Title:
Modular multi-piece figures from rearrangeable elements and kits allowing construction of same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Toy figures assembled from components including ball and socket attributes which allow for movement between the components, which allows the user to position the various portions of the figures into desired positions. A kit of components including ball and socket attributes which allow for assembly into a large number of different types of figures or structures of vastly different types and shapes.



Inventors:
Bevirt, Joeben (Santa Cruz, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/380979
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
03/04/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H3/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STANCZAK, MATTHEW BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL A. GUTH (SANTA CRUZ, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A character object comprising; a torso having a plurality of articulated components, said articulated components having ball and socket connectors; a plurality of appendages, wherein each appendage is pivotally connected to the torso, wherein each appendage is pivotally connected to the torso using a ball and socket connector.

2. The character object of claim 1 wherein said appendages are adapted to be easily removed from said torso.

3. The character object of claim 1 wherein said plurality of appendages comprise articulated components, said articulated components having ball and socket connectors.

4. The character object of claim 3 wherein said appendages have a specialty connector, said specialty connector coming from the list of: foot, hand, wing, claw.

5. An assembly kit for toy use comprising: a plurality of extension elements, said extension elements having a ball or socket feature on each end, said extension elements being straight elements; and a plurality of triangle connector elements, said connector elements having three attachment features, said attachment features having a ball or socket feature on their ends; wherein the ball features of said extension elements and said triangle connector elements are adapted to fit with the socket features of said triangle connector elements and said extension elements.

6. The assembly kit of claim 5 wherein some of said extension elements comprise an element body, said element body comprising: a first end portion; a second end portion; and a socket engaging end surface at said first end portion, said socket engaging end surface being the external surface at said first end portion; and an internal socket receiving cavity at said second end portion.

7. The assembly kit of claim 5 further comprising a plurality of specialty connectors, said plurality of specialty connectors comprising: foot connectors; and head connectors.

23. The assembly kit of claim 22 wherein said plurality of specialty connectors further comprises tail connectors.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/324,994 to Bevirt, filed Jan. 3, 2006. This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/068,229 to Bevirt, filed Mar. 4, 2008.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to modular toy elements which can be assembled and arranged into figures, and to kits with a variety of such elements.

2. Description of Related Art

Modeling kits typically comprise a plurality of pieces of different types. A structural item may be formed by interconnecting various pieces. Modeling kits are used by children, hobby enthusiasts, educators, and the like. The assembly of a model can used as an educational tool to teach school age children.

A versatile modeling kit would allow for the creation of a variety of items, such as action figures, animals, structures, vehicles and other items from a fixed plurality of items that could be used in these different applications.

What is called for is a modeling kit comprising pieces that may easily assembled into a variety of different types of items. What is also called for are figures assembled from such pieces that are easily assembled and disassembled, and which allow for motion between the pieces if such motion is desired by the user.

SUMMARY

Toy figures assembled from components including ball and socket attributes which allow for movement between the components, which allows the user to position the various portions of the figures into desired positions. A kit of components including ball and socket attributes which allow for assembly into a large number of different types of figures or structures of vastly different types and shapes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an action figure with a plurality of interconnected connectors according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a partially assembled figure with a plurality of interconnected connectors according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 3A-B illustrate features for action figures with connectors according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 4A-I illustrate different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a structure made from different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a structure made from different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a structure made from different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a structure made from different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 9A-E illustrate different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates illustrate different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates illustrate different pieces of a modeling kit according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 12A-B illustrate action figures according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 13 illustrates a toy figure according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates a toy figure according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 14 illustrates a toy figure according to some embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates a toy figure according to some embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In some embodiments of the present invention, as seen in FIG. 1, a multi-piece toy FIG. 10 is comprised of a plurality of pieces. The pieces are constructed such that they may be easily assembled and disassembled. The pieces are also constructed such that pieces may be moved positionally relative to each other. The pieces may have a ball and socket construction using internal socket receiving cavities and socket engaging end surfaces. The inner surface of the an internal socket receiving cavity is adapted to fit over the socket engaging end surface of another connector, or of another piece with a similar socket engaging end surface.

