NYCC 2014: Hasbro and 3DPlusMe Make You the Super Hero

It’s a kid’s (and this particular adult’s) dream come true. In a collaboration worthy of Marvel Team-Up, Hasbro and 3DPlusMe have joined forces to make you and me into super heros – in action figure form at least. We got to try out the experience last night at Hasbro’s ‘Twas the Night Before extravaganza, and it was a blast. Sure, with 3DPlusMe’s digital artists tuning up our head sculpts, we’ve got a cliff-hanger straight from the comic books – it will be four to six weeks until we have our own Rescue 12-inch action figure, featuring Cara inside the Iron Man armor.

We all know who Hasbro is, but if you are curious about 3DPlusMe, they were spawned from the acquisition of Digital PlaySpace by 3D Systems, the same company that acquired Gentle Giant. 3D printing has permeated the manufacturing industry primarily due to its strengths in rapid prototyping, and at the time of the acquisitions, I wondered what we might see in terms of more mass market-oriented applications. We’re starting to see the pay-off – Super Awesome Me is making its debut in Toys ‘R Us Times Square today and FAO Schwarz tomorrow.

Super Awesome Me is a collaboration between Hasbro, Inc. and 3DPlusMe to provide a personalized 3D printing experience that allows kids and kids at heart to become one of their favorite characters, Captain America or Iron Man. Super Awesome Me will be available to NYC visitors and residents alike at Toys“R”Us Times Square beginning October 9, and at the legendary FAO Schwarz® Fifth Avenue beginning October 10. The unique figures feature a traditional 12” articulated plastic action figure body manufactured by category leader Hasbro and a full color 3D printed head created by 3DPlusMe. Super Awesome Me figures will be available for $59.99 and are recommended for fans 4 years and up.

If you’re wondering about the process, it’s almost exactly like what Gentle Giant has been doing with movie stars and WWE superstars for many years now. 3DPlusMe has packaged the required technology into a self-contained kiosk – you sit down in front of a 3D scanner (in this setup, it’s a Microsoft Kinect system) and a screen to occupy you during the scanning process, which takes about 30 seconds.

On the other side of a kiosk, a 3D technician monitors the scan and assists in getting your specifications for your action figure. You get to pick your character – at this time, Iron Man or Captain America – and other features, like hair style and color. To get this into our local TRUs, we’ll probably need to wait for a standalone kiosk that doesn’t need a trained tech behind the keyboard – 3DPlusMe already has some systems like this that I saw at SDCC this summer, so maybe we’ll see a roll-out sooner than we might expect.

The system does a really good job at recognizing important markers on your facial pose (think BLUE STEEL) and applying them to the models for the action figures. This does present a couple of limitations – if you try to do some really extreme looks, like my own Hulk-inspired grimace, you might need to be re-scanned. (Luckily, Hagop was there to remind me I don’t even like action figures with those crazy open mouth sculpts.) And since we’re talking 3D scanning, you’re stuck with your own ugly mug, which was particularly distressing to me. But that’s what we want, right? At least we’re getting Cap’s body or Iron Man’s armor! (Maybe Hasbro should let girls really get in on the action and make a Black Widow figure available. Just sayin’!)

Be sure to check back in a few weeks – we’ll post our own Marvel Team-Up, starring Iron Man and… well, that would be a spoiler, right? Want more pics of the process? Check out our Marvel Super Awesome Me album. Make Mine Marvel!