• UNOFFICIAL
  • NOT AFFILIATED WITH THREEA OR ASHLEY WOOD

Fanmade For Fans

By Phil Back | 08 Dec 2018 in feature

Let's Do This

I've been thinking about this website project for awhile now. I joined the 3A Legion 5 years ago in 2014 and instantly fell in love with the design and aesthetic of Ashley Wood's creations.

As my collection grew, I always thought it was a bit frustrating to find information about specific toys and particularly, the stories. I missed out on the old days of the 3A forums, and message boards were never really my thing. Maybe we can retell some of those stories on this site. So this website is my attempt to do a fan project for the 3A community, and of course, for myself. I'll add content in my spare time as this is a hobby project, but I'd like to see if there are others who would like to contribute. I am delighted at the response I've gotten from some of the best 3A toy photographers online... I'm always looking for more!

I'm working on a web form that will allow for easily adding toys to the site. It won't be in real time, but it will create a queue that will make things easier to manage, hopefully. Here's the (~experimental~) link to add a toy if you'd like to test it out. I'm still working out the kinks. There is a ton of content to sift through and organize, but I'm learning (and loving it) as I go.

What This Site is NOT

This site will not be the place to get breaking news or have lively discussions -- social media does a fine job of that already. I'm hoping this site will become a supplemental resource that can help thread together the stories and connections through the 3A worlds. I'd like to leverage quality photos taken by fans and even some of my own. I will also highlight some the great 3A toy photographers from around the world.

Isn't All This Info Online Already?

Yes, and the official ThreeA web site is quite good. I'm sure Ash and his team would love to do more online and expand, but as I've seen over the years and even heard from him firsthand (i.e. at SDCC): he and his team have limited time, resources and people. I've invested over 100 hours just to get this site off the ground and still have tons of content gaps to fill, toys to add, etc. It takes lots of time and resources to create a highly functional website.

I'm trying hard to make it abundantly clear that this site is not affiliated with ThreeA (3A) or Ashley Wood. Of course I would love their blessing and support, but I certainly do not have those expectations. A fan site for fans, by fans.

Example blog post alt
That's me having the time of my life at the USVENTURE, San Diego, CA 2017 - Photo by Steven Bowman

Gradual Improvements

My background is in web user experience and graphic design and although I'm not a skilled programmer, I decided to take this on as a way to learn and bolster my skillset. I want to make sure we give everyone credit for photos, story content or other information. The old ThreeA Wiki was a great inspiration for this project and I hope to collect and expand on what it started. I'll also continue to investigate how I can open up this project to more contributors as I go along.

Behind the Scenes Tech

In case you are curious... This site was built using a responsive bootstrap theme called SELL. It's powered by Jekyll, which means it's a static website with no database. That means it should always be fast and reliable. For now, this site is hosted on Amazon Web Services (S3), unless it becomes too expensive due to web traffic or whatever. If that happens, I will figure something else out and find a way to keep this content online.

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