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How is machine printing done?


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#26 DarkKnight7

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 07:53 PM

Has anyone had Christo do custom printing for them? I live in the U. S. and would consider it for a few designs that are sellable but, I'd like to hear others experiences using Christo for his services. Any info would be greatly appreciated!

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#27 Praiter Yed

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:27 PM

View Postnemesis4670, on 16 June 2012 - 05:42 AM, said:

I don't know if this is any help with the guys who have knowledge on this subject but Christo told me that he has to create a printing press for every unique design.  So he's claiming even if it's multiple LEGO heads if they all have a different design printed on them he needs to make a separate printing press and that each press holds about 50 parts.

If this sounds familiar to you and you can better narrow down what he's using that would be cool.
That doesn't quite make sense, a 'printing press' would be the actual print machine. Assuming Christo is using a pad printer and that the process is similar to screen print, I would guess that what he has to do is create a new pad for each colour he has to print (you would create a 'screen' for each colour in screen printing) and that his jig holds 50 parts. Therefore, printing black only, just needs one new pad - printing 3 colours, needs 3 new pads, 1 for each colour and so on...

Edit: Again making a big assumption on how pad printing works; sounds like a pad, rather than printing 50 items at once, prints one-at-a-time and that's why he would need a new pad for each individual design.

Edited by Praiter Yed, 14 July 2012 - 11:32 PM.

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#28 Bilbo Baggins

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:51 AM

The more I think about it the more possible it looks, you can sell printed minifigs and in long terms you will gain back your money, for example this guy Christo is selling a Flash minifig for $100 *huh*

#29 Spider-Man

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:15 AM

He is an exception though I think. His work is absolutely incredible! Also his prices are based on consumer want considering it is all on the Ebay bidders. His last Flash sold for over $250!!
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#30 Darthkostis

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:41 AM

View Postnemesis4670, on 29 May 2012 - 11:11 PM, said:


But here's some information for you guys... Christo actually offers custom printing services.  You send him the parts and the design you want printed and he sends them back.  He said that it's 50 cents per color per print.  But that it'll be more expensive if you don't buy an entire jigs worth of printed parts.  Meaning if you just want a single head printed it'll be more expensive per part.  

Maybe we can all chip in and get a bunch of our stuff made?  I sent him an e-mail back asking how many minifigures fit in a jig so I know how many to buy to keep the 50 cent price.  But it looks like if you wanted a simple minifigure with 2-3 colors it would be around $2 per minifig.   So if a jig holds 50 minifigs you're looking at $100 which is definitely a GOOD deal.

But he's extremely hard to get a hold of for obvious reasons and he's all the way in South Africa.  It took about 2 weeks to get the minifigs I bought from him.  So if you don't mind waiting 2 weeks and have $100 to spare you could probably get like 50 custom printed minifigs from him.   Not bad.
I didn't get this last part (i'm new here).So if i send him the parts he can print for me 50 figures (head,torso,legs,arms) from whatever licence i want for only 100$?
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#31 Henchmen4Hire

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:09 AM

That 50 custom figs for $100 sounds too good to be true, but what an amazing deal if it is! I wouldn't mind designing a bunch of torsos and exchanging the designs for free quality prints instead though. :classic:

$50 for just one printed minifig is insanity, no other way to put it. I used to sculpt and paint entire quality custom action figures and statues and would be lucky to get $50 lol. Making custom minifigures or action figures of popular/trendy characters is where all the money is. A quality Creeper or Darkhawk custom will get you like $20 bucks if you're lucky, but make a quality Black Widow custom and it's pretty much a guaranteed $70+ every time.

You never have to worry about copyrights. Pretty much every customizer has made at least a million Wolverine and Batman customs to sell, and publicly displayed their work, and they never get bothered by the companies.

Totally agree with your statement about never getting replies. I tried it too and didn't get anywhere, I guess they're just sick of answering the same question over and over, and why would they help out potential competition anyway, right?

