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Non-MUSCLE Sculpt Trees


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#1 Soupie

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:26 AM

Okay, if URS' theory of all the Non-MUSCLE sculpts being grouped together on trees for production is correct, here are what those NMS trees *may* look like. We could confirm or deny these trees based on Kinkeshi 28-pack information and on any similarities in color combinations between the trees/parts that these Non-MUSCLE sculpts are in. (For example, there is a clear connection between the trees in parts 6 and 7. Therefore, I think it makes sense to group the 2 NMS from Part 6 with the 2 NMS from Part 7 onto the same theoretical tree.)

Okay, here are the theoretical Non-MUSCLE sculpt trees (not to be confused with the real MUSCLE trees that were established using the MDB). It really wasn't a stretch to find groupings of 4, 5, and 6 close together Part-wise. And see since we already confirmed connections between Parts that were close together (Atlantis being part of a tree from Part 2 but being released with Part 3) it's not a stretch to imagine that the Non-MUSCLE sculpt trees consist of sculpts released in different Parts. Also, under each NMS tree, I listed the sculpt that *may* have caused this tree to be left out of the MUSCLE line.

NMS Tree One (there is the "Atlantis connection" between Parts 2 and 3):

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Nazi sculpt

NMS Tree Two:

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Nazi sculpt

NMS Tree Three (there is a clear color connection between Parts 6 and 7):

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African sculpt?

NMS Tree Four:

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African sculpt

NMS Tree Five:

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?

NMS Tree Six (recall the that Arforbes has the crouching Geronimo in red):

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Nazi and Native American sculpts

NMS Tree Seven:

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Native American sculpt

NMS Tree Eight:

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Guy with Cross necklace?

NMS Tree Nine:

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Sculpts with small pieces?

What do you guys think? And just for the record, I grouped the NMS sculpts by closeness in Part first... and then looked at each group/tree and found a sculpt that was questionable, not vice versa.

Edited by Soupie, 02 August 2008 - 08:34 AM.

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#2 Universal Ruler Supreme

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:58 AM

A bit raw, a few things aren't where I'd put them, but you can change that around later if more info calls for it.
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#3 Soupie

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 09:16 AM

Yeah, for example, the Part 13 Geronimo sculpt could just as likely be grouped with the Part 14 and 15 NMS in "NMS Tree 7." :woot:

Hopefully, if we keep our eyes peeled, will see these groupings of figures show up in Kinkeshi 28-packs or some other Kinkeshi set. Better yet, we'll find another Kinkeshi runner with one of these groupings on it!
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#4 General Veers

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 01:55 PM

Very interesting.

I easily agree with Tree 1 and 2 being dropped for Nazi reasons.

Tree 3 is probably correct too, although the bug guy in the bottom right could also have contributed. He does feel out of context with other MUSCLE figures.

Tree 4 could be the African, but even more likely is the woman and ballerina elephant. Those figures seem way out of place for a line of wrestling toys geared towards young American boys.

Tree 5 would probably be because of the gun, and the weird guy on the right – again, he seems out of place from a MUSCLE point of view.

Tree 6 is just the Nazi. The guy on the bottom (who I think you are talking about) is sculpted in another pose right? Isn’t he the same as #123? If they sculpted #123, then there’s nothing wrong with that figure. Tree 6 is just a Nazi tree.

Tree 7 is hard to call. I don’t think it is the Native American angle. It could be, but the figures in the top left and bottom right just feel more out of place. I’m just thinking of a account person or project leader thinking that someone will be upset with the out of place figures. Sure a brick top doesn’t seem like a wrestler, but it pairs with the brick figures and has great playability. The two figures I mentioned don’t do that.

Tree 8 is the baby figure and the monk-ish figure. The baby is out of place and they over thought the monk-like figure.

Tree 9 is likely the small pieces, but there could be something else that we are missing. Right now I’ll agree with small pieces.

Nice work!
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#5 Soupie

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

Yeah, like I said, after pondering URS' theory that all the Non-MUSCLEs were together on a few trees, and after finding that some figures that were made together on the same trees were released with different parts, I just browsed through my archive and clumped the NMS together in the groups/trees seen above. Then, remembering the idea that these groups/trees may have been nixed due to offense sculpts (knocking out the entire group, as you said awhile ago Veers) I just looked at each group, and an "offensive" figure in each wasn't too hard to find. (But are we finding them because we want them to be there or because they are really there? :woot: )

Tree 9 is likely the small pieces, but there could be something else that we are missing. Right now I’ll agree with small pieces.

