The Argentinian licensee Top Toys was responsible for releasing a limited run of seven Star Wars action figures during 1983 under the title of “EL REGRESO DEL JEDI” the Spanish for “RETURN OF THE JEDI”. Evidence from surviving pre-production materials show that Top Toys had originally planned to extend their range to include two additional figures, Lando Calrissian in Skiff Guard Disguise & Boba Fett. The most famous piece of pre-production material comes in the form of this presentation board below.
Luckily for collectors Top Toys unknowingly released one of the most interesting “licensed” vintage Star Wars figure lines as unlike other foreign licensees, Top Toys opted to make there own moulds. The exact reason for this is unknown but it’s speculated that due to cost implications, Top Toys decided to manufacture their own moulds. However, unlike any of the other factories producing Star Wars toys, they did not use the hardcopies to create the tooling. They choose instead to use Kenner production figures which resulted in the Top Toys figures being slightly smaller due to shrinkage during the manufacturing process. Another known difference due to this method of manufacture is a loss of detail in the sculpt.
Regarding the accessories, several of the figures in the Top Toys range came with 3 to 4 items resulting in a lot of incomplete figures surfacing on the second hand market leaving collectors with little or no hope of tracking their missing parts. Besides the expected reason of “it was a child’s toy and they lost or broke the accessories whilst playing with them”, the quality of the packaging often meant that the bubbles would become detached from the backing card all by itself, allowing the smaller accessories to fall out. There are many examples on the second had market of bubbles stapled to card backs and card backs with the bubbles removed with hardly any noticeable damage to the surrounding artwork. Some people have claimed that store owners or even Top Toys themselves added the staples as extra security to stop the bubbles falling off, again this is unproven. Another reason for the rarity of some of the accessories is the quality of the plastics used, Yoda’s belt is the best example of this with only a small handful of unbroken belts exist in collectors hands as the shear fragile and brittle nature of this part means that most sealed examples of the Yoda figure contain a broken belt inside the bubble!