I feel like waiting until the printing technology gets minituarized and easily affordable by hobbyists before diving into it, but I'm sure by then either it wouldn't be profitable anymore, I won't give a crap about LEGO, or I'll be dead. If I had a quality printer right now and if it were financially feasible, I would give everyone a free torso print just so they could see first-hand the quality of the print (have them pay all shipping charges of course). Hopefully that would get them hooked and would gladly pay for more, as well as tell their friends.

Hell, if I had a bunch of money to throw away I would just print free stuff for everyone, maybe ask them to donate some money to charity or whatever but not require it. I believe every kid and AFOL out there should have at least one kickass custom minifig they absolutely love without having to pay $50 for it (hey, it's great publicity! haha).

Anyway, good luck with this venture!

Edited by DrNightmare, 10 September 2012 - 10:09 AM.

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#32 Tim13

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:09 PM

These are good ideas, but how many of you a really going to go through with it. I'm 1/3rd done saving up for one of these printers. Like Christo, I don't want to say the one I will be using. I have about 40 designs right now that I'm waiting for the printer on. I believe in waterslide decals but definitely not paper or paint. I only like to do high quality things for designs ,so this is the only option for me.

The only problem with pd printing is that each part gets a new design. Let's take Red Robin for example. You have to stamp the black curved part on his torso first. Then you do the abs. then the harness. With all this the machine can miss. In printing, you can just screen one image over and have an exact copy of how you intended it to be. The pad thing is why you see LEGO faces with aligned lips but thou mouth line is off. Also if any of you saw the BrickQueen Video of Hulk, you will see that the face is not center.

#33 Omicron

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:22 PM

View PostBilbo Baggins, on 10 September 2012 - 12:51 AM, said:

The more I think about it the more possible it looks, you can sell printed minifigs and in long terms you will gain back your money, for example this guy Christo is selling a Flash minifig for $100 *huh*
He's not selling it for a $100. The auction bid is going for that amount ATM. Ideally he would sell the fig for $30 dollars, which is cheap given the fact the fig printing is high quality as Lego's, and the helmet is custom made and casted by him.

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#34 Mutemonster

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:57 PM

Brand new to this  fourum this is allso my first post
Iv been obsessed with superheroes for as long as I remember, I collected and customised egalmoss lead superhero. Figurines for years and made some
Nice custom figurines.
Iv recently got obsessed with  lego iv bought most of the DC and Marvel sets and collected loads of the mini figs in blind packs my thirst has not been quenched as the
Figs that can be bought are so limiting. So iv been looking in to how to get hold of quality mini figs of the comics I love.

Lego have licences for both DC  and Marvel I'm hoping they will relice blind packs like they did with mega blocks to cover the characters that may be a littel more obscure
Or won't get a set dedicated to them but there will always be ones never Made!

But I will never get hellboy figs or judge Dread as carnt see lego seeing the licence attractive enough

ID Love a good custom Dread mini figurine that is of the same quality as that green lantern with a Anderson and judge death fig to accompany them and plus
So if you guys can machine a good dread costume and helmet.

Iv done some plastic moulding in the past so may try and custom make the helmet and shoulder pads that give dread that look but that's gonna be a while in the future
As I'd have to set up a work space again.

#35 Spider-Man

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

Welcome to Eurobricks! It's nice to see another fan of comics on the forum  :thumbup: Sadly thought this thread is not for requesting people to machine print things for you. The closest we have to that is that you can request decals in the Decal Request thread, and if another member has time and thinks it's doable will post back there when they have finished it!  Again welcome to the forum!
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#36 Mutemonster

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:59 PM

And you happen to be my favourite hero of all mr Spider-Man
Love the scarlet spider and the FF Spider-Man btw

Cheers yer found this thread as I'm particularly interested in machine print mini figurines.after reading the posts on hear I know I won't bet setting up with a printer any time soon
But I do have skills so hoping I may be able to trade my way to getting  a decent dred figure so was just really wanting to know how far the guy had got with his printing ;)