Haha! I was going to add that Naochin confirmed for us that Part 21 Satan Cross came with the 2nd legs separate. That means that they would have had a mold all to themselves... If the legs were on the same tree as these sculpts:

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They may have axed all these sculpts just to get rid of the odd set of legs. (I'll have to add a picture of the legs to the above picture.)

Finally, what we really need to do next is find some objective proof that the NMS were indeed all on the same trees with each other! We need to scour eBay YJP and Naochin's site for clues!

Edited by Soupie, 02 August 2008 - 03:20 PM.

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#6 General Veers

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:06 AM

...are we finding them because we want them to be there or because they are really there?

This is a good question too.

I think we can agree these trees were cut (or similar trees if these aren’t 100% accurate). The question becomes a much more subjective, why?

I think we can kick around a variety of these ideas:
  • Offensive sculpts
  • Number issue
  • Damage to molds
  • Appropriateness of sculpt to line (e.g., girls)
  • Whims of Mattel
Those are probably the most realistic issues, although I’d love to hear other ideas.

What I find most interesting is the level of involvement this would suggest Mattel had with the Kinnikuman line. If Mattel enters into a partnership with Bandai, and Mattel will essentially act as a North American distributor, they must have closely looked at each Kinnikuman figure. Someone would have had to ok the removal of these various trees, which must have taken time.

I guess my long winded point is that Mattel either worked incredibly quickly with their partner on the other side of the world, or they started working with Bandai a long time before the production of the figures.
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#7 jkaris

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:18 AM

I think there is something to be said about the fact that SHA and BHS are pretty common now, and the others are 1-2 of a kind and the fact that we have not yet seen the SC back legs. Were these separate trees than BHS/SHA or were they blocked off? Or were they tossed post production?
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#8 General Veers

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 09:29 AM

Another good point. The quantities of SC and to a lesser extent BHS & SHA should impact our thought process and theories.

In theory we should see fairly similar numbers of these figures, right?

With all of the figures being flesh when the SR’s were produced it really suggests production facility error, but SC screws that theory up. If there are 100 SC’s, then shouldn’t we see somewhat similar numbers for the other figures? That guy with 6 arms has never been found.

Even if we throw SC out of the mix. BHS & SHA throw the theory out of whack.

Let’s say one facility produces all the SR’s. Shouldn’t we see similar numbers of BHS and Dr. Bombay or that 6 arm guy? I think the number differences are more than just kids blowing up MUSCLE’s or undiscovered figures – or is it as simple as that?
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#9 Soupie

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:15 AM

You guys are exactly right. Just like with the trees and rare colors, it should be the same with the super rares. If the figures are on a tree together, that means they were produced in the same numbers. Satan Cross, BHS, and SHA are certainly a mystery no matter which "SR theory" we consider.

Remember, there are 45 non-MUSCLE sculpts. If it was a number thing -- Mattel wanted 45 less figures -- they could have just as easily scraped Parts 19, 20, and 21 which together consist of 45 sculpts (and that includes the non-MUSCLE sculpts).

The Super Rares -- the non-MUSCLE sculpts that somehow got produced as MUSCLEs -- are maybe first runs that were quickly nixed or they were perhaps mistakes.

The non-MUSCLE sculpts -- the MUSCLE Kinkeshi sculpts chosen not to be MUSCLEs -- were definitely purposeful and are *probably* all on trees together. (Though they may be the result of other things, like issues with MUSCLE plastic and having to balance the mold.) However, I think the "offense sculpt/same tree theory" is the most solid theory we have.

Edited by Soupie, 04 August 2008 - 03:28 PM.

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#10 General Veers

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:52 AM

However, I think the "offense sculpt/same tree theory" is the most solid theory we have.

I agree. But the fact that they were produced at all is the real mystery. But I think we have the two best hints in a long time.

1. How they were (probably) made.
2. We have SR's showing up in different quantities, even though (based on our mold theory) they should be in similar quantities.
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#11 mrjayberry

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 03:52 PM

One thing I notice is we don't have any super rares from the offensive (re:Nazi) speculated NM sculpt trees. With the execption of Red Crouching Geronimo who is enough of an anomoly I can set it aside for now.

