3D Printing is both fast and slow. If you want to get a single item from design into your hands as a physical object, it is very fast. If you are relying on 3D printing to manufacture hundreds of parts, then this becomes a challenge and a topic for academics (an answer, if you're curious, is a 3D printing farm of a few hundred printers can be quicker than injection molding, but it depends on size, shape, and whether assembly is required.) At DioWarriors we have been upscaling many of our 1:18 scale kits into 1:12 scale. Some items can be easily enlarged by simply rescaling the object in CAD. Other items need to be remade from scratch, and still other items require a combination of rescaling and then adjusting the details of the design.
When it comes to the actual printing, it takes time to print a larger model. There's more material that gets used and more area to fill in. What would take 3 hours to print may take 5 hours, easily.
At DioWarriors we normally would keep items on-hand for inventory, but the reality is we often get more orders for certain models than we can 3D print to replenish the inventory. For many items we end up having to print-on-demand. That is something we don't want to do and have been trying hard to break out of that. So we print extra items when we can with the aim of rebuilding inventory. Printing extra items means we're not printing items that we need to fill an order. So it becomes not quite a Catch 22, but something like that.
With 1:12 scale we're trying a different approach. We'll only make items available in the store when we have the item already 3D printed and ready in inventory. In this way we hope to avoid delay from the manufacturing process and simply grab the item and place it into a shipping box. But there's a down side to this. Folks are going to notice many 1:12 items will be unavailable -- "sold out" -- until we replenish the inventory. Such a thing happened in the past when DioWarriors first started. In those early days we didn't have as many 3D printers as we do now, so items were listed in the store and quickly sold out. We would scramble to print the models, but as soon as the store got updated, orders would quickly make those items sold out again. Then folks hit Facebook to complain that our items were always sold out.
So it's going to be something unavoidable. But with 1:12 taking longer to 3D print the big fear is it'll interfere with the regular 1:18 scale items. We'll try to get dedicated machines just for the 1:12 scale. But until then, please excuse an unavailable items. We're trying, but any solution will still take time.
Space is an issue. Many toy companies are trying to pass the larger 1:12 scale as the "collectors scale." Indeed there are many choices to choose from, especially concerning sports and wrestling. Star Wars and GI Joe action figures are now available in 6", but I grew up with the small 3 3/4" scale of the '80's era. When modern 4" scale came out and I started collecting again, I started displaying my purchases. First it was action figures. Then as I became accustomed to buying toys as an adult, I started purchasing vehicles. At the beginning I had a lot of space to show the collection, then the vehicles started taking up the space. I invested in plastic tote boxes because I simply ran out of space for the vehicles. I got married and moved to a larger place and started to bring out as much of the vehicles to show off the collection side-by-side with the figures. Today my 1:18 scale army of Cobra figures from GI Joe takes up much of the display. Then there's the other lines in the 1:18 scale: Marauder Task Force, Boss Fight Studio, Microman, Star Wars, and many miscellaneous others.
But when it came to the newer 6" scales for Star Wars and GI Joe I simply could not justify army building in the same way as I did with the 4" scale. Squad building is one thing, but army building is just not practical for me. So when it came to considering props -- the things we do at DioWarriors -- I wasn't too keen to get involved: the current work area is full of 1:18 scale prototypes and production parts either being prepared for customer orders or on display in a diorama. Where will I put the 6" scale items? So I tried to avoid "getting involved".
2021 I couldn't avoid getting involved once the blue shirt Cobra troopers became available. It was a fiasco trying to order from Target, and none of the Targets near me had the troopers. There was disappointment from collectors who also tried to order through Target, and anger over scapers selling GI Joe Classified at crazy prices. So the thrill and fun of driving around town toy hunting wasn't there for me, and I saw that feeling echo with many collectors. So when JoeFest 2021 occurred and I was meeting collectors who came by the DioWarriors table, I was amazed at how many were asking about DioWarriors props in 6". Didn't expect the demand that was there. Some folks even commented they had stopped collecting 1:18 in favor of 1:12. "Hrm, something to consider and think about after the convention" I told myself.
Well, it's now after the convention and orders are finally under control enough that I've been looking at what we have that could best be a 6" scale prop. We do have several large 3D printers, but not enough for large numbers of large props. So we're starting small by first focusing on easy to replicate props.
In the next few weeks you'll see more and more classic DioWarriors props being upscaled. I'll be sure to post some videos showing the process. Our current angle of attack is to focus on themes, such as a laboratory theme. Microscopes, scales, and other lab themes could take serious advantage of the DioWarriors aesthetics and look impressive next to a 6" figure. Most of the DioWarriors props are capable of being upscaled easily without a lot of changes. Other themes or random props will follow, most likely containers and modern plastic barrels.
A big thank you to everyone who stopped by the table at JoeFest and expressed the interest for DioWarriors props in 1:12 scale. We listened, mulled it over, and agree that DioWarriors should and will be involved in this larger scale. Items will be a bit more detailed too. Of course the time it takes to 3D print an item will take longer, and the amount of material will be more, but we'll do our best to keep costs as low as possible.
Spread the word, foks! DioWarriors props in 1:12 scale!
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