Who among us hasn’t dreamed of being a Power Ranger, a Marvel superhero, or a Ghostbuster? These days, thanks to technology, we fans have gotten more and more chances to feel like a part of our favorite franchises. Yet, last month, Hasbro Pulse really dialed up that fantasy with the announcement of its Selfie Series, a new 6-inch-scale action figure line that allows consumers to put their own head on the officially licensed body of popular characters from Star Wars, Marvel, and more.
While the Selfie Series won’t be available to the general public until later this fall, a few lucky fans and members of the press got a chance to try out the new self-scanning process during last month’s Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC). As you’ve probably guessed by now, I was one of those lucky few, and I’m here to tell you exactly how it works!
The entire process goes down using a smartphone. Specifically, this functionality will launch within the existing Hasbro Pulse app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. At the Hasbro booth, there was a pretty extensive lighting setup, but the team assured me that won’t be necessary at home — The key is natural, even light. That means you want to avoid darker spaces and having the light source behind you. Shadows are a no-go!
Once you’re in decent lighting, you start by scanning your face. The general outline of a head appears, and you want to hold up the phone to be level with your eyes, remove any glasses or face masks, and center your face within it the outline so your ears almost touch the edge. Then, you press scan. It’s important to note that this is just scanning your face, not your hair! I was concerned by my slightly disheveled, “it’s-SDCC-day-three” look, but I had no reason to fret. In fact, having your hair pulled back away from your face, or at least behind your ears, is your best bet for a good scan.
For the scan, you slowly turn your head as prompted, first to the left, then to the right. Once you finish, the app will show you a render of your face. This moment is jarring, not only because of the accuracy but also because it shows your face without hair!
At this stage, you get to adjust your skin tone. The output is, the team told me, usually a bit darker than your true skin tone. I am one of the palest people I know, and my render looked like someone who had just spent a few days at the beach, so I took mine down a few steps.
You may think the next step would be choosing your hair, but you would be wrong. You actually pick your character next! You get a menu of the brands available which, at launch, include Star Wars, Marvel, Power Rangers, G.I. Joe, and Ghostbusters. You tap on a brand to see the specific character options. I will note that there is no breakdown or labeling by gender, which I really liked. And let me tell you, this might be the hardest choice I have had to make this year, or at least in the month of July. I’d spent a few minutes before this demo studying the display case of available characters, and it didn’t make the choice any easier. Afraid to hold things up for too long, I finally settled on Black Widow.
During my demo, I asked the Hasbro Pulse team if any specific character had stood out in the SDCC demos as the most popular choice. While I was expecting a definitive “Spider-Man” or “Mandalorian,” they reported a fairly even spread across the available options. This, I suppose is a testament to the mix of characters they selected for the Selfie Series’ first wave and proof that there is a diverse collector community clamoring for these figures.
(Fun fact — If you look closely, you’ll notice that all of the character options in this first wave are wearing gloves of some sort. I pointed this out and asked if it was intentional, and was told that the team already faced so many challenges in developing this new technology and manufacturing process that they wanted to simplify at least one factor. But I also was told to “stay tuned for waves two and three,” so it sounds like custom hands could be coming down the line.)
Once you’ve made your very-hard choice and locked in your character, it’s time to pick the hair. There’s a pretty impressive variety of hairstyles to choose from, along with five hair colors (blonde, brown, black, white, and red). Because you’ve already selected your character, you get to see what the hairstyle looks like with both your face render and the character’s body.
After you lock in a hairstyle and color, you get to take a look at your final render. The app is super interactive, so you can zoom in close on the face and get a 360-degree, full-body look at figure to really make sure that you’re happy with it. Personally, even though I came in with high hopes, I was still impressed by how spot-on the likeness was — especially from certain angles.
Finally, when you’re satisfied with your likeness, you can add the figure to your shopping cart, fill in your shipping details, pay $59.99, and then (im)patiently wait for your figure, which will come in a branded display box, just like any other 6-inch Hasbro figure.
Right now, the timeline isn’t looking too bad for fans who are eagerly awaiting their turn. Hasbro will produce the preordered figures from SDCC and ship them out around mid-September. After that, the app functionality will get a wide release.
Overall, the process of scanning myself and creating my Selfie Series figure was both easier and cooler than I’d imagined. The technology is innovative and but uncomplicated, and the fact that Hasbro got some of the world’s biggest pop culture brands to sign on to this project is incredibly impressive.
While I obviously haven’t gotten to see the physical “Black Widow Madeleine” figure yet, I would still say — pretty confidently — that the price tag is worth it. I could also see myself being a repeat customer. I mean, I still want to see myself as a Stormtrooper, and as Spider-Man… and as whatever other exciting options Hasbro will wow us with for series two.