Behind the Scenes: Meet The Prototype
This past August we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for the Zelensky Action Figure. Since then, we've been off to the races, trying to get him produced as quickly as possible. (Don't worry. If you missed him on Kickstarter, you can preorder him right here.)
Over the next few months, we'll be sharing his journey from clay sculpture to Real Life Action Figure right here on our blog.
We want to make it super-clear that this is a peak behind the scenes. Action Figures don't pop out perfect on the first shot.
So, if he doesn't look quite right to you, fear not. This is all a part of the process. Getting these guys made is an intercontinental collaboration and it takes a lot of back and forth to get all the artistic details "just right".
The figure you see waving down below is the very first prototype. In all the previous photos we've shown of him, you were seeing the original - the clay sculpture that was hand-made by Mike Leavitt.
As you can see, he's now made of (fantastic) plastic and has all his moving parts. In technical speak, he's now fully "engineered".
Our job from here is to get the plastic one to look as much like the original clay one as possible. Over the coming weeks, we'll be working on getting the "deco" (aka; paint job) dialed in. You'll see just how big a difference that can make in our next update!
Tell is what you think in comments section below!
Has there been any work done on this figure since this post in October? I had ordered in September and being that early 2023 was the shipment estimate I'm hoping there are more updates? Anything in the works to share with the customers? Thanks!
Wow the original figure you showed us is far superior to this one. The colors are better. He looks more like Zelenski and it captures more of him. This one is truly not good. Too dark, the beard is wrong and the outfit color is off. I have pre-ordered this because I love all your figures! He will proudly sit with all of the others I purchased, but please fix him before deciding he is done! Thank you!
His soul patch is missing.
Hi. We’ve said it a few times now but will say it again – this is just the first round and what you’re seeing is par for the course. Every figure we’ve ever made has had to go through a few rounds of creative back and forth before we got it right. Imagine seeing a preview of Star Wars before they’d applied the special effects. The point of sharing the behind the scenes with everyone is so you can see how the product gets made but the expectation is that you won’t judge the work in progress as if it were the final product.
Hello We love your action figures – always a great stocking stuffer, and I have pre-ordered this one but I think the issue is the worry brow is missing, the beard is off – look on line there is more of a gap between the beard and his bottom lip, and the hair line need to be addressed, while I'm no artist myself I think there is a bit more refining to be done here. Looking forward to the end result He looks more Middle Eastern than European
Looks nothing like Zelinsky. It simply doesn’t it show his strength, resilience, determination or any other characteristics that has made him one of the most important individuals in modern history. While I love many of your “action figures”, your artists were not successful with this one.
Thanks for your message. I feel empowered now :) I agree that AOC is tough with nothing specific about her face to focus on. She’s a pretty woman, but not like a Farrah Fawcett where if you got the hair style right, there’d be some leeway with her face. I thought Kamala is a great likeness. Take care! I look forward to owning every character you create!
Hi Charles. Thanks for coming over to the blog to repost this. And we want to reiterate that (believe it or not) this is exactly the type of engagement and feedback we were hoping for by taking you behind the scenes like this. Pasting below our reply to you from Kickstarter with a couple of modifications.
Stick with us! We promise we know what we’re doing here. This is a behind the scenes look so that you all see the work that goes into the process and why it takes as long as it does.
Your feedback is exactly the kind of stuff we’re looking for at this stage. The development process is a back and forth between lots of people. It never pops out perfect on the first try. Now is when we can adjust all these details and get them dialed in. The feedback we get from backers will help guide us during that process.
To clarify one thing… the original photos you were seeing in the campaign were Mike Leavitt’s hand-made clay sculpture. That’s the original. The pic posted here is the first prototype. The end goal is to get the production pieces to look like the original, as much as possible.
Lastly, we want to agree and acknowledge that AOC was probably the toughest time we’ve had with a likeness. Tied with Kamala to be honest. With both of them, it was had to do with the original sculptures not fully capturing their likenesses. There’s only so much you can do with paint in that case.
To keep a long story relatively short on that one – it’s just technically much harder to caricature young, attractive women than it is to caricature men or older folks. Caricature requires some exaggeration of certain features but as soon as you do that, you lose some “prettiness”. On other hand, if you just make them pretty, they look like generic barbie dolls. It’s an artistic tight rope, basically. One we’re trying to improve at.
The good news? If you thought the original Zelesnky pics looked good on Kickstarter, that means we got the sculpt right on him. (And we believe that we did!) Everything else is just a matter of getting the “deco” right. And we are very good at doing that. It just takes a lot of work and a lot of back and forth. All of which you will be seeing in these “behind the scenes” posts.
(So stay tuned!)
Hi – I’m sorry, I know there are limitations to the manufacturing processes, but this just doesn’t resemble Zelinsky as much as the prototype does. The beard is way too dark too – he has sort of a sketchy beard, so a light brown color would be better. His hair looks a bit too dark as well. I prefer the original clothing colors too. This may all sound negative, but honest comments are part of the process. The AOC is a real disappointment – it just doesn’t look like her. I can’t complain though. I didn’t speak up then.
He looks great. Thanks for the update. Love that you guys do this. It’s fun to follow along.