Star Wars toys were produced all over the world, and by a number of sub licensees. Two of my favorite foreign figures were C-3PO and R2-D2 as rendered by the Brazilian company Glasslite (pronounced Glass-Leet).
The Dynamic Duo of droids share sculpts with two of Kenner's figures: C-3PO with Removable Limbs, and the Power of the Force era R2-D2 with Pop Up Lightsaber. However, they received completely new paint jobs. Gone is 3PO's shiny chrome, and instead he's given a subdued gold paint job. R2 exchanged his shiny chrome dome for plain silver paint. Glasslite also made his large "eye" sensor red instead of blue, and gave him a bit of blue paint on the sides of his feet. Interestingly, these last two changes mimic the paint design found on the version of R2 produced for the line of figures accompanying the Droids cartoon -- and Glasslite made one of these, too!
R2-D2, where are you? (Three versions, from left) Droids cartoon; Power of the Force; Glasslite
While the Glasslite figures aren't absolutely rare, they can be tough to find in nice condition. They're also highly desirable, and as a result, they can get kind of pricey. I managed to get the 3PO without too much trouble. Someone from Rebel Scum had one listed on eBay, and I ended up winning it for a decent price. No fuss, no muss. R2 was another matter.
When I first began collecting Star Wars figures, I focused solely on droids. One of my early goals was to get all the variations of the Kenner R2 -- the original, the Sensorscope R2, the Pop Up Lightsaber R2, the Droids cartoon R2, the three-legged R2 that was sold with the Kenner Droid Factory playset, and the Glasslite R2. They all share the same basic design, but with significant tweaks.
I found most of them in fairly short order. The Glasslite R2, however, proved particularly difficult to find.
I'll admit it, I was being picky. I wanted one in decent condition, and I wanted it to be loose -- I don't really collect carded figures, and I refuse to open a vintage, carded toy. But for some reason, most of the Glasslite R2s I saw were mint on card. And the few nice loose ones I did find were -- gasp, shudder, groan -- AFA graded and sealed up inside acrylic mausoleums (and costing twice what they were worth because of it). So months turned into more than a year as I searched and searched... to no avail.
But recently, I ended up catching a lucky break when I stumbled upon an eBay auction for a carded example with a twist: Some previous owner had cut a small "trap door" into the top of the card's bubble, and it was easy to slip the figure in or out, depending on how the collector wanted to display it. Perfect!
R2 trapped in his card! Note that Glasslite used the same card for every figure, applying a sticker with the character's name to denote which was being sold. And, of course, they'd use different size bubbles.
A trap door! Freedom!
Or maybe he's invisible! The force can be a powerful weapon against the weak minded...
The Glasslite cardback. Again, this was used from figure to figure.
So now I've got my Glasslite 3PO and R2, and I've also got my run of vintage R2 variations. It's fun achieving a collecting goal, you know? There's a feeling of satisfaction that comes from placing some long sought after piece on your toy shelf.
(Top, from left) Original R2; Sensorscope R2; POTF R2 w/Pop Up Lightsaber. (Bottom, from left) Droid Factory R2; Droids cartoon R2; Glasslite R2.
Of course... it's not long before the hunt begins again...