BLOG DESIGN - Big Thanks to Ugly Club member Graham Schneider for the righteous pixel art! Graham is working on a retro game concept and other radness - have look at his current site where he's sharing his work!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Trip to the Mold Maker!

In a quasi throw-back to a few years ago - when I was big into sharing information about the sofubi making process - here's a little info about one of the mold makers I use. 

I was out here yesterday, meeting about a new figure that I'm hoping to have ready for DCON!  These guys just had a new facility built, as their old one was a bit too big, old, messy and outdated (read: super dangerous in the case of a big earthquake!). 

First order of business was chatting about this new toy - getting the details of how to mold it (with some other stuff), and talking about timing.  The new figure is something I'm SUPER excited about - namely, a new version of the UGLY UNICORN!  I'm calling this guy the Uglier Unicorn - here he is:

In case you can't tell from the pictures, this new version is actually sculpted by SPLURRT!  I'd been talking to SPLURRT (Joe Merrill) for a little while about having him do his take on my character, and the timing worked out this year!  This lilttle guy is smaller, more textured, more detailed, more angry and more ugly!  I'm psyched on the 'Fink-esque' vibe he's got going, and the clenched fists make him much more menacing for sure!  He'll measure up around 3 inches once he's alive in sofubi, so he'll be a good pocket companion ^_^

SO - that's mega exciting!  Hope you all dig him!  I'm looking forward to painting him up!

After we got all that stuff talked out, I was lucky enough to get a little tour of the mold makers' new facility.  The place is LOADED with the types of machines you would expect to see in an old black and white film (think: Frankenstein).  Virtually everything here is done by hand - aside from the actual copper coating of the wax prototypes.  Here's what that looks like:

In the above pic you can see assorted wax prototypes submerged in a blue conductive liquid (I didn't ask about the composition of the liquid - lots of copper in there).  The wax sits in here for some predetermined amount of time until the copper accumulates to the proper thickness - coating the wax proto and creating the base part of the metal mold used to cast sofubi.  Pretty wild!

Once the copper is set to be removed from this 'bath,' the wax prototype is melted out and the molded copper is attached to a strong metal frame.  A completed mold looks like this (these are the molds for Kesagake):

The parts in the middle of the molds are the actual forms that the vinyl is pulled from.  The framework around those parts is made by hand by one guy sitting at this table (sorry for the blurry pic!):

Pretty damn amazing. 

So, that's all - just a quick hit to share a fun experience with you all!  Ciao!   -jon