Friday, September 17, 2010

On the difficulty of making Star Wars action figures

Answers during the recent Hasbro Star Wars QandA:
SSG: The new Vintage Collection C-3PO figure has some great sculpting and a nice shiny gold paint job, as well as plenty of articulation, it's a big improvement in those areas. However, the figure seems to have a larger overall issue, the size. While Lucasfilm claims 3PO is 1.67 meters tall and this figure is the right scale to that (1:19.2 is the 6' to 3.75" scale), the figure just looks way too small next to even Luke Skywalker figures, who in the films is actually roughly the same height as 3PO - as evident in ANH. Do you feel the figure turned out too small? It's not just height, even if you pop the torso joint out (which seems to be set deeper than the figure was designed for, making the black stomach too short and visually throwing the rest of the torso proportions off), the whole scale of the figure from the shoulder width, the thickness of the limbs, the size of the head, and of course the height seems to be a step down to 1:20, especially disregarding the Lucasfilm height for the character is 5' 4" which is clearly wrong since actor Anthony Daniels' height is 5' 7" outside the costume that adds a little height. Would there be any possible way to correct this figure's scale issues, perhaps through stereo-lithography, or would it require starting again from scratch with a completely new mold (which would be a shame considering how much promise this figure has otherwise)?

Hasbro: The figure was intended to be the right height, but lost some mass along the way. We sculpted the figure to be 5'7" and actually added a little to that because of the panels. However, during production the sculpt shrank much more than the typical 4% average shrink we see. The shrink rate of plastics isn't an exact science and there is variability....this C-3PO is on an extreme end of the statistical curve. We do really like the features that this one has, and will look at a potential future re-sizing, but that won't be for a long while.

SSG: At Comic-Con, when asked about the white mark on the Vintage Collection Vader's unmasked chin, Derryl gave this answer: "Brian Parrish isn't here to answer that question, but we don't think it's a mold mark like some fans are saying. I believe it's meant to be scar tissue, so there's some different coloration to show on his face. But we can get Brian to confirm that, throw it in as an official bonus Q&A and we'll answer that." So, with that in mind, what officially is the white stripe on this Vader's unmasked chin? If it is scar tissue, was it designed to be that significant a color difference to the rest of the skin color, or was it intended to be more subtle?

Hasbro: Yes, we can confirm that it is not a mold mark. Actually, how that paint got there is a story unto itself. It looks like our original paint master suffered some abrasion during transit, and the factory interpreted the damage as another paint operation. We saw it and noticed the difference, and decided to keep it.