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Cosplay Memories

I spent the weekend at Aki Con, a mid-sized anime convention here in the Seattle area. Anime cons are different that gaming cons or even general-purpose comic cons. They’re more narrowly themed—focusing almost entirely on Japanese-produced animation and comics—but they also have a more robust inclusion of cosplay.

I say that knowing how important cosplay has become in ALL areas of geek culture. Every con I’ve been to—of ANY stripe—has seen a great increase in the number of attendees who come dressed in costumes. But the highest percentage, by far, goes to the anime cons. Aki Con, in particular, has about 80% of the attendees participating in cosplay . . . and many of the participants wore different costumes each day (and more than a few switched costumes during the course of the days).

About 1/3 of the vendors in the Dealer’s Hall were selling some kind of cosplay accessory, and for many of them, that was the entirety of their stock. But one booth in particular caught my eye and imagination. This guy had a computer, a small pedestal hooked up to an electric motor (so the pedestal would slowly rotate), and a handheld 3D image scanner. People would step up onto the pedestal, and he would take a 3D scan of them wearing their costumes.

Although all he was doing was creating the scan and showing the results to the cosplayers, he DID have a 3D printer on his table, and examples of the figurines it could produce. The guy told me that the actual 3D printing process was too fiddly, noisy, and messy to actually perform at the table, but that they WERE offering to create figurines after the show and mail them to the model for a price (ranging from $30-$80 depending on size . . . pretty reasonable, actually).

I think this is BRILLIANT! And I HOPE that someone is smart enough to set up a booth like this at Gen Con next year! PARTICULARLY if they can produce the figurines at standard RPG minis sizes (which, I’m guessing, might allow for an even lower price-point. Even BETTER if they could set up machines to do the production on site. Better still if they make a partnership with some talented minis painters who could make your personalized mini look as good or better than the pre-painted plastic ones that most folks at the gaming tables will be using.

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