Meet Man You Should Know Jim Rodda, a rock star in the hobbyist 3D printing community, and an emerging hero in the if-only-Barbie-was-represented-as-a-stronger-woman circles. Inspired indirectly by his four-year-old niece, Jim has designed 3D printed medieval armor for Barbie Fashionistas dolls that he calls “Faire Play.”

“I wanted to print something unique for her next birthday, and so I decided to design and engineer a pair of My Little Pony-compatible glitter cannons,” the designing uncle from Appleton, WI explained. “But! Moving parts and springs can be tough to do at this level of 3D printing, and after a few test prints I became frustrated and fell back on my usual method for generating new ideas: drinking three lattes and taking a hot shower.”

Midway through his fourth latte, Jim got the idea to create 3D printed armor for Barbie. He says, “Highly caffeinated and towel-clad I dashed over to the laptop and ordered a Fashionistas doll.” Then he got fast to work on designing his new Barbie a highly detailed suit of armor made entirely of biodegradable plastic (Wow… he’s even making Barbie eco-friendly).

To bring his vision to reality and enable him to produce the next iteration of the prototype armor, Jim launched a Kickstarter campaign in April. When he reached his initial funding goal with two weeks to go on the campaign, he celebrated his backers’ generosity by creating “a digital token of gratitude” – the Faire Play Recurve Bow to go with Barbie’s armor. In the end, Jim designed over 40 intricate pieces of armor, and exceeded his $5,000 goal by $1,000 with the help of 290 backers.

Medieval Barbie with bow

Jim’s Faire Play armor set (shown in the lead image) is available now and includes three sets of 3D printable files: The Faire Play Field Plate Armor (silver get-up), The Faire Play Parade Armor (gold get-up), and The Athena Makeover Kit (see below). Dolls not included.

Jim makes it a point to note that he has no association with Mattel, the undisputed masters of Barbie and all her associated trademarks. He says, “I’m just some dude cranking out 3D models in his basement.”

Jim’s Special Offering To Athena

During the Kickstarter campaign, Jim made a 3D printed tribute offering to the Goddess of Wisdom herself, asking for Athena’s good favor in guiding his campaign to success. Clearly his Athena Makeover Kit – complete with spear, aegis, and winged boots – pleased her.

If you’ve already got a 3D printer and know a doll that needs arming, you can head on over to The Forge section of Jim’s site and download a free copy of his Athena Makeover Kit. He advises, “The spear and aegis should fit most dolls, although the winged boots are designed specifically for Barbie’s feet.”

Athena Barbie