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In any of the childcare facilities I have ever worked, the Barbies are almost always mangled, some beyond repair. There’s just something about Barbie dolls that make you want to alter their appearance or take them with you to nontraditional places. Maybe it’s a subconscious need to sabotage Barbie’s unrealistic good looks? Who knows. As a child, I gave my Barbies mohawks, drew on them with permanent markers, and climbed trees with them. Basically, they went everywhere I went. Today, people still enjoy seeing Barbie do highly unusual things, which is where 3D printing comes in. You’ve seen Barbie as a doctor and an astronaut: why not a Roman Barbie complete with a chariot pulled by a cat?

medbarbieThis is the exact concept behind the Faire Play 2: When in Rome project on Kickstarter. Jim Rodda of Zheng3 wants to raise $15,000 to realize his dream of transforming Barbie into a victorious Roman gladiator, which continues the Barbie-as-warrior trope that he’s becoming known for. His first successful Barbie-related Kickstarter project, Faire Play, outfitted Barbie in Medieval armor.

Now he’s going ancient on us, with the ridiculously cool idea of (at least theoretically) involving the family pet. The Faire Play 2 project seeks to raise $15,000 by February 12, 2015, a bit more ambitious than Faire Play, which raised $6,000 — comfortably over his $5,000 goal — last April. Given the amount of enthusiasm for subverting Barbie’s image and for felines on the Internet, Rodda may have the exact formula necessary for success in the “Barbie gladiator with cat-drawn chariot” category.

The Kickstarter page details Rodda’s chariot design process, as it moves from idea to reality. He spent a month “vertex wrangling in Autodesk Maya” over the chariot design after deciding to use a #2 pencil for the difficult to print chariot axle. The design went from more chariotstraightforward to a much more streamlined, even slick, detailed chariot featuring eagle wings and grapevines. It’s a rather impressive design, seemingly decadent enough for all of your Barbie When in Rome needs.

As you may know from your own Barbie experiences, Barbie’s outfit is more than half of the battle. And for this Rodda also does not disappoint. Barbie’s gladiator warrior outfit includes a white cloth toga, gladiator sandals, a net (that he spray painted metallic silver in the photo), trident, and arm guards. The Empress Makeover Kit includes a 3D printed dagger, laurel, and brooch set that also includes a pair of combat-ready wedge sandals.

The overall effect works wonders at subverting Barbie into a top level warrior or Empress if desired. For just an $11 Kickstarter contribution, you can receive the Creative Commons open source digital files for her trident, net, and gladiator armor.

For $25, you can receive the Empress Makeover Kit. $75 will land you the 3D printed Chariot Kit — which is 3D printed but arrives unassembled. A $100 contribution will get the chariot, printed and assembled, with all other digital files. The mother lode contribution of $200 gets you printed and fully assembled chariot, trident, net, gladiator gear, and even Barbie When in Rome postcards and Emperor Sparky (the T.rex featured in the video) stickers.

Rodda recognizes that perhaps not everyone will be enticed solely by Barbie apparel, so is also offering customized lithopanes at the $35 backer level (which can also be added to any backer level for an additional $35). He will create a somewhat opaque plastic, print made from your photo, that can be hung in the window to admire.

Zheng3 has no doubt taken Barbie to a whole new, and when you think about it quite necessary, level with its Faire Play 2: When in Rome motif (and the preceding Faire Play Medieval armor too.)  While you can certainly utilize the outfits to transform Barbie into a stylish gladiator warrior or victorious Roman Empress, complete with hair dryer heated laurel, the trick will be to see if you can get your cat to pull the chariot for the full effect! If it doesn’t work, remember to keep trying because Rome wasn’t built in a day!

What do you think about Faire Play 2: When in Rome? Will you crown your (or your daughter’s) Barbie with a stylish laurel? Let us know if you’ll back this project over in the 3D printed Barbie Chariot forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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