Hard Torso Variations
This guide is dedicated to the variants produced by Kenner within the Asian Smile factory. At some point (77-back era) Smile tried to use another plastic for making the bodies of especially white figures. They used acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) similar to LEGO®. The result made the figures less prone to yellowing but also looking more precise in shape and form. That’s why those are also known as “Hard Torso Variants”. Some describe the look like “painted with Tipp-Ex”, which might also help identifying them. Overall there is four figures known:
- Imperial Stormtrooper
- Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear)
- Cloud Car Pilot
- R2-D2 (Sensorscope)
I will introduce these in the following and I hope you enjoy this little guide.
The Imperial Stormtrooper figure is probably the most common known figure produced with a “hard torso”. This version is not to be messed with the Lili Ledy or PBP version that also has a similar appearance regarding the material of the torso, but a total different COO. In the picture above you can see two versions each of the “hard torso variant” made by Smile next to its standard version (hard torso always to the left).
The COO is belonging to family IV and always is the No Coo variant. Regarding the back of the helmet there is a subvariant known to both, the hard torso and the standard version. The line moulded in can be formed like an arc or be simply flat (see detail).
The Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear) figure is next. Again this version is not to be messed with the PBP version that also has a similar appearance regarding the material of the torso, but a total different COO. In the picture above you can see 2 versions each of the “hard torso variant” made by Smile next to its standard version (hard torso always to the left). The soft torso version can come with different size to the sprayed visor (left: large/right: small), whereas the hard torso variant only came with large (left) or medium (right) visor.
The COO is belonging to family III. Astonishingly both variants, hard and soft torso, can be found with “Hong Kong” or No Coo marked on the legs.
The back of the Stormtrooper in Hoth Battle Gear especially shows the crisp detail of those ABS figures made by Smile.
Cloud Car Pilot
The Cloud Car Pilot figure is third. Above you can see him in the middle between two soft torso variants also made by the Smile factory. The left figure does share the small sprayed emblem (see detail), the right one shares a more pinkish face colour. It might be an in between variant of both.
The COO is belonging to family I. On the backside you can see again the crisp detail regarding the middle figure shown.
The R2-D2 (Sensorscope) figure is the last figure in this set and hardest to spot. Above you can find him in the middle between his two soft torso main variants made by the same factory with the same COO. Compared to the other three figures above the crisp detail of the torso is not an obvious feature here looking at him from the front.
The soft torso versions with the same COO can have light blue (left) or dark blue (right) paint to the legs, whereas the hard torso variant always comes with light blue legs.
The COO belongs to family II R2-D2 Sensorscope from Smile. The crisp detail is easily see when compared to the same torso shot in soft plastic.