Prototypes, Mold Masters and Test-Shots

Prototypes, Mold Masters, Test Shots

From James West to the Victorian Riding Lady

Find out where the legends started and "how they make 'em".

Disclaimers and Stuff: This section is strictly for education. Most of this information I've gleaned from the internet. Mainly and and with permission from the parties involved. However, if you feel I've violated your copyrighted or intelletual property rights please let me know and I'll remove the information or credit you as necessary.

Where possible I'll give details, otherwise you may just get a set of pictures showing the various items in prototype or one-shot status. Enjoy!

The Definitions

Lots of speculation and misuse of these terms have become common-place in our hobby. The following list shows what I consider the definition of the terms I'll use in this site. If I'm wrong - at least I'll be consistent.

  • Prototype - A prototype is a piece that is in the 'design' phase of toy making. It may be hand made or from existing parts assembled in a new way but is usually very rough and far from the mold making process. Its purpose is to get management approval of an idea before committing too much time and material into the new venture. Very few real prototypes survive. They are not designed to last long in their current state and can go through many modifications before being turned over to the sculpter for Master making - After that it useless.
  • Mold Master - The original sculpt of the piece by the model makers in the Marx factory. Often sculpted from a hard clay like material called Tenite. This is the piece that would be sent to the mold makers to make the acutal metal molds from. Sometimes this process destroyed the Master but most often, it was returned to the model room.
  • Test Shot - A Test Shot is when the piece is actually molded in the injection mold. It can be the first few pieces as they are Testing the color of the plastic or can be a Test of new colors run in an existing mold.

The Uniqueness