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Ask DC Collectibles: Quality Control, Sculpting Actors, New Products and More!

Ask DC Collectibles: Quality Control, Sculpting Actors, New...

By Tim Beedle Friday, January 23rd, 2015

A week ago, when we first announced that we had hit 250,000 “likes” on our DC Collectibles Facebook page, we asked you to send us your questions about our products, our processes, or anything else you felt like! As always, you responded and we sent five of our favorite and most frequently asked questions to our Vice President of Creative Services, Kevin Kiniry, to answer.

We’re about to hand things over to Kevin, but before we do, we just wanted to say thank you for participating in our weeklong celebration of DC Collectibles and our fans. It’s been a lot of fun and we look forward to seeing you and interacting with you all throughout 2015. Trust us, there’s some great stuff ahead.

We mean that literally. As in, there’s some great stuff ahead in this article. Be sure to read to the end for our final new product reveal. Now take it away, Kevin!


Hi, DC Collectibles fans! It’s time for a “250,000 likes” edition of Ask DC Collectibles. Here are five topics that we chose from your hundreds of questions!


Topic One: Quality Control

We received fan questions asking about quality issues with DC Collectibles product, so we wanted to take a moment to give you a look at where we are and what we are doing going forward.

Some fans have mentioned damaged product or brittle parts with our Batman Animated action figure line. We are currently evaluating the production process for these action figures and have instituted some additional reviews in order to improve and catch any quality issues. Be reassured that quality will be improving going forward.

For those of you more interested in specifics, here are some details. We have traditionally used a polycarbonate for smaller joints on our plastic action figures. This is sometimes referred to as the “clear plastic.” Based on our early reviews of samples sent from the factories the products held up under testing. Since then, however, in part as a result of fan feedback that we received, it has become clear that we can make the smaller joints in our action figures even stronger.

Starting with most products in 2015, we are upgrading to POM (aka polyoxymethylene) for those joints previously made in polycarbonate. This is a stronger plastic that allows it to be molded in a color instead of clear. We have heard from our fans loud and clear that this is the number one issue for our action figures.

We will continue to use PVC (aka polyvinyl chloride) for the larger size joints (such as elbows and knees), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) for harder plastics and on a case by case basis, we will be thickening the size of very small joints. This may affect some of the aesthetic look of the small Batman Animated characters but we feel the balance between look and quality will be appropriate.

In addition to the material change, we have changed our quality review process and extended our production timeline to ensure we can deliver the best products.

Wow! That was a lot of long sounding words! But hopefully this background information helps reinforce to you, our fans, that we are dedicated to improving our product so that you have the best experience possible. And we want to make sure we’re always improving. You can help us by sending your feedback to our e-mail address: DCCollectibles@DCEntertainment.com


Topic Two: Batman: The Animated Series Action Figures

As we start to share even more info on our Batman Animated action figure line, questions have been pouring in. While you will have to wait until Toy Fair for some more figure announcements, you can go the DC Comics blog right now to take the poll of which figures you would like to see going forward.

We also have updates on the announced series of action figures. Because of the new changes to our quality control, we have delayed Wave 2 of the Batman Animated figures. The new plan is to have the Joker, Man-Bat and Robin release in March of 2015. Poison Ivy will be released later in 2015 as we want to be sure that her smaller joints are working perfectly.  Wave 3A will now feature Killer Croc and the Creeper and will release in May 2015 while Wave 3B will feature Poison Ivy, Robin (from The New Batman Adventures) and Harley Quinn and release in June 2015.

We understand delaying the product causes frustration, but want to make sure you’re getting the best quality and are able to enjoy the figures to the fullest!


Topic Three: What Product is Coming Soon?

As always, we received many questions and requests for our action figure and statue lines. While we would love to answer each and every question right now, many of them will be answered when we reveal our New York Toy Fair line-up. Expect info about our action figure lines, Cover Girls, Bombshells and Black & White statues to be announced right as NY Toy Fair starts in February. There will be a few big surprises for DC Collectibles fans and an action figure announcement that could be VERY controversial (in a good way!). We will be sure to have a special Toy Fair recap the week after so that we can all discuss what’s coming!


What mysterious collectibles will be unveiled at Toy Fair? Soon, friends, soon...


Topic Four: Sculpting Actor Likenesses

DC Collector Mitchell Van Zon asked about the difficulty in sculpting a person’s likeness. The DC Collectibles team is honored to have some of the best sculptors in the business. Some still sculpt “traditionally” using clay or wax while others sculpt digitally using a computer. If an actor has been scanned by a computer it gives us a great start to matching their likeness. Once the scan is complete, we embark on some additional sculpting that we call “cleaning up.” An output of a digital sculpt is a close approximation of a person, but the technology still isn’t detailed enough to be released without some additional work. This is because we also have to take into account the mass production process which can cause the product to shrink and distort the likeness. We estimate the rate of shrinkage and add to the digital sculpt to counter the issue.

If there is no digital scan of the actor, it is up to the talented hands of the sculptor to use as much reference of the person as necessary to capture their looks and their essence. While they may have to start from scratch, it allows the artist to truly build the sculpture from the ground up, trying to capture the subtle quirks of a personality.

Surprisingly, most people are usually their worst judge as to how they truly look. This may sound odd, but when you think about it, it’s not. How often do you look at yourself? Unless you spend all day seated in front of a mirror, you don’t see yourself as often as everyone else does. Often, a person’s limited view of him or herself doesn’t always match the reality.


Topic Five: Convergence

For those of you up to date on your comic reading, DC Comics is building up to an event called CONVERGENCE. The event will be a wonderful trip through the various eras of the DC Comics Universe as many of your favorite characters are called together in ways you won’t expect. Because of the vast amount of characters in the story, some of our fans were asking if we are planning any product around the event.

While we may not be branding any specific product coming up as Convergence, the ramification of this event coupled with the amazing cast of characters is sure to influence us…at least a little.

Well, DCCers that brings this special edition of Ask DC Collectibles to a close, but before we go, we want to throw a big shout out to all of the great people who have written in to our new e-mail address to give us some feedback. We have never felt such passion and joy and concern and caring as we have this past month. It proves what we always knew – our fans are the best and we are happy to do our best to bring the characters of DC Entertainment into your lives.

Characters like…Firestorm!

Yes, we didn’t forget that we owe you one last product reveal. This glossy statue of Firestorm is the newest statue in our DC Comics Icons line and will be available in fall, 2015.

Thanks again for joining us for this weeklong celebration of all things DC Collectibles, and remember, it doesn’t have to end. Click here to enter our sweepstakes to win some of the most exciting collectibles we've released in recent years. And make sure you’re one of our Facebook fans for all the latest and greatest in the world of DC Collectibles!