As a child, I was quite the collector of action figures and models. Whether it was my vast collection of G.I. Joes, my complete set of every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle available, my Starting Lineup models, or my sparse collection of random figurines from Ghost Busters, American Gladiators, and He-Man, I never had a problem finding something to do. Now with the advent of 3D printing, action figure hobbyists and model collectors have yet another avenue to trek when it comes to acquiring their favorite characters from movies, TV shows, and/or video games.
It seems like it was only a little over a year ago that we began seeing designers start 3D printing their own custom figurines. The ability to design characters from the ground up, and then bring them to life through 3D printing, means the possibilities are really endless.
For one Dutch designer, named Thijs de Bruijn, 3D printing was just the avenue he needed to create a model figurine with the detail and customization that he wanted, although he never really set out to have his model 3D printed.
“Initially I wasn’t even planning on ever having it 3D printed. I entered a 3D modelling contest of which the goal was to make fan art of a character from any fighting game,” Bruijn tells 3DPrint.com. “In my opinion it would be kind of pointless to just blatantly recreate an already existing design, therefore I decided to make my own design from the ground up. The character I picked was ‘Yoshimitsu’ from the game Tekken. I thought he was really interesting in his previous designs and he also has a somewhat interesting backstory.”
Bruijn started his design by sketching the really basic proportions in Photoshop without any line-work. He then browsed the internet looking for pictures that had interesting shapes. These shapes can literally be anything imaginable. He took these pictures and overlaid them on his Photoshop sketch to find interesting lines which he could then trace.
“This is a great way to come up with design elements that you could never think of yourself,” Bruijn tells us. “The next step is to take the design and quickly sculpt that in Zbrush.”
Bruijn uses Zbrush but says that any sculpting software could work. He then took a snapshot of the 3D model back to Photoshop and repeated his original step until he was happy with his overal design. Because most 3D printers are not large enough for the printing of full sized models, Bruijn had to cut his model apart. When it came to 3D printing his model, a Hong Kong-based company called Ownage was just the right fit.
The Yoshimitsu model was 3D printed with parts printed on several different machines. Most of the parts are made hollow and then filled with a heat resistant plaster to give the model a more solid feel and provide it with a bit of weight. When complete, the Yoshimitsu model measured 9.84 inches tall (25 cm).
It took Bruijn a little less than two months to complete this project from start to finish, with the painting process taking two whole weeks. In the end, it was well worth the time he spent, as the model turned out amazing.
I’m a 27 year old artist with a background in game-art, I have several years of experience in the field and went on to do freelance work since about a year ago. I also have degree in Game-Art (graduated at MediaCollege in Amsterdam). I’m located in Monnickendam, the Netherlands, which about 15 minutes away from Amsterdam!
Bruijn is a 27 year-old artist with a background in game art, as well as a degree in the subject from MediaCollege in Amsterdam. He has several years of experience in the field, and currently lives in Minnickendam, the Netherlands. More details on Bruijn’s other design work can be found on his website.
What do you think about this incredible Yoshimitsu model? Was it worth the two month time frame it took Bruijn to create? Discuss in the 3D Printed Tekken model forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some more photos of Bruijn’s model below.