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Heroes of Science Action Figures by datazoid Heroes of Science Action Figures by datazoid
Volumes II and III are now up:

Heroes of Science Volumes I and II by datazoid Heroes of Science Volumes I, II and III by datazoid

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Wasn't entirely sure how to categorise this.

These little guys took between 40 minutes and 2 hours each, totalling around 50 hours of work.

I like action figures. I have a small collection of them. I’ve noticed that you can buy Albert Einstein figures, Nikola Tesla bobble-heads and The Simpsons even brought out a Stephen Hawking figure based on his appearance in an episode. However, I thought it’d be really cool if there was an entire series of them, based on all of the people who’ve contributed to our understanding of the world and the universe it sits in.

The figures are all based on Star Trek: TNG and Star Trek: DS9 figures (primarily Odo from DS9, and Picard as Dixon Hill from TNG), and have been heavily modified in Photoshop using Liquify and a great deal of digital painting. Unfortunately, the figures aren’t real. I wish they were.

I realise there are a *lot* of scientists that I’ve missed! I did make a few rules for who I’d include in this selection, which are:

the scientist must have been alive at some point in the 20th century. This is a practical consideration, as it really narrows the field down, and it eliminates a lot of the more outrageously-dressed characters, allowing me to work with mostly dudes in suits.
No scientists famous for major medical breakthroughs. Primarily because medical heroes is a category all of its own, and there are hundreds to choose from. I’ve included Alexander Fleming here, because he was primarily a chemist, and because his discovery of penicillin was not a discovery made in the course of trying to cure something.

A few notes on specific figures:

Probably one of the less perfect faces, but I think it captures the spirit of Albert quite effectively!

This is the third version I’ve made of Erwin. He was troublesome, because it’s really difficult to nail his usually morose expression, yet colourful clothing choices.

Seriously cool lookin’ dude, by the by.

Stephen Hawking:
I’ve tried, wherever possible, to represent these people in a positive way, and in their most recognisable appearances. Hawking took a lot of effort, because I wanted to make sure he was recognisable, but drawn with respect. His wheelchair is made largely of Mega Bloks parts, with a few Star Trek: TNG accessories. (The headrest is a tricorder or two.)

Benoît Mandelbrot:
Couldn’t resist the temptation to put an image of the Mandelbrot set on Benoît’s tie. See also: Roger Penrose.

Paul Erdős:
If there’s one person from this image you go and look up, make it Paul. He was one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time, and famous for his bizarre personality. He also invented the self-titled Erdős Number (head to Wikipedia), a number assigned to his co-authors, and their co-authors, denoting their connection to Erdős himself. Combined with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the concept has now been extended to allow people to have an Erdős-Bacon number, provided they’ve co-authored a paper with one of Erdős’s collaborators *and* performed on film with a co-star (or co-star of a co-star) of Kevin Bacon!

Roger Penrose:
I’m sure Sir Roger doesn’t wear ties with Penrose Tiling on them, but I couldn’t resist.

Carl Sagan:
One of the first figures I created (along with Michio Kaku), showing how the style changed and evolved over the various scientists.

Dmitri Mendeleev:

Hans Bethe:


Richard Dawkins:
I’m really happy with how the sweater turned out.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau:
Probably the only one on here that doesn’t really fit, as he’s more of an explorer and conservationalist than a scientist, but hey. I had plans to include Bob Ballard alongside him to make the oceanographers into more of a “set”, but I ran out of time. Maybe in the next one. ;)

Nikola Tesla:
It’s Nikola Goddamn Tesla!

Thank you for viewing. Please share with your friends. :)


Why did you create this?
A bunch of reasons. For fun. Because I started it and couldn't stop. Because I love action figures and have a collection of them. Because I love science and have a huge respect for the people I've represented here (and many, many others). Because an image like this will hopefully encourage people to explore the achievements of these awesome people and learn more about how the world and universe works. :)

Why is there only one woman?
This is clearly a subject of some controversy. There are a bunch of reasons/excuses, not the least of which is that I honestly didn't think too hard about it, because I was flat-out manufacturing images of little scientists with no logical pattern to how I chose them. However:
1. Because Madame Curie was extremely difficult, and I'm not at all satisfied with the end result, so I wasn't confident attempting another.
2. I'll admit, once I had the man-in-a-suit template down, I was fairly eager to keep using it.
3. Because, statistically, they're in the minority. I'm not suggesting by any degree that their work is lesser, or that they shouldn't be recognised for their accomplishments, but when you punch up a list of "most recognisable scientists", "most famous scientists", etc, which is basically how I chose most of these (with the exception of a few personal favourites), there just aren't many women. Just to point out: I only have one African-American scientist, one Indian scientist, one Hungarian mathematician. For the record, Mae Jemison was on my list, as was Florence Nightingale and Valentina Tereshkova. I have a LONG list. If I make a second one of these, you can count on them being there. Unfortunately for this collection, there are only so many hours I can spend drawing little people. :)