I have a theory but the Part 15 figures throw a bit of a wrench in it, so I'm still thinking on it.
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#12 Universal Ruler Supreme

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 03:54 PM

well, the main problem I have with Soups setup can help explain possible reasons why some Part 21 figures havn't been found in large quantities.

For instance, Soupie places all Non-muscle sculpts from a part in the same tree. Where my reasoning shows the possibility that just because they are in the same part doesn't mean they are on the same tree.

Remember my breakdown of Kinkeshi 28 box set Part 4. Part sevens NM figs Cyborg Kid and Doguu Man were in the box set with Part eights NM figs Longlegs, Tall man, Tail lamp, and Poltergaist. But 2 of the Part 8 sculpts were missing from the box set. Which means they were Pulled, or were on a different tree from the other Part 8 Non-muscles. So the Part 21 NM sculpts that havn't been found as super Rares could have been made on a different tree from a different part.

And no, I don't believe there were any reasons why any Non-Muscles weren't made, aside from not having access to the molds or whatever.
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#13 jkaris

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:16 PM

One thing I notice is we don't have any super rares from the offensive (re:Nazi) speculated NM sculpt trees. With the execption of Red Crouching Geronimo who is enough of an anomoly I can set it aside for now.

I have a theory but the Part 15 figures throw a bit of a wrench in it, so I'm still thinking on it.

Geronimo, the 3 blue SRs and the Magnificent 11 all came from Japan, and are more than likely salesman samples. So I don't think they should be included in this portion of the SR theory.
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#14 mrjayberry

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:24 PM

Wasn't Geronimo found in an auction in Buffalo, NY?
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#15 jkaris

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:40 PM

Wasn't Geronimo found in an auction in Buffalo, NY?

Aw crap. :D You're right. I got him lumped in with the 3 blue ones.

Nevermind, carry on. :D
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#16 mrjayberry

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 04:44 PM

No worries, I want to lump all the colored sr in one bunch to, but its not to be. Still I think its best to ignore Geronimo for now.
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#17 Soupie

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 06:55 PM

So the Part 21 NM sculpts that havn't been found as super Rares could have been made on a different tree from a different part.

Yeah, you're absolutely right that some NMS in the same Part may have been on trees with NMS from other Parts. However, I did think about that possibility when thinking about BHS and SHA. But the smallest tree size seems to be 4. If BHS and SHA were on a separate tree from the other Part 21 NMS as you suggest, what other (at least) 2 sculpts could have been on there with them? What other flesh figures have only been found 8-10 times? Still, just so many questions.

But I think we have the two best hints in a long time.

1. How they were (probably) made.
2. We have SR's showing up in different quantities, even though (based on our mold theory) they should be in similar quantities.

Another solid fact that I'm almost positive figures in some how is the fact that there is only one sculpt variation of Satan Cross, whereas all other MUSCLE figures can be found in two, slightly different versions. (Arforbes has said even BHS and SHA come in two versions.)

If you recall, the tree that Arforbes found had two of each sculpt on it, one on each side (each slightly different than the other). Each mold produces a unique figure. I mean, the figures will be almost 100% identical, but if you're looking, you'll see the difference. It's the same for Cheap Toys, Mordles, Weirdball Wrestlers, MUSCLEs, and many other injection molded mini-figures lines. Two variations mean two molds. That is, one family mold containing two molds of the same sculpt, albeit each slightly different. If there were four unique molds, we'd have four unique variations. We don't. We only have two variations per MUSCLE.

If there were additional molds other than the two in each family mold, they would have to be EXACT copies of the original two, otherwise we'd see more than just two variations per sculpt. (I think this is virtually impossible though. As Arforbes explained, if there were four different molds being used, we would inevitably find four different sculpt variations... one with a little too much flashing here, one with the copyright a little low here, one with a loss of detail there, etc.* There variations are subtle, but they're there. Check out some Cheap Toys examples.

For whatever reason, the tree that SC was on only had one copy of him on it. (The most obvious explanation that comes to mind is that rather than another version of his body opposite him, it was his 2nd set of legs.)

*This is the explanation for an oddity Tortle has been finding while doing his close-up MUSCLE shots. He has found several sculpt with weird lumps on them... and we have found multiple sculpts with the same exact lumps... but then we've found the same exact sculpt with no lumps. And that's because there are two molds for each sculpt. In the case of this figure, one of the molds has weird lumps in it.

