Use Your Brain, Brainiac!
February 24, 2009

Or, when is green not the right green?

We all know Mattel has had some issues in the manufacturing of our favorite DC Comics characters. But the one that really puzzles me is how often the colors of the final product do not match the paint masters supplied by the Four Horsemen, or even the designs as seen in the comics.

Sure, they are the right color, per se. But they are not the right value of that color. And this should be a very simple process: your get a paint master, you match each base color to a Pantone guide, you figure out which parts are molded plastic and which are painted, you send these numbers off to the factory in China, and eventually you should get back some color chips that show the actual plastic that will be used, and what the base plastic looks like painted.  At this point you double check the samples against your original Pantone numbers AND the paint master. If they deviant, tweak them and send for new chips. This seems like a pain, but the manufacturing window is long enough that you should be able to handle at least 20-3 rounds of tweaks if necessary.But for some reason, what we see in the prototypes IS NOT what we get.

Case in point is the new Superman/Brainiac 2-pack shown at NYCC. The sculpts are great, but the green on the classic Brainiac (seen on the left)  is waaaaaay too blue, and waaaay too dark. In all the original comics he was more of an olive shade of green. Who makes the decision on what PMS was used? And is it too late to adjust it? See the original comic cover at right, and my quick photoshop mockup below left of what I think it should be. I just don’t understand going to the trouble of making these characters and not going all the way.

 

 

And speaking of color, check out the Superman on the right in the pic below, too.  If we’re going to get yet another Superman (albeit one with short hair with the new body) why not adjust the color on him, too, and give us a classic Superman in the shade of blue that the old comics used? The shade of blue that Christopher Reeve wore in the Superman movies? The shade of blue that was used for the Super Powers Superman figure? You get the picture. Fans don’t want to feel screwed with rebuying the same character,  so why not do everything you can to make it feel different? 

How about it, Mattel? And if you need someone to double check your colors on any other upcoming figure, give me a call. Better to head these things off up front than let a substandard product go to market.

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Jason "ToyOtter" Geyer
Jason Geyer has been part of the online toy world for nearly 20 years, having founded some of the very first toy sites on the web including Raving Toy Maniac, ToyOtter, and now Action Figure Insider. He is also a former toy designer who is now a marketing genius. If he does say so himself. And he does.
Read other articles by Jason "ToyOtter" Geyer.

 

 

 

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