Fans who attended the recent “Power-Con” event in Columbus, OH were treated to a number of surprises at the Four Horsemen Studios’ booth. Based on the reactions we saw, the most welcome of these surprises was the display of test shots from the Cosmic Legions – Hvalkatar: Book One wave. In this “Behind the Scenes” article, we will look at this display, as well as some additional photos of these new test shots!
What are “Test Shots”?
First off, for fans who may be new to the term “test shots”, let’s explain what these are and where they fall in the production process.
Test shots are examples of the figures that we are sent from our factory during the process of creating our toys. All of the Cosmic Legions line was sculpted digitally, and the prototypes we showed off during the reveal for Cosmic Legions were actually figures made largely of 3D-printed parts. The joints on those prototypes are not actually functional, and the figures themselves are very fragile. This is why there is limited posing during that early prototype stage where we take photos for promotional purposes.
The digital files are sent to our factory in China where they determine the best way to produce the parts needed. This is a great partnership, and we are often amazed at how the factory engineers the parts themselves and how they separate the sculpture. They then create silicone molds to produce these parts and assemble what is known as a “fine cut”. These are also fragile pieces, but they are meant to show the parts for approval before the steel molds are cut. We did an article on the Cosmic Legions fine cuts a short time ago that you can read here.
Once the fine cuts are approved, the steel molds are created and test shots are run through those molds using the same plastics that will be used for the final figures. This is what we had on display as Power-Con 2022! The ones we had were actually the very first test shots we had seen for the line, and there were some notable changes that needed to be made. For example, the lower legs on Thygar (GraveRing) were the wrong ones, so this is a note that we would make for the factory. We test the figures and make note of changes that are needed. Eventually, once all the changes are made, we get a set of test shot figures produced in a single gray color. These are the test shots that our fans are familiar with, since we also sell very limited runs of these test shots on StoreHorsemen.com (yes, we do have plans to sell Cosmic test shots at some point in the future).
The test shots from Power-Con used a few different colors to more easily show the plastics used. On some of the figures, namely the Zeeri and T.U.5.C.C. Engineer, their upper arms and upper legs used existing production parts rather than test shot plastics since those are made from older tooling and don’t actually need to be approved.
Posing Test Shots
One of the coolest things of finally getting test shots in hand is being able to fully pose them the way we had planned to when they were being designed. 3D-printed prototypes and fine cuts will not hold up to dynamic posing, but these test shots are the same materials and construction as the production pieces will be, so once we have them in hand we can really put them through some posing exercises! These dynamic poses were what many fans reacted to so positively at Power-Con! Below are some shots that Eric Treadaway took after posing the figures in the studio, detailing how they should look in the display case at Power-Con!
Below we have some shots that were taken in the studio prior to these being packed for the show. Set against the plain background, we can get a better look at the details of these figures. In the three images below we can see the T.U.5.C.C. Sentry posed with his weapon hitting a very cool “aiming” pose. The inclusion of hands that allow them to be posed with a “trigger finger” and have the weapon’s sight held as if the figure was indeed aiming really shows how much fun it is going to be to pose these toys!
Two other figures that got a huge reaction at the show were the pair of Sphexxians. The build on these figures is complex, and the prototypes were so fragile that they did not even make it onto the table at last year’s Power-Con where the rest of the line was shown off in person for the first time! The Sphexxians were actually in pieces up in Eric’s hotel room, so having these test shots really allowed us to pose them and display them for fans to check out – and the feedback we got from many of those fans was “I did not order enough of those bugs!” You can see some images below of the Sphexxian Block Commander (the one without a mask one) and the Sphexxian Prison Guard.
Another huge hit from the show was Kraggnar! He was one of the most popular figures during the preorder, and the reaction to him was as positive as we hoped for at the event. Being able to see all the incredible scaly details on his sculpture really showed Power-Con attendees the level of detail that these new figures will include! Below is a shot of Kraggnar, as well as two of his companions in the GraveRing – Thygar (Hvalkatar version) and Vorgga!
What’s Next For The Figures?
One question we heard LOTS of people asking at Power-Con was “what does this mean for a release date for these figures?” We are actually in really good shape on this front! While there are some changes that need to be made based on these test shots, the figures are really nice and the changes needed are very minimal. Those changes will be made and new samples sent, and eventually we will see factory painted samples of all the figures for another round of reviews and approvals. Those painted samples are the final stage needed before full production begins! While we never reveal an exact date when items will ship, since there are still so many variables to consider between now and then that could change that date, all signs point to these being in hand and starting to ship for preorder customers in early 2023. It won’t be long before Cosmic Legions are invading your collection!
For one final “Behind the Scenes” look, below is some very early packaging prototyping we have been doing at the studio on the Kraggnar and Slogg figures. The figures are obviously amazing, so the packages they come in need to be equally incredible! Wait until you see what we have planned for these – definitely something to cover in a future article here on SourceHorsemen!
Published on 08.11.22