Explorers... Thanks for the support!
The designer toy industry is a tough place to make a living but anything is possible with great fans like you. I have been overwhelmed by the positive support for the Mechanaut Explorer. All the comments, all the amazing photos, and most of all, the gangbuster sales on release day.
Dave at the Explorer release party.
THANK YOU :)
All Explorers have shipped as of last Saturday. It was my largest release at 33 figures and I'm relieved to have them all finished. I know 33 figures doesn't sound like a lot when some of the vinyl makers do releases of 100+ but let me assure you that making each Mechanaut by hand is a labor of love.
Each Explorer has 78 parts! And each of those parts must be removed from the printing support material and cleaned up by hand with a craft knife. The parts are then assembled and glued where necessary.
The next step is using acetone to smooth the ABS plastic parts. Any area that shouldn't be smoothed, such as joint pegs, are taped off. The smoothing process is delicate and requires some experience to get great results. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it after making a couple of hundred figures ;) Lastly, I paint and clear-coat any parts that need it.
Of course there's also the packaging to consider. I made a whole new piece of art for the header card this time around. I spent around 4-5 days working on it. I don't remember being so slow, ha ha. I'll also use the art for banners and prints. I might also use it for the next Mechanauts Catalog.
The final part of the process is shipping. I buy 9x6x3 boxes in bulk. Making the shipping labels used to be a painful chore but is now much easier thanks to ShippingEasy postage service and adhesive labels. I buy large rolls of bubble wrap too. I can't believe how much bubble wrap I use.
Mechanauts photo by collector Alexis Dyer.
So you might be asking "What's next?". I've been working on an homage piece to the Sophia III vehicle from Blaster Master. Blaster Master is one of my favorite NES games from my childhood. I'm also ramping up for Designer Con in November. I might be able to whip up a little surprise for Designer Con as well... I'm trying.. and all I will say about it is "Crash and Burn" ;)