Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Discuss vintage Kenner and Palitoy Star Wars toys from the 1977-1985 era.
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Snaketibe
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Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Snaketibe »

Or...

How to Self-Isolate Productively :-)


As some of you may know, I like a good reseal. MOCs are wonderful, but Palitoy ones are getting pretty pricey for most collectors' wallets these days, and sadly that includes mine. However, a reseal can be achieved for a fraction of the cost... if you're patient, and maybe a little bit lucky!

I have wanted a Palitoy 12-back Jawa for a long time. I couldn't afford today's MOC prices (not that they come up for sale very often anyway), and so I set my sights on a reseal. Over the past couple of years therefore, I have kept my eyes peeled for a nice, bubble-still-attached, but opened Palitoy 12-back Jawa card, as these are by far the easiest to reseal. Sadly though, I couldn't find one. In that time however, what I did manage to find and buy were a couple of nice Palitoy cardbacks that were missing their bubbles completely, plus a couple of Jawa bubbles from other 12-backs.

Now it should come as no surprise that the main secret of a good reseal is a perfect match between the litho on the cardback, and the litho still attached to the bubble you fix to that cardback. That's why bubble-still-attached cards are so perfect. My cardbacks and bubbles however were not such perfect matches. When lined up on the cards, the bubbles I had looked exactly like what they were; mismatched bubbles on cards they didn't originate on. They weren't completely terrible matches, but they weren't perfect either. Some collectors might have been very happy with them I'm sure, but I'm a picky bugger and wanted a perfect match, and so my hunt went on :-(

Next on my list of Jawa purchases however was an opened, bubble-still-attached Kenner 20-back card, complete with original footer. It wasn't the Palitoy I wanted, but I thought it might possibly be useful, and the footer definitely would be. The card had a bit of damage on it, plus the litho behind the bubble was a bit messy from where eager little fingers had ripped it open all those years before, but I thought it had potential. And it certainly did! However, it took me an embarrassing length of time to realise exactly what I had on my hands, because when I finally inspected it more closely, I realised the remaining litho was an almost perfect match for one of my Palitoy Jawa cardbacks. Sadly though, it was a Palitoy card with the litho entirely missing behind where the bubble used to be. It was a very neat removal, but not a single trace of it remained.

And so I had a Palitoy card that needed a litho and bubble transplant, and a Kenner card that happened to have a perfect litho match and also a perfect bubble match for my Palitoy card, since the bubble used on this Kenner 20-back was identical to those used on many Palitoy 12-backs, right down to the 2 tiny bumps on the front of the bubble that many collectors probably aren't even aware of, and which disappeared on later Jawa bubbles.

So what to do?... Well, that's a stupid question, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do! However, knowing you want to transplant the litho and bubble from one card to another, and actually doing it are two very different things... But then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and so I gave it a go.

And here are the results. I hope you like them :-)

Firstly, here's the Palitoy card I wanted to use:
01 - Palitoy 20-Back - 01.jpg
01 - Palitoy 20-Back - 01.jpg (140.69 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And here's the Kenner 20-back (stupidly, I didn't photograph it before removing the litho, so this is a picture with the litho laid back on top of the card):
02 - Kenner 20-Back - 01.jpg
02 - Kenner 20-Back - 01.jpg (153.54 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And since I've just made it obvious that I managed to remove the litho successfully, and hence any semblance of suspense is destroyed, here's the after shot :-):
03 - Kenner 20-Back - 02.jpg
03 - Kenner 20-Back - 02.jpg (143.11 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And here's the removed litho and bubble. I left a generous border of litho around the bubble to make sure I had some wiggle room when attaching it to the Palitoy card:
04 - Kenner 20-Back - 03.jpg
04 - Kenner 20-Back - 03.jpg (68.59 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And here's the reverse side that shows just how thin and fragile the sliced off layer of litho actually is!:
05 - Kenner 20-Back - 04.jpg
05 - Kenner 20-Back - 04.jpg (55.25 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And for anyone wondering how exactly I removed the litho, I used a plastic flat-ended modelling knife / tool and slid it under the ripped area of litho and carefully started working it under the still attached litho, keeping the blade as flat to the card as possible, and going very slowly and steadily. Perhaps I got lucky, but the result was as good as I could have hoped for!

