The making of a pint-sized plastic geek
Take a peek into how GeekMan went from some scribbles on scrap paper into a 6” tall, 3D plastic action figure. It’s a long journey that involved an admittedly ‘crazy’ idea, some computer nerds and webheads, a gaggle of geek-inspired artistic talents, and many evenings and weekends…
- Articulation and Prototyping
- Paint Master
- Getting it to you
The creation of GeekMan was a two year odyssey, and began in early 2002 with an idea – that the IT realm needed a bona fide superhero. As toy junkies, we decided that the first manifestation of this new hero should be an action figure. And thus, an idea was born.
Kyle Kim and Justin Cheong, both webheads and design gurus, volunteered to help out. Some of the first, very rough concept sketches by Kyle in the spring and summer of 2002 gave a starting point.
While we were refining the concept we did the necessary work on the business side, to ensure we knew how we were going to make GeekMan a reality.
In fall of 2002 Robert Blair brought his artistry and sculpting experience into the mix, transforming the 2D concept into a new 3D figure.
Robert offered several creative ideas for GeekMan’s design and for the figure, and created different versions in super sculpy (clay) and castilene (waxy clay). The sculpts were done as 12” figures (called ‘2-up’ in the toy industry), which allowed for greater detail. Robert completed the final figure sculpt with rough articulation in mid-winter of 2003. Some pictures of the figure during its sculpting transformation:
With a finished sculpt in hand we fine-tuned the prototype and articulation. This was accomplished through the work of Greg Beals and his sculpting and technical expertise. Greg molded and recast GeekMan piece-by-piece into epoxy (hard plastic), ensuring that each articulation point had the desired range of motion. He also sculpted the pocket protector and glasses, and resculpted the waist to allow a different method of waist articulation, while maintaining much of Robert’s original detailing.
After many weekends and late nights, at the start of summer we sent a final ‘works like’ prototype to our factory.
With the molds from the final prototype we cast additional copies, and made static models (statues, rather than working articulation points). One of these static models was sent to Suzanne Lunquist, an experienced toy and model painter, who created the GeekMan paint master.
A paint master is used as a template – each mini geek we make is matched against the colours and paint detailing on the paint master. Suzanne used her experience and artistic eye to suggest different approaches to creating the best paint master possible. Some pictures of GeekMan during the painting process:
One of the basic tenets of toy industry (and any consumer product, for that matter) is that the package is just as important (and in cases, more so) than the product. No matter how great the GeekMan Action Figure was, without great packaging no one would ever see it.
Justin Cheong and Kyle Kim accepted this challenge, and from initial concepts through to the final draft they did a ton of revisions to make sure everything was just right. Kyle created the GeekMan logo, giving our super Geek a stylish superhero decal of his very own. Justin led the package design, and worked with Kyle to make package artwork worthy of holding our product.
During summer we worked with our factory to create a final tooling model. This occurred through several collaborative review stages, starting from our 12” prototype and ending with a 6” final model.
Getting it to You
Your GeekMan Action Figure traveled a long way to help save your digital day!
After he was made in China, he was loaded on a container ship and sent for the Pacific West coast. After a few weeks bobbing at sea, he landed in Vancouver and rode the rails into Toronto. Then, we quickly sent him on his way again, arriving at the adoption center / retailer you (or your friend) visited to pick him up.
All told, GeekMan logged more than 13,000 km (8,000 miles) on his journey to his new home.
GeekMan Action Figure - Credits
GeekMan was brought to you by...
GeekMan Creative Team
Kyle Kim, Justin Cheong – Design
Robert Blair – Sculpture
Greg Beals – Prototype
Suzanne Lundquist - Painting
Kris Schantz, Shirley Yee – Creators
Happy Worker Biz Team
Kris Schantz – Mr. Happy Worker and Co-owner
Shirley Yee – Mrs. Happy Worker and Co-owner
Rod Thacker – Legal-Eagle-Beagle (Advisor)
Jason Herod – Mr. Money and Bean Counter (Advisor)
Special thanks to:
Sarah Kelly, Pierre Sanon and Joey Seto for their help in many ways, and especially for helping to edit our packaging text. Kurt Schantz for his feedback and helping admin our boxes.
Peter Naylor, Norman Lloyd, Brooke Abercrombie, and Jed Ferdinand, who shared their experience and advice in toys and action figures.
Linda Parker and Sheila Edmondson of the Canadian Toy Association for helping us get our act together for toy fair.
To our families, friends, and everyone who gave their time, feedback and support - THANK YOU!