I’m looking at a rather suspicious 3D model collection offer.
The offer is from “Marvel-STL”, an anonymous site that apparently provides vast numbers of detailed 3D models to buyers at extraordinarily low pricing.
As most Fabbaloo readers will know, there are two categories of 3D models available on the Internet these days:
Relatively straightforward 3D models provided at no charge or under CC0 license at sites like Printables or Thingiverse
Highly complex 3D designs carefully crafted by skilled designers, and sold on sites like MyMiniFactory
Sometimes the skilled designers will give away a model or two to promote their work, but generally this is the split you’ll see.
The designers (sometimes) make their living selling these original and very complex 3D models, which can be purchased and printed by a rapidly growing enthusiast market. This group makes heavy use of now-inexpensive resin 3D print technology, which makes it possible to print them in high detail.
Thus it was a surprise to me when I saw a bundle of 3D models being sold by Marvel-STL. The digital product in question was “STL Pack for 3D printers 5000 GB”, which is clearly a very large number of 3D models. Even better, the product adds: “Free Updates everyday 2022-2023”! This bundle is available for US$595.36 — but marked down xx% to only US$69.99. What a deal!
The product includes:
- Wargame Figures and Terrain.
- Premium 2022 – 2021 models.
How does this work? Marvel-STL explains:
“For this pack you can get udate every day
You will need download telegram from here :
And we will add you
You will Get mega Pack 1.6 TB + closed telegram group 3.5 TB and more every day to get New files every day We just need your Email”
Ok, this is looking a bit more suspicious. Private Telegram group? Providing email? Low price?
What’s going on here?
I took a look at some of the content at this service to try and understand what’s really going down here.
Here’s one called “3d print STL Files”, priced at US$10.50 marked down from US$39.00. There is no description, and even the title doesn’t really say what it the model is all about. However, a reverse image search quickly reveals that this particular 3D model is actually the design of Sherry Birkin from the game Residual Evil 6 by Cults contributor h3LLcreator.
The creator doesn’t charge for this particular model on Cults, but does have a Patreon and obviously intend for some to give back. However, if this model was obtained from Marvel-STL, the buyers won’t have any idea who actually made it.
This is another 3D model from Marvel-STL, It’s called “Popeye 3D Model and Spnash box STL”. (Could “Spnash” actually mean “Spinach”?) Again, no designer name or description is provided. After some search-fu, I was unable to identify a designer-tagged 3D model for this item. However, the images used in this entry seem to be realistic 3D artwork portraying the Popeye character in a modern style — and NOT a 3D model at all.
Multiple Popeye images are provided in the Marvel-STL listing, and they seem to be from different sources. The other image seems to be from a physical Popeye figurine that is no longer for sale — again not a 3D model.
It’s likely this entry isn’t a proper 3D model. So what would you get if you actually bought this Popeye 3D model? I’m not going to try.
Of note is that many of the images of the supposed 3D models in the bundles sold by Marvel-STL seem to be a similar style. One would then wonder how many 3D models actually exist in this bundle, and how many are just cool 2D renderings that were appropriated by the seller.
From what I can see here, the Marvel-STL site seems to have skimmed off 3D models from a variety of sources and is selling access to a Telegram channel that shares 3D models. More than likely this began as a group simply sharing 3D models, but then someone had the idea to sell access when the amount of 3D models was sufficiently large.
The original designers of this content most likely have no idea this is happening to their work, and certainly aren’t getting any compensation. That’s not fair.
My recommendation: Run Away. Run Away Fast.