1979 Kenner Rocket Firing Boba Fett 3 ¾” Prototype action figure featuring the J-slot latching configuration with short stem variant - AFA Serial # 12685679
By now most people know the Rocket Firing Boba Fett was “never” released. So when someone calls claiming to have had one as a child, you either think Kenner connection – as Kenner Employees were known to take samples home - or false memory – think Mandela Effect or call it Rocket Fett Syndrome. That or someone thinks they hit pay dirt at a garage sale with a replica. Sometimes, and only this once in my 30 years career, that was not the case.
Frankly this Rocket Fett was a headscratcher having originated in either California or Oklahoma; far from Kenner’s home in Cincinnati Ohio. The Fett was genuine, there was no doubt there, but how! Having ruled out our consignor being that one lucky individual to get one from the 1979 mail-a-way promotion – which would have been one heck of a fortunate accident - and not dare contemplate this example having come from a store shelf, the most obvious answer lay with the consignor’s father. As an investment banker he had many clients from China and Hong Kong and it was customary for them to bring him gifts.
Best we can figure is that this Rocket Firing Boba Fett was probably gifted to the father for his then child and came from someone directly involved with the Toy trade in Hong Kong back in 1979! Faced with the other absurd possibilities, this is the one theory that makes sense, and allows a person to sleep at night.
This figure has been painstakingly compared to a genuine example sourced back in 1995; everything checks out down to the uniqueness of the slot. The figure is light gray similar to the static, non-firing mail-a-way examples, and shows the expected purplish age-spot speckling under magnification. The orange paint is more yellowish than used on the mail-a-way figures. The grove forming the J-slot is precisely indicative of the short stem variant, which differs significantly from the Long stem type. The tooling inside the grove is also what you’d expect from a genuine Kenner example.The red plunger has the appropriate break lines on the lever and dimpled indentation a top the drum. The spring, dusty as it is, also appears authentic.
The feet are unmarked, furthering the assertion that this figure was acquired outside the Kenner sphere, as most of those figures were marked at the testing lab. Besides one other example, this is the only other known short-stem J-slot with unmarked feet. Roughly five long-stem variants are known with similar clean feet, mostly associated with the baggied examples which would explain those figure’s pristineness.