3 No COO figure, or a Smile family 4 Hong Kong figure. However it is possible to find both these figures with mixed up parts from both families 3 & 4. The family 3 No COO figures have a family 3 left leg, and a family 4 right leg. Family 4 Hong Kong figures have a family 4 left leg, and a family 3 right leg. It is conceivable that a figure could be found with any combination of family 3 and 4 parts. This also applies to other characters which have multiple mould families produced within the same factory at the same time period.

KEY IDENTIFIERS:

RIFLE

KEY IDENTIFIERS

RIFLE

There are 4 main rifle mould variations. These are as follows: M1 Unitoy, M2 Kader, M3 Smile and M4 Kader (which is made of a more flexible plastic and was found with the Star Wars Action Figure Survival Kit).

Leaving aside the Survival Kit variation, differentiation between the 3 different factory moulds is difficult because the gate scar (which is often a key identifier) is approximately in the same place. Instead it is pertinent to look at the tip and the receiver to aid identification.

There are 3 different tip types (thin, medium and thick). The thickest tip is Smile, while the thinnest is Unitoy. The Kader medium tip and the Smile thick tip can often be confused so it is important to note that there is a little step down from the barrel to the tip on the Kader rifle, whereas it is level on the Smile variant.

Similarly there are 3 different circles present on the receiver to help differentiate. Firstly the circle on the receiver on the Kader rifle is actually an ejector pin mark (EPM), whereas on both the Unitoy and Smile moulds it is a circle. The Unitoy circle is smaller than the Smile example which can look like a series of circles or a circle with a dot.

Both Poch and PBP did not produce unique moulds of the rifle and instead used standard Kenner rifles that were provided direct to the factory from Asia. It is believed that the Unitoy mould was used for Poch figures, though at this point, I would not rule out Kader rifles on the Poch figure based on the Kader moulds. With PBP basically anything goes, and I have seen trilogo MOC examples with both Kader and Smile rifles, as well as the Unitoy rifle that is identified in the Javier Ruilopez’ book “Star Wars PBP/Poch Made in Spain Comprehensive Catalog”.

Credits

SPECIAL THANKS: This guide has taken over a year to complete. I would like to thank the following people: Kenneth Baekmark, Robyn Bocra, Ahmed Boukarrouh, Wolff Lipinsky, Pattejan, Henrik Wulff Rasmussen, Mark Andrews, Javier Ruilopez, Derek MacLeod, Gary Scarbrough, James Stevens and Peter Wong; and in particular James Gurney, Justin Quince, Jonathan Robinson and Martin Woodgate, without whom this research would not have been possible.

Further Reading