BackerKit

Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series Action Figures

Created by David Silva

Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series Action Figures
W retro catalog ad
2,661 backers pledged $351,753.52 on Kickstarter

Beasts of the Mesozoic is a line of 1/6th scale scientifically accurate dinosaur action figures, with great detail and articulation.

Raised in Kickstarter
$351,753.52 / 2,661 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$221,730.62 / 3,572 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

China Trip Part 2- Painting Process and First Deco Samples
23 days ago – Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 12:33:30 AM

It's been a while since the last update so there's a lot to talk about.

The production process is moving along at a fast pace now. Between sending comments on samples to the factory and prepping the final packaging, these past six weeks have been intense. Kind of makes me wish I was only running a Kickstarter campaign. On second thought, no no not really.

Anyway as promised, here's a look at the second half of my trip in China, so get ready as it's time for another information filled update! Be sure to read all the way through- I promise to make it worth your while.

    

Preparing for Production

Me at a deco and packaging meeting in China
Me at a deco and packaging meeting in China

Upon visiting the production factory back in May, tooling was being finalized and the raptors were still in the early stages with not a lot going on yet in terms of painting and mass production. My main purpose was to help see them off to a good start by discussing the level of paint detail I was looking to achieve as well as going over packaging options and toy functionality.

first deco samples for AP sets and Nestlings
first deco samples for AP sets and Nestlings

Luckily for me, they were able to prepare paint samples for all of the Accessory Packs and the Nestlings for review. Meticulous notes were taken as I described what needed to be done for each piece. The meetings were very encouraging and I got the impression that they really wanted to get everything just how I wanted.

Very early paint work on the main raptors- 'um can we get some more parts over here!'
Very early paint work on the main raptors- 'um can we get some more parts over here!'

Since the molds were still being worked on at that time, the production factory had to rely on whatever test shot parts were sent from the tooling factory, and this meant showing me a few incomplete raptor paint samples, but it was enough to get us started.

Despite arriving there at the beginning of my own project, I still had the opportunity to witness the rest of the production process first-hand via other projects. My China trip part 1 update was all about the test shot and tooling process and now it's time for the second part of that story. Here's what happens after the tooling is approved.

  

The Paint and Assembly Process

Paint (Deco) Samples

As mentioned, paint samples are often made initially from early test shot parts. These figures may have been cast before tooling was approved, so looseness and a few mismatched or missing parts are not too uncommon at this stage. Such issues are easy to correct later.- the paint is the the real focus of these figures.

Zhenyuanlong deco sample parts
Zhenyuanlong deco sample parts

When making these first paint, or 'deco' samples (short for 'decoration'), painting techniques and processes are created for both colors and patterns in order to replicate the unique look of each figure type.

Wings!
Wings!

Once established, these painting methods will be used for thousands of figures and are much different than hand-brushing a single resin figure for an undetermined amount of time as Matt and myself had done with the prototypes. The factory work needs to be fast and efficient while still maintaining the same look as the original and for that, different tools are required.

Paint masking clamps- not much to look at, but they can create beautiful results
Paint masking clamps- not much to look at, but they can create beautiful results

 A combination of hand brushing, air brush, and paint masks are used to paint each figure part. Paint mask clamps are a key tool for this stage of mass production work. These metal clamps are custom made to whatever area they need to cover on a piece for creating a specific shape or pattern over and over again. Often times a factory will have a person who specializes in creating the paint masks for each job. Fashioning an effective paint mask is considered an art in and of itself.

These Tsaagan tails can be painted quickly thanks to paint masks
These Tsaagan tails can be painted quickly thanks to paint masks

The initial paint stage is often a process that requires a few rounds of revisions to get the look for each figure as close to the original as possible. Each application, a.k.a. paint operation, is documented and factored into the overall production cost. In order to match my original prototypes, the number of paint operations for Beasts of the Mesozoic needed to be higher than that of the average toy line.

Painting nestlings
Painting nestlings

 

freshly painted FC Dromaeosaurus parts
freshly painted FC Dromaeosaurus parts

Some subtle variation is to be expected between the figures they produce and my prototypes as they use such different tools and methods. For the most part though, the final versions should look very close to the original prototype.

