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Thread: Why is Mattel giving us black plastic and painting over it?

  1. #851
    Golems for 2016! AdultCollector's Avatar
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    I've been away for a while. Is Mattel still casting figures in black plastic and painting over them? 2014 sub sales are just around the corner!

  2. #852
    Heroic Warrior Beastmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdultCollector View Post
    I've been away for a while. Is Mattel still casting figures in black plastic and painting over them? 2014 sub sales are just around the corner!
    No, they stopped doing that after Dekker.

  3. #853
    Heroic Daddy to Hermione! Uki's Avatar
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    Hey, was Vykron's head cast in BP?

    I...have an...idea...!
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  4. #854

  5. #855
    Heroic Daddy to Hermione! Uki's Avatar
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    Well, I was lamenting the fact that I only ever have one Vykron on display, and I like the idea of displaying three different characters: Vykron himself and the 2 warriors from whom his other armors came. I want to strip the paint from a Vykron head to have a more accurate to the actual prototype "space ace" with blacked out visor.

    I have fun little Bios worked out for Tank Top and Space Ace.
    Not to sound like a creepy cheerleader for Uki, but it's nice to know there is at least one person on this forum who is extremely positive & friendly all the time. I don't think I could be that nice even if you paid me. If we ever give out awards for "forum member of the month", Uki gets my vote. -Mr. Shokoti

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  6. #856
    Evil Villain!!! adam03's Avatar
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    I`m not understanding the whole black plastic thing, it definitely wasn`t a cost saving measure since paint apps are apparently the most expensive part of the process?

  7. #857
    Heroic Warrior Scud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam03 View Post
    I`m not understanding the whole black plastic thing, it definitely wasn`t a cost saving measure since paint apps are apparently the most expensive part of the process?
    No they admitted it was a cost saving measure when they told us it would stop at Dekker.
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  8. #858
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scud View Post
    No they admitted it was a cost saving measure when they told us it would stop at Dekker.
    It still takes more effort to paint than to mold in color....not much of a cost savings if you ask me. Since when do people actually believe Mattel?
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  9. #859
    Heroic Warrior Scud's Avatar
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    Could be cheaper to buy bulk plastic in one color as opposed to having different shades in stock/having to do multiple runs. Also who knows? Half the stuff they tell us is a contradiction anyway.
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  10. #860
    All Era-Warrior Barnster's Avatar
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    I'm also no fan of the black plastic BUT I have to admit Dragon Blaster Skeletor looks fantastic with the painted on blue tone - much more vibrant. In the next few years I'll buy a couple of DB Skeletors to replace the old ones.
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  11. #861
    Evil Villain!!! adam03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scud View Post
    No they admitted it was a cost saving measure when they told us it would stop at Dekker.
    Well according to TG some accessories depend on the amount of aint app`s because paint is apparently the most expensive part of the process, so why would they mold in black and then use all these expensive paint apps? it think it was done to show upper management that production costs went up so they had a reason to justify a price increase. After everything else that has been said and done I don`t trust Mattel as far as I can throw them and that`s pretty sad See? even Skeletor is sad

  12. #862
    #1 Extendar Fan! JonWes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowfall1976 View Post
    It still takes more effort to paint than to mold in color....not much of a cost savings if you ask me. Since when do people actually believe Mattel?
    Quote Originally Posted by Scud View Post
    Could be cheaper to buy bulk plastic in one color as opposed to having different shades in stock/having to do multiple runs. Also who knows? Half the stuff they tell us is a contradiction anyway.
    I think the idea is that you could gang up production runs since most of the characters share a lot of the same parts like the arms and legs. Rather than mold arms for Spikor in one color and then arms for Vykron in another color, you mold them all at the same time in one color. If it wasn't cheaper to do that and then pay for paint, then I'm sure they wouldn't do it. In any case, I'm glad it's done!

