There are only a handful of companies in the world that make collectible toy figures. The reason for this should be obvious: those insanely detailed, hyper-realistic figures are exceedingly difficult and time-consuming to make.
One of those companies recently allowed a video crew a rare behind-closed-doors look at its manufacturing process, and it's an eye-opener. Have you ever wondered how the Hulkbuster figure was created, or maybe a 1/6th version of Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight? This video's for you.
Hot Toys, based in Hong Kong, is one of the best collectible figure makers in the world. One look at Hot Toys' catalog and you'll agree. The company has worked on dozens of major franchises including Marvel Studios films, Pixar, Star Wars, The Matrix, Terminator, Avatar and many more.
While every part of its figures is impressive, it's the face that Hot Toys always manages to nail. Any collectible figure maker will tell you that faces are the make-or-break part of a toy. If it doesn't match the real-life (or real-movie) face, fans aren't going to believe in it and it's never going to sell.
Hot Toys excels at creating amazingly lifelike faces. Whether it's the real-life face of Robert Downey Jr., as seen in the video below, or the scifi visage of Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot, Hot Toys refines its work until the results are perfect. The company uses a special kind of modeling clay for faces, a clay that only gets hard only after it's been "cooked" in an oven. So scars and flaws are right where they should be, every strand of hair is in place, and the eyes are so real you can practically see into the character's soul.
The video explains that creation of a brand new figure is a six-step process, from selecting a character from an upcoming movie to posting photos of the finished model on its website for taking orders. One of those steps is particularly cool for the actor who plays the character; in addition to sending a finished model to the film studio (such as Marvel or Warner Bros.), the actor gets one, too.
The video also reveals what the company's bestseller is (it may surprise you) and offers advice to those who might consider a career in the collectible toy industry.