How did you choose them?
Pretty much at random. I picked a bunch that were instantly recognisable. I picked a few that weren't. I picked a few personal favourites. I picked a few that just had really interesting appearances, as an artistic challenge. It was very much a names-out-of-a-hat approach, based on a really long list of people. I've read a lot of suggestions for people I've missed in the comments, and almost every one was on the list -- I would have loved to have made more. I've been accused of having too much time on my hands, but unfortunately it's just not true. :)

Poster? Actual figures?
I'm afraid not. This image is fan art, and like all fan art, I have no right or intention to make any money from it, this means I will not be creating posters, and I will not be pursuing any crowdfunded campaigns to make these figures into a reality. This image was created a) for fun, and b) to raise awareness of these awesome people and of science in general. While I have no doubt that many people are considering claiming this idea as their own and creating these figures as a product based on the buzz this has generated, I'd like to re-iterate that I have zero intention of making money from this concept.

The names and images of the people in this graphic are the property (and in many cases trademarks) of the individuals or the estates that represent them. The original action figures were designed by Playmates Toys. This image was not endorsed by any of the individuals or estates of individuals depicted, nor Playmates Toys. This image is intended strictly for educational and entertainment purposes.

Where's Darwin? Galileo? Ada Lovelace? Aristotle? Archimedes? Copernicus?
Unfortunately, these people weren't alive during the 20th century. I had to draw the line somewhere, and the 20th century was it. This was motivated partly by the fact that a lot of the figures would have similar attire, which made the job more manageable, and partly because I began the project pretty aimlessly by creating a bunch of people who were coincidentally alive during the 20th century, so it ended up being a convenient rule to follow.

Where's Bill Nye?
Bill was on my list of people to create figures of. I didn't get around to it. I had intended this "collection" to have 50 figures in it, but I had other commitments, ran out of time, and put it together with only 30. Bill Nye is awesome, and he'll be included if there's ever a Volume II.

Where's my favourite scientist? Why haven't you represented X field of science?
There're only 30 scientists here. There are millions throughout history. If I make another one of these, there'll still be people I leave out. Sorry. :)

Thanks again. :)

Image updated, 26 November, 2012: Fixed incorrect birth year for Stephen Hawking. Added drop shadow beneath text for Subrahmanyan Chandresekhar, as his description was difficult to read. Also fixed spelling in his name (so sorry!). Added "20th Century" to the title.
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carlces73 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2017
is missing two of my heroes of science. the priest Antonio Gusmão and Santos Dumont
Exzeedvelocity Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Roses are red., Violets are blue, Steven hawking pro wheel chair 2
Nasturia Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ehh, why everyone write Marie Curie, her name is Marie Skłodowska Curie ;w;
Archanos Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017
Does Richard Feynman come with his bongos?
datazoid Featured By Owner May 1, 2017
Of course. :D
Archanos Featured By Owner May 2, 2017
lol, good job catching in on that reference! :D
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2017  Professional General Artist
Needs a von Neumann and a limited edition Oppenheimer 'Demon Core' playset.
datazoid Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2017
John Von Neumann by datazoid  

I have about five extra figure designs that were going to be part of the 'next' version of Heroes of Science, but I lost interest in the project for a bunch of reasons. Nevertheless, von Neumann was one of them!
MikeDoscher Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2017  Professional General Artist
The-Almighty-Muffin Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
jacamontronic Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Did you make one of Clair C. Patterson? I saw him on Cosmos a space time odyssey and I was very inspired by his story.

Here's what he looks like, recognize him?
Klarabw Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2016  Student
I've never knew I wanted a Stephen Hawking figure so much until the last TBBT episode, lol. Congrats on your work.
datazoid Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016
Thanks! The only Hawking figure I know of that actually exists is from his appearance on The Simpsons. They go for about a bazillion dollars on eBay now. :)
80sUnleashed Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those are freaking bad ass!
hookinjfarm Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016
Hahaha I really laugh when I saw Nikola Tesla that She has a similarity with Tony starks hehehe
MegaBLYSTONE Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
morbiusx33 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Bill Nye has had a bigger impact on young people going into science than Tyson.
Snow-Chen Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2016
Sheldon Cooper would kill for a set of these
huguiyo Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016
I think Nikola Tesla should be first in line
ravensbrugger Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2015  Student
Wow, Nikola Tesla looks like Tony Stark.

