Sunday, 31 July 2011

Uzay - Star Wars knock-offs

Today the random clickerty-click world of the internet revealed to me the awesomeness that are Star Wars knock-offs. These are known generally as "Uzay". Uzay is the Turkish word for "space" and it graced the imitation figure's card designs from that region. Uzay sprung up in countries where Fox could not, or chose not to, license Star Wars merchandise (typically Eastern bloc nations and Turkey). Because nature abhors a vacuum (and loves R2-D2) enterprising locals began producing copies of figures, games, books and anything else which they could plaster Lucas' IP onto.

Although the figures themselves range from the interesting to the hilarious, what has really grabbed me is the card designs for the Turkish imitations. The designers produced simple, low-fi layouts based on the official schemes. Rather than using stills from the films as the main artwork as their licensed competitors did, they instead shot the figures themselves. These portraits are extremely pleasing and often feature refreshingly plain cycloramas or minimalist landscapes. They remind me of the portraits which graced the Zoid boxes in the range's early days (see the bottom image).

In a world where the 80s are mined with knowing fondness, Ashley Wood's ultra-hip company 3A has based the cards for their figures on Kenner's early designs too. The modern efforts, however, resemble Uzays more than anything. Also, one cannot look at the Uzay figures and not think of Suckadelic's modern, ironic take on the genre.

In the words of Yogurt, "moi-chandize".




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