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Latest Updates from Our Project:

Plastic Army Women Project: FALL FORWARD!
about 1 year ago – Sun, Sep 20, 2020 at 12:03:24 AM

Here's a TLDR recap:

  • The project is behind schedule, but also making good progress.
  • The Plastic Army Women injection molds are nearly complete. 
  • Kickstarter Rewards should start shipping around November 9th.
  • Kickstarter Backers please complete your survey here: https://bmctoys.backerkit.com/ .
  •  If you need help send an email to shop@bmctoys.com. 
  • Pre-Orders should start shipping around Thanksgiving.

Here's the full update:

The Backerkit site for all of our Kickstarter Backers to finalize rewards opened up a few days ago. So far about 80% of you completed your survey to choose  the colors for your packs of Plastic Army Women, verify shipping address, and add anything extra you wanted to add to your rewards. The information in the survey is a huge help to me as I'm getting production counts ready for the factory. If you haven't completed your survey yet please do so as soon as you possible.  If you didn't receive your survey email you can log in here: https://bmctoys.backerkit.com/ . Pledge rewards will be "locked in" October 1st. Before then you can still complete your survey or make changes. If you run into any snags or have any questions send an email to shop@bmctoys.com and I'll be able to help.  Don't worry if you can't complete your survey before the deadline due an emergency (it is 2020 after all). I'll still be able to help you get your pledge rewards.  

We've hit some more project milestones including the first and second "test shots" of the new Plastic Army Women injection molds. "Test Shot" is manufacturing lingo for plastic parts made when operating a plastic injection machine for a few cycles to get all the machine settings dialed in and test the quality of the finished product and get the mold itself working properly. The first test shots revealed a few minor issues that needed attention (which is normal). It looks like most of the problems were corrected in the second round of testing. There's just a couple of refinements before a final test and hopefully the molds will be ready to ship to Scranton after one more test (fingers crossed). Here's some low resolution snapshots the tool maker sent and your first glimpse at the real plastic versions of the figures:

 I received the first test shots earlier this week and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I think the scale and general style blends really well with other figures in the BMC product line as well as the wider "Plastic Army" toy universe.   Here's what I posted in the BMC Toys blog back in August of 2019:
"The general concept is a set of female combat toy soldier figures in the  style of the plastic army men from WW2-Cold War era that would blend in  with existing figures from a variety of manufacturers and look like  what the average person thinks of as 'little green army men' that just  happen to be women."
 It may not have been the most eloquent way to describe the project, but I think the project has kept true to the original intent. 


I know everyone is excited to see the project completed and wants to know when the troops will deploy. There's still a lot of unknown variables so I don't have a firm date yet.  My current best guesstimate is that the Kickstarter rewards will start shipping around November 9th, and Preorders a few days after that.   I understand it seems like it's taking forever and really appreciate everyone's patience. I'm working closely with everyone involved in these final stages of the project to keep things moving as quickly as possible. Some great news is that the Rosie the Riveter mold is complete and scheduled to arrive at the Scranton factory this week. Here's some of the plastic test shots:
 

Stay well, and tanks' for your support,
 Jeff at BMC Toys

Plastic Army Women Project: LABOR DAY UPDATE and BACKERKIT LAUNCH!
about 1 year ago – Sat, Sep 05, 2020 at 12:22:44 AM

The Backerkit site I've been promising (and delaying) over the past few months is finally ready. All Kickstarter Backers will be sent an email invitation to the site over the next few days. The site has all your pledge and reward info so you'll be able to choose the colors for your rewards, verify your shipping address, and the option to add extras. The extra items include packs and buckets of the Plastic Army Women, Rosie the Riveter figures, Buttons and Magnets, and an assortment of current Tim Mee and BMC Toy figures, vehicles and accessories that should work well with your new troops.   

The BMC Plastic Army Women injection molds have been built and tested for the very first time. They're currently undergoing revisions so the figures eject from the molds easily, which is very important for factory production. This mainly involves smoothing out any areas on the figures that cause them to stick in the mold.  The next test is scheduled in about a week, with samples sent to me for final approval (if all goes well). This is a really critical stage in the process and will have a big impact on the final production timeline. My best estimate is for Kickstarter Rewards to start shipping by the end of October, and Pre-Orders shipping by Mid-November. This timeline allows for some minor delays, but generally things need to go relatively smoothly to hit those deadlines. It's definitely a "fingers-crossed-knock-on-wood" situation at this time. Everyone involved is aware of the timeline and doing their best to get the project over the finish line. Here's a new digital mockup of the set that includes the additional figures revealed a couple of weeks ago:

The 36 piece packs will include doubles of the Riflemen, Pathfinder Captain, Machine Gunners, Bazooka Operator, and Grenadier. The Medical team, Wounded, Captain and Sharpshooter with field caps, Radio Operator, Mechanic, Military Working Dog and Handler will include one of each figure.