Next up, every reseal needs a figure to put under the bubble, and as luck would have it amongst my other Jawa purchases had been a mint rough-cloaked, large hood early issue Jawa, complete with original no-nipple blaster:
06 - Original Jawa.jpg
06 - Original Jawa.jpg (42.97 KiB) Viewed 941 times
And so all that remained was summoning up the courage to perform the remaining surgery... which after a period of procrastination, I finally bit the bullet and did, using my current period of self-isolation to force myself to lay out my tools and set to work:
07 - Before - 01.jpg
07 - Before - 01.jpg (138.88 KiB) Viewed 941 times
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

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Because the right-hand and top edges of the bubble lined up so neatly with my Palitoy card, my first job was carefully slicing off the excess litho with my trusty X-Acto knife:
08 - Before X-Acto.jpg
08 - Before X-Acto.jpg (72.31 KiB) Viewed 940 times
09 - After X-Acto.jpg
09 - After X-Acto.jpg (105.72 KiB) Viewed 940 times
Now it would have been a damn sight easier if I could have simply stuck the bubble and litho straight onto the Palitoy card, however I decided it was simply too difficult to get the litho flat and wrinkle-free beneath the bubble, whilst also satisfactorily repairing the ripped area of litho, and whilst also leaving enough room to insert the Jawa and footer. Consequently, I reluctantly took the decision to completely remove the litho from the bubble, and then attach first the litho to the Palitoy card, and then the bubble. I was reluctant, because I knew perfectly well how difficult it would be to perfectly line up and glue the litho pieces in place so that they were in exactly the right position for the bubble to then line up perfectly on top of them... but difficult or not, I still felt it was the preferable option, and so I tore off the litho! :-)
10 - Before First Tear.jpg
10 - Before First Tear.jpg (118.67 KiB) Viewed 940 times
11 - After First Tear.jpg
11 - After First Tear.jpg (115.83 KiB) Viewed 940 times
12 - Litho Pieces.jpg
12 - Litho Pieces.jpg (100.01 KiB) Viewed 940 times
Perhaps counter-intuitively, I actually prefer tearing the litho in this way to cutting it, as the litho tends to separate / split nicely at the bubble's edges. The top-most layer of litho with the printed image tends to get left behind on the bubble, whilst the layer of white paper beneath the print comes away from the bubble. In my opinion, this in turn makes for a more seamless final join when sticking the bubble back on top of it compared to what would be achieved if it had been cut (and also, you would need to cut it right along the bubble's inside edge to disguise the join, and that's easier said than done.

Next, the left-hand side of the Palitoy card needed its litho graft performing. To hide the join as seamlessly as possible, I took Ian's (Palifan's) advice and hid the join in the dark slanting line within the silver racetrack around the card's edge. However, because the Palitoy card had a rather extreme cut, with no black litho at all outside the racetrack on its right-hand side, it meant its left-hand side had an extra thick black line of litho which was wider than the litho donated from the Kenner card. Therefore, to cover the difference, I applied a black pen line (using an Edding fine-tipped art pen) down the left-hand side, before carefully sticking down the litho strip with UHU (which dries extremely quickly, so you need to make damn sure the piece you're sticking is exactly where you want it!:
13 - Left-Side Before.jpg
13 - Left-Side Before.jpg (135.95 KiB) Viewed 940 times
14 - Left-Side After.jpg
14 - Left-Side After.jpg (118.62 KiB) Viewed 940 times
Last edited by Snaketibe on Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

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With the left side of the racetrack dealt with, it was now time to tackle the central yellow litho area. I won't lie, this was as tricky as hell, due to the need to line it up perfectly both with the cardback and the bubble yet to be attached! In the end, I gently tacked it in place with tiny amounts of Pritt Stick until I was happy with its position, and then used UHU to stick down the right-hand edge. With that firmly fixed in place, I then used Pritt Stick to stick down the bulk of the rest of it, smoothing it down and trying to leave no wrinkles or ridges. I also tackled the torn area, which I carefully repaired as best as I was able, before sticking any remaining unstuck edges down with more UHU:
15 - Yellow Litho - Before.jpg
15 - Yellow Litho - Before.jpg (139.45 KiB) Viewed 940 times
I then blended in the edges of the repaired torn area with a very fine layer from a thin-tipped yellow felt tip, then scraped off as much of the old brown tape residue to the left of the tear as possible:
16 - Yellow Litho - After.jpg
16 - Yellow Litho - After.jpg (126.05 KiB) Viewed 940 times
That done, I laid the bubble on top of the card to check the alignment:
17 - Alignment.jpg
17 - Alignment.jpg (129.97 KiB) Viewed 940 times
Because the bubble needs to line up absolutely perfectly in order for the joins not to be seen, you can give yourself a little bit of wiggle room by applying tiny amounts of fine-tipped black pen to all black line joins which will be under the bubble. This allows very slight misaligments to go unnoticed :-)