Edited by Soupie, 04 August 2008 - 07:11 PM.

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#18 General Veers

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:09 AM

And no, I don't believe there were any reasons why any Non-Muscles weren't made, aside from not having access to the molds or whatever.

Sorry, URS I have to disagree. While the mid-80's may not have been the pinnacle of political correctness I feel very confident that Mattel was not interested in producing Nazi figures from a Japanese country. In 1984 Kenner was conscious enough to release all Nazi related figures as "Germans" and there isn't a swastika to be found on the toys. I think Mattel would have made a similar decision.

As to Soupie's post about the mold variations, that's very interesting. I think there is more to this idea. We should conduct some type of control experiment. We should pick a figure that was made in the most colors, but is also fairly plain. We should collect pictures of the figures. Basically anyone that has, say figure #43 or something, should send in their picture with any notes (i.e., the foot has a spur on the bottom). We could probably collect 100 pictures easily. Then we could determine the number of variations. My guess is that we could get an idea of the number of factories that produced each figure. Does that make sense?

Because, my thought is that if we knew the number of factories we could start guessing which factories made which figures. For example, Factory 1 has 80% of all the #43 figures in each color. Factory 2 has 20% of the figures, but only purple. Tree X had the Claw, so Factory 2 produced all the Purple Claws and it is 80% less common than an average figure.
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#19 Soupie

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:59 AM

Because, my thought is that if we knew the number of factories we could start guessing which factories made which figures. For example, Factory 1 has 80% of all the #43 figures in each color. Factory 2 has 20% of the figures, but only purple. Tree X had the Claw, so Factory 2 produced all the Purple Claws and it is 80% less common than an average figure.

Veers, that is a fascinating idea and definitely worth looking into. As you suggest, we will need a large sample group.

Just to clarify, what I am suggesting is that each family mold (the entire mold that had at least 4 unique sculpts on it, with a copy of each sculpt on each side, for a total of 8 chambers) had the two sculpt variations on it. If this is the case, any factory that had the family mold would produce both variations of the sculpt.

Attached File  SculptVariations.jpg   46.96K   15 downloads

With Cheap Toys, we have found that the sculpt variations are spread pretty evenly across figures and colors. However, Cheap Toys may not have been on molds like Kinkeshi and MUSCLE -- that is, two copies of a sculpt on each side of the mold. For example, check out this Spiral Zone tree. Only one copy of each sculpt is on it.

Attached File  SpiralZoneTree.jpg   39.77K   7 downloads

It's possible that the tree Arforbes found is a fluke, and that the other Kin/MUSCLE molds only have one copy of each sculpt on it. (I tend not to believe this though.)

Also, it's interesting to note that mini-fig lines such as Mordles and Weirdball Wrestlers actually have different numbers on the sculpt variations. For example, I have mordles that are the same sculpt and color, but one has a 4 on it and the other a 2. I've heard TGB say that molds are also sometimes labeled A, B, C, etc.

It is copyright 94 TCFC and a B for the mold (like A, B, C, etc...), at least I THINK it is 94...could be 84, I used a magnifying glass to read the ULTRA TINY markings.

Link


Anyhow, here's a look at just how subtle the sculpt variations can be. Check out these Cheap Toy examples:

Attached File  ABTMV.jpg   48.91K   5 downloads

Attached File  DHgTMV.jpg   58.82K   3 downloads

I think we really need TGB to chime and give his opinion on the following:

(1) Would the two copies of the sculpt on the tree Arforbes found be identical, or would they be slightly different? (In other words, is this the cause of the two variations per sculpt that we have found?)

(2) How many molds do think there were for each individual Kinkeshi/MUSCLE sculpt? Two, four, or more?

(3) If there are only 2 sculpt variations per Kinkeshi/MUSCLE sculpt/character, what does this tell us about the number of molds?
(For example, if we find only two sculpt variations for the Claw, does that mean there were only two molds used to produce that sculpt?)

(I'm checking all my Claw figures now to see if I can find ANY sculpt variations.)

Edited by Soupie, 05 August 2008 - 08:06 AM.

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#20 Soupie

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:11 AM

Unfortunately, I only have two Claw figures -- an orange Kinkeshi and a flesh MUSCLE. However, I did find a subtle difference between the two. However, I can't be 100% certain the difference is due to the different type of plastic they are made of.

