What are Repros, and why do they exist ?

Repros (short for 'reproductions') are copies of the original weapons, accessories and parts that came with the original Star Wars action figures, vehicles and playsets. Although many people think they are a legit way to complete a collection, many others (like me) think they are a menace. Problems start when people are selling 'genuine' items which later turn out to be cheap reproductions.

The problem depends on which repro item was bought. Double telescoping sabers for instance, are worth a lot of money, and you can imagine how you would feel when you discover you bought a cheap reproduction for many hunderds of dollars. When you discover a Stormtrooper rifle is a repo, this has far less impact.

One of the main concerns is that almost none of the repro creators build in a specific point of recognition with which you could easily identyfy fakes. Instead you will have to be a very trained collector to separate the reals from the repros. Escpecially for some items, this is a major concern as you need references to originals in order to make a good comparison.

General guidelines:

Never buy any item when one of the following items apply:
- The seller is 'vague' about the origins of the items (the shorter the story, the bigger the warning light)
- The seller is 'vague' about the repro status ('I think they are real', or 'To my knowledge they are authentic')
- The items are 'mint' (almost all circulating items have at least some wear)
- The items seem 'off-color'
- The items seem 'glossy'
- The items seem 'rigid' (most of the original items were made from softer, bendable materials)

If you buy the more expensive items, don't take any risk. Buy from a known source, or make at least sure the items has been authenticated by a grading company like UKG or AFA.

Checking the items yourself

If you do want to take the risk, there are many things you can do to check the items yourself. Beware though that it takes a lot of time (and items) before you get good at this subject. I too still have doubts with some items because they match as many 'pro' as 'con' points. Note that these tests need to be done together. Doing only a single test is usually not enough to make a good desicion for the lesser trained collectors.

The following steps can be taken in order to determine wether you have a real or a repro:

Color test

Luckily many of the repros are made in colors that are completely different from the orgininal items. Check the item on this site to see the original colors of the items. In time, you will be able to determine them yourself.

Rigidity/Drop test

Many of the repros are made from a harder plastic that originals. A well known test is to drop the item on a glass table. If it makes a hard noise this usually is a bad sign. You can also carefully try to bend or warp the item since harder items usually cannot be bent, which points to repro. Beware though, there are originals that were made in harder plastics. To be sure, check the item on this site.

Transparency/Paint test

Some of the repros are actually made in a common plastic type that is painted over to the 'correct' color. Mostly these colors are too bright/dull and due to the fading of the details by the paint they are pretty obvious. To be sure, scratch the item with your nail. Original items were almost never painted (The amanaman staff is an exception) Another way to test this is to put the item in front of a powerfull light source. Almost all original items are translucent in the same color tone. Focus in the thinner parts like handles, dimples, etc.

Detail check

Most repros are far less detailed than the orignals due to cheap/bad moulds. Notches, mesh patterns, hair patterns, extrusions, dents, etc. are all details which will be lost in re-moulding and point to repro.

Float test

Another way to test is to put the item in a small bowl of water. Most original items float, repros tend to sink. Personally I think this is one of the lesser tests because a lot of repros are actually moulded from abundant original weapons (i.e. Hoth Rifle).