2014-10-25

Ghoulia/CAM skeleton hybrid

Monster High dolls are pretty rare in thrift stores here, or maybe I just keep missing them before they get snatched up. Today however I found a Dawn of the Dance (I think?) Ghoulia at a reasonable price, nude but with jewelry and shoes. There was a Frankie too, but she only had one earring and her nose looked a bit faded. Ghoulia had pretty floppy joints, so I decided to use her to make a CAM hybrid, which I've been meaning to try for a while now. 

Here we see the half-eaten zombie in its natural environment: dramatic lighting.

Both her thighs had a slight crack in the seams, so I (slowly and with difficulty) split open the one that looked the biggest and replaced the lower leg with a CAM part with the pin cut down a bit. It's still too small, so while I figure out how to make it fit properly it's held on by a "bandage" i.e. a strip of cotton fabric (with one end wrapped around the pin to make it fit better). It works pretty well actually! 

My first CAM skeleton set came with two right arms, so I bought another one when they were on sale. Good thing I had three right arms, since I managed to break the plug on the first one. 

Her hip joints (ball and socket, not elastic) were super floppy, so I just wrapped rubber bands around them. I know you can "suede" smaller joints with super glue, but I'm not sure how well it works on large hip joints. Maybe I'll give it a go later, but they're fine for now. 

Her hair went flat when I boiled her. Kanekalon again. I managed to fix the bangs pretty ok, not sure what to do with the rest. I've seen so many great Ghoulia haircuts - short, spiky, curly, mohawk - and I can't decide what to try first. I'm leaning towards something shorter, though. Maybe curls - unlike a cut they can be undone if I mess up. 

... I was going to add, "and then I'll give her a repaint!" - but I keep saying that, don't I? Anyway, this version has a rather nice bright green glitter eyeshadow in striking contrast with her bright red lips, and I kind of want to keep that. Maybe if the hair turns out well I'll get some ideas for her new look?

2014-10-21

Happy Family Midge! (Thrift store find)

So here's the find from yesterday I was so excited about: Happy Family Midge! Honestly, I couldn't believe my luck when I spotted her. I've been wanting one of these to compare to the Welcome Baby Steffi Love, but the only ones I've seen are the NRFB ones that go for ridiculous prices on ebay. This one, however, was only a few dollars/euro and well inside my budget. I could tell she had a few cracks in her neck, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. She also has one broken click-knee joint, but apart from that she was in pretty good condition: original dress, hair in original hairdo and just a bit messy, no broken fingers or stains - and of course she came with her belly!



Before pic


Hair, before. It's that thin, fluffy fibre - kanekalon, if I'm not mistaken. In my experience, the trouble with kanekalon is you can only boil straighten it a couple of times before it starts to frizz and fry. The tricky thing is, you really need boiling water for it to take, so you have to consider the pros and cons carefully. I haven't tested this systematically though, so I might be wrong about the frizzing being due to heat. Someone mentioned combating the frizz with steam, but I haven't gotten around to try it yet. Midge is in no danger yet, though - her hair looks great after a couple of dips and a combing through.

The braids are mainly original, I just redid a couple of the ends that were starting to ...unravel, I guess?

Back view. The braids aren't another color, they're just wet. 



The neck was a bit worse than I thought at first. There are smaller cracks all around, but also one big crack with a piece of plastic that's threatening to come loose (you can see it just to the left of the seam). To the left of that there's a smaller chip that actually did come loose as I took off the head (and then managed to I flushed it down the drain and had to disassemble the trap to retrieve it). I bought some Loctite gel super glue and I think I got the chip safely reattached and the bigger crack filled in, but I couldn't get inside the neck to fill in the lower part of the crack that's just starting to appear. It seems ok for now, though; I'll just have to be careful. 


(Since the belly is held on with magnets inside the torso, I've been thinking of alternative ways to attach it in case I need to rebody in the future. Magnetic paint?) 


I have to say, this is actually a pretty clever construction. It sounds weird, but having the belly be a plastic shell that attaches with magnets is actually pretty convenient. The shape fits the torso perfectly and looks - well, perhaps not realistic, but not outright bizarre at least, and sometimes with dolls that's the best you can hope for. (I think Steffi Love might have a more realistic post-pregnancy figure, though!) 


Sitting works so-so, but the thing about the magnet-belly is it can shift a bit without falling off. I'm not sure if this is a bug or feature, but it does allow her to sit with marginally more ease, and the clothes hide any illusion-breaking gaps. Of course, franken-Steffi still does it better: 

This is why we Frankendolly. 



Oh, and the baby was still there too! Who are these children who don't pull their dolls apart and lose their clothes and ruin their hair like I used to do?? The baby is actually pretty cute - cuter than Steffi's, at any rate (but sssssshh! Don't tell her I said that). Maybe it's just that the face paint is less wonky. 

All in all, I'm really happy I found this doll. Along with the articulated Sarah Love, this is probably my best find in ages! 

(I also got a couple of Evi Love dolls with cute outfits too, and two 1/9-ish weird old clone dolls with interesting articulation. I'll take some photos of them another day - the clone dolls are more unique-looking so I need better lighting to do them justice.) 

