S'poreans make miniature replicas of themselves

S'poreans make miniature replicas of themselves

Fancy a mini-me? At least five companies have popped up here that allow people to create miniature replicas of themselves in two ways: in handsculpted clay; or in 3-D printed variations of plaster, plastic and resin.

While clay figurines have been available for at least the past decade, their popularity has spiked in the last three years, with some stall owners reporting a jump of up to 30 per cent in business.

The newer plaster-and-resin figurines, made via 3-D printing, made its debut here last year and are also drawing fans for their life-like renderings.

The newest player on the block is Uu pop-up studio, a collaboration between Mikanbako, a Japanese 3-D imaging studio, home-grown advertising firm Kinetic and shopping mall Scotts Square. The studio, which started last weekend at the mall and runs till next Sunday, allows customers to create replicas of themselves after a 30-minute full-body scan.

Companies that produce clay figurines base them on the pictures customers provide. Their 3-D printing rivals, however, make use of hand-held, full body scanners to digitally image a person.

Figurines range in height from 8cm to 25cm. They can cost from $100 to $1,500.

And while clay figurines tend to be more like caricatures because they are based on the artist's impression of a picture, 3-D printed figurines are more true to life. If dropped, clay figurines may be dented, while plaster or resin replicas might chip.

Many people who make replicas of themselves or loved ones do so as gifts. One such customer is Mr Farouk Abdul Rahim, 31, who paid about $600 for miniature clay figurines of himself and his girlfriend in April through Unusually, which specialises in polymer clay figurines. Polymer clay is a softer kind of modelling clay that can withstand high temperatures used in baking.

"My girlfriend was going to study abroad in Yemen and I wanted to give her something she could take with her," says Mr Farouk, a driver.

He sent pictures of himself and his girlfriend, including views of their faces from the front and both sides, to Mr Adam Koh, 38, owner of Unusually. The 15cm tall figurines took three weeks to complete.

Mr Farouk says he made the figurines special by posing in a T-shirt that his girlfriend especially hated to remind her of his sense of humour.

"It would seem a little egotistical to make one of just myself. Making a set of figurines of the two of us is sort of like immortalising our love in clay," he says.

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