Velociraptor deco samples (paint master at bottom)
Velociraptor deco samples (paint master at bottom)

 

deco sample raptor party!
deco sample raptor party!

 

Now at this point in the process, we'll need to look beyond Beasts of the Mesozoic to see what lies ahead...

Note: the items in the next set of photos won't be named in effort to avoid any licensing issues, but many of you can probably recognize what's there.

 

Mass Production

Once the deco samples are approved and the paint operations are established, large amounts of new parts are cast for mass production. The painting process begins by sectioning out the parts and distributing them among several people to be painted, each person being responsible for specific parts.

each painter is assigned to paint specifc parts for each figure
each painter is assigned to paint specifc parts for each figure

How do they keep all of those parts straight, you ask? Well for each figure, a layout key is created using the full molded parts sprues with each part labeled. This is important not only to help with paint and color injection, but assembly as well.

layout key for paint and assembly reference
layout key for paint and assembly reference

When parts are completed, the painted pieces are collected in their own bins to be assembled later. Each bin contains one specific part and usually a lot of them.

finished parts ready for assembly
finished parts ready for assembly

To avoid confusion, one figure type, or SKU (short for 'stockkeeping unit') will be painted at a time. A room of workers can complete paint work for a large number of figures in a single day. Once all of the parts are painted, they are moved on to assembly.

warming up parts for easy assembly
warming up parts for easy assembly

To assemble the figures, parts are often heated under lamps to help make them pliable enough to fit together easily without stressing the pieces. The plastic will then harden quickly at room temperature. Glue is also added at this stage as needed.

figures are nearly finsihed, but where are the heads?
figures are nearly finsihed, but where are the heads?

 

found the heads!
found the heads!

From here the figures are put aside for pack-out where they will be placed in their designated packaging with accessories to be added as needed.

that's a lot of toys...
that's a lot of toys...

The packaging has it's own separate process during this time as well, from the graphic design to the box printing and even the fitted plastic trays. Everything is made at around the same time to help make mass production as time-efficient as possible.

So that's the second half of toy production in a nutshell. And that will lead right into the next update which will focus on the packaging for the Beasts of the Mesozoic figures so stay tuned.

 

First Raptor Deco Samples

The first round of deco samples are always an important step in the production process. Here's an overview of  the very first raptor deco sample comparisons with their respective paint masters (labeled 'deco master' in the photos). For this update, we'll focus on the main deluxe-sized raptor figures. (The Nestlings and Accessory Packs will be shown off with their packaging in the next update.) Some here are closer to final than others, but for a first go at it, they've provided a very good starting point.

And for the record, these photos were not taken by me but come direct from the factory... it'll make sense as you read on.

Linheraptor deco sample comparison
Linheraptor deco sample comparison

 

Velociraptor osmolskae deco sample comparison
Velociraptor osmolskae deco sample comparison

 

Velociraptor osmolskae variant deco sample comparison
Velociraptor osmolskae variant deco sample comparison

 

FC Saurornitholestes langstoni deco sample comparison
FC Saurornitholestes langstoni deco sample comparison

 

FC Zhenyuanlong deco sample comparison
FC Zhenyuanlong deco sample comparison

 

Balaur deco sample comparison
Balaur deco sample comparison

 

Pyroraptor deco sample comparison
Pyroraptor deco sample comparison

 

Acheroraptor deco sample comparison
Acheroraptor deco sample comparison

 

Dromaeosaurus deco sample comparison
Dromaeosaurus deco sample comparison

 

Saurornitholestes sullivani deco sample comparison
Saurornitholestes sullivani deco sample comparison

 

Atrociraptor deco sample comparison... photo not by me
Atrociraptor deco sample comparison... photo not by me

 

 So that gives you all an idea of what I'm looking at initially. In most cases, I'm sent anywhere from 5-10 photos of a particular sample both with and without the deco master in the shot. You'll find many more photos of each of these on my Creative Beast Studio Facebook page, but keeping the length of this update in-mind (obviously), I decided to only show key photos for each. It's at this point I take the photos into photoshop and make my comments for what needs to be changed or improved upon. Here are some examples of the notes I've sent back in response.