Satisfied, I then turned my attention to the bubble. The original tape had long since dried up and come off, but as so often happens, a small amount of crusty residue remained inside the bubble. I cleaned this off with surgical spirit and cotton buds, but not before measuring the original tape's width and length from the residue left on the card. I then used these measurements to fashion a new length of tape of the correct size from 3M archival tape which does not yellow over time. I made sure not to touch the surface of the new tape with my fingers as I wanted no ugly fingerprints on the finished item. Instead, I used tweezers, and laid the tape on top of the blaster and then stuck it to the inside of the now cleaned bubble, having first ensured that I was placing it at a height within the bubble such that the thick blaster tip would not press against the Jawa's right-hand, since the bubble is actually quite a tight fit:
18 - Re-tape Weapon.jpg
18 - Re-tape Weapon.jpg (105.38 KiB) Viewed 940 times
That done, I inserted the footer and Jawa, and then checked the bubble's alignement one last time, ensuring that I knew exactly where I wanted to glue it down:
19 - Last Check.jpg
19 - Last Check.jpg (127.55 KiB) Viewed 940 times
With that final check over, it was time to break out the UHU one last time, applying it with a fine paint brush to the area where the bubble's edges will be, and working very rapidly due to the speed at which it dries. Once glued in place, I pressed firmly down on all the glued edges to help fix it in position (you must make sure you don't over apply the UHU or it will squeeze out from under the bubble's edges and make a mess).

And finally, with that job done, you can sit back and look at your now resealed Palitoy 12-back Jawa :-):
20 - Final - 01.jpg
20 - Final - 01.jpg (124.97 KiB) Viewed 940 times
21 - Final - 02.jpg
21 - Final - 02.jpg (119.22 KiB) Viewed 940 times
And there you have it! It's not perfect, but it will certainly do me until that lottery win arrives. It's a reseal, and it will always be a reseal, not a MOC. Whilst I am all in favour of trying to make my reseals look as good as possible, it's not supposed to fool anyone. A reseal is all it will ever be, but in the absence of the real thing, I'm happy enough with the end result :-)

And lastly, in case anyone cares, here's the back of the card ;-)
22 - Rear.jpg
22 - Rear.jpg (151.13 KiB) Viewed 940 times
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Grant_C »

Fantastic Job- well done
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by edd_jedi »

Great job and write up! All the things that should make us 'collectors' turn in our graves - marker pen touch ups, sellotape, ripping off litho, it's like the 90s again :)
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Palifan »

A man after my own heart! :D

This is how you achieve the best looking reseal and all the time and effort that went into doing it was well worth it for the end result in my opinion.

Fantastic job and write up and good to see such life put back into something that seemingly had been lost forever.

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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Michael Sith »

Great job looks superb mate 8)

I love reseals, and the point for me is the process of doing it for your own collection ( great write up you've done there as well)

I love the process of sourcing and then the work that goes into putting it together and having something you have in your collection that is bringing back to life pieces and extending for you personally the hobby by allowing you to work with crafting tools I really enjoy the process.

Great work bud
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Ruby2511 »

Fantastic job, wish I had the patience and skill to do that, thanks for sharing 😎👌
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Cazza »

Superb write up and what a fantastic end result! You wouldn't know it wasn't a MOC unless you looked very closely. Very like the work Ian has done on some of his. 8)
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Snaketibe »

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. I'm glad you like it.
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by SublevelStudios »

Absolutely top job on this mate, it's so satisfying to see what can be done with items like this especially when done properly.

Palitoy Jawa has been something of a rarity recently, seems like everyone was after one at some stage. this is a cracking example for a fraction of what a MOC would cost and once cased up, it'll look MINT - I'm 100% in favour of re-seals :)

Congrats mate :)
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by bosk70 »

Thanks for taking the time to photo all the stages I love looking at any process which gives such a satisfying result, thought you was going to go for the vinyl cape jawa in there :lol: well done
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by theforceuk »

Really nice job, looks great.
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by Snaketibe »

Thank you all very much again :-)
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Re: Resealing a 12-Back Palitoy Jawa

Post by grinchy »

Brilliant thread and writeup mate, you did a damn fine job on the reseal, well done :D
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