Post by dbzcollector9908 on Nov 18, 2019 13:52:36 GMT -6
Well, here’s something no one ever knew existed... Irwin Super Saiyan 4 Goku!
I found this on eBay being sold in a lot of “test-shot” doll furniture pieces. The seller allowed me to but this separately and well, here he is.
As far as I’m aware, no one has ever known that Irwin was to produce Dragon Ball GT toys, as they went bankrupt before the show was localized in 2003. Though, this figure is proof that they were going to make GT toys.
This figure feels like it’s made of resin and it’s super fragile and the joints are loose. His tail is made of a VERY soft rubber. The tail is stretchy and feels like one of those gum ball machine sticky hands.
The extra head and pieces still have mold flashing on them too.
It uses SS Teen Gohan’s legs, though a tail hole was added to the mold.
I had no idea you were Andrew from Facebook! This reply is going to be really random and off-the-wall, because I am kind of thinking through the details of this figure and trying to put pieces of the puzzle together.
I love that you made a video of it! And you have SS teen Gohan side by side with this SS4 Goku in the video! It's a shame you don't have the SS teen Gohan that has hands just like this Goku (the yellow haired Gohan).
Anyway, this is really, really interesting. I have a question. Are the legs painted? In this photo from the ebay auction, the legs look like they might be sprayed with primer. The blue knee joint makes me wonder if the legs are simply primer covered SS Gohan in blue outfit (who I call NBA player Gohan) legs. I see some blue peeking through the back of one of his knees too. I just realized you said the legs are painted in the video .
Even if they are Gohan's legs, that honestly doesn't mean much! Just a unique detail. This is certainly weird.
Are any of the tails on the Jakks SS4s as rubbery as that? I haven't owned any of them, except the first, Easter-Island-faced ugly SS4 Goku... and his tail was a stiff plastic. That tail looks like it is as rubbery as a Jakks Piccolo cape... which obviously Irwin didn't produce. Was anything ever that rubbery on an Irwin figure other than a Secret Saiyan Warrior?
It's impossible to refute that the head and arms are casted. So either Irwin made this, or someone went to an AWFUL LOT of trouble to cast a head, arms, and torso for this figure. It heavily disturbs me that they reused Gohan's face lol. It's extremely strange that the hands are casted separately from the arms, because even the Gohan that came with the vehicle didn't have wrist articulation (I don't think) and the basic yellow haired Gohan certaintly did not.
I'm going off my memory here, but I can't remember a single time they reused a face from one character to the next, so this is truly odd. However, for their prototypes, I do remember them doing figures that looked like custom figures. When they first showed prototype images of Vegito, he was literally a custom figure based on series 5 SS Goku with very minimal modifications and a full repainting.
I think the existence of that "custom" figure, directly from Irwin, is the strongest supporting evidence that this figure you now own may indeed be legit. It may have possibly been produced for a photo similar to above.
In 2012, Capsule x Nike bought a very odd prototype none of us had ever seen before either. And similar to this one, it appears it was painted/primered as well, instead of being unpainted plastic. I don't believe we thought this was an Irwin prototype though. I am pretty sure we thought it was Jakks. This one reused an Angel Goku head... It has leg articulation that made me wonder if they reused Stomp Cycle Goku's upper legs, but it doesn't look like it.
Unless I missed you mentioning it, it's strange that the figure is gray... either painted in primer or in paint. What is the texture like? Primer is a bit fuzzier/more matte than paint.
Common test shot prototypes by them were usually unpainted plastic that ended up with permanent marker on them usually. But perhaps those are from later on in production... or what you own was never destined for production...? But if so... then why are parts of him casted... This is very odd to me. cracker , can you weigh in on this? You might be the only person who actually knows the production process. I hope you know it at least.
Very few of the test shots have ever been figures that were different from the production versions. My favorite prototype Irwin sold from their 2003 bankruptcy sale on ebay was this one. It's SS3 Goku from series 11, but the hair, face, and neck are entirely different from what was actually produced. I think it's because at this size, it would not have fit in the package, so they ruined the design to make it fit in the package. You'll note he's all one color and has no permanent marker on him. I think that's significant. I think that means he's from an earlier prototyping period than common test shots that are multicolored and with marker on them.
Here's some examples of typical test shots. This screenshot is many years old, so don't get excited. (These are obviously Jakks test shots. I don't care much for test shots that are identical to painted figures, just without paint, so I don't have tons of pics of them to show.)