Adasaurus deco sample comparison with notes
Adasaurus deco sample comparison with notes

 

FC Dromaeosaurus deco sample comparison with notes
FC Dromaeosaurus deco sample comparison with notes

 

Tsaagan deco sample comparison with notes
Tsaagan deco sample comparison with notes

 

Velociraptor deco sample comparison with notes
Velociraptor deco sample comparison with notes

 

FC Pyroraptor deco sample comparison with notes
FC Pyroraptor deco sample comparison with notes

 

Zhenyuanlong deco sample comparison with notes
Zhenyuanlong deco sample comparison with notes

 After receiving my feedback, they make the adjustments and then the deco sample is shipped to me for review. Here's a batch of samples I received recently:

Revised Deco samples for review
Revised Deco samples for review

 At this point it's a matter of a few more tweaks and then the approved version becomes the standard for all of the production on that particular SKU. The steps they followed to achieve the look for each approved figure have been noted and are to be followed for the remaining figures of that type moving forward. As of now all deco samples have been created and the Nestlings and Accessory Packs have all been approved with mass production beginning soon on those. Six deluxe raptor samples have been sent to me for final notes so far with more arriving each week until all of the figures are approved.

Deco sample scene
Deco sample scene

Having some of these samples in-hand now, all necessary toy 'testing' aside, I couldn't resist putting them together with the new packaging proofs. Below was my very first look at a Beasts of the Mesozoic raptor in-package, and it was cooler than I could have imagined.

Acheroraptor in-package
Acheroraptor in-package

What all goes into the package, from start to finish? I'm looking forward to sharing that experience with you all in the next update.

 

Shipping Estimate Update- September

In other news... I've been getting a lot of questions lately regarding the ship dates for the Beasts of the Mesozoic figures and understandably so. Luckily so far the production process has not had any major set backs and we've been moving along mostly as expected. There have been a few minor tooling and paint revisions here and there, but nothing serious. As mentioned, production is beginning soon on the Accessory Pack sets as well as Nestlings and I expect  full production on the main raptors to begin sometime next month which will take several weeks. Factor into that any adjustments during that time and then from there it will be 2-3 weeks for the product to arrive at the US port in California via boat from China. After a few days in customs, the product will then head to the fulfillment center for final distribution.

As of this writing, it has become more clear now that shipping rewards out to backers by the end of August is highly doubtful and shipping in September is much more likely. Please know that this is still an estimate based on current circumstances and is subject to change. It's hard to know what challenges lie ahead for this project, but it's important to make sure everything is done as well as it can be done and for a project this big, that does take some time. That being said, considering the amount of product being produced at once and the complexity involved, I feel the progress is going quite well.

Orders containing Kickstarter rewards will have priority to ship first and then on to the pre-orders. If you have any questions about shipping dates or process, please let me know and I'll answer them as best I can. Your patience and support is much appreciated- I'm optimistic that the wait won't be too much longer.

 

Combining Orders and Address Changes

As we close in on the final part of production, my correspondence with the factory during the reviewing process is critical becoming very involved and time-consuming. With so much of my attention focused on production right now, I have a favor to ask of you all.

For those needing assistance with address changes, combining orders, or adding items onto your existing order, it would really help me out if you could please contact the friendly people at BackerKit (email: support@backerkit.com) regarding these issues as they would be more than happy to assist you. This will allow me to put a little more time into the production of this project.

Creative Beast approved!
Creative Beast approved!

The BackerKit team has proven to be very competent and responsive during this entire project and they'll likely be more effective at helping than myself because who knows their system better than them? If for some reason they can not assist you or they are unavailable, please feel free to contact me about it and I will help as best I can. Thank you all in advance.

 

One more thing...

I want to invite you all to take a look at a new action figure-based Kickstarter campaign by one of my favorite creators (and Beasts of the Mesozoic backer), Sandy Collora called SOULS OF THE ABYSS: The Tiburonera Tribe! Some of you may know of Sandy's work in the film industry but he's also worked in the toy industry as well as a sculptor and designer. Now he's creating a line of action figures based on the Tiburonera creature design from his critically acclaimed short film, Shallow Water. Check it out!

