How to Turn Yourself Into a (3D-Printed) Superhero
Personalized gifts are 100 times more special than the same old mass-produced stuff, and few things are more personalized than a superhero figure that looks just like you.
HeroMods is a 3D printing company based out of Australia that makes those special figures for $99 a piece. Curious to see how the process worked, I was thrilled when I got my own chance to see what I'd look like as a superhero.
The process of building a HeroMod is pretty simple—but it gets trickier if you want to create a superhero version of someone else as a surprise gift.
The first step is to pick the superhero armor. There are six styles in total—three for guys and three for ladies—each one with their own customizable color schemes. I opted for the Female Combat outfit with the green combat suit, grey belts and pads and black boots.
Next up was the photo-taking process. To get an accurate representation of myself, I had to take a high-quality, front-facing photo and a side photo with perfect lighting against a white background. in As someone who doesn't ever take selfies, I wound up taking a lot of pics before I was happy with the results.
Of course, if you're making a hero version of a friend as a gift, it might arouse their suspicion if you ask for high-resolution front and side pics. Of course, HeroMods has thought of this, and have a handy guide on their website with some suggestions on how to subtly get those images, including using Snapchat's camera role FaceSwap picture, or telling them you need the photos for a special custom card.
Before you upload and send the photos through, you can also check a box to add tiny black-rimmed glasses to your order. Coincidentally they look just like the glasses I wear in real life, but I somehow had a mental hiccup and managed not to click the box when I made my order. It would have been fun to have my glasses represented on my hero figure, but on the other hand, my super self would probably have 20/20 vision (or at least wear contacts!).
Once I placed my order, it took a little less than a month for my figure to arrive. Here she is close-up!
For your reference, here's a recent photo of me (posing with Seth Green, because I have very few photos of myself and I like to brag a little bit). I think they really managed to capture my look, right down to the long black hair.
My HeroMod figure arrived in a plastic case labeled with my name, full of protective foam and with metal stoppers on either end. HeroMods aren't action figures that can be bent or posed, and they're made of brittle materials, so you have to be careful with them because they're fragile. The company recommends keeping all of the foam inside the tube before giving to a friend in case they get too excited and shake it. You definitely don't want them to break their special gift.
Even once everyone knows the HeroMod can break, it's best to store it inside of its tube. There are magnets inside of each HeroMod's feet so they cling to the metallic floor, and it's built to display and show off.
Overall, I was really impressed with the quality of my super Amanda. While the details around the face are a bit fuzzy, that's only natural with the 3D printing process that created the figure, and even with that fuzziness I think she looks just like me. I didn't pick a particularly bright amor for myself, so I can't speak to the vibrancy of the other figures, but I think her outfit looks just right.
She is, however (proportionately) taller and thinner than I am in real life, and in the future it would be cool to see HeroMods represent more diverse body shapes. HeroMods cofounder Diane Vu told me that she's already planning on it.
I'd also love it if HeroMod figures were less delicate so they could stand some wear and tear and I could actually play with it, but I can definitely foresee that type of thing costing a lot more than the $99 cost today.
I understand that not everyone has $99 laying around to spend on custom gifts, but HeroMods look incredible and are pretty inexpensive compared to other companies making 3D-printed mini people. When your friend sees themselves in hero form, we guarantee their jaw will drop.
Want to learn more about how HeroMods are made? Click HERE for our interview with HeroMods cofounder Diane Vu.