Jargon in the Figure Industry!

We’re currently in the middle of Golden Week!

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Whether you’re still at work, relaxing at home or heading off on vacation, be sure to take good care of yourself during Golden Week! But at the same time make sure it’s a week to remember! (´∀`)

Today is one of the days in the ‘gap’ between public holidays, so I thought I’d do a bit of a relaxed post today.

I’ll explain some of the jargon used in the figure industry!

Just a bit of vocabulary for both those who are new to the figure scene, and also for those who just aren’t quite sure about some of the words that come up from time to time. Once you’ve read through this you might understand the world of figures a little bit better! (`・ω・´)

All the explanations are filtered by the Mikatan filter, so anything that’s too complex has been left out, but all the important info is still in tact. I hope I haven’t made any mistakes… 😛

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Today’s lecture comes from Tori Bird of the manufacturing team!

A big thanks to him for his time! Let’s get started! (`・ω・´)

Prototype ★☆☆☆☆

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This refers to something sculpted with a design knife or by hand from materials such as polyester putty, epoxy putty or clay. This prototype is then used to create casts in order to replicate each part of each figure. 

Normally about 4-5 sets of these parts are made from this original cast: one set is issued to the factory in China, another is sent for preparations at the factory, one is for painting use and another could be a sample, among other things. A ‘prototype display’ refers to the display of an unpainted figure, which is only coated with a surfacer, giving it the grey appearance you can see above.

Example Use: “Please send through the prototype to China sometime this week!”

Decomasu ★★☆☆☆

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This is actually a shortened form of the words ‘Decoration Master’. This refers to one of the duplicate prototypes that has been painted. Often on the English blog this is also translated as ‘prototype’ , to avoid too much confusion with those who aren’t familiar with the figure world.

Normally two of these are made – one is sent through to the factory in China and another is kept for promotional use. These are what I review on the blog, before they appear on the GSC website.

Example Use: “I accidentally broke the Decomasu!”

Release ★☆☆☆☆

This refers to the time that a product goes up on the the GSC website (not the time the product is available for sale). It’s pretty much around the same time as the start of preorders, but because certain stores start preorders at a later stage than others, the term ‘release’ is used instead.

Example Use: “Please send the release text via email!”

PVC ★★★☆☆

The primary material used in the final product version of figures. PVC has a fairly sticky, soft feel to it which allows for very flexible shapes. When mixed together with a plasticizer, the degree of softness of the material can also be altered, which allows for the creation of the softer, more flexible parts often found on figures. Soft vinyl figures such as the 1/8th scale Mikudayo are hollow inside but also made from PVC. 

Examples of figures using ‘softer’ parts: Nendoroid Milky Holmes’ Capes / figma Anzu Futaba’s Shirt and more!

ABS ★★★☆☆

Another primary material used in the final product version of figures. It’s frequently used together with PVC on figures. It is considerably harder, more stable and better for casting than PVC, however it has a tendency to shrink in the manufacturing process which is its biggest downside. ABS is most commonly used for bases, weapons, robots – things that have a very exact shape.

Examples of Use: 1/8th Ultimate Madoka’s hair, swords on various figures, bases, etc.

T1 (T-One) ★★★★☆
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This refers to the very first sample shape (such as the one above) which is sent through to the factories in China. ‘T’ stands for ‘Test Shot’. Once adjustments are made then they are sent back and forth, with each set of changes increasing the number to T2, T3 and so. Adjustments include to removal of unwanted marks or distortions, or changes to the fitting of the various parts of the figure.

These adjustments continue on and on until the OK is given, in which case a final version called ‘T-End’ is sent through and things move on toward the painting process. Once the T-End stage has been reached, it’s almost impossible to make further adjustments.

Example Use: “The T1 has arrived, so let’s get to checking it!”

1st (First) ★★★★☆
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This refers to the first painted sample that is sent through to the factories in China. In order to differentiate them from the unpainted prototypes, the “T” is no longer used and the terms 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on are used instead.

In the same way that that ‘T-series’ worked, any unwanted paint marks are removed and adjustments to the decomasu are made. Once these adjustments are all complete, it is referred to as the ‘Painted T-End’, and things can move along once again. The photo above of Nendoroid Dead Master is currently a ‘3rd’.

Example Use: “This is only the 1st, but it already looks pretty good!”

Signback ★★★★☆

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This refers to the process whereby the sculpted and painted parts are given the OK, and then the date is written on them as two different sets are sent between the manufacturing team and the factory in China. The ‘signbacked’ versions and the production samples are then continuously compared to one and other to ensure that nothing goes off during manufacturing.

MF ★★★★★ (Tori Bird’s Personal Vocab)

MF stands for ‘Miracle Fit’. It refers to the point at which areas such as a Nendoroid’s neck, arms or other connected parts all fit together without any unnecessary gaps between them.

That’s all for today!

There’s still so much more I could cover…

I’m sure many of you who have been figure fans for awhile already knew a lot of these terms, but I hope this post may have made some small part more clear or explained some term you had never heard of before!

Perhaps I’ll cover some more jargon in the future! ヽ(゚∀゚)ノ

 
But that’s all for today!
I hope to see you all again tomorrow!! (・∀・)ノ