The Many Faces of Johnny

This section of the site is definately a Work in Progress.

It is designed to highlight just the heads of the various figures and differences in the molds used for the evolution of the face. I will continually update this section as I learn more.

If you have any information or pictures that I'm missing please let me know- this is a real community effort!


General Info

Figure heads were molded at the same time as the hands for that particular figure. Usually, there were two heads and 4 hands cast at the same time. The factory workers would then separate the head and hands from the sprue and the head would go into a 'Painting tool' that would mask out everything but the hair. The worker would then spray paint the hair the appropriate color for the figure. This had to be a very fast drying paint because the next step would be to hand paint the eyebrows, eye pupils and if appropriate the beard and/or moustache. All of this had to be done quickly and then the heads would be stored in bins awaiting assembly.

By my study of the PL books I know there were usually several molds made for each part of 'Johnny'. However, I had no idea so many head/hand molds were made for each figure. How do I know that each version of the head is a seperate mold? Simply because of the markings on the neck post. These numbers / letters are part of the mold, not caused by an insert like the figure ejector pin date stamps.

I believe that head cavities were numbered in order for the workers to determine which head came from which side of the mold, making any necessary repairs easier. The first mold for a figure likely did not have numbered heads. It's then possible that as new molds were made, the molds were numbered so that if head #4 was defective, they would be able to know which mold to service instead of looking through all the molds to find the issue. Hence, I believe, not counting the unnumbered head, there should be an even number of head molds for each figure. Both sides of the mold for the unnumbered head would be the same... unnumbered.

There are many factors to differenciating each head version:
  • Number or Letter on the Neck post
  • Type of Spring rest (that raised area inside the slot for the shoulder spring
  • Location of the ejector pin marks
  • Beveling of the bottom of the neck post
  • Physical differences in the face / hair sculpting
  • Hair paint color


The Heads