Horseshoe crabs are, interestingly, sometimes called living fossils, as they’re one of the oldest species on the planet. The invertebrates originated 450 million years ago and live in oceans around the world, though their numbers have declined due to habitat destruction and overharvesting. Horseshoe crabs have five pairs of legs and multiple eyes, and their mouths are, bizarrely, located in the center of their legs. They’re strange, fascinating creatures, and they also make excellent action figures.

Hauke Scheer, maker of 3D printed action figures, is a big fan of horseshoe crabs. The talented designer has made a name for himself designing and 3D printing wonderfully articulated, flexible figures, recently unveiling a figurine he made of himself. He has now channeled his admiration of horseshoe crabs into a new action figure, one that can transform from crab to human and back again.

“I am still experimenting on what can be done with the Form2 printer and the durable resin material,” Scheer told 3DPrint.com. “I figured it would be a good test to make a figure with a transforming feature. I always loved horseshoe crabs so I choose one as the alt mode for the figure.”

At first glance, the figure appears to be simply a model of a horseshoe crab. When turned over, however, it’s revealed that a human figure is tucked up inside the shell. Human legs are attached to the crab legs; they fold down and the crab legs can be tucked behind them. The human figure’s arms and head are then unfolded, and the crab’s tail, which detaches, is placed in the figure’s hand to serve as weaponry. The shell itself turns into a kind of shield, carried on the person’s back. Once the transformation is complete, you have a fierce-looking warrior with some very nifty armor.

“The transformation works well although with this figure paint chipping is kinda unavoidable,” Scheer said. “The tail can either be used as a sword or a gun.”

Like Scheer’s other action figures, the horseshoe crab figure is highly articulated and has the kind of flexibility and balance rarely seen in store-bought action figures. Scheer is clearly a talented artist who has been working as a 3D character designer for more than a decade. He offers his personally designed figures for sale through his website, and also offers personalized, commissioned pieces.

There are millions of 3D printed figurines out there, but it’s rare to find ones as well-articulated as Scheer’s, or ones that move as well. His latest offering shows a remarkable sense of creativity, too – how many people would have even thought of a horseshoe crab that transforms into a human? It would be interesting if Scheer decided to turn the idea into a series of creatures that turn into people. Even if this is just a singular creation, however, his horseshoe crab is still an example of the unusual and fascinating things that can be created with 3D printing. Yes, the technology can be used to churn out a lot of replicas of other things, but it can also be used to make things that are truly unique.

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