Germany's 'Playmobil priest' faces company's wrath

2nd April 2009, Comments 0 comments

The priest altered Playmobil figures into biblical characters, presenting them as ‘Playmo-Bible.’

Berlin -- A German priest who transformed Playmobil figures into biblical characters -- such as Adam and Eve and Jesus on the cross -- has found himself facing legal action from the toys' creators.

Using a candle, the priest, Markus Bomhard, partially melted down the tiny figures to create biblical scenes, which he then posted on his website -- "Playmo-Bible."

The website shows, amongst others, a Playmobil Noah in the ark, a Playmobil Mary on a donkey and a Playmobil Jesus in the manger.

Even Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly praised Bomhard's work, writing to the priest: "may your project allow many children and adults access to Holy Scripture."

But Playmobil's creators are not so enthusiastic, threatening to take Bomhard to court for copyright violation.

"For private purposes -- by collectors and fans -- we are very tolerant of this so-called 'customising'," the German company said in a statement released late Tuesday.

However, Bomhard's transformation of the figures represents a "massive manipulation of the figures, for example reshaping their arms with a hairdryer or candle to nail them to a cross," the company said.

"We can not accept such transformations for safety reasons as our products are made from plastic and are flammable," Playmobil added.

Playmobil has given the priest until April 6 to take down his website or face the wrath of the firms' lawyers.

Bomhard insists on his website that the Playmo-Bible is "a completely private project", authorised neither by the Church nor by German firm Geobra Brandstaetter.


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