Review: My Robot Nation

I used to have an idea when I was a kid of a place you could mail sketches (or even vague 'i want the head of Optimus Prime on a GI Joe body wearing a Jetpack' description) off along with money and you'd get sent back an action figure. Well sadly My Robot Nation won't give you that level of customization, and they only make statuettes rather than poseable action figures. However considering the people behind this venture are promising more than robots down the road I have high hopes.

I found the link for this site through the Chrome Web Store and hey it looks neat so I'll give it a look. First click on the app drops you on their instructions page. Whole thing is self-explanatory but take note of the prices listed. Two and Three inch figures are relatively reasonable priced given they're doing a complete scratch build and it's going to be in full color. After that the prices just mushroom till you get six inch figures that cost right at about $170. While that may look expensive, and trust me it IS, I can see the rational behind it.

Just like there being no supersized godzilla sized bugs due to inherent size limits imposed by the fact internal volume increases at a far faster rate than external size you also run into this problem here. More surface area plus a vastly increased internal volume to fill means costs are going to ramp up no matter what way you cut it. Are there added costs involved that don't directly go to production? Undoubtedly. Setting aside making sure the creation doesn't fall apart and other quality control measures these guys have to make money off this and while I don't like the prices I won't begrudge them for it.

Apparently this one came from C|Net.
Let's move on to the editor. First you get to pick the basic body (head, torso, legs, left and right arms.) After you get all those set, and don't worry if you don't like the initial look you can go back, other options open up for poses, shapes to position on the robot, and color. It's actually quite well done given I'm on a netbook. It's in real time 3d and you can rotate the robot around whenever you wish. My one complaint is that I wish you had a grid so you could line up parts so your ears/antenna/eyes were matched. Plus getting things perfectly in line when you accessorize with nubs is a headache. At least it did with me so your mileage may vary.

Due to ever preasent lack of cash problems I haven't ordered anything I've made so no comments on build quality, but the FAQ does warn that it isn't for kids and they can break if handled roughly. However as a plus side epoxy fixes thigns up quite nicely.

Would I give this a try? Of course I would! If it didn't cost so much for the bigger figures I'd order 'em bigger too. I mean if they branch out from just robots to including people or people like things... I'd be all over this for any would be tabletop gamer wanting custom minies of the party and or any critters. Then again I have friends that play Warhammer 40k, so maybe I can get one of them to do the physical testing and comparing price of one of these vs one of the games workshop unpainted minies of similar size.

So. If Robots are just the first step. What next? Zombies? Mecha? Look I dunno but it's an interesting business model, especially for those of us not able to build or buy our own 3d printers. I love this kinda stuff. It's what we were promised way back when technologies like 3d printing and the Web were first rolled out. Hell look at Star Trek. We were promised 'get your own thing made for you on the spot' with Replicators in TNG. Now for the last word on what i have to say about these guys.

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