Assembly has long been emphasized as a selling point for children’s toys, from Lincoln Logs and Legos to Tinkertoys, Hexbugs, and K’nex. After all, what’s the fun in buying and playing with something that you don’t get to assemble yourself?
In the latest iteration of such kits, artist and designer Tomoo Yamaji has created an elegant Transformers-inspired action figure, “Stingray,” now available on Shapeways. Upon first viewing the two configurations of the transforming figure, I felt as though I was looking at two completely different toys — so different are the graceful stingray and ominous-looking combat modes of the toy.
Once ordered, Shapeways creates an on-demand 3D print of the unassembled kit, which must then be constructed by the customer. The model prints with screw holes, so the thing can be easily fastened together, and no adhesive is necessary. The customer can either use their own screws that they might have on hand, or request screws from Yamaji, which appears to be a complimentary offer for the $190 toy.
The Stingray was modeled using the 3D CAD software Rhinoceros and is printed with Shapeways’ affordable Strong & Flexible Nylon Plastic in white. Yamaji’s featured pictures and video, however, show off a sleekly painted model in indigo with gold and red accents. More information and the downloadable assembly manual can be found on Yamaji’s website. Be sure to check out the transformation in the video below.