The toy FIG. 10 is seen as being comprised of a plurality of pieces. The pieces may be part of a kit of pieces adapted to be easily assembled into a variety of figures or structures. The kit of pieces is adapted to allow for assembly into such a variety of figures or structures by the use of a basic selection of pieces which allow for a variety of use to create many underlying structures, and then for completion using a variety of less generic specialized pieces for completion of the figures, such as head, feet, and the like.

In the case of the toy FIG. 10 seen in FIG. 1, the pieces 16, 11 used in the arms and legs, and the pieces 15, 17 used as the shoulders and hips, are examples of more generic pieces which can be used in a multitude of ways. The more specialized pieces, such as the head 14, the hands 13, and the feet 12, allow the user to complete an underlying body constructed from the more generic pieces into a more complete toy figure. In this way, a kit of pieces can be utilized to allow for an almost endless variety of objects to be created.

FIG. 2 illustrates an underlying body according to some embodiments of the present invention. The underlying body is similar in the assembly of its components to the body underlying the toy figure of FIG. 1 with the exception of the components 18 at the base of the legs. Instead of attaching on foot to the end of each leg, as was done in FIG. 1, a set of claws, for example, could be added to the base of the legs on each of the balls available for mounting on the components 18 at the base of the legs. As seen here, the use of easily assembled and disassembled pieces which utilize a ball and socket construction allows for a multitude of assembly options.

FIGS. 3A-B illustrate some of the more specialized pieces which can be used in conjunction with the generic pieces in the assembly of various character objects. The hand 20 and the foot 21 are seen with socket engaging end surfaces, although they may also use an internal socket receiving cavity in some embodiments, and the kit of pieces may have both types of joint types available.

FIGS. 4A-I illustrate component pieces which may be part of a character object, structure, or part of a kit of components according to some embodiments of the present invention. An extension component 11 may have a ball on one end and a socket on the other end, or may have a ball on each end, or a socket on each end. A star component may have balls on all four ends 22, or sockets on all four ends 23, or a combination of these features. A triangle connector 26, 27 may have balls on all three corners, or another distribution of end features. A T-connector 28, 30 may have balls or sockets in line, with a ball or socket at a right angle in between the ends.

In some embodiments of the present invention, the wall thicknesses of the internal socket receiving cavity or the socket engaging end surface, or both, are constructed so that an interference fit remains after the ball and socket joint connectors are connected.

FIG. 5 illustrates another useful aspect of the components of a kit according to some embodiments of the present invention. As seen, a wall structure 40 has been created out of a plurality of different types of component pieces. The component pieces used as seen above for the assembly of a toy figure, such as an action character, can also be used to create structure, such as a wall. The ease in which the ball and socket connectors can be attached, separated, re-attached, and assembled allows for a multitude of end uses for the component pieces. As evident, a kit of such component pieces would allow a user the flexibility to create and modify a multitude of toy figures, as well as structures.

FIGS. 6, 7, and 8 illustrate underlying bodies 50, 60, 70 which have been constructed out of the aforementioned components. The underlying bodies 50, 60, 70 may be completed with more specialized hand, feet, wing, and head components to complete an action figure.

FIGS. 9A-E illustrate more component pieces that may be part of a kit of component pieces according to some embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 9A illustrates an offset swivel which may allow for motion of a portion of a figure relative to another. FIG. 9B illustrates a three into one component which may be used structurally, or as a claw in an action figure. FIG. 9C illustrates an angle component. FIG. 9D illustrates a component adapted for use in making a wall or other structure.

In some embodiments of the present invention, as seen in FIG. 10, a variety of specialty components are seen which can be used to create a specialized action figure. An elephant's head 81, tusk 82, tail 84, and feet 85 are seen. However, given the flexibility allowed the user, the body of the action figure which may use these specialized components is not so constrained, that is, may be of specialized or eccentric nature. FIG. 11 illustrates further specialized components, such as lion's heads 86, 89, and feet 87, 88.

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate an advantage of the kit aspect of the present invention. The two action figures of these two Figures are similar in that they use the same specialty components, but have been constructed using different body components to give a different overall look to the action figure.

FIGS. 13-16 illustrate other action figures according to some embodiments of the present invention.

As evident from the above description, a wide variety of embodiments may be configured from the description given herein and additional advantages and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is, therefore, not limited to the specific details and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures from such details may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the applicant's general invention.