The BMC Rosie the Riveter mold is scheduled for it's final test on Monday to verify the mold is ready for the factory.  The first test went really well, there were just some very minor refinements that needed to be made including a slightly sharp part on a sleeve and making the 'e' a little easier to read. Rosie will be offered as 12 piece packs in 3 different color assortments. Kickstarter Backers will be able to add the packs to their rewards and also order packs in the Kickstarter exclusive copper color. Pre-orders are now open for folks who missed the Kickstarter campaign:

The local factory in Scranton, PA is very excited for the new molds arrive so production can get underway. The Made in the USA Buckets have arrived and other items for the bucket sets are currently being manufactured. My next task is to design the insert cards for the bagged sets and labels for the bucket sets. 

Have a safe and fun Labor Day,

Jeff at BMC Toys

Plastic Army Women Project: SUPER SUMMER SURPRISE
over 1 year ago – Sat, Aug 15, 2020 at 03:26:10 AM

There's a lot of exciting Plastic Army Women news to report:

The plastic injection molds have been built and will be tested next week. This is a major milestone for the project and gets us a big step closer to final production. Testing is followed by further adjustments and refinements to the molds. This process of testing and refinements may have to be repeated a couple of times.  After all the refinements have been completed the molds need to be shipped to the local factory. The factory will install the molds in a plastic injection molding machine for testing and dialing in the best settings for actual production.  I know everyone wants to know when the troops will be shipping out to backers, but I don't have a final timeline just yet as the length of time for each of these final steps can vary. My best guesstimate at this time is late October.  Here's a look at the in-progress molds:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Steel Injection Mold A
BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Steel Injection Mold B

I had originally planned for a 6 figure mold, but the Kickstarter Campaign stretch goals brought the count up to 18, which meant 2 molds would be needed.  I was content with a 12 figure and 6 figure mold, but when it came time to finalize the molds I had a thought. I realized with the combination of Kickstarter Backers and pre-orders it might make sense to expand the second mold to 12 figures (it's an economy of scale thing). I set about deciding which figures would go in each mold and which ones would get duplicates. It was during this process I had a crazy idea, what if there  was a way to add 6 different extra figures to the second mold? 

This seemed like an especially bad idea at the time because the master prototypes were behind schedule and I couldn't risk setting the project back even more. New sculpts were out of the question, but maybe 'conversions' could work somehow? Conversion are when an existing figure sculpt is altered in some way to make a new figure. Common conversions can be a head swaps, equipment change, or adjusting the position of legs or arms. Sometimes parts from different figures can be combined. I knew the molding and casting of the final couple of figures would take a few days, so I came up with some conversion ideas and ran them by the sculptor. I also checked if the mold maker could use the converted  sculpts directly instead of having resin masters made (which would take too long). It's generally not done this way because if the only copy of the sculpts are lost or damaged in transit a whole new sculpture must be made from scratch. With the sculptor and tool maker on board I decided to take a shot, and if the conversion figures didn't work out, nobody would ever have to know. Since you're reading about this I can finally announce the 6 "Surprise" figure poses that will be in each set:

  • Figure #19 Light Machine Gunner Firing
  • Figure #20 Field Cap Pathfinder Captain 
  • Figure #21 Prone Rifleman (without scope or bipod)
  • Figure #22  Field Cap Kneeling Sharpshooter with Scope
  • Figure #23 Mechanic (scaled down Rosie the Riveter with plain base)
  • Figure #24 Advancing with Bayonet
BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Figures 19, 20, 21, 22 & 24

The final packs of Plastic Army Women will include 2 groups from mold A which is all the combat action poses and 1 group of Mold B which includes the medical and more specialized poses. This totals out to 36 pieces per pack that includes 23 different figures and a stretcher accessory.  

