• 6 of the Coolest Types of Fandom Merch

    We Are Borg back once more with something new. I am huge merch guy. With a long history of emptying my wallet for pony, I wanted to begin a small series of articles that focused on merch; both official and fandom.

    Today I’ll share with you pieces of pure awesome fandom creation that you need to have; Artistry in amazing mediums. I choose these because the quality, functionality, uniqueness and personalization of each. Don’t feel bad if I leave something out! I’ll do another editorial on more cool fandom creations later. I have a lot of stuff after all.

    Join me after the break for a peek into my collection and some of my most prized pieces.

    Warning: There’s a lot of Borg and my wife's OC, Cynder, below to demonstrate the quality of personalized commissions of these pieces. Resistance is futile to the Borg Pony cuteness.

    #6 A Brush Is Mightier Than The Pen...
    Painted Pictures

    So I do enjoy a good art print that an artist has poured many hours into to perfect, but sometimes I need more than just a high resolution copy that 100 other people have. I want the original. That one and only copy I can hold. For me that usually means something not digital. And if you want something unique, you need to look beyond simple inking and prismacolors to a time honored medium. Some of my favorites are pastels, oils paints, and even high end marker. I am, however, a huge sucker for watercolors. Nothing gets bills thrown into an artist’s face from me, faster than water colors. Trying to wrangle colored water onto paper is like sorcery to me. The above picture is water color by Dracontiar. I'm showing you just the one to show the medium more.

    Many times a print or copy is based of a physical original. If you ask for it, and are okay with the higher price, an artist may sell it. But besides one of the artist’s originals you can have your own in the form of a commission.

    One of the best parts about any piece of commissioned art is watching and being involved in the process. An added bonus to commissioning one early at con is watching the artist work right in front of you. It adds a level of appreciation to a piece that a lot of people wouldn’t normally get from a print. In a way it’s not just a piece of art you get, it’s the entire story of its creation, from idea through execution and the relationship you can build with an artist.

    #5 To Kiss A Pony...

    Who doesn’t want to put a pony to their lips? No, kissing horse mouth is not why I wanted to mention these. First. I love these guys because they are functional. With some of my collection, sometimes I’ll forget it’s there (and buy a duplicate piece) so it’s great when I can open up my cupboard and grab something ponified to pop my drink into; something I’ll use all the time. Glasses like these can either be colored or etched. For the uninitiated there are a few types of each. For colored you can either have painted, like the Twilight shot glass here or printed on, like the DHN one to its right. Etching the glass is much more permanent, and dishwasher safe, than a painted or printed glass that can have the image scratched off but has the drawback of only being frosted and in some cases, hard to see. For techniques, from left to right, the Rainbow Dash stuff is laser etched, the custom stuff is sand blasted and the Derpy glasses are acid etched. Acid etching is the cheapest to do but it’s hard to get consistent results. Laser etching is the pinnacle of the three methods and provides the most accuracy of image, though I have heard it can be difficult to use on a rounded surface like glass. It’s also pretty expensive for someone to invest in which is why sandblasting is a great alternative. There is some dialing in to do and it can get messy but a skilled artisan can produce laser like quality. Sandblasting’s lower cost of ownership usually translates to the customer which is why I got a 120 custom etched wine glasses for my wedding like the one shown.

    So not only are these great for drinking out of, but they too can have that personal design. I think they make great gifts, as the wedding glasses were also the favors everyone got to take home and the Borg glass there was commissioned by a friend for me. While a down side is they can break if they’re glass, I think they are pretty refreshing regardless and a must have for anyone who consumes liquid. What would you drink from a pony?

    #4 50 Shades Of Pone...
    Fanfiction Prints

    Not everyone is into it, but I love me some fanfiction. I remember reading old stories featured here on EQD that were just links to Google Docs. I love it when an author gets such a huge following that a dedicated group gets together to do more edits, tweaks and formating, then get it all bound into a real book you can hold in your hand. As a book collector, a first hardback edition printing is the must have.

    Instead of your favorite pony, or another commissioned piece of your OC, these physical manifestations of the hard work and dedication of fans are like trophies of not only what the writer has accomplished, but of what the fandom has as well. A commission in another way, these prints are usually all pre orders and only enough are made to fill them. I’d recommend everyone jump on the chance to own one and to be on the lookout for future printing projects. What fanfic do you think should be printed?

    #3 Lurking In The Shadows…
    Shadow Boxes

    These are just so amazing and there aren't too many people in the fandom who do these beautiful things. These 4 here were created by The Paper Pony and they literally take art to another dimension. With a tilt of your head you are no longer looking AT a scene but looking INTO one. After an initial drawing, each individual layer and piece gets drawn again, then painstakingly cut and assembled. I would go crazy before I picked up the X-Acto knife.

    Like most of the pieces here I’ve mentioned, because a fan just like you is making it, it can be commissioned to specs and you get a piece that is more personal to you. For me and my wife, we enjoy getting a shadow box to commemorate an important event in our lives. The one on the right was commissioned by my wife as soon as I proposed to her at Nightmare Nights Dallas. She also got me the center bottom one to celebrate my second year of working with BABSCon. So many great memories I get to be reminded of when I look at these!

    #2 Ponies3
    3D Printed Models

    I am a huge fan of the official merch, but there is just something special about a fan made 3D printed pony. The level of detail that the fandom artisans put into creating these models is crazy. We see new designs come out all the time and really, the sky's the limit. The little ones in the picture are actually less than the size of a quarter while over on another shelf is a Blackjack with a 12 inch wing span!

    As you can see, if you want your OC, Little Pip, or Fluttershy on her back waiting for belly rubs, someone can make it. I used the pair up here as cake toppers for my wedding and were made by Clawed-Nyasu. I feel a lot of people miss out on the opportunity to get a pony commissioned in any pose they want; a pony to hold and feel. And if you’re wanting to do an OC, you get to work with the artist to answer the tough questions like “What does the back of your head look like?” and “How big is you flank?”

    #1 Art Of The Plush...

    Plushies are something we feature a lot here at EQD and for some rabid fans, certain colors, fabrics, and shapes separate a great plush from a fantastic one. I have a few favorites plushie makers but these four here were all cut, stuffed and stitched by Equestria Plush. I actually got Rainbow Dash here after forcing my way into the shutting down vendor hall at the infamous Las Pegasus Unicon.

    Again, what makes these amazing pieces of merch is not just the quality, but the ability to commision and get, not only Applejack in her Gala dress, but a plush of your own OC as well. But be warned: If you require a high level of detail, like a cyborg OC covered in lights, tubes, and armor, combined with commission waiting lists, it could be a while before you can hug your pony. Borg here was one and a half years in the making due to the level of detail his maker forced herself to put into him and at times had to learn new techniques in order to get him done.

    So these are just a few of cool things I have collected and commissioned over these few years. Do you like what I’ve shown? What cool pieces of fandom craftery do you drool over? Let us know in the comments!