Before we go too far into this article the title alone may need a bit of explanation. Most vintage Star Wars collectors will be aware that Palitoy were awarded the license by Kenner to package and distribute Star Wars action figure related products in the late 1970’s which lasted right through to the final run of figures in the mid 1980’s.
Over that time period the Palitoy designed cardbacks received many changes and for more information on this visit Jason Smith’s website detailing these here. Until recently it was assumed that there were only two different versions of the cardback with the first action figures released, designated 12a and 12b by collectors. However, a 12c variation was found and coincidentally, by the same collector Dav Gil, who has verified this new 12a variation.
From the front you cannot tell if a cardback is a 12a, 12b or 12c. Unfortunately there have been cases where online sales have photographs of front and backs of cardbacks, but they are sometimes two different cards used! The Palitoy 12a, b and c has the large Palitoy logo in the bottom right hand corner as shown here.
The information below does not take into any variations such as capes and paint differences.
The 12a was the first cardback and until recently all characters except Death Squad Commander and Jawa had been verified. The 12a cardback has incorrect text with the vehicles advertising lights and sound – this was only true of the US Kenner vehicles and not the UK Palitoy versions.
And then recently the 12c discovery was made, making it very clear that these 3 3/4″ figures do not fit into the very small diecast vehicles! To date the following figures have not been found on the 12c cardback: Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3P0, Ben Kenobi and Han Solo.
New 12a discovery
So, it should be clear now that the 12a discovery is one of the two missing characters – Death Squad Commander or Jawa. Well, here it is – the verified Death Squad Commander.
There is no obvious reason why a Jawa shouldn’t exist as a 12a. As the early vinyl cape style Jawas have been found on 12b cardbacks then it is plausible that any that do exist will be vinyl cape Jawas.
If anyone believes that they have one of the missing cardbacks listed above then Jason Smith would love to hear from you and he can be contacted on Facebook or through his website.
Photos (c) Jason Smith, Dav Gil