Technically speaking, an action figure is an articulated figurine, most commonly made of plastic, and usually depicting fictional characters from films, television shows, comics, video games, and so on. The term was first used by toy manufacturer Hasbro when first launching their G.I. Joe collection. No joke – they came up with it because “dolls” were already commonly associated with girls’ toys.
Although originally created to entertain children, today, they also serve as precious collectors’ items. In fact, original vintage action figures, like Kenner’s very first Star Wars collection, are worth top dollar.
But if they’re made of plastic, why not 3D print them? Looking into this, we made a selection of the best sites to download or purchase 3D printed action figures. We selected only “safe to purchase” websites, with models tested for printability and clarity of assembly instructions when necessary.
Like what you see but don’t have the resources to print it yourself? In that case, consider using a 3D printing service. With Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, you’ll instantly find the best price and provider for your needs, and for no extra cost!
If you’re looking for action figures specifically designed for 3D printing, Toy Forge is the place to look. The site was launched in 2015 by Aaron Thomas, an experienced professional from the TV and film animation industry. An action figure collector himself, he designed and printed his first original model, the Ronin, back in 2013.
At Toy Forge, you can buy beautifully-detailed, easy-to-print 3D models. Some models can also be purchased already printed and assembled. Their designs are so incredible that some of them are now licensed and sold online at other shops. These licensed versions are not 3D printed, though.
CGTrader is an online marketplace of 3D models for different kinds of uses. Their models are produced by freelance designers, hobbyists, and even professional design companies. CGTrader claims its marketplace has over 890,000 3D models, with an online community of 2.2 million users.
With such a great variety of models, be careful when looking for printables. The site has a specific area for 3D printing, where all the models are said to be 3D printable. With that said, there are so many awesome-looking action figures available here. This Transformers Bumblebee model from Caritelli stands out for its high fidelity, and if you’re a fan of Dragon Ball, be sure to check this Goku action figure.
Good old Thingiverse never lets you down. Specifically searching for “action figures”, you’ll find a good variety of articulated models, usually with detailed assembly instructions. Sizes and complexity vary, from Barney’s Vertex2 Robot to the more popular and complex Male Action Figure from Jason Welsh. User thewhingingwizard even has a model that is assembled without glue or fasteners.
Thingiverse, in general, doesn’t actually guarantee all of its files are safe for 3D printing. Although most users do ensure their models are printable, be sure to check on the “Makes” section or even in the comments. Perhaps that’s the price we pay for not actually paying for the models.
Cults is the first independent 3D model online marketplace ever. It connects 3D designers to 3D printing hobbyists, hosting more than 65,000 designs. Unlike Thingiverse, some of the models have a price tag.
While Cults is a great source of 3D models, for some reason, there aren’t that many articulated action figures available. There is one collection, however, that needs to be mentioned here.
For those who like vintage toys, user DesertOctopus has a great collection of 80s-style action figures. These models come mostly from the “Masters of the Universe” TV show, but there’s a separate Star Wars collection too. It replicates the much-loved Kenner’s Star Wars collection that we mentioned earlier. DesertOctopus also offers a couple of action figures inspired by the arcade game “Metal Slug”. How cool is that?
Another well-known 3D model repository, MyMiniFactory couldn’t possibly be left out of this list. This platform, like all the other marketplaces, has a great number of files ready for download. But rather than just having a lot of designs, MyMiniFactory guarantees that all files available are 3D printable. According to their website, “every single file runs through a software check and is tested by our community before it’s published”. Interesting feature!
Lucky for us, there are plenty of action figures available for download, coming from all sorts of universes. There’s childhood’s favorite Blastoise Pokémon, a highly-detailed Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead, and even a face-swapping Rick from the animated series “Rick and Morty”. All of these models are free, but bear in mind that some other action figures might cost you a few bucks, like Riccardo Minervino’s Articulated Poseable Male Figure.
Hero Forge is a web-based platform that allows the interactive creation of detailed miniatures and figurines. It’s just like creating an RPG character: Start by choosing your race, then physical attributes, gear, and so on. With their easy-to-use customizer, it’s really fun to make your own personal hero. Once finished, you can choose its size and material, and Hero Forge can get it 3D printed and shipped to you.
Being non-articulated models, these miniatures are not technically action figures. But it was just not an option to leave this site out of our list considering its endless customizing possibilities. The actual 3D printing is done by Shapeways, and the heroes can be printed in plastics and metal. If you want to print them yourself, the 3D digital files can be purchased as well.
Price range: STL files start at $9.99 and printed minis range from $19.99 (regular plastic) to $99.99 (bronze)
Gambody is yet another online marketplace for 3D models. The difference lies in its selection of insanely-detailed models available for purchase. They are of all sorts: characters, dioramas, starships, dragons, and more from distinct movies, TV shows, and video games.
All Gambody’s models are tested for printability and come with printing instructions like slicer settings and parts orientation. Once printed, the models need to be assembled. Their YouTube channel is filled with instructional videos.
License: The text of "The Best Sites for 3D Printed Action Figures" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
3d Printer Manufacturers List
Shanghai Digital Manufacturing Co., Ltd.,https://www.digitalmanu.net/