AMS Spring 2023

GeeWhiz Uses 3D Printing to Create Life-like Figure of The Dark Knight

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10441324_656067594475519_6807394800245688194_nGeeWhiz might seem like the kind of thing a blushing six year old from a 1950s TV show might utter, but the people behind the humorously named company can be rightly proud of what they have created. Over the last years, Bleau Aquino of GeeWhiz has worked to build up a reputation in the areas of custom-built dioramas, toy photography, and the creation of custom tailored character clothing in 1/6 scale.

45866_656067694475509_8168275102698179914_nTheir most recent creation is a 3D printed 1/6 scale Arkham Knight Batman which won second place in the People’s Choice Custom Figure Contest at the One Sixth Republic x Pinoy One Sixth Kolecktores (OSR x POSK) held at the TOYCONPH 2014 in the Philippines. The prize for winning this kind of recognition? A Night Guard figure from Asmus Toys – of course!

Creating these types of custom made figures requires a great deal of painstaking attention and artistry – they aren’t just stamped out by the hundreds or thousands. GeeWhiz offered some insight into the behind-the-scenes process of creating an award-winning figure like this one.

The team began by creating the armor, head, feet, and utility belt in Maya and then refining the forms in ZBrush. These computer models were then printed using a high-resolution 3D printer. After their printing, they were trimmed, patched, and sanded by hand to prepare them for the creation of a mold. The mold is then used to re-cast the part into either rubber or ABS plastic, depending on the part.

Each piece is painted either using a small paintbrush and airbrush masking techniques. This combination of applications creates the metal and carbon fiber effect. Acrylic paints were finished with an automotive topcoat giving them depth and sheen.

bat-feat

Aquino described the challenges present in the creation of such an elaborate and complex custom figure:

“Building a custom figure is a painstaking trial and error process which often results in having to start from scratch to finally get all the parts and pieces to properly fit together. In such a small scale, all these parts require very nimble hands and a whole lot of patience to cast, mold, sand, paint, cut, tailor, and assemble.”

There’s more to this figure than plastics and hard surfaces, however. GeeWhiz also custom tailors clothing for its figurines. In this case, Aquino worked with tulle, netting, spandex, and faux leather to create a tight-fitting undersuit. Each piece not only has to fit perfectly with the other pieces of the pattern, but also had to sit exactly right with the armor plates. This means that not only are all of the sizes scaled to 1/6 but also the thicknesses of the materials is decreased to 1/6 and then all of it has to be sewn together perfectly.

10499366_650329151716030_5158135849424180335_oLooking back at the work put into the creation of the figure, Aquino noted, “Think of it as a 360 degree puzzle that all needs to be sewn together.”

You can visit GeeWhiz’s Facebook page to view images of the custom figures and clothing they have created over the years, ranging from Bill the Butcher, complete with all his knives, to Dr. Who. It’s really quite impressive. Leave your feedback of this amazing work in the 3D printed Dark Knight forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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