Justice League Action [2016]


The Challenge:
During the brainstorming session for the Hawkman design, two of the favorite proposed ideas were that either his wings could ‘deploy’, or his wings could flap. Looking between these two functions, I encouraged the team to think past the single-function toys we often deliver and tasked myself with engineering a mechanism to perform both of these functions in a single toy. The largest challenge of this proposal was that our traditional mechanism to deploy wings is vastly different and incompatible with the mechanism we use to make wings flap. Using both mechanisms would be both too expensive and would not fit within the character model, requiring significant alterations to the character aesthetics.

The Solution:
To address these issues, one of the mechanisms would need to be redesigned to be compatible with the other. I went through our history of both wing flapping and deployment mechanisms, and came across a specific wing flapping mechanism that seemed like it would more easily lend itself to my imagined new ‘deployment’ mechanism. By altering the placement of the button and redesigning the top of the button and internal tips of the wings, the flapping button was successfully redesigned to securely hold the wings closed. Using a single-molded button to activate both mechanisms in this simple way allowed us to come in under budget with this premium functionality. From there, I worked with our creative team and re-shaped the wing to make this mechanism look aesthetically pleasing and on-character. 


Batman was, engineering-wise, our most ambitious toy of this line: an auto-loading rapid-fire launcher where each projectile is grabbed sequentially from a backpack by-hand.

Designing for Manufacturing Variance:
It began with carefully shaping the projectile's hook size and resting angle so the hand could both slide over it easily and reliably latch to pull the projectile out of the backpack. From there, I knew that with our production and assembly variances the hand would not precisely line up with the projectile every time, so we needed to create some space around the tip of each projectile so the hand could reliably position onto each Batarang. I thought a nondescript way to separate the tips of each projectile would be to extrude the Batman logo from the surface of each Batarang, allowing more tolerance for the function and increasing its reliability.

Rapid Prototype Iteration:
I worked closely with our Hong Kong manufacturing team to design a spring-loaded plunger to slide the remaining Batarangs over as each one was launched. Early iterations of this plunger caused the Batarangs to slightly shift vertically, which made Batman's hand miss them when trying to grab the next one. Through quick iteration and internal prototyping we solved the issue and delivered this complex functionality with a high reliability.