  13. #863
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    I believe the prevailing theory was that the blastic was recycled/melted down plastic, making it significantly cheaper than regular plastic mixed in specific colors. You mix a buncg of melted plastic of various hues together, get some likely disgustiing color out of it or a wierd rainbow, and then dye it black to make it consistent (black being the only color that would over-ride everything else). The savings from recycled existing plastic would likely be significant, enough to offset the extra cost of painting and then some.
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  14. #864
    Vile'a'licious! JVS3's Avatar
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    Yeah, it makes sense technically as a cost saving measure if casting everything in one color plastic and painting the entire figure is cheaper than casting various color plastics. I don't see what other reason there could have been.

    The tests they performed with the factory must have shown it to be effective as an alternative. But when it actually got into hands of customers, this method obviously didn't cut the mustard.

    I understand the need to explore cost saving measures. But, this one definitely didn't work out in the end and I'm happy it's gone.

  15. #865
    Heroic Warrior Fug-Lee-Faces's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    I believe the prevailing theory was that the blastic was recycled/melted down plastic, making it significantly cheaper than regular plastic mixed in specific colors. You mix a buncg of melted plastic of various hues together, get some likely disgustiing color out of it or a wierd rainbow, and then dye it black to make it consistent (black being the only color that would over-ride everything else). The savings from recycled existing plastic would likely be significant, enough to offset the extra cost of painting and then some.
    I'm not too sure of this. Plastic is cheap. Yes, recycled plastic is even cheaper, but the plastic itself is very cheap. I have some first hand experience, so I'm not just assuming anything here. Fact is: plastic, by and large, is cheap.

    Molding the plastic on the other hand, and painting over the plastic, are expensive. Tools are expensive (not as expensive as lots of people on these boards try to make it sound).

    I have to agree with JonWes above that the cost savings came from gang-running the figures. Production VOLUME is what will drive costs down, and if they could gang-run a lot of figures/parts I could see that cost savings being a real factor.

    But I also have to agree with JonWes that I', just glad it's over. I agree with the above poster who said that DB Skele's blue was vibrant and very cool looking due to it being painted, HOWEVER mine also came with a nice, big flake of missing paint on the shoulder and my Spikor similarly came to me with a big chip. So, I hate the "blastic" and I'm just glad it's over (...for now?.... )
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  16. #866
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JVS3 View Post
    Yeah, it makes sense technically as a cost saving measure if casting everything in one color plastic and painting the entire figure is cheaper than casting various color plastics. I don't see what other reason there could have been.

    The tests they performed with the factory must have shown it to be effective as an alternative. But when it actually got into hands of customers, this method obviously didn't cut the mustard.
    Whatever the actual story, I agree it HAD to be a cost saving measure in some way, shape or form. With tightening belts and lower subs, I can't see Mattel doing something that would make it MORE expensive to make the figures. They may do some things that are highly questionable on a regular basis, but even Mattel isn't that crazy.
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  17. #867
    Evil Villain!!! adam03's Avatar
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    But I would still never put it past them
    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    Whatever the actual story, I agree it HAD to be a cost saving measure in some way, shape or form. With tightening belts and lower subs, I can't see Mattel doing something that would make it MORE expensive to make the figures. They may do some things that are highly questionable on a regular basis, but even Mattel isn't that crazy.

  18. #868
    Heroic Warrior snakeeyes0217's Avatar
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    It's all about the labor, gang. The cost of the materials is minimal compared the cost of the labor: setting-up and running the injection molding machines, assembling the pieces, and painting them. Like Val mentions above, the factory must have told them it would be a cheaper overall cost if they cast an entire year's worth of thighs, biceps, etc. all at once and then used them on the various figures throughout the year.

    I can't imagine it saved them much as in my experience, deco is THE most expensive part of production and adding an application to each part would only drive the price higher.

    That said, did anyone notice that Strobo's blue cape and King He-Man's blue cape are the same color? Also, their skin tones are almost identical. Since they do share parts and were released at almost the same time, I imagine they were manufactured together to save money. I don't mind this, but if it was the reason King He-Man's cape is blue instead of red, I'd be disappointed.