Click on the image to go to the Kickstarter campaign!
Click on the image to go to the Kickstarter campaign!

 

That'll do it for now- please don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all of the latest news and photos for this project and more. And if you're just finding out about this project, the Beasts of the Mesozoic BackerKit pre-order store can be found HERE.

Thanks everyone, until next time!

I'm outta here!
I'm outta here!

 

'Which Beasts of the Mesozoic Raptor Are You?' Quiz
3 months ago – Tue, Jun 06, 2017 at 09:08:36 PM

Here's something a little different.

I've been putting this together over the past few months (some of you may have seen this on my social media from last week.) It's an experimental idea I came up with to reach more people about this project: the 'Which Beasts of the Mesozoic Raptor are You?' quiz! The quiz is basically a Myers-Briggs inspired personality test with a dinosaur twist. I think you'll find that it's a bit more involved than your usual 'which character are you? quiz, but that being said, it's only twelve questions and usually only takes about a minute. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I've already received a lot of positive feedback about people's results.

click on the image to take the quiz
click on the image to take the quiz

 

The purpose of this is not only to have fun, but also in hopes that you all will share the quiz and your results with your friends on what ever social media you normally frequent. You might even learn a little more about the people you know!

(FYI- since I have all of your emails through BackerKit, feel free to skip that portion.)

Please be sure to post your results and feedback in the comments section below- I'd love to know what you all think of the quiz and which raptor you got.

Direct link for sharing: https://www.tryinteract.com/share/quiz/579e29ed36fb271100080de6

Enjoy!

 (disclaimer- This quiz is for entertainment purposes only and not meant to reflect any scientific findings on actual dinosaur behavior.)

China Trip part 1- Tooling Factory Visit, plus One Year Kickstarter Anniversery
3 months ago – Sun, May 28, 2017 at 01:21:54 AM

On this day one year ago...

My first Kickstarter project was successfully funded one year ago today thanks to the contribution of 2,661 backers on May 27th, 2016, officially kicking off the Dinosaur Toy Revolution in a big way!

I learned a lot from the experience and there are things I plan to do differently next time, but because of the amazing support by all of you, we not only fully funded the project, but also unlocked 17 stretch goals and added an additional 3 raptors to the roster as well! Admittedly, it took longer than expected for me to get caught up on all of the additional sculpting, but it was such a privilege for me to put the time and effort into something that was my own and that I truly believed needed to be a part of this industry, that I'd do it again without hesitation.

As we reach more and more people about this project through BackerKit, 672 new backers have now joined the cause since the Kickstarter campaign ended. Coincidentally, the BackerKit total just passed the $200K mark yesterday! I can not thank you all enough for helping me make this impact on the toy industry as we create a new path of awareness and innovation for the dinosaur/ animal action figure market. I may only be one person on this end, but with the support of all of you, 3,335 backers strong (as of this post), I have already been able to achieve amazing things, and we're only getting started. Painted and packaged samples aren't far off and once I begin getting those in, I can start to pitch these figures to Natural History Museums and other related science retailers. The future of dinosaur toys is very bright!

 

 My China Trip part one- Tooling Factory Visits

As the tooling process entered it's final stages of refinement, I felt it necessary to make a visit to the factories in China. If anything was overlooked or not corrected at this stage, it could have irreversible effects on the remaining portion of the production process. Thanks to my good friend, China regular, and fellow NECA sculptor Trevor Zammit, my first visit was a smooth one. I had a fantastic time meeting all of the people involved with the project as well as taking in the sights and culture there. I was also very impressed by the efficiency and pride that was taken in making this product to my exact specifications.

Since the first day of my visit was Labor Day there, we spent a little time in Hong Kong first.

Greetings from Hong Kong!
Greetings from Hong Kong!

Hong Kong was a lot of fun and the toy shopping there was insane- but that's a tangent I'll save for social media.

Tooling Factory

I had a couple of meetings with the tooling factory while in China. The project was reaching it's final approval stage to finish the metal tooling molds and I needed to test out the latest test shot figures to make sure everything was working as it should. During this process, the smaller details of articulation and interchangeability were refined, and I also made sure that the figures and accessories were cross compatible between the various sets as much as possible.

