I thought a benchtop molder would work perfectly for you. They make models that are completely automatic, but the tooling is similar to any other production mold and the cost of these machines is a bit high. I think I'd go with one of the hand plunger models about $1500. I built your first production molds so you realize the cost involved, can't beat the cost of the parts off that mold. I'd think I'd use the bench top as a "bridge tool" where you would build some demand for some of your figures. It'll be easy for you to tell when to justify the cost of a production tool, you're arm will start to double in size. Just keep it simple and outsource when the demand justifies production tooling. You might try your hand at being a mold maker but unless you have some previous experience I wouldn't take it lightly. An aprenticeship can be 8 years long or 4 years with 4 years of college. If it were that easy everybody would be doing it. Good luck.