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The Process of Making Action Figures

Action figures are some of the most iconic and beloved toys in the world. From Star Wars to Marvel, these figures have been a part of popular culture for decades, but have you ever stopped to think about how they are made? What does it take for a popular movie or comic book character to become a real-life action figure? In this article, we’ll break down the process of making action figures and explain what goes into crafting these miniature works of art.


The first step in the process is pitching or licensing. This can be done either by the company that will manufacture the action figures or by an external party such as a toy company.

Generally speaking, if the toy company is pitching to license a product from an existing franchise, they must present their proposal to the copyright holder (e.g., Disney for Marvel characters).

This can involve several rounds of negotiations before both parties come to an agreement on terms and conditions. Once an agreement has been reached, then production can begin in earnest.


Acquiring the manufacturing rights for an action figure is only the start of a complex production process. Once you own the rights, you need to develop a long-term plan that covers every step in designing and marketing your action figure. It begins with researching the product and its competitors in order to create a unique look or offering that will stand out from other figures on the market.

During this process, you must consider not just the main action figure but any companion accessories that may be included, such as weapons or vehicle pieces. Furthermore, you need to plan out marketing venues and timing; discovering when an ideal launch window is can be essential for success.

After this initial planning phase comes development, putting together all of the pieces to get your action figure ready for production and then distribution. In some cases, post-launch planning needs to happen too—for instance, when developing a series of figures based on popular characters like Spiderman or Star Wars.

These series require extensive research into continuity so fans get their money’s worth from successive releases that don’t overlap in terms of design or equipment offered with each new edition in these series.

Designing the Molds

The first step in creating an action figure is designing the mold. This process begins with creating a 3D model of the character. Once the design is finalized, it is sent to a factory that specializes in making plastic molds.

The factory will create a mold based on the design and use it to make a prototype of the action figure. This prototype is then sent back to the toy company for approval. If there are any changes needed, they will be made and the process will start over again until both parties are satisfied.

Sculpting Prototypes

Once the design of the mold has been approved, sculptors will begin creating prototypes of the action figure. This involves carving out the details of the character’s body from clay or wax.

These prototypes are then sent to the factory where they will create molds based on these sculptures. The final step is sending these prototypes back to the toy company so they can be approved before mass production begins.

Setting Up Production Line

The final step in making action figures is setting up a production line. This involves choosing which materials to use, determining how many figures can be made per hour and training workers on how to assemble them.

The materials used in making action figures can vary depending on what type of plastic is used. In general, there are three types of plastic used in manufacturing toys: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and polypropylene.

ABS is a hard plastic that is commonly used in making action figures because it can be molded into complex shapes and is strong enough to withstand children’s play. PVC is a softer plastic that is often used for parts that need to be flexible, such as clothes or hair. Polypropylene is a durable plastic that is resistant to heat and scratches.

Once all of these decisions have been made, workers will begin assembling the action figures on the production line. They will first cut out all of the pieces from sheets of plastic, then glue them together before painting them and adding any final details.

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