Tooling meeting- testing the test shots
Tooling meeting- testing the test shots

 

Plenty of figures to check...
Plenty of figures to check...

 

Testing the Adasaurus
Testing the Adasaurus

 

Tsaagan freestanding
Tsaagan freestanding

 

testing the jumping rod
testing the jumping rod

 

Buitreraptor with body clip and angle adapter
Buitreraptor with body clip and angle adapter

 

'Git 'em!'
'Git 'em!'

 This new angled connector piece was added for the jumping rod allowing for more realistic jumping poses. It will be included with all accessory packs and can be used with any of the posing rods.

New jumping rod angle piece (accessory packs only)
New jumping rod angle piece (accessory packs only)

 More playing... err, testing.

Microraptor with body clip
Microraptor with body clip

 

Nestling with Forest log
Nestling with Forest log

 

Buitreraptor with Forest log
Buitreraptor with Forest log

One more improvement that was made was with the water splash accessory (included with the Wetlands Accessory Pack). Originally it was made to rest under the raptor's foot, but I had them shape it to grip the foot allowing for easier posablilty.

Adjusted foot splash accessory
Adjusted foot splash accessory

Also worth noting is that I have negotiated to have an additional body clip added to the tooling pattern. All of the standard raptors will now include this part in addition to the standard posing rod and rounded clip allowing for more dynamic poses. This piece was originally only included with the accessory packs.

posing rod body clip
posing rod body clip

 

So that's a look at the final test shots, but would you like to see how the figures got to this point? If you're like me, you'll probably find this next part very interesting.

 

Tooling Process

One of the first things I learned about the factories in China is that they are all highly competitive, which makes sense seeing as how there are so many. So for the sake of future manufacturing ventures, I will not be including specific details about the factory or the people I'm currently working with there. However, I did make sure to document the tooling process for you all to see.

Pantographing

(From Wikipedia) 'A pantograph is a mechanical linkage connected in a manner based on parallelograms so that the movement of one pen, in tracing an image, produces identical movements in a second pen.' In this case though, it's done for sculpting.

Pantographing in the toy industry is a method of resizing sculpts into either larger or smaller sizes and is becoming somewhat of a lost art nowadays due to computer modeling, scanning, and printing technologies. However, the company I'm using to tool my raptor figures still sticks with the traditional method as it offers very precise control and sharpness for the details. Every detail is replicated exact to the original sculpt at the desired scale. It's highly skilled work to say the least.

scaling down a figure with a pantograph machine
scaling down a figure with a pantograph machine

 Fun fact- the parts I sculpted actually had to be slightly scaled up from 100% to 105% to adjust for shrinkage during the plastic molding process. Therefore the tooling parts are slightly larger than my prototypes. The fine cut raptor figures were representative of that 105% size. Many times, action figures are sculpted at twice the size (2up) and then scaled down using this method. The larger sculpted size allows for more detail on the scaled down version. (The 105% is in relation to the final 100% size of the production figure and not the sculpted prototype.)

 Sculpting

 Although the sculpted details are pretty much final when they are sent to the factory, there is usually a certain amount of adjusting that takes place after pantographing. It's not uncommon to have sculptural adjustments made to the articulation so that the movements function as well as possible. In some cases, additional textures may also be added during this stage as well.

Sculpting station and tools
Sculpting station and tools

 After pantographic and sculpting adjustments are made, we end up with a fine cut version of the figure, which as mentioned before, is always at 105% of the final production size. Here is the Acheroraptor fine cut as an example.

fine cut figure prepped for tooling
fine cut figure prepped for tooling

Once fine cuts are finished, they are submitted for approval to be molded for the metal tooling process.

Tooling plates

Tooling plates are then created for each specific piece of a project. These are arranged to be shot in same color plastics and are made to fit into existing larger metal casings. I didn't see any assembled BotM metal tooling blocks out when I was there, but here's one good example. You can see how the parts are arranged in this mold to all be shot in the same base color. Each mold set is made to be injected in a specific color.

metal tooling mold arranged with 'same color' parts
metal tooling mold arranged with 'same color' parts

    The metal tooling plates can also be adjusted at this stage as needed for final approval.  

