Hasbro has announced a partnership with Shapeways—a retailer of user-created 3D-printed wares (read: Etsy for technophiles)—to sell My Little Pony figurines designed by amateur artists. Under the new program, which lives at SuperFanArt.com, independent artists will design original 3D models of Pony tchotchkes, and Shapeways will print the figurines on demand for paying customers who want their own.
Although the venture is billed as “art by fans for fans,” the first few designs available for purchase are most notable for their lack of penises, a bizarre aberration in any crowdsourced Internet art project—and clear evidence that this embrace of fandom may not be all it seems. Indeed, while Shapeways is rather cagey about the screening process in its blog post about the partnership, Hasbro spilled the beans to The New York Times, revealing that the toy company must approve each fan-made design before it’s sold “to ensure they are not obscene, violent or hateful.” In other words, Hasbro wants to bolster My Little Pony revenue with a little bit of Internet, but not too much Internet.
Variety notes that Hasbro will be adding more of its brands to SuperFanArt later this year, possibly including Transformers, Monopoly, Magic: The Gathering, and more. So if you’ve been waiting for a desktop figurine that depicts Optimus Prime tea-bagging Mr. Monopoly, keep waiting.
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