On the wrist of each figure, directly under the thumb, there are 3 warts in a vertical line. However, the MUSCLE sculpt, the bottom wart is covered by where the sprue was connected, whereas the Kinkeshi Claw has the bottom wart and the sprue mark is slightly above the bottom wart. If anyone esle has a Claw figure, take a look at. If we can confirm that this bottom wart/no bottom wart is a sculpt variation and not a plastic type variation, we can start our little experiment.
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#21 Soupie

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:39 AM

Okay, let's scratch the Claw. I found a very easy-to-spot sculpt variation for #60. The Niku sculpt with one arm raised. I have 15 copies of this sculpt, both Kinkeshi and MUSCLE and all different colors.

The sculpt has 4 circles on it's back where the mold ejector pins were touching it -- 1 on each arm and 1 on each leg. There are two variations of these pin marks. (1) Variation one has the 2 leg circles on the back of his thighs. (2) Variation two has the circle on his left leg on the back of his ankle.

Of the 15 sculpts I have, 8 of them have variation one (including 4 Kinkeshi) and 7 of them have variation two (including 2 Kinkeshi). (So we know the same exact mold variations can be found on both Kinkeshi and MUSCLE.)

Also, I have 5 flesh MUSCLE of #60. Two of them have variation one and 3 have variation two. (So when know both mold variations can be found in the flesh color. Will this hold true for other colors? For instance, maybe all green #60s have variation two!?)

Edited by Soupie, 05 August 2008 - 08:43 AM.

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#22 General Veers

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:58 AM

Wow, lot’s to talk about.

I wanted to at least share my thoughts on your questions to TGB.

One, I think you’d have different versions with one tree. In my mind Tree 1 would have a version A and a version B. Then if multiple locations had Tree 1 (let’s say 3 locations) we would actually see 6 variations because of a variety of reasons (tiny cast differences, regional temperature, etc.)

Two, I think this varied. As URS showed different trees would be used for different packages. So different trees would have been located at different factories. For example: Factory 1 might only make 28 packs, Factory 2 makes everything, and Factory 3 makes 28 packs and 10 packs.

Three, I think this is a tough question to answer right now. If we find only two variations, then I think it might hurt advancing the theory. That’s why the key might be looking at a few figures. One figure (say the Claw) might have only been produced at one factory, but another figure could have been produced at numerous spots – so other figures in his tree should have similar variations.

That’s interesting you’ve seen some patterns already. I think the rare colors will be very insightful.
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#23 General Veers

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:44 AM

After seeing those great pictures I’m worried we will only find two variations of each figure – which throws any related findings out the window.

I know that companies can run loose and fast with the products they make/mold. But they tend to be pretty anal about those master molds. It seems VERY unlikely that we are going to see more that two variations.

However, I’ve literally just had a thought. Star Wars figures often have VERY minor differences. These differences are often the result of the figure being produced in a different country. An easy example is the Biker Scout. If the figure was made in Taiwan its head looks one way and if it was made in Mexico it looks another way. Here is a picture.

What if the variations alone aren’t the key? But the key is in properly pairing colors rarity with certain trees to suggest...something?

I guess I’m sort of thinking that rare colors and/or SR’s could be the result of farming out production to smaller facilities to meet Bandai’s production schedule. That would also help explain why there are colored SR’s.

Edited by General Veers, 06 August 2008 - 09:46 AM.

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#24 Soupie

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 10:00 AM

Veers, I agree that we will likely only find 2 sculpt variations per MUSCLE figure. (And I can't speak for him, but Arforbes, who first pointed it out, would, I think, also agree with this.) Now, what does this mean?

Are the 2 consistent variations per figure a result of:

(1) Each family mold having two molds of each sculpt, giving us variation one and two. Or,

(2) There being two family molds, with family mold one giving us sculpt variation one and family mold two giving us variation two.

I tend to believe option one is the most likely. I just don't see the molds on either side of a family mold being perfectly identical. In fact, having the ejector pins hit at slightly different spots is exactly what I would expect.
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#25 General Veers

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 10:09 AM

I feel very confident it is number one, which I don’t think really helps us with anything. Finding third and fourth variations would be interesting at this point and maybe give us more to work with.

For me, this has just got me thinking about production differently. What do you think about my hypothesis that rare colors and/or SR’s could be the result of farming out production to smaller facilities to meet Bandai’s production schedule?
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