It's my sweetie's fault. Well okay, that's a gross exaggeration, but it amuses me. But it's true, had I not attended a Barbie convention with her and been a little bored and gone with her to the customizing workshop, I would not now have dolls among my list of hobbies. Yes dolls. Not action figures (I have a few of those too). Dolls. Fashion dolls. The kind they make for girls. I suppose the seeds for this had been planted years earlier when my mother began building dollhouses, which I felt needed electrification (since my model railroad wasn't operational anymore). But anyway, I was blaming my sweety for this. :) At the conference I was talking about before, I was sitting at that workshop watching the various effects you could accomplish with a doll formerly known as Barbie (Mattel gets pissy if you call them Barbies when you're done) - taking their facepaint off with acetone and repainting them, rerooting their hair, and so on. It began to occur to me that if one used the kind of mask making techniques used in hollywood (which had been discussed at length on tv all the way back to The Making of Star Wars) one could make some VERY different sorts of dolls. And so I did. It was the start of everything.



My first attempt was the Catwoman Fashion doll. She began as a hard bodied multijointed pink box (ie inexpensive) Barbie. (Roller blading Barbie, if memory serves) I removed her hair and shaved her ears off, and sculpted a prosthetic of modeling clay to form the ears and the new contours of her face, from about the level of her nose up. This was then molded in plaster, and re-cast onto the doll's face in latex. The latex was then peeled away, vulcanized in a boiling water bath, cemented back on the doll head, painted, and rooted through with hair. The final step was flocking the doll. And the kitchen.

A second and third attempt at Catwoman (I was never entirely satisfied with the sculpture or the texture of the first one - the porous plaster left her face grainy and my first sculpt was a little clunky) didn't work out. The second sculpt was much better, but I tried to make the negative mold in parafin, which dissolves modeling clay. The third one was dropped, ruining the sculpture.




My next custom doll was again built on a Barbie - this time superhero Barbie and her Super horse. (Who thinks of this stuff?) I sawed off the horse's head at the shoulders, and removed the Barbie's legs at the hips and glued the hip girdle of the doll into the shoulder girdle of the horse, and began filling the gap with sculpie.

Originally I'd intended to make a negative of the sculpie and once again cast the positive in latex, but as the sculpture went on it became fairly obvious this was beyond my ability as a mold maker. Unfortunately the Centaur cracked just above her navel during sanding, due to the sculpie being incompletely hardened with a heat gun, so she was never finish sanded or painted. The centaur has essentially a jacket of sculpie from the chest of the horse up to her neck. I had to do this for a couple reasons. The Barbie I chose to start with was a multi-joint, hard bodied Barbie, and I had to cover the rather mechanical looking articulation, and also that Barbie is designed to wear fashions made out of cloth that, were it scaled up to real humans, would be half an inch thick. This is why she's got the 52 inch scale bust line, and so on. Since centaurs don't tend to wear clothes I had to resculpt everything below the chin. I also had to make musculature that made sense.




My next custom doll is much simpler. It started when my sweety began looking at custom doll heads on Yahoo Japan. She showed me one that I found absolutely compelling. As it turned out it was a bishounen - an effeminate male (it's an anime thing). However, since we were just getting the head anyway, I put it on a multijointed Volks neoteen body - a hard plastic, multi-jointed body.

The amount of articulation on this doll is intense. The shoulders are double jointed, the neck has a joint at the base of the skull and another at the top of the chest. There's a joint at the bottom of the chest and another at the base of the spine, ball jointed hips, hinge jointed knees and elbows (The knees have kneecaps, too) and twistable joints as well, so calves and forearms have rotation. The ankles and wrists are ball jointed as well. The doll body came with extra feet - a smaller scaled set of feet meant for shoes which, like Barbie's clothes, are thicker than scale. These dolls aren't like American dolls. So really my only contribution to this has been choosing the head and the body and the clothes, but I'm pleased all out of proportion with this doll.





Asian Ball Jointed Dolls

It seems inevitable that when Marcia gets a new type of dolls sooner or later one of them strikes my fancy. I kind of hoped that didn't happen with Volks Super Dollfie, since they're quite expensive and at 22 inches tall, hard to pretend they're just desk decorations. However at Dollpa 9, they released Anais, and it's been all downhill from there. (She's the dark haired doll above).

Anais was the first Asian Ball Jointed Doll I had to have. She's my favorite model, both clothed and nude, for photographing. I've had her since late 2004, I've restrung her and sanded her, and I'm still very happy with her. She has her own page of pictures below.


Emily undressed, front

Emily undressed, profile

Emily undressed, back


Has it really been 8 years? Apparently so. About a year ago, the whole stir about the Lammily kickstarter happened. The internet went nuts over the doll. Thousands upon thousands sent in money to get her into production. It's a cause I believe in. I figured I could risk $25 and do my bit to cut down on the number of f****d up body images among girls out there and maybe, possibly, they'll be happier as they grow up. Besides. It's been eight freaking years since I got a doll. She finally arrived. I call her Emily. Pictures at left. Overall, she's reminiscent of a pink box Barbie(TM) save that she has click-bend elbows and knees (just found that out), and is proportioned like a real human being. Kind of. Since her /body/ is the whole reason for her existence, unlike the Pink Box Wonder, who is all about the fashion, and since the makers are hoping for the inrush of accessories and clothes to happen (one assumes) I figured people would be curious. Hence the undressed photos. Once M and I have had a chance to play with her, give her a hot water perm, and whatever, I'll post some more.

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