Adding details to the metal tooling molds
Adding details to the metal tooling molds

 I did manage to see one BotM metal tooling plate while I was there. Interesting how intricate they are even containing separate pieces within a plate.

metal tooling mold for foot splash accessory
metal tooling mold for foot splash accessory

 Stacks of stored metal molds are a common site at these factories. They're so heavy that a crane system, often built into the ceiling, has to be used to move them around.

metal tooling mold storage
metal tooling mold storage

Injection

Once the metal molds are made, they are inserted into large mold injection machines. This is where all of the test shots begin to be made. While this particular factory specializes in tooling and does not have a full production facility, the production factories have very similar machines for the mass production injection process.

plastic mold injection machines
plastic mold injection machines

Inside of these machines, the metal molds are placed and locked in. The two halves are pushed together and then injected with liquid plastic.

metal tooling molds inside injection machines
metal tooling molds inside injection machines

 The liquid plastic is made from heated plastic pellets fed into a funnel-like container on the machine. Once heated to the proper temperature, the liquid can then be injected into the molds.

plastic pellets used for tooling injection
plastic pellets used for tooling injection

From that process comes all of the parts on full sprues. Many times after injection, the parts are placed in water to help them cool down evenly and prevent distortion.

plastic injected pieces
plastic injected pieces

 The parts are then either cleaned up and assembled into figures or organized for reference purposes to aid in the production stage.

organized injected parts
organized injected parts


And from there the first stage is complete and we get glorious, fully functional action figures!

Ready for paint!
Ready for paint!

So that's a crash course in how toys are born. Now you can begin to see why making a toy line is such a large and expensive undertaking. To put this project into perspective, most common toy runs consist of between 3- 6 figures, or SKU's, albeit larger quantities. We have 24 SKU's for this series of Beasts of the Mesozoic. That being said, our situation is not uncommon when compared to other crowdfunded independent toy runs. The difference in SKU's are an important factor as to why the larger companies can bring their toys to market faster than the independents. Smaller toy makers like myself, have many more molds and many more parts at once which usually equates to longer production times. However using this method of 'doing it all at once' helps keep costs to a minimum and thus keeps the product affordable for customers despite having smaller production run totals.

The production company for BotM received the molds the following week after I left China and have been diligently working on new painted samples. We're still aiming for a late summer/ early fall ship date.

I'll go into the painting and package design process in the next update for Part 2 of my trip.

 

Podcast Cantina Chatter Interview

 

 In other news, I did an interview recently with Victoria Brazil for her Cantina Chatter podcast. We discuss the Beasts of the Mesozoic project, my background in the toy industry as well as the potential of action figures in our modern collector culture. I very much enjoy doing these types of interviews as there are always plenty of questions and stories that I may not have thought to share otherwise. (Disclaimer- I did this interview well after midnight on a weekday, so if I sound a little tired, that's why. LOL) Definitely worth a listen though if you get a chance.

 

That will do it for now- thank you to those who made it this far. :)

As always, please be sure to follow my progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all of the latest Beasts of the Mesozoic news and more. I plan to show updated pics soon on paint samples in the weeks to come. Message me if you have any questions about your order or if you want to add items to an existing order.

And please keep on sharing and telling your friends about this project. Also, kindly direct them to the BackerKit Preorder Store.- we're reaching more people every day!

family photo time
family photo time

 

Until next time everyone!

New Test Shot Video, an Early Look at Production Paint and Packaging plus Spectrum Highlights
4 months ago – Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 11:46:05 PM

Today marks one year since this journey officially began. On April 27th, 2016, the Beasts of the Mesozoic Kickstarter campaign launched and nothing has been the same for me since (in a good way). And thanks to the help of all of the backers here, the dinosaur toy industry will never be the same either.

Remember this?
Remember this?

 

So with that being said, let's dive in and see where the project currently stands.

  

Test Shot Video Part 1 

While the past few weeks have been a bit hectic due to traveling, I did manage to shoot a quick video review of some of the Raptor test shots. It was a little tricky to film these figures since they are mostly in translucent white (you'll notice that the autofocus is having a tough time in a few spots) but luckily the details aren't the subject of this particular video as I mainly wanted to show the articulation and some of the play features.

