Hand Painting and Machine Painting
Both hard copies and first shots can be hand painted. In the case of hard copies though, they are always hand painted because at that stage of the creation everything is done by hand. The most important painted hard copies generally serve as paint masters so that the people in charge of production will know what part of the figure gets painted a certain color. These masters also help them determine what the base color of the plastic should be in order to minimize the amount of paint required. For instance using white plastic for a Stormtrooper and painting in the black accents. First shots are hand painted when the automatic painting process hasn't been set up or the "masks" haven't been prepared yet. Masks are used to cover up certain areas of the action figure so that only specified areas will be painted a certain color by the machine. Usually there is a different mask associated with every color to be put on the figure. Some first shot figures have been found that have hand painted accents in addition to machine painted ones.

Description: Chris Georgoulias