Articulated Sarah Love and other thrift store finds

This week was a good week in thrifting. I found some pretty cool stuff today, but I need to clean it and take some photos first. Meanwhile, here's some stuff I found the other day that's not too shabby either:


Chairs! Or a tiki bar stool and an 80s rocking chair, I guess. Nothing special, I just thought they were cute. Also you can never have too many chairs. 



I didn't really need another Betty Teen, but this one had articulation! The doll crate was a mess with headless bodies everywhere (why is this hobby so scary sometimes?) so at first I didn't realize this was a Betty. The body had some random head on and I was just going to buy it to rebody one of my Simba Disney princesses (the photo doesn't really show it, but she's quite pale). Anyway, the stamps on the back and head match so I'm pretty sure this is her body, even though the colors don't quite match. Her hair is so-so, but you can hide the frizz among the curls, and the bangs look pretty good. Like I said, she was supposed to be a body donor, but it's starting to feel like this body is already taken... So I guess she'll stick around for now. 

head: (C) TONG, back: M&C CHINA 


Weird white stuff on neck knob. At first I thought it was glue, but it seems more likely it's some kind of chemical reaction to the head. 



She came in this amazing Sindy sweater with a happy palette and paintbrush print. I guess that means she's claiming the Sindy drawing desk? 



 
I also bought a completely useless clone doll with broken legs just to get this dress. It may have belonged to a bigger doll originally - it's a bit large even for regular Barbie-sized dolls - but Aya wears it best, I think. 


All pretty good stuff, but the best thing was this: 


Sarah Love, little sister/Skipper equivalent of Steffi Love. I've never seen these dolls here but I knew they exist, or at least used to - this looks like an 80s doll. 

And guess what - she's articulated too! 


She has a smaller version of the older articulated Steffi body, which is also the same as Betty above has, and a bunch of other clone dolls too. Her left foot was nowhere to be found - I dug all the way to the bottom of the crate, but to no avail. It seems the feet are the same size as the bigger body's, so if I find a cheap clone doll it should be easy to fix her. That's the big upside with these bodies, actually: the range of movement may not be the best, but all the joint hinges have pins that are relatively easily to remove and so you can switch out a limb if you need to. For example, for my last Frankendolly project I switched the ugly feet on the modern articulated Steffi Love with a better-looking pair from a clone body I had laying around. 

ETA 24 Oct: I checked the articulated Steffi bodies, and their feet are actually bigger than Sarah's. It seems it's just the Betty/Gloria body that has extra small feet - in fact, they're even slightly narrower than Sarah's. So, good to know when looking for a donor.


Size comparison. L-R: Arklu Lottie, Sarah Love, old Skipper, Volks mini.  


The Only Hearts Club soccer outfit is a bit big, but the ball is just perfect! 

2014-10-17

Aya (Takara Jenny friend doll)

My birthday present to myself arrived yesterday: Jenny's friend Aya! She's been on my list for a while now, but I got the impression she was somewhat rare. Now I think it's just the supply of non-current Jenny dolls to the English speaking market is a bit shaky in general. And then I found her when I wasn't really looking at all. (And then immediately afterwards I found another one in slightly better condition for about the same price. Oh well.) 

The pics are underlit as always because I'm still struggling with the concept of "night" and "too dark to take photos".




She's borrowing Lisa's 27cm Obitsu body at the moment. She'll need her own as soon as possible - I tried her on the 25cm but it just looked wrong, especially since Aya is one of the more mature and serious-looking Takara molds. 

Comb-over!

I'm pretty sure the hair is saran and not nylon as I had expected. It's not too thickly rooted, but a more realistic amount. It used to be a bit wavy but I accidentally boiled it so now it's straight. No frizz though! I need to give the bangs another go and see if I can get them to lie flat. 

Anyway, she also has the fairly remakable combover seen above. Not a common fashion choice in women ages 15-24! I suspect the side part ended up a bit too far to the side, and so the hair has to lie perfectly flat over the skull in order to hide the bald spots between rows, and it's not quite working. 

Combover in action


This is my second Jenny friend doll and third Takara doll (counting Jun Shibuki). It's funny how I've been getting more into Takara dolls recently, even though I don't really like either Jenny or Licca. There are a few friend dolls whose face molds I like, though: Lisa, Aya, Jane, the original version of Licca's mom, and a couple of others I can't recall. Or, more likely, I think I'd like them, since all I have to go by is photos. (And while I'm at it: why doesn't anyone ever post profile photos in face mold comparisons? It would make things so much easier! /pet peeve) It's funny how my taste boils down to anything but the typical Jenny or Licca look, so that in the end I'm collecting e.g. Jenny dolls - without actually collecting Jenny dolls. Weird! 

Two very different Takara headmolds: Lisa and Aya

It also seems interest in Jenny and Licca in the West has been waning in the last years. Most sites I come across are abandoned and full of dead links. I'm really glad Barbigirl.com (sic!) seems to be mostly still there, since it's a great resource for Takara headmolds and the like. 




2014-10-07

Hey, guess what? I'm not dead! I just haven't been in a very dollieh mood lately. While I'm waiting for inspiration I thought I'd just pop in to assure you the zombies didn't get me (yet) and to clean out the moderation queue a bit.
In the meantime, if you're interested in sewing for dolls, I recommend visiting Dare To Dolly to look at the amazing historical outfits (from authentic patterns) she makes for her 1/3 BJDs.