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Airfix Hat and others use steel moulds, strelets use a mould that is metal lined, and they don`t last nearly as long.
I did not know about the difference in molds. What a shame to think of all of that creative work no longer able to be reproduced, especially with the level of quality Strelets artists have reached more recently. Oh well.
Found a Video on Utube from the V&A museum, it shows the technique of Galvanoplasty/Electrotyping, in short run the principle is the same but has been modified to create an injection tool where only the primary surface is metal in this case copper.
Anyway you get the idea...
My thanks to everyone for the feedback about this, and especially to Ironsides for that fascinating look at that process. I really am sympathetic with Strelets need to maximize their profit margin by using an economical process. Unfortunately, I had just started purchasing their RIF War series, and their other Arab and Legion sets, and the above mentioned set is already impossible to locate in the states. I am starting to believe that you have to be ready to buy each and every new set as it comes out of the gate. I still think that, given the artists that they have to hire to produce the more recent figures, one would think that they would want to continue to be able to sell these sets on more than just a limited run. The other interesting possibility I have heard mentioned in this forum is 3D production. Perhaps that would make their original casts go further?