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"Production costs between hard and soft plastic ?" Topic

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21 Jul 2016 3:32 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Production costs bEtween hard and soft plastic ?" to "Production costs between hard and soft plastic ?"

742 hits since 21 Jul 2016
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Comments or corrections?

BelgianRay Inactive Member21 Jul 2016 12:01 p.m. PST

I know you need a fair amount of hard plastic sprues to be sold to get brake even, and once there you can make good money. Is there a diffence if the sprues were soft plastic ?

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 12:19 p.m. PST

Unless one requires more processing time (which is typically seconds in an industrial injection molding machine), the only main difference would be the cost between hard (styrene type plastics) and soft (PP/PE type plastics.) Any cost difference could be outweighed by the reusability of the soft versus no recycling with the hard.

I should also say that the biggest cost is the molds, or toolings. The cost to make each one is minuscule compared to the tooling.

John Treadaway21 Jul 2016 1:25 p.m. PST

As far as I'm aware, the real difference is it's far easier to make one piece figures in soft plastic because they can be popped from the moulds because of the flexible nature of the finished material.

Hard plastic figures either have to lose details, be manufactured in a very simple "flat" pose (how many figures can you use doing star jumps? Not many….) or have to be made as multi-part kits with separate arms and so forth.

The latter means, I guess, that you get fewer on a sprue and therefor costs (design and manufacturing) probably go up.

I get the impression that the small number of pennies in plastic that a sprue costs is next to irrelevant, whether it's hard or soft plastic.

John T

Vigilant21 Jul 2016 1:57 p.m. PST

Also most wargaming companies know the aversion people have to the soft plastic due to the problems with them holding paint. Using soft plastic would not seem to be a good marketing option.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2016 2:36 p.m. PST

Vigilant there are tens of thousands of soft plastic figures with most being sold for wargames and diorama builders who paint their figures. Many of the new soft plastics hold paint very well, many of the new paints work on the old soft plastics and many new techniques make painting any soft plastic figure doable.


Don't let metal and hard plastic snobs keep you from painting your soft plastic figures.

I generally don't paint mine because I don't like to paint. My metal figures seldom get more than a primer coat and an overspray of a solid color.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Green Tiger22 Jul 2016 1:44 a.m. PST

Personally I am far more likely to buy soft plastic rather than hard. I suspect the cost is down to economies of scale (pardon the pun). Soft plastic is produced in large quantity fo r a mass market whereas hard plastic is more specialised. I think they cost about the same to make the moulds.

VVV reply Inactive Member22 Jul 2016 1:44 p.m. PST

Oh I reckon the cost for a hard plastic mould has dropped a lot. Perhaps £7,000.00 GBP these days.

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