In Mexico, the production of the Masters of the Universe figures was done by Aurimat, which was the union of Auriga and Mattel. This production began late in 1984 and ended in 1986 with only 28 figures, 2 beasts, 2 playsets, and 11 vehicles produced, according to Alfonso Rojo, who worked for Aurimat (Mattel) from 1981 to 1988. He began with a simple cleaning job at the company and ended his career 7 years later as a very valued employee of the company.
Mr. Rojo remembers vividly every detail of his years at the company. He was mainly in charge of the assembly process for Hot Wheels, Barbie, and Masters of the Universe. He has many memories of that time, in particular he remembers when the figures came to Mexico for the first time and he was in charge of creating the blister packaging for the figures, but the idea was dropped when they discussed that there would be too much damage during transportation and decided instead to create a box for increased protection. This is how the very unique Los Amos boxes for the vintage figures came about.
In 1985, Mr. Rojo was sent to Mattel in Los Angeles to take a course on Electroform to be able to make the masks for the paint of the figures. He did this successfully, bringing to Mexico the best technique for detailed painting of toys. He explains:
So the mask process is the following…
The molding department sends the wax piece of cast for electroform, once that is received it is prepared with a silver liquid for conductivity. That is placed in a nickel tank with a predetermined current, that is how the electroform process is started. The thickness of the plated with platinum is determined by the amount of time the piece is in the solution and the quantity of current applied to the solution.
The thickness of the plated with platinum usually is determined by the person who makes the masks. If the time is longer, the platinum is thicker and that makes the mask less flexible.
Once the electroform is formed, it is taken from the tank, cut in half and the wax or cast is taken. It is important to remove it completely so that the welding adheres easily to the plates.
The preparation of the plates is the following… The electroform already cut in half is put on a plate to welding, the exterior form is drawn and after it is cut with a fine saw leaving the form of the mask on the other half. Once that is cut, the mask is welding to the plate.
Once this is done, it is taken to the final detail of the mask which determines where the paint will show (with the paint master) and a hole is made in the mask with a razor half way through the design and a fine saw cuts. Once the form is cut, the nickel residue is removed with a fine sandpaper. When the mask is done, a paint test is done on one of the articles and sent for approval.
Mr. Rojo stands out not only because of his detailed memories from his work on this toy line, but also for his humility and warmth. For this reason, The Power and The Honor Foundation recognizes and thanks Mr. Rojo for sharing his time and information.
Thank you very much, Mr. Rojo.