#37 Spider-Man

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:28 PM

View PostMutemonster, on 01 October 2012 - 07:59 PM, said:

But I do have skills so hoping I may be able to trade my way to getting  a decent dred figure so was just really wanting to know how far the guy had got with his printing ;)
Ah well there are a few places on the internet that you can send art and pieces to that will print them for you, however it is incredibly expensive! Good luck with what ever you plan to do and I hope it works out for you!  :thumbup:
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#38 Tim13

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:44 AM

View PostPraiter Yed, on 31 May 2012 - 11:47 PM, said:

I don't own any Christo customs but I have admired them from afar. Given what you say about the quality of them I would guess that they are pad printed. I still stand by what I said earlier in this thread, that digital flat-bed printers are the most accessible to customisers (although still prohibitive on cost), but if you aim to get a similar quality to Christo I don't think a digital flat-bed printer is going to achieve that - I suppose you'd need to get a trial print from the suppliers prior to committing to buy.

With regards to design, if you intend to do the design work yourself that's ideal, but I suppose if you see anything you like by other customisers it could be worth making a freelance/one-off production deal with them. I reckon most customisers would be up for seeing their designs machine printed and earning a bit of cash on the side.

I believe you're mistaken. the flatbeds are actually better than the pad's Christo's prints will look like anyone elses prints because they are small(excluding low quality printers). the smaller an image the better the quality. that's why cropped images start to look bad ; most things will perform like Christo's except for the low quality pads. The flatbeds use the ink that's needed. If you look closely at pad prints you can see the thickness of lines varies and is sometimes smudged. To see the difference in quality(not saying anything is bad or good no opinions) look at Chrito's work and eclipsexgraphics work. Not putting anyone/thing down, just stating the facts of the printers.

Edited by Tim13, 03 October 2012 - 02:45 AM.


#39 nemesis4670

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:36 AM

I can't say how but I got a Custom Flash for free in exchange for a favor.  It's seriously amazing and that custom helmet just blows my mind.  If you guys want more detailed photos I took some as well as a few to show off my collection of 100% machine printed minifigures.  All of them are either official LEGO or high quality machine printed.  No decals in the bunch.  Then the last photo is one of my new cabinets I'm filling (I have 3 full of minifigures) which has star wars LEGO and some customs made with decals which I will hopefully have as machine printed instead at some point.  Enjoy!

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#40 LuxorV

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:41 AM

nemesis4670, could you please reduce the pics size to 800 pixels maximum, as per our Member Guidelines? Thank you.


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#41 commodore_legolas

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:03 PM

What was the favor?! Very nice minifig set up. I keep meaning to make something like that, but I havent got around to it.
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#42 DarkKnight7

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:18 AM

Wow! You got one heck of a collection there! Especially of Superheroes...shouldn't be hard for you to come up with a new Superheroes Avatar for the contest ;P

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#43 nemesis4670

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 08:09 PM

View Postcommodore_legolas, on 05 November 2012 - 05:03 PM, said:

What was the favor?! Very nice minifig set up. I keep meaning to make something like that, but I havent got around to it.

He made a mistake on something and needed me to help him with a few shipments.  Something along those lines.  As a thank you he hooked me up with a free one.  Coolest part is that minifig now goes for about $300 on eBay because of the custom made helmet.

My collection of super heroes is even bigger now. :laugh:   About another 15 extremely awesome minifigs.  I have total OCD when it comes to these things.  No other LEGO theme really intriguies me as much as the DC and Marvel ones do simply because I was a huge comic book geek as a kid first and foremost.   LEGO came second.

The coolest part is that I just got the official 2013 DC Universe Minifigures and the machine printed ones from Christo actually look BETTER than the official LEGO.  For instance Bane,  Aquaman, and Comissioner Gordon are way more detailed and have sharper/higher quality printing.  Christo is seriously a master of his craft and I highly recommend his work.


