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Collectors may have noticed that the likenesses on the latest range of The Black Series 6″ figures has stepped up to a significant degree. There’s a good reason for that – Photo Real.

Steve Evans – who must be cream crackered after a busy toy fair – walks us through the details of this development over at StarWars.com.

Poor paint apps can ruin even the most detailed action-figure face sculpt. It’s a disservice to the craftsmanship that goes into toy design and to collectors; Hasbro knew this, not just from the reality of toymaking but also from talking with fans. So they set out to do something about it.

“We’ve been making Black Series figures now for five years,” Steve Evans, design director for Star Wars at Hasbro, tells StarWars.com. “As with anything, there are variances in the standard of applying deco. When you buy one figure in one store, and you go to another one, it might not necessarily be the same. You might sometimes get little paint splat, a little off-setting. Little things, little nuances which, to the collector, are very, very important. The brain recognizes a face very quickly. We spend our whole lives looking at faces since we’re born. So any deviancy in the way we believe the face should be formed, our brain recognizes instantly.”

The problems to be solved, according to Evans, were, “How do we do faces A) better and more realistic to the characters that we’re seeing up on the screen and B) more consistently so that we can remove the variances that you get in traditional paint applications?” Enter Photo Real.