Series 4 Blister Edition
Corinthian released International Prostars Series 4 on the 16th of October 1999. The series comprised of 16 new figures and Corinthian really worked hard to improve the sculpt quality, which was clear for all to see with this exciting new series.
From the 16 figures released there was an incredible 11 first time sculpts, a huge amount for any series. This series really was one of the best ever released, so many international stars and first time releases of some truly world-class players. This was the first time Brazilian legend Rivaldo was released and Corinthian got the sculpture spot on and his Brazilian team mate, perhaps the world's best ever Left back, Roberto Carlos was also sculpted and released for the very first time, almost life size too!
This was the first time Corinthian had released figures in the kit of Spanish giants Barcelona, after having acquired the appropriate license. Along with Rivaldo, Patrick Kluivert was too sculpted for the first time and released in this edition in the home kit of the Catalan side. Making up the Barcelona trio is Dutch Midfielder Ronald De Boer, this figure is a repaint of the figure previously released in the colours of Ajax, as part of the Dutch Staatsloterij sachet series, the De Boer is the only figure in this entire range which is an exact copy of a previously released figure.
Serie A was heavily represented again, with 5 figures released from Italy's top league. The Chilean strike force of Marcello Salas and Ivan Zamorano were released for Lazio and Inter Milan respectively, the first time these two superstars had been released. Argentinean prodigy Ariel Ortega was released in the colours of Sampdoria, Ortega was at one point referred to as 'the new Maradona' and was at top form during his time at Sampdoria, and like the two Chileans, he is a first time release. Andrei Shevchenko has been released by Corinthian many times, however this was the very first release of the Ukrainian marksmen, a close likeness but i feel the later releases are much more life like, still a nice sculpt though. Completing the contingent from Serie A is Hidetoshi Nakata, this time in the kit of Perugia, unlike the series 2 Japan only release, this figure has a new body pose, this means the facial sculpt is the same but Corinthian have changed the body pose for the figure.
A total of 7 figures were released from the English Premiership, 4 of which are first time sculpts. Arsenal was as always well represented, with Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu and Croatian talisman Davor Suker being sculpted for the very first time. Both the Arsenal figures are incredible likeness of the players themselves, with the Kanu being almost life size, one of the tallest figures Corinthian have ever released,
Chelsea's figure for this series was chosen to be Uruguayan Gustavo Poyet, another great sculpt and one which aptly captured the character of the player. Newcastle United surprisingly had 2 figures released, I say surprisingly as Manchester United and Liverpool had just 1 each. The 2 toon figures were temperamental Georgian Temuri Ketsbaia, we all remember him going mental and taking his shirt and shorts off while kicking the advertising hoardings after scoring a goal, thankfully Corinthian sculpted him fully clothed! Along with Ketsbaia was a re-release of big Duncan Ferguson, who had previously been released for Everton in the FAPL Collection range, however the Newcastle United figure was a new body pose but the facial sculpt remained the same.
Completing the line-up are the 2 re-sculpts, figures of players who had previously been released but this time they were completely re modelled. Ryan Giggs was the choice for Manchester United and the sculpt was an improvement on the FAPL Collection version, much more depth and character to the sculpt. Liverpool's iconic home grown talent Robbie Fowler was once again released, this time sporting his, at the time anyway, trademark White nose strip, although a re-sculpt it proved to be a very popular figure, given the unique aspect to it, that and it genuinely was a true likeness of the player and a huge improvement on the previous Fowler figures.
The blister packs were sold in Corinthian's official collector centres, with the best seller being Ryan Giggs and the figures produced in the lowest volume were Ketsbaia, Ferguson and Kluivert. The majority of these figures are incredibly hard to find these days and even more so in original blister pack, this is down to the low production volume and the original demand for the player upon their release, in fact Corinthian seriously under shipped the figures of Rivaldo, Kluivert, Kanu and Suker, those 4 figures sold out faster than any other product released in 1999.
Each figure came issued with a collector card and collectors information file. Corinthian once again ran the free Platinum pack offer with this series, same format as last time, collecting 8 tokens enabled you to claim a free Platinum pack, certainly worth doing as the Platinum packs of these figures always seem to be in high demand and sell for a high price, some as high as £25. All in all this is a great series of figures and one of my all time favourites, mostly as it gave us so many brand new sculpts of truly great players, it really was Corinthian performing at their best.
To view further information about this release, please click the link button opposite.
Ronald De Boer