"Dedicated to the education of G.I. Joe"
WHAT ARE THEY?
Prototypes, aka Engineering Pilots (EP's) are the early
productions of a figure. We will give a brief description of the figures life
from its concept into production. Ideas are displayed though concept art.
The look of a figure goes though many different changes before it is agreed on.
Once agree upon, then the figure begins its life. A sculpture is
made to give a basic look of a figure. The next step is to make it look like an
action figure by adding articulation. A 2-Up or Resin
Cast is made from the original sculpts. The term 2-up
means the size of the prototype is twice the size of the production. Paint
is applied to a 2-up to determine how a figure will look in the final
production. These Paint Masters are usually done on 2-ups but can
also be done on production sized prototypes. They are then scaled down to
production size called 1st Ep's. They are made from odd
color plastic pieces. They may also be called test shots.
They usually have very loose joints and no copyright markings. This stage is
important to see if all of the "special features" will work like
spring loaded arms and light up eyes etc. 2nd Ep's,
are molds that are modified even more. They are usually cast in the
final color, or close to it, and generally have copyright info on the figure. 3rd EP's are packaging prototypes. The figures are either hand painted or production painted and packaged using any card stock that is available. The reason for the mismatched packaging is usually because it is not ready for print. The above prototypes are extremely rare because so few are made. Those that are made are put to the test. Most don't survive in one piece. Most of the prototypes are obtained from former employees of toy companies.
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