Only after filming the video did I notice once again that the Dromaeosaurus' right arm popped off again same as it did in the previous test shot video from China. This is an odd coincidence as this is a different test shot. However I will say that while playing with all of these off-camera, I didn't find this to be an issue in general. Nonetheless, I have asked the tooling factory to tighten up all of the pinned joints such as elbows and lower legs.

 

Pre-Production

Pre-production is now underway which means the paint and packaging are being developed for each item. This stage requires a group of people developing systems and strategies that are both efficient and effective for achieving the desired look and level of quality based on my prototypes and instructions.

Paint

Paint samples are being created now for accessory packs, nestlings, and several of the standard raptors.

 

 

 

 

 

Packaging

These are the first packaging mock-ups for the figures that I've seen. Although the proportions are different than what I had originally envisioned, this more compact design for the raptors might be a better way to go. All of the proposed design elements such as the package art on the slip cover sleeve and environment background image are still planned to be included. It's important to note that these designs are in no way meant to be final and can easily be modified, so this will be a separate process unto itself. Once we have decided on the best packaging solution, they will create digital templates for me to use with my graphic design files and after it has all been properly formatted, I will send them the final hi-res images for the packaging.

Acheroraptor package mock-up
Acheroraptor package mock-up

 For the Accessory Packs, it was especially interesting to me to see what they would come up with since not only had I not worked that out previously, but the sets changed so much from concept to final version. I like what they've come up with so far.

Forest Accessory Pack package mock-up
Forest Accessory Pack package mock-up

China Trip

I will be leaving to visit the factories in China this Saturday and will spend a week with them to help with paint, packaging, and construction. Once I arrive, I'll be meeting up with my good friend and fellow NECA sculptor Trevor Zammit who has been a huge help in communicating with the factories on this project these past few months since I couldn't be out there and he'll be helping me coordinate with the workers during my visit as well to make sure production gets off on the right foot. Looking forward to seeing the process first-hand as well as avoiding potential issues before they happen.

While I'm away next week, my access to the internet will likely be very limited, so if you need to contact me, please expect a longer wait time for a response than usual. At the very least I will be able to respond when I return the following week. Also worth noting is that I likely won't have access to social media so if you notice a lack of updates next week, it's because I'm in China. I do however plan to return with plenty of news and photos.

  

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live

My table at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2017
My table at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2017

 One of the places I traveled to recently was to Kansas City, MO for the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event this past weekend. This was my first time having the BotM Raptor figures on display, and I would even encourage visitors to play with them. The response was very positive and I was able to reach lot of people that otherwise would not have known about the project. It was interesting how gentle most were with the raptor toys, holding them as if they were real creatures. It's a good sign when an unpainted toy has enough character to merit that type of response.

 

 

Also on display were my various model kit builds- always great for getting people to come over to the table if nothing else.

 The highlight of the show for me was when James Gurney stopped by. I've been a huge admirer of his work for many years now and him showing up at my table was pretty surreal. He seemed especially interested in the Raptor toys and was testing out one of them. It would be great to have him as a backer. There aren't too many famous people I'd care to have my picture taken with, but I couldn't pass this one up.

And here's me with my creations. It was a good show and I thank everyone who was able to make it out to stop by. (Thanks goes to my friend Pamela Lea Coggins for making me take this pic. )

 

Wrapping up...

Post Cards

If you paid for your post cards, you should have them by now. All printed materials have been sent out. If there are any issues, please let me know and I'll check on your order status for you. I do have some left over post cards. Contact me if you'd like to order directly. I plan to offer the remaining sets through my site later this year.

 Red Raptor Still Available

There are still some red Velociraptor osmolskae variants available- just a heads up if you've been considering adding it to your order. You can order direct from the pre-order store or contact me about it directly and I can add it to your existing  BackerKit order.

1/6 Velociraptor Model Kit Now Available

 

For those interested in model kits- I am now offering a 1/6  model kit version of the BOTM Velociraptor mongoliensis figure which is inspired by Jonathan Kuo's gorgeous package art. Please contact me directly if interested.

