Sketchfab Starts a Gallery of Madame Tussauds 3D Models

It’s probably safe to say that many of the wax statues on display at one of the several Madame Tussauds museums all over the world are among the most photographed exhibits in the world. Sure there are people who line up to take a picture of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, but I have little doubt that those numbers are dwarfed by people who want a picture of Marilyn Monroe giving them a flirty smile.

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With the rapid advancement of not only 3D scanning technology but the advancement of software capable of converting 2D images into 3D models it was only a matter of time before the iconic wax statues began turning up on 3D model websites. Recently 3D model sharing service Sketchfab opened up the first Madame Tussauds gallery with crowdsourced 3D models and currently there are about thirty two 3D models of varying quality available for download.

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The mixture of famous personalities is pretty mixed, and are mostly obvious choices with a few odd exceptions. There are the celebrities that you would expect like an early Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Brad Pitt and Indiana Jones era Harrison Ford. Then the political personalities like George W Bush, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Fidel Castro. But my favorites are some of the random models like Arnold Palmer and, weirdly, Brandon Routh as Superman. Far be it from me to clown on one of the few parts of that movie that wasn’t terrible, but that’s a little like going out of your way to snap a picture of Matthew Broderick’s character from the 1998 Godzilla movie.

I’ll be honest, I’m actually a little surprised that Madame Tussauds hasn’t already scanned a bunch of their statues and offered them for sale. For a company that has rarely ignored an opportunity to turn their exhibits into money-makers it seems like a missed opportunity. Of course there may be legal restrictions involved with the sale of celebrity likenesses, but there is no reason anyone with a legitimate copyright claim couldn’t be given a cut. I can’t imagine that creating downloadable 3D models of famous faces would be a money loser.

But it seems that, as usual, the public got to the idea first. Granted, none of the models that have been uploaded are currently 3D printable, but a good digital artist could probably fix any holes or distortions pretty quickly. If you have your own 3D model of one of their wax statues you can include it in the gallery by tagging it “Madametussauds”, and you can view the entire crowdsourced gallery here.