Corinthian were still reeling from the disappointment of having to withdraw the Real Madrid figures from Prostars series 17, however what better way to get over that disappointment, than to release a new series.
Corinthian released Prostars series 17 on the 30th September 2002 and was the first release for the new 2002/03 football season. This series was a long term collectors dream, as it was jam packed with new and firs time sculpts, with no fewer than 11 first time sculpts gracing the series.
The stand out figure from this series is of course that of Portuguese international Abel Xavier. The figure was an instant hit with collectors the world over, due to the unique and eye catching facial hair that Xavier became famous for. Corinthian did a fantastic job on the sculpt and they were well rewarded as Xavier became one of the fastest selling figures in Corinthian history. Xavier was the best seller from this series.
Spanish defender Fernando Hierro was sculpted for the first time and was a highly anticipated figure amongst the collector’s community. Hierro was released in his national colours, complete with captain’s armband, however I feel he was originally intended to be released in the kit of Real Madrid, but due to licensing problems with Real Madrid this was not a possibility.
The Premiership’s elite clubs were all represented in this series, each having a cracking sculpt painted in their clubs colours. Manchester United welcomed Uruguayan Diego Forlan to Old Trafford and Corinthian did a superb job in capturing the likeness of this new hit man, a very fine sculpt and it was used for all subsequent releases of Forlan.
Chelsea had Italian keeper Carlo Cudicini released for the first time while Liverpool had John Arne Riise adorn their famous Red shirt. Both these new releases sold incredibly well, which was no surprise given the quality of the sculpts. The Riise in particular was fantastic, such detail.
Chelsea fans were treated to 2 figures in this series as we saw the very first series release of ‘Mr Chelsea’ himself, John Terry. The Terry sculpt was an instant hit with both collectors and the player himself, with Terry asking Corinthian for a figure upon its release!
Arsenal fans had to make do with a repaint release of super Swede Freddie Ljungberg, however the figure was still a great success, due In large to the Red highlights in Ljungberg’s hair. The Ljungberg was the same sculpt as used in series 9. Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspurs also made do with a repaint, it was Jamie Redknapp released for the first time in a Spurs shirt.
Newcastle United was represented by temperamental Frenchman Laurent Robert, a super sculpt and a personal favourite of mine, such great detail and really captured the personality of the player. Everton fans were at long last able to purchase on of their heroes in a regular Prostars series, this player was tough tackling defender David Weir, another fine sculpt and surely worth the wait for Evertonian collectors.
Aston Villa had in form striker Darius Vassell released in their club colours while Jermaine Defoe was released in the kit of West Ham United, both were first time sculpts, very fine ones they are too.
Italian Vincenzo Montella was released in his national shirt, however he was initially intended to be released in the kit of Italian giants AS Roma, however the club rejected the model, so instead of disappointing collectors by withdrawing the figure, they instead released him in the Italy kit. An unreleased Master Model of Montella in the AS Roma kit does exist!
Completing the series is a further 3 repaints of figures previously released. Robbie Fowler is here painted in the Leeds United kit with the sculpt being the same as used in Prostars series 14. Rangers fans had Arthur Numan released in the new 2002/03 kit, with the figure being the same as we saw in Prostars series 6. Andriy Shevchenko was again released in the AC Milan home kit, after previously being found in Prostars series 4, however then the home version was only available in window box format, so this version in series 19 was the first of the Ukrainian striker in a single blister.
The figures produced in the lowest numbers from this series are Weir, Numan, Defoe and Robert.
Corinthian also chose to produce 2 special redemption figures to accompany this release. The 2 figures chosen were Darius Vassell who was painted in the England home kit, the other selected was Freddie Ljungberg in the Sweden home kit. These 2 were selected following their nations emergence from the so called ‘group of death’ at the 2002 World Cup.
West Ham United
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite
John Arne Riise