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As some of you may know I recently won an auction on eBay for a Chief Wiggum "Prototype". The seller listed this figure as a prototype, but in reality it was what is called a test shot. No matter, I was very happy to get it. These test shots are produced in very small quantities and are usually destroyed. This was the first one to appear on eBay to my knowledge. I paid $81.00 to obtain him, but frankly I would have paid more. This piece isn't for everyone, but I love the very process of producing toys and for me it was a chance to get a one of a kind souvenir from a line I truly love.

Some of you may be wondering - just what the heck is a test shot? When a toy factory gets ready to begin producing a figure they will first run a few tests on the molds to see if there is any flashing (extraneous plastic leakage at the seams) or issues with ill fitting parts. These tests are not done with any care for aesthetics and the factory will use whatever colors of plastic that they have on hand. Sometimes these colors are the same as the final product, sometimes they aren't. In this case Wiggum's torso was cast in red while the arms and legs were cast in the same blue as the final version. The head was painted beforehand and leads me to believe that it may have been produced earlier in the factory or at another location altogether.

The first thing I noticed when handling this test shot was the absence of the oily feel that most Wiggums have. The flatness of the finish on the test shot illustrates that the finishing coat was never applied, in fact no paint had been applied to the body at all. The test shot figure was also slightly lighter than the regular Wiggum, by two tenths of a gram in fact. Some of that weight difference was due to the absence of a resistor in his foot, but apparently the lack of paint and alternate plastic used for the torso had an effect as well. The head appears to be lighter in tone as well if inspected under a bright light. My guess is that the finishing coat was never applied to it; maybe it isn't applied until the figures have been completely assembled.

All in all I am thrilled to have this piece. Sure he's a little ugly, but he is also a little piece of toy history. He tells a side of the story rarely seen by collectors - from inside the factory.

That's nice work, boys.

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