View PostLuxorV, on 05 November 2012 - 08:41 AM, said:

nemesis4670, could you please reduce the pics size to 800 pixels maximum, as per our Member Guidelines? Thank you.

Hey sorry...  but may I suggest something?  They make many mods for forum scripts like this that will auto-size photos down to whatever pixels you want.  When someone posts an image over 800 pixels it would resize it down to 800 (or whatever you want) and then when a user clicks on it you can have it either expand to the full size,  open in a new window full size,  or create a pop up in full size.

Much easier than members having to constantly resize every image especially if it's one that's not ours and is hosted on another site.  I'm sure a lot of instances pop up where you want to just paste an image from another site and it becomes tedious to have to download it, resize it, and then re-upload it elsewhere just to share it.

They also make mods that implement a tinypic or imgshack upload tool right into the post menu page.  That way you can upload an image and select a resize option and it will even produce a proper BBC code for the forum with the reduced image.

Just some suggestions to make this place better.

Edited by nemesis4670, 31 December 2012 - 08:13 PM.


#44 LEGODesigner Metro

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

Hello i'm new in this thread. Let me introduce my self. I'm LEGODesigner Metro. Maybe some of you has already found me in flickr. I just have to say Christo's is better than LEGO itself. And i'm planning to buy his gorgeous Flash figure Next month. But anyway this is a honor for me to join here Thanks !!

#45 skarski10

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 10:43 PM

Hey Nemesis,

I was wondering if you could update us on where you are in the process. I am in a similar spot you where when you started this thread. However, there is no way I'm going to be able to do something like this because I don't have the knowledge or skills to create the designs for the figures. I would love to hear any more information you have gathered in the last year or so.
I've been searching on eBay and found a few great looking sellers (including Christo), but have yet to pull the trigger and buy one. I actually don't own any superhero Lego figures, but am looking to start my collection. I love Legos and they where my favorite toys when growing up. I also loved anything superhero growing up and have really gotten back into comic books in the last few years. When I came across the Superhero lego series I was really excited, but this still don't (and probably never will) have some of my favorite characters.

It's hard to pay $20-$50 for one little Lego figure (not matter how awesome), so I had the same idea you did Nemesis.

Here is one of the favorites that I found: http://www.ebay.com/...984.m1423.l2649
Best looking Gambit by far (imo).

I realize this is an older post, but I wanted to PM Nemesis and it wasn't letting me.

#46 Robianco

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:06 PM

Is this thread still alive?

I'm essentially new to this forum although I've read through this before without posting but I wanted to comment.

There are so many people offering digital printing now that this thread may be more relevant than ever. I'd like to add that Christo's printing is the best custom printing available... from all the people I've bought from his are head and shoulders above anybody else... and that attracts the premium prices that he gets. There isn't a single custom printer that sells... even the more prominent printers such as eclipsegrafx that could handle the tattoo printing on Whiplash's torso for Christo's figure... and the custom made whips are what makes the figure totally unique. The Flash helmet is a perfect example of this... this is now being copied by another custom company but at slightly lesser quality... custom moulds are what's really taking these figures to another level.

Short runs are not a guarantee of accuracy in print... far from it. Working in the design industry and having items printed in relatively small and large numbers you simply don't accept poorly aligned print whether you've asked for one or 1000 copies. A printer should give you exactly what your artwork is set out as... anything less and they can have it back and start again. I think for printing terms you need to find a machine that can handle more than the standard 4 printing colours... something that can handle good solid whites and metallic inks on both light and dark torsos. Showing any kind banding from the printer heads is also not acceptable for me. I think that's where pad printing should offer the best quality of print. It just has to be done right.

I'd probably add that there are times when you can pick his figures up cheaper than others... asking for private auctions also helps to keep the costs down as they're a set price and can work out much cheaper than the final auction costs.

