Back in July, we introduced you to 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 designed 3D printed medieval armor for Barbie Fashionistas dolls that he calls “Faire Play.” Now he’s back with an insanely cool design for his newest medieval Barbie accessory… a 3D-printed Barbie-compatible Roman chariot that can, in theory, be pulled by cats.
So how on earth did Jim come up with his latest idea? Putting it simply, the forces of the universe and the internet spoke to him. “Faire Play demonstrated that people enjoy seeing Barbie in non-traditional roles, so revisiting the Barbie-as-warrior trope was a no-brainer,” he shared with WYSK. “But what else does the Internet like? Cats. I’m told the Internet likes cats.”
Here’s where the forces of the universe come in. It just so happened that Coco (a.k.a. the chariot pulling model) arrived on Jim’s doorstep right around the time he was looking for a hook for his “pet” project (get it… “pet” project). So the creative evolution went something like this, “A fusion of kittens, toys, and 3D-printing became inevitable. Design work began immediately.”
After a series of cardboard mock-ups, proof-of-concept-prints, a #2 pencil as a temporary axle, and a month of nights-and-weekends “vertex wrangling in Autodesk Maya” (totally over our heads) his masterpiece was born.
Bringing his original Faire Play armor set (40 intricate pieces) to the masses was only possible thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign (Jim reached his initial funding goal with two weeks to go on the campaign, and ultimately exceeded his $5,000 goal by $1,000 with the help of 290 backers). So he’s headed back to the crowdfunding well to make his Roman chariot (a.k.a. “Faire Play 2”) a reality.
While Jim’s primary goal is to raise the funds necessary to take his operation from “some dude in a basement” to a garage-scale production facility, he’s totally upfront about what the cherry on top of his success sundae would be… “to melt Facebook and Twitter with this image of a cat pulling a 3D-printed chariot.” That’s where we come in, and why we just came up with the hashtag #melttheinternet.
If Kickstater lightening strikes twice for Jim he says, “I’ll be able to deliver new and fun 3D printed toys and tchotchkes (and their 3D-printable blueprints) to the world for the foreseeable future.”
That’s good enough for us. Good luck Jim.
PS – Whether you want to support this venture or not, go to Jim’s Kickstater page because the campaign video he has put together is totally wacky and priceless. Without spoiling anything, it’s set in a Roman Colosseum, and features Barbie raking cat litter, just before she’s called to armor up and save the day.