What happens to the moulds of limited or special event dolls?

Jun 4, 2018

    1. I've been thinking about this recently, seeing as most companies do lot's of limited event dolls that you can only get for a few months. So after they've finished the event? what do the artists from the companies do?

      Do they keep them in a special room for future reference?

      Do they have a museum room where they showcase all their previous dolls to chart the history of the company?

      Do they take them outside and blast them with a shotgun as target practice?!
      (Okay maybe not this one XD)

      But where do they all go? It must take them forever to design a limited doll mould. It seems silly to think companies would just throw them away when the event is done? What do you think they do with them? Anyone have any insider knowledge?

      I must find the answer!
       
    2. Sometimes they do re-releases. Soom often does. So am pretty sure they keep the mastermolds in a special place to let them become alive again for re-releases.
      I wondered about this when Iplehouse discontinued some sculpts. Wondered if they destroy the mastermold (of the head, as the bodes stay the same usually) and store them in a "box for rubbish" or destroy them. What a shame, if they did
       
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    3. Well, the moulds themelves have limited life expectancy. They will deteriorate over time, or after a certain number of casts. This can sometimes cause delays in orders of normal line dolls, when a mould has to be remade. The original sculpts (if not damaged by the mould making process) could be remoulded or if damaged could be repaired and remoulded.

      I’m not sure exactly how long a mould would last or how many casts you’d get before it needs re making, I suppose that depends on the mould material, casting material and the style of the mould.

      I think if the mould is still useable, but they don’t want to cast any more at present, it’ll be put somewhere for storage that will enable it to be preserved for as long as possible. If it’s a third party casting company, they will keep the moulds in case the customer wants more casts, or they can destroy it on instruction.

      In the case of some custom sculpts I commissioned , I was advised the mould would keep for a year or so - but that’s specific to the material they used. Moulds can last many years if stored right and depending on material. However, with heavy use that time is greatly reduced. One of the original wax sculpts was destroyed and the other was shipped to me by the sculptor. If I ever see any others of these the casting company lied (I have no indication that they’ll not keep their word)!
       
      #3 Spuggey, Jun 4, 2018
      Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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    4. @Spuggey pretty much covered it. The casting company I plan to contract for my dolls will also destroy molds on request (or ship the mold to me). Basically, for individual artists, we hold sole rights to our original sculpts. It's a bit more complicated with company dolls like soom/iplehouse/volks since the sculptor is essentially the contractor in that case (so they're selling a service and their rights depend on the particular contract).

      It's worth noting that the mold itself is a sort of intermediate step in the process. The prototype or any cast sample set aside actually acts as the original piece. Molds are just the way the doll gets reproduced. They're always disposable in that sense.
       
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    5. Ooh I'm learning lots of new things here! I didn't realise molds where just another step in the process of creating the doll, or that molds can deteriorate or age. I always thought molds would last forever! Silly really when you consider everything wears away and breaks down eventually.

      And I hope the doll molds and leftover proto-types etc arn't destroyed. It seems like such a waste to work so hard creating a beautiful doll for people to enjoy and then just destroying all your work that you used to create it.
      Personally, I think they should start a museum of dolls and show off all the prototypes from all the different companies and how they've changed over the years, how they started out etc, and where BJD's came from. They could display dolls in dioramas and old concept art, things like that.
       
    6. Volks does indeed have a museum that features all of the Super Dollfies they have made. Volks made the first resin dolls that spawned our hobby, so their sculpt line-up goes back to the beginning, 1999.

      The museum is located at their headquarters in Kyoto. You have to make an appointment to visit, but it is free. They also have a shop, a cafe, and their own Japanese garden on the premises.
       
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    7. @Glowycatlamp100 You can check out some artists' social pages to get more insight into this. The habits vary, but usually we have our own copies of the dolls even if the mold is destroyed. I'll have 1-3 samples of each sculpt, for example. Destroying a mold is a security measure or a simple necessity if the mold is worn out. They're inherently disposable. But yeah, contract work aside, you can check out solo artists' blogs and social media feeds to see that typically they have their own copies, usually multiples.

      idrisfynn's right about Volks. They're the oldest and biggest company, so their facilities are incredible. Plenty of other companies have showrooms and such too. So even for companies, there's always a showroom type copy. It'd be interesting to know how sculptors who do contract work for the companies interact with their work. I sort of doubt they bother to keep copies in most cases.
       
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    8. I can also imagine that particularly body moulds are kept permanently. You sell the same body for a certain time, but there is always room for improvement. Maybe the artist wants to try out new joint technology, or he (general he) improved sculpting abilities and wants to rework something. That can always be an option.

      Or maybe change a head from headcap to face plate system or something like that. Since I have been in the hobby, there were always improvements on joint systems, changes in technical trends, to which sculptors have to adapt their bodies to a certain degree in order to be still able to find customers for them.
       
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