Aaaand Stephen Hawking doesn't need articulations XD (Sorry, I had to say it)
avmedia Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2015
Thank you so much for sharing your hard work and artistry. This is an awesome idea and collection. Do you have any plans to post a tutorial on your wonderful work? 
finalfrontier24 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Pretty cool they should get their own figures
The-Polybius Featured By Owner May 18, 2015
Dawkins? Fuck that cunt! I will my magnifying glass on him and melt him and say he would touched by God
Phantasam114 Featured By Owner May 17, 2015  Hobbyist
I would love this to be an actual toyline, I would so buy and stock these
Ajax1984 Featured By Owner May 16, 2015
So basically you didn't do more women is because women are hard to do. Fair enough, but on your third point I have to call BS. 

There is a very good reason why women scientists are generally less well known and why women are less likely to be in the STEM fields. Its because we've had a culture that values men more than women regardless of their accomplishments. Even today men are generally valued more by our culture. A good example is the movie industry, what we see them churning out are mostly movies about white male characters. 

This despite women being about half the population of the planet, and more than half the population of the United States. So the reason there are so few women are on these most famous scientists lists is because again we've had a culture that has only knowingly disregarded the accomplishments of women scientists.  Which is why Rosalind Franklin is less known than her more famous male counterparts Crick and Watson. Or why Marie Tharp is largely unknown by a great number of people. This is something you continue to encourage with your suggestion that women scientists shouldn't be recognized because they are a minority. 

You seem to value science, that's great. We are a poorer world scientifically though, for not having more women in scientific fields. You seem to be encouraging the status quo with your outrageous suggestion that women scientists shouldn't be recognized because they aren't famous. 
Klarabw Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2016  Student
Sootyfeather Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OMG! i thought these were photos of REAL figures!! this is incredibly amazing that theyre all drawn, adding on to the fact that they are the most important people in history! :) great work
datazoid Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
Thank you so much! Thanks for the deviantwatch, too! :D
panayotov Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2014
This is awesome. It's just amazing that you have created this (for fun and from your love of science and respect to these great men and women). I'm sharing, spreading and so on. It's also very inspiring. /endofnerdburst

Now, on a more calm note. Amazing! Much gratitude.
datazoid Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014
Thanks so much for your support! Totally appreciate your enthusiasm. :D
skyearth Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013   Photographer
Thank you for this. I love it and look forward to more women action figures. 
datazoid Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013
You're very welcome. Thank you for the comment. :D
alexroll Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2013
Can i order one of these?
frosty-eyed-wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My nerdmeter just broke from excessive awesome. :heart:
datazoid Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013
Thank you so much. :D
frosty-eyed-wyrm Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
TechTom75 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013
I absolutely love this, and REALLY hope you do other series as well.
An all female series, all (major) medical advances series, one (or three) series worth of pre-20th century figures.. There's so much potential with this.

I also hope someone gets permission from the families and/or estates to crowdsource funding and make this a reality. I'm sure a certain percentage of the particular figures sales would be fair for the likeness. Our children are bombarded by things like Bratz & Honey Boo Boo at a young age, and then Jersey Shore and 16 and pregnant as they become teens. We had Mr Rogers when we were very young, then Mr Wizard and Bill Nye as we got older. Our kids generation need something like this to counter the garbage they're surrounded by, even if only slightly.
datazoid Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013
Thank you so much for your comments! I heartily agree that this kind of thing would definitely be a huge benefit to the youth of our (and future) generations. :D
Abstract-scientist Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
haha :DD Cool :D
anantabaraka Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013
would have liked to see timothy leary up there, but hey, there are let's face it, alot of great scientists, so many scientists, so little time... Good job!
datazoid Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013
Thank you so much! :D
mrtpug Featured By Owner May 31, 2013
Schrodinger should have came with a Cat accessory
datazoid Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013
He does in the second set, but I think you saw that already. :D
rkintigh Featured By Owner May 31, 2013
Kickstarter these, seriously. I would love to back these.
datazoid Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013
Thanks for your comment and support. :)
Ejobes19 Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
thank you for honoring Tesla and not that ass edison
datazoid Featured By Owner May 17, 2013
You're very welcome! Thanks for the comment. :)
sanjamax Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And add some significant Arabs. Al-Zahrawi, for example.
Add Copernicus.

It's a long list :D
sanjamax Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Why is Dawkins on the list? His greatest contribution is popularisation of science, but he didn't really do anything revolutionary.
I do not see Pavlov, I do not see Milutin Milankovic, I do not see Louis Pasteur, I do not see Newton (how on earth did you manage to make scientists action figures and miss Newton? O.o )

I would include Archimedes and Pythagoras.
datazoid Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
Thanks for the comment. :)

You'll find Pavlov in Volume II: [link]

Dawkins is on the list because I chose for him to be. Popular science, i.e. making people aware of science, and making science interesting and accessible to them is a powerful act.

Newton, Archimedes and Pythagoras and Copernicus were not alive during the 20th century. :)
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Submitted on
November 12, 2012
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