R5-D4

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Figure Guide

Left > Right:
1. Unitoy F1 MIHK
2. Unitoy F1 NCOO small wedge
3. Unitoy  F1 NCOO large wedge
4. Kader F4 HK w/red bar sticker
5. Kader F4 HK
6. (missing) Poch F4 HK
7. French Tri. scar COO
8. (missing) Meccano 78 NCOO
9. Unitoy F5 MIHK

As with the majority of the early characters, R5 was produced at both Unitoy and Kader factories in Hong Kong. The figure debuted on a 20bk card with Kader and Unitoy following soon behind on the 21bk. Kader is responsible for most of the ESB and Jedi output, before Unitoy returns to production with the F1 No COO figure on the Trilogo cards. Kader, presumably the Macau factory (known as Qualidux), also has a late batch of 78 HK & No COO figures produced which found their way to French Trilogo cards and baggies.

An important note on Unitoy & Kader R5 ESB/ROTJ MOCs . In the mid to late stages of ESB & early Jedi output, Kenner HQ decided to move a lot of the current production line away from the Unitoy factory with many characters. Presumably, this is all related to the cost efficiency of the Chinese/Macau alternatives. This is seen in the form of shorter runs in all Unitoy produced figures, seconds/overstock parts going to Spain for Poch to paint and assemble, surplus figures and cardbacks going to Kader for packaging, and shortly afterwards a majority of the ex-Unitoy steel moulds going to Spain for their PBP line as they moved into injection moulding their own figures. The Unitoy factory wasn’t being retired, just a reshuffle in their previous lines with figure and vehicle production moving to China & Macau in the upcoming Jedi/POTF era.

With this in mind, looking at the MOCs you’ll see it’s not uncommon to find Kader R5-D4 MOCs from the 41bk-65bk era that have Unitoy figures. It’s possible that Unitoy focused on figure production and sent R5 figures to Kader who were producing, as well as packaging for both factories… a theory to contemplate for now. Unitoy cards were also purged to other factories during the late ESB 47bk time clear-out period. An interesting time to focus on for collectors who are paying attention to what’s in the bubble.

COO Family I:

UNITOY

(LARGE) 1977 MADE IN HONG KONG COO
R5’s torso is shared with the Unitoy R2-D2. Given how close in design the two figures are, this is a great production shortcut Kenner used, which allowed them to create two characters with minimal need for new tooling. The only new sculpting and tooling required being for the head and silver “neck” of R5.

Some key sculpting details for the mould family 1 Unitoy R5 are:
  • Smaller dome than Kader
  • Orange-red paint for dome and legs
  • Leg sculpt is the same as Unitoy R2-D2 – tall or medium height platforms to his feet. No EPMs
  • Unitoy used a flanged screw to build their astromech figures.
 
UNITOY NO COO
Same details as the unaltered version. Only point of difference is I’ve not yet found the No COO with short feet on a MOC. Given how easy this figure is to alter, loose examples can’t be used as evidence.

COO Family II:

Not Applicable. R2-D2 & R2-D2 Sensorscope COOs only.

COO Family III:

Not Appliacable. R2-D2 COO only.

COO Family IV:

KADER / POCH / FRENCH MECCANO TRILOGO

1978 HONG KONG
Kader used a new tool for the R5 torso and stamped it with the correct 1978 copyright date. Very occasionally, the torsos for R2 & R5 were mixed up resulting in R5s with a 1977 HK COO and R2s with 78 COOs.

Some key sculpting details for the Kader R5-D4 are:
  • Wider dome than Unitoy
  • True red for the dome and legs
  • A single leg sculpt, which is shared with R2-D2. EPMs are found on the upper strut and again on the battery pack on the foot.
  • Kader used a very wide domed screw to build their figures.
FRENCH TRILOGO (MECCANO)
Very late era figures were shipped to France, many of which had their COOs removed. This figure originally had the COO scarred out, before a proper smooth version was then produced. Legs are always a darker red and the dome can be either a dark red or orange-red (overstock?). The sticker used is the later variation of the large wedge with the lighter blue highlights. Sculpt is the same as the common Kader figure.

COO Family V:

UNITOY

(SMALL) 1977 MADE IN HONG KONG COO
For R5, this is a newly recognized variation of the Unitoy MIHK COO. It has smaller writing and is in a slightly different configuration. This COO also can be found with both the Unitoy R2-D2 Solid & Sensorscope figures. I’ve found both large and small MIHK COOs on early 21bk Unitoy cards as well as Trilogos so the steel moulds were used interchangeably. COO aside, the rest of the figure shares details with the 77 large MIHK coo.

Some key sculpting details for the mould family 5 Unitoy R5 are:
  • Smaller dome than Kader. Same as F1 figure.
  • Orange-red paint for dome and legs. Same as F1 figure.
  • Leg sculpt is the same as Unitoy R2-D2 and F1 R5-D4. Tall or medium height platforms to his feet with no EPMs like the Kader legs.
  • Unitoy used a flanged screw. Same as F1 figure.

STICKER GUIDE

When printing in volume, a large sheet featuring many stickers would be produced. These would be imposed in such a way to obtain the maximum number of stickers per sheet in the most space efficient way. Each sheet would then be “die-cut” in a separate process which would cut the sticker out into individual panels.

R5’s sticker design is the same as the early R2-D2 solid domes. Each colour is printed in a separate pass (red/blue/grey/black). By swapping R2s blue for R5s red, you have a completely new look. The initial stickers Unitoy and Kader are identical in design, however, the Kader used stickers can very occasionally be found with a red bar in the top left corner.

The red bar is an error. There’ve been a few theories on why this exists, but the most likely reason is it’s a remnant from the R2-D2 blue separation which wasn’t removed on one of the many copies. In short, one red bar sticker remains on a sheet of many stickers.

The other thing this suggests, is that the external printers used by each factory were different otherwise you’d have the red bar on Unitoy R5s also. Either that or each factory retained their print separations and a mutually shared Printer produced stickers exclusively of each other.

The later ROTJ and Trilogo stickers have a noticeably lighter blue than their predecessors.

Cardbacks

"Red Bar" R5-D4

Brian Angel

Brian Angel

Many thanks to Brian for allowing us to share all 9 known MOC versions of the R5-D4 Red Bar variant, including the newly discovered Canadian 20 Back!

20-A – SW Canada

20 – SW Italian Harbert (salesman sample)

21-A – SW US

21-C – SW US

47-A – ESB US

48-E – ROTJ US

65-B – ROTJ US

77-A – ROTJ US

77-A – ROTJ US QC sign off