A New Beginning and an End for Action Figures

By on January 26th, 2009 in blog


A thoughtful article at Comic Book Bin forecasts both a bright and dark future for action figure collecting. Many people around the world collect action figures modeled after their favorite characters, and it’s a big business. But, as the article suggests, what happens when people can print their own action figures? Or create a design the manufacturers did not?

They see a scenario developing similar to the music industry, where the control of digital content has essentially transferred to the public. Consider this:

What this means for existing toy manufacturers is that their stranglehold on action figure collectors may be near its end. When action figure collectors are offered an opportunity to produce for themselves toys that often are intentionally produced in limited quantities to boost demand, toy makers may find that their existing marketing strategies are becoming obsolete. The entire after market for action figures, as seen in auction sites and retailers artificially increasing the price of models may be affected by giving consumers more power

Would this mean the end of commercial action figures? Or the rise of many small manufacturers? Or perhaps even a lively open-source-style market for figures?

It will also create opportunities for budding model creators. Could you imagine creating a Batman action figure or statue based on a cover by Brian Bolland that DC Direct may never have thought of creating? These models could be sold and would probably be pirated. Of course, toy makers and license owners of properties would try to step in and argue that making custom action figures and distributing the 3D model for free is an infringement of their copyrights. This is what the music industry and Hollywood tries to argue when it comes to digital downloads. They will probably try to attack 3D scanning and 3D printing technology manufacturers, as they did with download sites.

This is just one more of the many social challenges we’re going to see as a result of 3D technology landing on us. Enjoy!

Via Comic Book Bin

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

1 comment

  1. RP technology is no mature enough to print action figures in color but could do so in the near future. right now it is certainly ready for making "kits" that fans can finish and color.

    We at http://www.jujups.com have an R&D initiative for the next generation of personalized action figures – where fans will be able to customize and print using our web inerface.

Leave a comment