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See how designer toys are made! Tour the Unbox Industries factory with Dan Willett!

Unbox Industries Factory Visit
Dan Willett of Unbox Industries recently spent a week in the company's Hong Kong office and he took to Instagram, sharing some amazing picture of the production stages at their very own factory. We're going to recap all the big stuff for you in here, including some of the tasty information that was dropped… For instance, did you know that Unbox was "originally envisioned as a prototype & development subsidiary of another company"? It's true! We might think of them as being their own designer toy brand with a factory that has helped countless self-starters in this movement get their first vinyl figures made, but that wasn't always the plan… Thank God that's what happened though, right?!?

Sculpting Designer Toys for Wax Modelling
While Unbox are known for their highly skilled digital sculpt executions, that doesn't mean they don't sculpt by hand as well. Pictured above is the clay sculpt being refined and tidied up before the wax model is prepared from it.

Designer toy wax model preparation
Once the refined clay sculpt is approved, we move along to wax model preparation. Basically molds are made from the clay sculpt, wax is poured into the mold, and a wax model is the result. On the lower left frame of the above picture you can see one such mold currently curing. For those interested, inside that monstrous (20kg/44lbs) mold is only one part of a seven piece figure!

Designer toy parent tool creation
Once the wax models are made, the next 8 to 10 days are spent creating parent tools from them. The tools are for slush molding, meaning they are two part molds (male and female), and they are made of metal to be durable & endure heat exposure.

Designer Toy Molds Prepared for Production
As part of the mold making process, here's the tooling workshop where each mold is ultimately prepared for production use.

Slush molding designer toys
And now we're slush molding! Each metal mold is pre-heated before being filled with liquid vinyl. As the vinyl starts to cool and cure, excess amounts of the liquid are poured out of the mold so that the desired thickness of the figure's vinyl is all that remains. The mold is finally cooled and the finished figure is pulled out.

Rotomolding designer toys
Of course, you might ask, how does the vinyl remain fully covering the inside of the mold, instead of pooling at the bottom? The answer, my friend, is Rotational Molding, or rotomolding or rotocasting. Basically, the metal mold is placed on a bi-axial rotational tool.

Designer toy factory paint shop
Once the vinyl parts are pulled from the metal mold, the designer toy moves along to the paint shop, where — at Unbox — a team of three on-site artists work on the finished piece. For their own original releases, Unbox typically does not give the team direction, allowing them to "produce some amazing ideas" and not be "influenced by other items in the marketplace."

Surprise reveal of new Unbox Industries WIP
Well, that's the whole process. What's pictured above, you might ask… Well, if you made it this far, then you are rewarded! Here's a work-in-progress that's at the was model stage: a massive "Mockbat" by Paulkaiju! That thing will be HUGE!

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