How Action Figures Get Made Part 2: Production

PRODUCTION

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!


How Action Figures Get Made Part 1: Design

Ever wonder how we make your action figures? Take a peek into our Brooklyn design studio and see how we turn an idea into the tiny but powerful action figure that arrives at your door. There are two major steps in creating an action figure: design and production. In this post, we’ll talk about our design process. Get ready to geek out with us!

DESIGN

First, we decide which public figure should get their own action figure. This usually involves keeping tabs on the news, listening to your requests (keep ‘em coming!), and trusting our instincts. It’s not a perfect science, but we’ve got a pretty good track record of spotting real-life heroes in the making.

Action Figure requests

Once we decide which action figure we’re going to make, our product team does a deep dive into the life of that person. Sometimes this means we work with an outside organization connected to a figure (like the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative). Usually though, we pour over articles, photos, and videos of the person to build out a super-detailed mood board.

AOC Mood Board

From there we put together a creative brief and send it over to our sculptor friend Mike Leavitt in Seattle. He’s the artist behind our entire line of Real Life Action Figures, and his name is on the back of every action figure package we make. He starts with a simple sketch and moves on to several rounds of intricate sculptures art directed by our product team in Brooklyn

liz sketch

When the final sculpt is finished, we send it over to our factory in China. There they make a 3D scan and perform several revisions until our product team agrees that everything feels and looks right. Sometimes the factory paints the final prototype and sometimes we do it in-house

Our product designer Ashlee works closely with our co-founder Alyssa to perfect the product packaging. They like to include little details like quotes, colors, and textures that echo the personality of the real person. And best of all, our boxes are designed so you can open them without ruining their mint condition. Once the figure and packaging are as close to perfect as we can make them, we start production. Check back next week for our post on the production process!


Meet The Squad

Talk about a dream team! These trailblazing freshman congresswomen may be young, but they’re not here to wait their turn. Keep scrolling to learn more about “The Squad” everyone’s talking about.

Name: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aka AOC
Represents: New York’s 14th congressional district
Known to say: “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office”
Ceiling Shattered: Youngest woman ever elected to Congress
Power Move: Expert thrift shopper
Bet You Didn’t Know… Her worn-out campaign shoes were on display at a museum exhibit

Name: Ayanna Pressley
Represents: Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district
Known to say: “When the challenges we are confronted with are this big, this deep and growing, I can’t and I won’t wait my turn”
Ceiling Shattered:
• First black congresswoman representing Massachusetts
• First woman of color elected to Boston’s city council
Power Move: Epic party planner
Bet You Didn’t Know… She has a cat named Sojourner Truth

Name: Ilhan Omar
Represents: Minnesota’s 5th congressional district
Known to say: “I’ve always said you get what you organize for”
Ceiling Shattered:
• First Muslim congresswoman, along with Rashida Tlaib
• First Somali-American in Congress
Power Move: Award-winning angler
Bet You Didn’t Know… She’s a huge Prince fan

Name: Rashida Tlaib
Represents: Michigan’s 13th congressional district
Known to say: “We’re going to have more women run for office. We can shift what’s going on in Congress”
Ceiling Shattered:
• First Muslim congresswoman, along with Ilhan Omar
• First Palestinian-American woman in Congress
• First Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature
Power Move: Dog whisperer
Bet You Didn’t Know… Her sons dabbed in Congress when she cast her first vote

Did you know we’re making an AOC Action Figure?


A Brief History of AOC

Every hero has an origin story, and AOC is no exception. Keep scrolling to follow the journey of a kid from the Bronx as she becomes one of the most powerful political voices of our time.

AOC Timeline


Vote For Your Favorite AOC Outfit

The rumors are true! Our Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Action Figure is being designed as we speak, but we’ve got a bit of a dilemma…

You see, we’re trying to choose the perfect outfit for the new congresswoman, but we just can’t make up our mind. 🤔 So, in the spirit of AOC herself, we’ve come up with a populist solution: We’re putting the decision in your hands.

The outfit that gets the most votes in our poll will be the one our AOC Action Figure wears. Ready to cast your vote?