The thing that really works for him is the designs he uses... everything is pin sharp and looks authentically TLG... and that's what lets a lot of other custom printers down. Roughly drawn muscle definition on torsos... poorly drawn masks and eyes on heads. I'm very critical when it comes to custom figures as if it looks out of place against genuine Lego minifigures then they're not worth the price as far as I'm concerned. There are some terrible custom figures on eBay and they sell by the thousands. He also tends to produce film accurate designs such as Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Green Lantern, Sinestro, Batman, Catwoman... much more authentic than some of the TLG comparable figures. I also think that gradient colours are a no-no on Lego designs. TLG doesn't use them so neither should custom designers... but that may just be me being fussy.

There are some other great sellers who are really stepping up their game on the printing and design front... and if they keep pushing each other higher up the quality ladder then we'll all benefit as there'll be 3, 4, 5 or more people offering TLG quality product at competitive prices.

Finally... and I thought I should mention... there's a seller in the US who is offering custom printed heads and torsos at $25 for 5 of each... so $5 for a head and $5 for a torso of your design. Might be a good time to test those designs people have and see if the figures they have in mind are popular enough to attract buyers. A good custom figure with a well designed head and torso would sell for happily around the $25 mark which is a decent margin to start with.

#47 PremiumCustomWork

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 12:47 PM

View PostRobianco, on 08 October 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:

Is this thread still alive?

I'm essentially new to this forum although I've read through this before without posting but I wanted to comment.

There are so many people offering digital printing now that this thread may be more relevant than ever. I'd like to add that Christo's printing is the best custom printing available... from all the people I've bought from his are head and shoulders above anybody else... and that attracts the premium prices that he gets. There isn't a single custom printer that sells... even the more prominent printers such as eclipsegrafx that could handle the tattoo printing on Whiplash's torso for Christo's figure... and the custom made whips are what makes the figure totally unique. The Flash helmet is a perfect example of this... this is now being copied by another custom company but at slightly lesser quality... custom moulds are what's really taking these figures to another level.

Short runs are not a guarantee of accuracy in print... far from it. Working in the design industry and having items printed in relatively small and large numbers you simply don't accept poorly aligned print whether you've asked for one or 1000 copies. A printer should give you exactly what your artwork is set out as... anything less and they can have it back and start again. I think for printing terms you need to find a machine that can handle more than the standard 4 printing colours... something that can handle good solid whites and metallic inks on both light and dark torsos. Showing any kind banding from the printer heads is also not acceptable for me. I think that's where pad printing should offer the best quality of print. It just has to be done right.

I'd probably add that there are times when you can pick his figures up cheaper than others... asking for private auctions also helps to keep the costs down as they're a set price and can work out much cheaper than the final auction costs.

The thing that really works for him is the designs he uses... everything is pin sharp and looks authentically TLG... and that's what lets a lot of other custom printers down. Roughly drawn muscle definition on torsos... poorly drawn masks and eyes on heads. I'm very critical when it comes to custom figures as if it looks out of place against genuine Lego minifigures then they're not worth the price as far as I'm concerned. There are some terrible custom figures on eBay and they sell by the thousands. He also tends to produce film accurate designs such as Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Green Lantern, Sinestro, Batman, Catwoman... much more authentic than some of the TLG comparable figures. I also think that gradient colours are a no-no on Lego designs. TLG doesn't use them so neither should custom designers... but that may just be me being fussy.

There are some other great sellers who are really stepping up their game on the printing and design front... and if they keep pushing each other higher up the quality ladder then we'll all benefit as there'll be 3, 4, 5 or more people offering TLG quality product at competitive prices.

