This guide is dedicated to the earliest produced figures in Spain, called “Poch” variants. Without the help of Juan Carlos (aka Panastur/Nobelsix), Mirco (aka Mike_Skywalker) and Kenneth (aka Kenneth_B) this wouldn’t have been possible.
The Spanish company Poch (or Novedades Poch) never produced SW action figures on its own. In July 1980, three companies including Poch merged to form the PBP company, these companies were: Poch, Borras and Palouzie. The production of Star Wars Toys then began around 1981. Each of the three companies of the newly formed group kept their logo on the package because they wanted to keep the buyers confidence.
From 1980 to the middle of 1985, PBP was an independent company producing toys under licensee i.e. from Kenner. What we can consider a second company is G.M.J. (General Mills Juguetes). But when PBP was absorbed in 1985 by the General Mills company, the staff and the factory was the same as it was during the PBP period.
So we can see that there are no “Poch” Star Wars figures at all, only “PBP” figures. Even on the earliest cardback (31-back) the PBP logo was printed on the back. But we also seem to have two totally different production periods. To differentiate between those, collectors choose to call the earlier figures „Poch“ and the later figures „PBP“ variants. I will also use these terms to make it easier to determine in which time the figures appeared.
We can say for sure that the so called “Poch” figures only appeared on the 31 and 37/41a backs. Some of the so called “PBP” figures appeared already on 37/41 b and c backs. In general a very small amount of Spanish carded figures survived from this period. Unfortunately sometimes we only have one known example to use to confirm loose figure variants. In addition most of these carded figures have disappeared into private collections so that many of the figure variants lack the evidence of proof.
Thanks to Juan Carlos (aka Panastur/Nobelsix) and http://www.starwarsspanishstuff.info we have two online archives which at least show a few of the survived examples. Both sources are a huge help for identifying loose figure variants and that can not be honoured enough.
In the picture above you can explore the differences on ESB cards produced in Spain. As you can see there are no noticeable differences on the back between the 37/41 a, b and c card. But you can define them very well by looking at the front.
In the early 80s “PBP” produced plastic SW toys on their own. Which one of the three former factories (Poch, Borras and Palouzie) was in charge of which production step is very much unknown. In fact a fourth party could have been involved too. We also know that there are two timeframes with totally different way of producing our beloved toys:
31 and 37/41a backs
“Poch” period: 31 and 37/41a backs
In this period all figures that appeared on those cards are marked with „Hong Kong“ or „Made in Hong Kong“ COO. There are various variants on each character and we even have found several figures with mixed up limbs which can be determined by looking at the mould, the COO or the colours used. These facts lead us to following assumptions:
- PBP produced (plastic injection), painted, assembled and packaged figures on its own. There are figures that are completely different to any other figure produced worldwide.
- PBP must also have used overstock from the Asian factories. This overstock can be unpainted or already painted and was sometimes mixed in with PBP’s own figures. We have figures with mixed up COO (left and right leg), mixed up paint and mixed up materials.
37/41 b backs and later
“PBP” period: 37/41 b backs and later
- PBP used a totally different material compared to their former production and to the rest of the world. Those figures are unique worldwide.
- Some of those figures can also be found on other cards then their domestic ones. We can assume that PBP produced less characters in this period, but in some cases even in higher numbers and in addition exported those to other companies in Europe.
- PBP also imported characters that they didn’t produce on their own and/or to raise the numbers on some of those. We have mainly two non-Spanish produced figures on ROTJ cards: Taiwan marked figures and Lili Ledy figures. Lili Ledy figures that could be confirmed on PBP cards are: Ben Kenobi, Klaatu, R2-D2, C-3PO, Luke Bespin and Yoda.
This is all very complicated and trying to explain Spanish figure production after 30 years is a very hard task. Because a factory doesn’t change the whole production process at once there is always a timeframe where card backs, molds, imported and own produced stuff got mixed up. For example, the “loose collectors” always knew that the scarred out Biker Scout must be a Spanish variant because he was mostly found there loose. But no carded example showed up over years. All carded ROTJ PBP Bikers that survived seemed to be Taiwan marked Biker Scouts. Nobody had any explanations for this. Finally last year the one and only example of a packed PBP Biker with correct figure showed up. It is the same card all over (PBP ROTJ 65-back) like the Taiwan figures appeared on.