...and speaking of the Rosie the Riveter side project, her mold has also been built and was tested yesterday. Here's a photo I received from the first test figures:

BMC Toys Rosie the Riveter Plastic Injection Test Shots

If that wasn't enough  good news I'm also happy to report that I've ordered the USA made buckets for the playsets, plus the rest of the resin prototypes for Backer rewards have arrived.  I'm still not ready to open up the BackerKit site where you'll finalize all your rewards, but it is the very next project on my to-do list. It's got to be ready by the end of the month to keep everything on track, so I'll let you know as soon it's open.  

Stay Well,

Jeff at BMC Toys

Plastic Army Women Project: HAPPY 16th? of July
over 1 year ago – Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 09:54:07 PM

It's been an incredibly hectic summer here with all kinds of deadlines for many different projects in the works. I've been getting requests for an update so figured I'd better get on it since my planned 4th of July post is now a 16th of July post. (time flies!) 

The tooling for the project is still in progress. There were a lot of details to finalize between the factory and the tool maker to make sure the final plastic injection mold will work well in the factory's molding machines and be easily serviced over time. Technical things like the exact dimensions of the 'sprue bushings' and less technical things like the best number of cavities (figures) each mold would produce and even the final height of the bases.  There's 3 molds being made, two for the Plastic Army Women, and a smaller one for the Rosie the Riveter figure. 

Here's a pic of the Bazooka operator resin prototype next to the polyurethane model that is used to make the metal mold. You can see how the base was enlarged to make it more stable and a bazooka round was added next to her foot. This was suggested by a backer near the end of the Kickstarter campaign.  I had the sculptor place it in different spots, but was concerned it wouldn't work in the final plastic injection mold so had the resin version made as a separate piece and let the tool maker finalize placement to ensure the figure ejects from the mold smoothly:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Figure #6 Bazooka Operator Resin Prototype and Polyurethane Model

I know everyone wants to know when they'll be ready, but I can't provide a good estimate for a shipping date just yet. The project is behind schedule, but everyone working on it knows the timeline and will do their best to get production moving by October. I'll have a much better idea when the molds are ready for testing, which should be around mid-August. 

The sculptor has just completed casting all the resin prototypes for rewards and is in the process of finishing the details. That has also taken a lot longer than expected but at least it's nearing completion.

In the meantime I have been making preparations for production including choosing a pink for that color variant. I decided to have the color matched to the Tim Mee Toy pink soldiers that have been popular with many (but not all) project supporters. I've also booked production for BMC Classic Army Men and AA Tanks in the same color so fans of the Pink Platoon can reinforce their ranks:

BMC Classic Pink AA Tanks and Soldiers

That's it for now, the next update will probably be around the end of August when I have the Backerkit site open for Kickstarter reward finalization and add-ons.  

Stay Well,

Jeff at BMC Toys

Plastic Army Women Project: Little Big Shots on NBC this Sunday
over 1 year ago – Sun, May 24, 2020 at 04:41:54 PM

After months of being sworn to secrecy, I can finally announce that Little Big Shots with Melissa McCarthy invited 7 year old Vivian Lord and her family out to California to be  part of the program. Vivian's letter brought the Plastic Army Women project to the media's  attention last summer and really helped get the project moving forward.  I'm not supposed to reveal any spoilers, but I have mentioned that some  of the resin prototypes were deployed to California earlier this year  for a secret mission, so maybe we'll get to see them a little? The show will air on NBC this Sunday evening at 7pm  Eastern (March 24th, 2020). 

To give a quick update on the  project, all the all the resin prototypes have been delivered to the  plastic injection mold maker. Getting to the tool making phase of this process is a major milestone for the project. Minor refinements are being made to make  sure the bases are all the right size and that the finished plastic  figures will come out of the steel molds smoothly. It takes a couple of  months for the plastic injection molds to be made, then the molds will  be tested, refined, and tested again until the they're ready to ship to  the factory in Pennsylvania for production of the finished plastic figures. Another refinement that will be made by the tool maker is the Prone Sharpshooter is getting her bipod back.  The bipod had to be removed from the original sculpt for casting the  resin prototypes, but we should be able to restore it for the plastic  version. Here's a quick mockup from the tool maker:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Prone Sharpshooter Resin Prototype with BiPod mockup

Another detail we're working on is the  Military Working Dog leash. I made a prototype out of some wire and we're going to try to have it molded with the dog so it doesn't get lost in production  but is easily detached for play:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Military Working Dog Leash Mockup

Here's the group photo from the last update with the color digitally evened out and adjusted. I think they are looking pretty epic:

Have a safe and thoughtful Memorial Day,

Jeff at BMC Toys