Finally... and I thought I should mention... there's a seller in the US who is offering custom printed heads and torsos at $25 for 5 of each... so $5 for a head and $5 for a torso of your design. Might be a good time to test those designs people have and see if the figures they have in mind are popular enough to attract buyers. A good custom figure with a well designed head and torso would sell for happily around the $25 mark which is a decent margin to start with.
Guessing that you're talking about us since Christo and Poppunkmunky are the only ones with "real" Flash helmets. So I should clear this up. When you like a vendor don't get partial to them. So Christo makes a Flash helmet, anyone else can to. It was our own idea to make a Flash helmet because we are making all the figures from LEGO Batman. I would say the Poppunkmunky helmet is better than the Christo one(while I still admire his). I comes off as a bit more accurate and has rubber bolts which are removable. Christo's bolts break easily. The Flash helmets are both based off of LEGO Batman 2. That's where we got our idea. There isn't one person that a character is entitled to and no one else can make it. It's not like we're coming out with custom Yoda heads. We have other moulds like a Batgirl Cowl(released before LEGO had pics up of theirs), and she has removable hair. So it's 2 pieces. We listen to our fans, and incorporate what they want and what we think they would want when we make a mould. Such as the Wolverine Cowl. We have the mould made already and plan on hooking it up to the machine soon. It is a 3 part mask I believe. The ears come off and are interchangeable. After all, we're paying thousands of dollars just for one. Point is we make all our own stuff based off what we come up with as a team in the shop.

Poppunkmunky's 5 for 25 deal is very good. I've used the service several times. They will even hire someone to make the designs for you if necessary.

I have actually changed my mind after remembering something year's ago about Pad Printing. I would say that my old pad printing is better than other digital inks. Can't tell why but we will have a couple pad printed customs every now and then. And possibly might do the switch eventually.

About who's best and such. I usually rate it on how well they do a character. Like I have a person I think is the best with superheroes, a person who's best with military, and person who's best with Iron Men, etc.
We often do not get much time to prepare for printing. I think it's safe to say no one throws out figures like us. We used the do 5 a week. Now we spend more time on each design. So it's down to 2-3 a week.
Usually people would prefer a better product(which we can totally handle), but our guys only have a certain amount of time, but still manage to throw out top notch figures.
And then you have to learn your printer. Pad printers are relatively easy to learn. Digital printers are bipolar lol.

When pad printing you don't get design errors where the printer somehow messes the design up. But you do get actual print errors. Like the pad may not pick up the entire design. I have numerous pad printed figures which are missing colors. I have Nightwing heads with no white in them. Only Black.

I think I'm going to try out some pad printing with my special stuff again ;-)

Thanks for the inspiration!

#48 Robianco

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 07:12 PM

Thanks for replying to my post.

Firstly... Apologies if I commented about anybody copying an element... My professional life tells me that concept and development time isn't always indicated properly by a production or release date.

My point was really about people offering more than just a printed head or torso. Lego has featured many popular figures in games and other media without releasing these to the public. Customisers are making these available... But taking things do much further!

I own figures from several custom companies including Christo and Poppunkmunky as you mentioned... I regard them both very highly.

I actually have them and other sellers on eBay saved and view new listings regularly... I actually placed orders for 7 more customs yesterday.

Rather than having a 'favourite' I just watch what each of them are doing and look to pick things up although I only collect from certain lines and themes. Onlinesailin is another seller that has some excellent designs and print and thankfully in themes of interest to me.

My only issue is they're not uk based!! Without wishing to offend anyone the UK based custom people are catching up now... Designs are getting better but at times are let down a little by some of the things I mentioned in my last post.

This is something that creates the 'competition' between customisers... I don't think for one minute that any figure is the 'right' of one company over another but if 2, 3 or more companies produce the same figure... Bizarro for example... Or even the Lantern range... The design and print really comes into play and that can only be good for us buyers. I mean who doesn't want a range of Green Lantern corps with different, quality designs and all beautifully printed?

I agree with you about errors happening with different print techniques... Unfortunately that just happens from time to time. I just find that the pad printed figures I have are closer to TLG figures and that's something I take into account.

The problem I have is the more people start producing top quality figures the more it's going to cost me!



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