This year marks the 20th anniversary of South Park, which makes me feel horribly, horribly old. That’s a long time, and a lot of political figures, religions, and celebrities mercilessly satirized, and a lot of gruesome deaths for poor Kenny. When the show debuted two decades ago, 3D printing was a little-known technology, but – as is fitting for a show that prides itself on remaining consistently up to the moment – South Park is celebrating its milestone anniversary in 3D printed style.
Intellectual property management platform Source3 has teamed up with South Park’s producers to license a commemorative series of 3D printed character figurines that, until now, haven’t been available in any sort of official format. Source3 was launched in 2014 by a group of professionals from Google and 3D Systems, for the purpose of creating a large-scale licensing and distribution platform dedicated to 3D printing. Since the company’s founding, it has signed distribution agreements with several prominent organizations from the US Army to video game company Capcom.
The partnership with South Park Studios and Viacom will result in an ongoing project, launched this month by Source3, that will make numerous 3D printed character figurines available from Amazon and Shapeways. New characters will be released continuously over the course of the three-year partnership, but there’s already quite a lineup to start out with. Printed by Shapeways in full color sandstone, each of the four main children (Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman) are available individually (poor beleaguered Kenny, for some reason, is the cheapest at $32). You can also purchase a collector’s set of all four -complete with bus stop sign – for $160.
Additional currently available characters are Candidate Garrison, Clyde Frog, beady-eyed Canadians Terrance and Phillip, Tweek Tweak, and a delightful tap-dancing Butters. (I’m holding out for my personal favorite, Towelie the stoner towel.)
“We are thrilled to work with South Park, one of the deepest and most incredible portfolio of characters and moments ever created,” says Scott Sellwood, Head of Partnerships at Source3. “Using 3D printing and ondemand production, we can create an evolving line of character collectibles previously unavailable to fans.”
Source3 is also offering a special promotion in which fans can enter to win the four boys collector set autographed by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. No purchase is necessary if you enter by mail, and entries can be submitted from today until August 31, at which point winners will be drawn at random. Full contest rules can be found here.
“Despite posing certain potential threats to brands and intellectual property, 3D printing also offers a wealth of benefits, including customization for the customer and zero inventory costs for the manufacturer, making 3D printing a potential win-win means of manufacturing,” says Source3. “Kudos to Viacom and South Park Studios for embracing 3D technology via licensing and setting an example in the industry for other brands determining the best way to react to this promising, disruptive technology.”
After 20 years on the air, South Park has amassed a gigantic cast of characters, so Source3, Shapeways and Amazon should have plenty to work with over the next three years. According to Shapeways, new models will be released each month – even at that pace, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll even come close to running out. Discuss further in the South Park & 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.