Shipping Delay Reminder

In the last update I had mentioned that production is going slower than anticipated and this will prevent us from shipping in May as initially planned. The current estimate is now for late Summer- early Fall. Please keep an eye on these Kickstarter updates as more information becomes available.

Unanswered Surveys and Declined Cards Update

Recently, BackerKit automatically added backers who's cards were declined from the Kickstarter to the current backer list bringing the current tally for unanswered surveys to 72. This means that if you were declined initially, you still have chance to pay for the items you pledged for during the campaign. I'm not sure why this happened, but hopefully this is good news for some of you. In addition, there are currently 8 declined cards from locked down backers. If you need information about your order, please message me.

That's all for now. As always, please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all of the latest news and updates on this project and anything else I may be up to. Also, please keep spreading the word about the Backerkit Preorder store - , tell your friends about Beasts of the Mesozoic, and help support the Dinosaur Toy Revolution!

Take care everyone- I'll talk to you all in a few weeks.

First Test Shots- Video Preview from China
5 months ago – Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 12:40:08 AM

Beasts of the Mesozoic: Raptor Series First Test Shots video

In the last update you all got a look at some of the Raptor test shot figures- the first ones to be injected in plastic as the tooling molds are tested and refined. Now, thanks to my good friend Stefan Folkins (you may remember him mentioned as the artist behind the diorama backgrounds I shot on a while back), we have an even better look at the new figures. Stefan has been kind enough to make a video for us to view some of the first test shot figures direct from the tooling factory.

Tuxedo Raptors?
Tuxedo Raptors?

A few things to note before watching the video. These figures are currently going through a process called 'debugging' which means that the articulation is being tested and refined, so these figures here are not necessarily representative of the final product, aside from the obvious lack of paint.

Some of the flaws I've noticed from this video are: no tongues, some loose parts (you'll know when you see them), collars are too low on necks, some of the tails may be upside down, and Adsaurus' back feathers need to be glued into place.

Now that that's out of the way, there are also some strong positives as well: wires in tails work well, small raptors also have tail wires (woo-hoo), jaw gape is much improved over prototypes, secondary feathers (forearms) will be interchangeable, jaw interchangeability is very simple, great range of motion on necks.

Without further ado, here is the video:

 

So that's a look at where the figures are so far. The others are being worked on as well, and all test shots are planned to be completed by next week. Once they are finished, they will be sent to me for review and I will give notes on improvements. The tooling molds are planned to ship to the production factory by April 22nd and from there the final versions of the figures will begin to take shape with paint and packaging. In fact, I am planning to visit the production factory myself in early May to oversee the beginning stages of production and make sure everything is on the right track. That being said, it's time to address the elephant in the room...

How can I possibly begin shipping product in May?

Well, unfortunately, the shipping dates will have to be delayed a few months, very sorry everyone. I sincerely apologize but I will not be able to hit my original estimated ship date of May 2017. I wanted to have more info before mentioning anything officially, but as the year continues to roll forward, I'm sure it's become obvious that this project is a bit behind. Between all the additional time I needed last year to sculpt the new pieces and now with all of parts and figures that the factory has to account for, it's no surprise that the production process is taking longer than expected.

Nothing to see here
Nothing to see here

 

On the plus side, the tooling factory is committed to doing the best job they can with these figures and I'd much prefer that they take the time they need to get everything right instead of trying to push everything through to meet a deadline. They've all been very communicative and helpful throughout and I have no doubt that these figures will turn out great- we'll just have to wait a little longer than expected. Once the production factory gets the tooling and finalizes the paint and packaging, I will be able to get an accurate timeline of what to expect. Shipping this Summer could still be a possibility however, but it's too early to know for sure. I will keep you all posted on the production schedule as more information becomes available.

Well that's all for now. Before I go though, I want to update you all on the BackerKit status. There are still 46 Kickstarter backers left who have not submitted their survey info (please check your spam folder if you think this may be you.) And there are 8 people with declined credit cards. Please be sure to fix these issues as soon as possible to guarantee your order. If you have any questions or if you wold like to add to your existing order, feel free to contact me via message or email me at dsilva20@creative-beast.com .

And please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all of the latest news and updates on this project and more. Also, don't forget tell your friends about the Backerkit Preorder store if you haven't already.

Until next time- later!