  19. #869
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakeeyes0217 View Post
    It's all about the labor, gang. The cost of the materials is minimal compared the cost of the labor: setting-up and running the injection molding machines, assembling the pieces, and painting them. Like Val mentions above, the factory must have told them it would be a cheaper overall cost of they cast an entire year's worth of thighs, biceps, etc. all at once and then used them on the various figures throughout the year.
    It's very possible that's part of it. In their DCUC line, Mattel made Power Girl as part of their exclusive Walmart wave, then immediately released her as an "all star" (figure without the C&C piece) in the very next wave. They did the same with Captain Marvel/Shazam, as well. i'm assuming that was because it was cheaper to continue production rather than put the molds away and then bring them back in a later wave.
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  20. #870
    Got Filmation? shadowfall1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scud View Post
    Could be cheaper to buy bulk plastic in one color as opposed to having different shades in stock/having to do multiple runs. Also who knows? Half the stuff they tell us is a contradiction anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by JonWes View Post
    I think the idea is that you could gang up production runs since most of the characters share a lot of the same parts like the arms and legs. Rather than mold arms for Spikor in one color and then arms for Vykron in another color, you mold them all at the same time in one color. If it wasn't cheaper to do that and then pay for paint, then I'm sure they wouldn't do it. In any case, I'm glad it's done!
    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    I believe the prevailing theory was that the blastic was recycled/melted down plastic, making it significantly cheaper than regular plastic mixed in specific colors. You mix a buncg of melted plastic of various hues together, get some likely disgustiing color out of it or a wierd rainbow, and then dye it black to make it consistent (black being the only color that would over-ride everything else). The savings from recycled existing plastic would likely be significant, enough to offset the extra cost of painting and then some.
    Thing is plastic is not colored, it's dyed in the molding process, technically plastic is all just one color, it's white or clear pellets. The paint needed would cost about the same as the dye for the plastic, the only benefit in black plastic is regrinding old failed batches and reuse, but again, the paint cost and labor to paint and repaint would not balance that much.

    I've worked in Injection molding, plastic arrives as beads of white or clear, there is a hopper on the machine for plastic, and another smaller one for color, and both are mixed as they enter the molds. And many new machines can run different colors together, and since the figures are so small as opposed to the actual machines, colored in 5 colors or not, the same machine is capable of that.
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  21. #871
    Golems for 2016! AdultCollector's Avatar
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    Two collectors have posted photos on Facebook sounding an alarm over the potential use of black plastic in the production of the Batros figure. Can anyone else confirm whether this figure has black plastic under the paint? Maybe someone with Mattel can shed some light on this.




  22. #872
    Plundor Promoter He-Dad's Avatar
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    That first one looks like black and red paint smeared on it. The second looks like it's purple plastic that was scraped. There is no black showing. In the words of Mythbusters I think these babies are BUSTED.

  23. #873
    Artichokes aren't evil! MasterCollector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdultCollector View Post
    Two collectors have posted photos on Facebook sounding an alarm over the potential use of black plastic in the production of the Batros figure. Can anyone else confirm whether this figure has black plastic under the paint?
    It has been mentioned before but just like all new parts(Tri-Klops green forearm or Fisto's brown bicep and fist) they are cast in the same color as the other new parts. So the new winged biceps of Batros were cast in the same blue colored plastic used for his new hood and new boots. So it's painted purple, black, and red.
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  24. #874
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    My Octavia showed up with her head paint smeared all over the bubble. This was really disappointing. It is not easy for me to get these figures. The prices are too high for me, and now after seeing how they arrive, I don't want to chase down other figures that may arrive damaged or smeared. Very disappointing indeed.

  25. #875
    Artichokes aren't evil! MasterCollector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC Cherry View Post
    My Octavia showed up with her head paint smeared all over the bubble. This was really disappointing. It is not easy for me to get these figures. The prices are too high for me, and now after seeing how they arrive, I don't want to chase down other figures that may arrive damaged or smeared.
    I had a very similar issue with my Octavia figure and "Son of Keldor" had two really good one's he was selling at the time. He confirmed the one I'd be receiving was good and he didn't overcharge. He might have that other one still available.
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