Welcome back to our series on how action figures get made. If you haven’t read about our design process, you can check out our previous post here. In this post, we’re sharing the process of how our action figures go from final prototype to production. Once we’ve approved the final look and coloring of the action figure, our partner factory in China takes about a month to make a massive injection mold. It’s like a giant metal ice cube tray that will eventually shape all the inner parts of our action figures.
Once the mold is ready, a large machine flash injects molten plastic into it. This forces plastic into all the little crevices of the mold and gives our action figures their detailed expressions. This is called injection molding. Typically two main plastic colors are injected – one for the figure’s skin color, and one for the main outfit color. After the molten plastic cools, the parts are removed and quality checked.
By the way, we’ve been working with our factory partner, a small, family-owned business, as long as we’ve been making action figures. We love working with them and visit their factory in China at least once a year.
Unlike larger factories, they don’t have the machines to automate every part of the action figure build. This means the details (think eyes, patterns, etc.) are individually painted and the figures are assembled by hand before being carefully packaged in our custom, snug-fitting boxes. From there, our production coordinator Jasmin makes sure they get to our warehouse safely. Once the packaged action figures are put on a shipping container, they typically spend a lovely month at sea on their way over to our New York port. Then, they travel a short distance to our warehouse in New Jersey, where they wait to be sent to their new home. We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at how we do things here at FCTRY. Have a suggestion of what you’d like to see next? Leave us a comment below!