Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Production Update

Here's an update on our progress delivering pre-orders. The bottom line is that both Stately Caverns and Space Command should be shipped within the the next two weeks.

Stately Caverns is going very well. The walls are almost all done, that's installing 28 snaps in three walls (15 times) and building the sliding door walls for the library and the support wall for the batpole entrance. The sliding door is the most labor intensive. It involves cutting the plastic track, drilling holes in the exact right location using a template, and then hand cutting the wall parts away from the display box so they can be riveted onto the track. It's a time consuming operation, but it was great to finally get a rhythm going and crank out a bunch of these walls.

The biggest remaining job is to finish the batpole boxes but I just got my new 1/2 inch hole punch so that is underway. I need to assemble the consoles and the batsignal window, and then get everything boxed up for shipping. The whole playset weighs about 19 pounds and it will be packed well.
The Space Command Center is also well underway. The walls are 75% done and are moving smoothly. This thing has been a headache for sure. In pushing so hard to make the outside art interchangeable I really made a lot of extra work for myself. The issue is the snap-on consoles. In order for the art to be removable the snaps in the walls cannot go all the way through the layers of vinyl. These means the holes must be punched carefully by inserting a backing piece under the vinyl so the punch doesn't pierce the outside vinyl. Then the snaps have to be carefully slid into the pocket and hammered closed. It's a delicate operation and I kind of wish I could have just punched the holes all the way through and set the snaps and that would be that. So we'll have to make sure there is cool artwork to change in and out of these sets in order to make it worth the effort!

The sliding door on this is the same crazy operation with the tracks and the rivets and the cursing and grumbling. But it's worth it, they look really cool. Of course, the big issue with these is that the factory put the door on the wrong side and if you are a stickler for accuracy that's a big no-no. A few customers want it corrected and that is doable, it just means the walls won't be factory sealed anymore since I have to cut open the vinyl to remove the art and put it on the other side. I've done one though and it looks pretty good and didn't take that much extra time. Still, cutting that wall open was kind of sad.

The navigation console is now the major project and it's a real labor of love. When I made my original prototype the base of this console was a real funky affair. I wasn't actually sure how I would pull it off in reality.

It's made from scraps that come from making the tri-boxes. Follow me here. The tri-boxes are made from the tower tool modified to have 6 sections rather than two. The tower has three 1.5 inch tabs on each side to secure it to a stacked display. These have to be removed to make a tri-box so I have all of these really nice black vinyl rectangles I can use. They become the main face of the base of the helm.

The sides are then made from the scraps that result from making the triangle roof/floors for the triboxes. The triangles are made from a modification of the basic displaybox floor and there's this great angled scrap piece that gets cut off...the angle just so happens to work nicely as the base of the helm. How I stitch this all together is another story, but the result looks really good in my opinion. Obviously, Mego did theirs in plastic and if this was mass produced that would be the way to go. But I love the shiny vinyl consoles and this helm really finishes the piece off nicely.

My preorder customers are getting a heck of a deal on these Space Command sets. They are taking forever to make but they have a lot of time and love put into them. I'd charge a lot more for them if I could! Ha-ha.

So I think these will be shipping in about 2 weeks, I may ship them in batches as I get the helms finished. Keep an eye on your inbox, I will email you when it leave dry dock.

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