Superman Painted Protomolded Figure


Here we see one of the Super Powers line's hallmark characters, Superman, in preproduction form. This internal first shot is entirely hand painted as the title implies. I find hand detailing lends any prototype a much more brilliant appearance than the production counterpart.

Internal first shots were created in house at Kenner using low yield aluminum molds. One distinguishing characteristic is the milky white plastic employed in their creation. IFS's never possess dates, copyright information, or footholes. These prototypes were specifically used as paint masters, catalog/photography samples, and trade show display pieces. Based on noticeable paint loss on the feet bottoms, I'd put the use of this prototype in one of the last two categories described above. Obviously the figure was glued down to something at one point.

Here we see the foot hole absence as well as the paint loss from being glued down. Notice some glue is still present on the feet, although it has obviously dried out over the years.

The above picture provides a comparison with the production figure. The prototype stands on the right, while the production figure stands on the left. Side by side, the prototype's brilliant hand detail is strikingly evident. The painter used a high gloss blue paint like the paint used on the Penguin IFS, which gives the prototype a somehwat different look.

The arms on this figure are removeable, exactly like the Flash paintmaster shown on this site. Internal first shots often exhibit molded pins on the arms. Many limbs were glued in place so it can be difficult to see in most cases. Some internal first shots show a different pin type than Superman though.

This prototype surfaced in a large find which included many Super Powers and Star Wars prototypes. The collection was consigned for an ex-Kenner employee by a well respected toy dealer in Cincinnati. This same find yielded all but one of the paintmaster figures with paint swatches showcased on this site.

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