What bothers me most about this SS4 figure is the awkward proportions. His hair is enormous! I'm glad they didn't release a figure like this. But it is so weird. It's a DBGT character! It's very confusing.
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2019 11:58:29 GMT -6 by Branjita
Post by dbzcollector9908 on Nov 19, 2019 12:22:36 GMT -6
Yeah man, I don't know either. The only other rubbery thing that Irwin made besides the Secret Saiyan Warriors were the clothes for the model kits, but those were kinda stiff. SS4 Goku's tail is really soft. The Jakks SS4 figures all had solid plastic tails.
I'm gonna go with you on that this is like an "internal prototype" to see if they could do GT stuff... the hair sculpt looks exactly how Irwin would sculpt SSJ4 hair.
Besides the legs and the tail the figure I can tell is completely smooth and is definitely not covered in paint or primer. I'm pretty sure it was cast in gray plastic or resin or whatever it is.
Branjita I may be able to find more info on this. One of the companies I work with is DC Collectibles. The Executive Director there worked at Irwin until they closed. Next time I go in, I'll see if he has any info about this.
When Andrew posted this in the FB group yesterday, my first thought was similar to yours, that it was just a 'custom' model made for internal use, but not meant to be a final sculpt used for tooling in production.
Also, the prototype Goku figure that Capsule x Nike found is not painted, but cast in that tan-ish color. I'm pretty sure it was an Irwin Prototype and not JAKKS. I'll ask about that figure, too.
On a related note, it would be sooooo cool if you could write a step-by-step guide to the process Irwin or Jakks typically used for making figures.
For example, (without thinking about this too long and spending too long writing this) I've been under the assumption that they sculpted figures out of some sort of clay. Then they painted that clay, to show off for some sort of approval. Sometimes these clay figures would end up on display at toy shows, but not usually. After that, molds would be made, and they would cast copies in some material. Those would be tested to see if they were molding/casting properly. Then they'd have to go through another round of approvals. At this point, they'd be cast and sent to someone like you, to paint the prototypes for advertising usage (a preview of what is to come out later in the year). Then they'd refine them and get them approved for packaging. This is where decisions like making Irwin's SS3 Goku look stupid, probably because somebody said "he looks weird looking down, let's make him look forward" and someone else said "He won't fit in the package with his hair like that, can you squish it?" and so changes were made. Then production prepared. Test shots would be cast for quality control, and those would end up with markings in permanent marker to show flaws in the casting and how the mold needed to be sanded or modified. These would often be in really random colors, because they would just use excess plastic. Then production happened, figures were painted, and quality control would check them out. Sometimes production figures would be stolen off the line and sold online for profit, and these would normally be figures with the same color of plastics used on the painted figures, just unpainted. Anyway, painted ones that met approval were packaged and shipped to the US, Canada, etc. The figures that didn't meet quality standards were sent to the trash, and people in Hong Kong or China would take them from the trash and sell them in their stores. (I believe cmakhk was the one who told me this story years ago). These figures normally looked like the packaged figures, but they had some sort of flaw with them. For example, there were a lot of Irwin Gotenks figures on ebay from sellers in either China or Hong Kong that looked fine, but actually had a crooked foot, preventing the figure from standing. (I bought one of those years ago). Most of the production rejects ended up with paint issues, however (there are probably still plenty of figures with gummy looking paint on ebay still). But they were still sold for cheap prices in China or Hong Kong.
I know there's some truth in there, but it's not 100% factual. If you could manage to write something like that, or know someone who could... my gosh... that would be awesome. We'd end up filling in a missing piece of history with that.
Quick update. I spoke with the guy at DC and he wasn't familiar with either of the Goku figures. He was only at Irwin the last year or so, and it sounded like these figures might have been before he was there. One interesting thing he did mention is that there was a playset of Dr. Gero's Lab that they made a model of with the intention of producing. He said he might have photos of it somewhere, but wasn't sure. He also mentioned a couple of sculptors who also worked with Irwin Toys, so I reached out to see if they know about the figures.
carnage6 If you could help write a history article or something on the prototypes, that would be pretty awesome. I don't know how much you know.
I don't know that much, only what happened to most of the ones sold at auction after Irwin went bankrupt. A business in my city called Swedish Motors bought them and started selling them on Ebay. I can tell about that part but not much else.