The Double-Jointed Wooden Knee & You

I don't remember if I mentioned, but I did try to make a double-jointed knee. This proved to be an exercize in futility, frustration and madness, and I'm not sure I'll going to attempt another one, at least not until I've gained some serious wood carving skills.


Basically, making the spheres even is super difficult - and if they (or the sockets) are asymmetrical, the joint will just stick in certain positions and be impossible to pose in any position inbetween. Super frustrating. See video for example: 

In the end I decided it wasn't worth driving myself crazy over. I haven't decided how to proceed yet, but I'll probably either go with single, Fashionista style knee joints for now, or try using wooden beads like suggested. 

I'm also thinking of carving out the hip sockets some more so the doll won't look so weird while sitting. Hopefully there's enough material for it, and it would also make the torso more proportional (right now it's a bit too exaggerated even for the bjd esthetic). 

Since I'll probably make a new pair of thighs anyway, I'll try to fit them better into the sockets so they won't be quite so wobbly. 

If there's one thing I learned in (though not necessarily from) art school, it's that you shouldn't have too much respect for your sketches and studies. Overwork them, ruin them - that's how you learn. Force yourself to not Ctrl+Z at the slightest mistake. It's something I keep having to relearn, particularly after periods of low artistic output, but it's something you absolutely have to to keep in mind in order to get anything done. So I may have to ruin this experiment, we'll see. But that's alright. I found a nearby place that sells wood. I'll just start over again. 


wooden bjd update

Slowly but surely making progress... 

First I made a pair of legs. Then I messed them up because I didn't realize you can't have hip sockets placed at the side on a strung doll, but for a short while there she could actually stand unaided!  
wip wooden bjd 5

Then I made a double-jointed arm! Well, several actually, since it took a few tries to get it to work. The joint is still kind of ugly, but at least it bends! 

Test - double-jointed elbow 1

Then I decided to start over, for real this time, and made a jointed torso. 

OK let's make a jointed torso!

It's slightly larger because there had to be room for several, separate holes and joint sockets in there, not to mention the tools to make them in the first place. I did buy a pin vice and some ridiculously tiny drillbits though, and that really made things a lot easier. (Before that I made the holes with a Philips screwdriver. It's possible but I don't recommend it.) It's still kind of tiny though, since I haven't found a good place to buy more basswood at yet 

WIP - torso
It's largely modeled after the torso joint on gymnast Barbie and Galoob's body (used for Anastasia and Spice Girls among others). I realize I should have looked up some tips on how to make the hip joints, because that introduced a whole slew of design problems I wasn't prepared for, but these will have to do for now. 

Now I kind of want to make the knees double-jointed, but it's going to be a pain to carve those perfectly (ha!) shaped spheres. I might do a test run on the smaller doll first. 

Last but not least, I took a bunch of process pics and dumped them on my Flickr, here.


WIP - wooden bjd joint

Ok. So. You know how I keep going on about articulation, and how affordable playline dolls keep dissapointing me. Well, why not make my own? I've tried sculpy and similar things before, but clay just isn't my thing (you poke one side of the head and the other side sticks out, what's up with that?). I'm pretty good with wood, though, so I though I might give it a try.

This was just to see if I could make a working joint. I just used a bit of scrap wood, it's not going to be a proper doll at any point. I'm not sure how I would make the torso yet, and either way I thought it was better to have the back open so I could see what was going on. There wasn't enough material to make room for proper hip joint sockets, so I can tell already the legs are going to be ridiculous, but it's worth making them anyway for the experience. The lack of material turned out to be an issue with the shoulder joints too (both arms are a different kind of compromise to make up for it).

The red flower bead thingy is just to keep the string in place. 

No photos (yet) because the video took up the last of my diskspace.

(Forgot to mention that I looked at this tutorial to get an idea of what goes where. I just googled "bjd making tutorial" or something and found this link list on bjd-wtf.livejournal. I haven't really dug through them all yet - there's a lot of info out there, and finding the perfect tutorial would probably be a project on its own.)


Director Barbie has ANKLE JOINTS!

Sorry, this is another post with no original content, but I just saw this: there's a new Barbie out and she has ANKLE JOINTS. Yes, I definitely think that's the sort of news that deserves all-caps - you know how I feel about articulation. She's called Film Director Barbie and from what I can tell the ankle joints seem to be all she has going for her: her arms lack articulation completely. Hmm. Not sure yet if I'll sacrifice a spot on my wishlist for her, or wait for a Barbie with ALL THE JOINTS.

Here's a good photo on Flickr of the ankle joints compared to a Disney Store doll.
Papusile Mele has a post with some promo pics too.

I quite like the design of the feet - they remind me of Simba's Super Model or female action figures: slightly curved, which allows the doll to wear both flats and heels without looking weird. This is in my opinion one of the downsides to Obitsu and Disney Store bodies: the flat feet. I realize that it contributes to the Obitsus' famed balancing skills, but it would be nice with a doll that looked good in slingbacks too. (Action figures of course may come with different pairs of feet, but for some reason Obitsu don't offer this option.) I've noticed that in the last years Mattel has updated their doll bodies with more realistic-looking features, and this seems to be part of that trend.


Blogger user question: does anyone know if there's anywhere you can view all the comments you've left across the Blogger platform? I always forget to tick the little box to get email notifications, and then I have to memorize and hunt down every post where someone might be replying to me. Blogger/Google obviously has this information, so it should be possible to view somewhere - but where?

No doll-related content today, but instead I recommend you go check out this review at The Toybox Philosopher of these handmade 1/6 doll heads called Wildflower Dolls (on Etsy I think?). I've never heard of them before, but I thought they were really cute (and now I'm considering starting to sculpt doll heads myself...).


Disney Pirate Fairies & their knees

Rosetta! I only took this photo to point out how uncentered her pupils are, but now I can't be bothered to take a new one. Anyway, she has pointy ears!

The good news is that the articulated Disney Fairies by Jakks are finally available here. As soon as I spotted them I checked the online stores too - two stores that I know sell them didn't even have them on their site, while the third has them on sale?? Not sure whether that means they just arrived or they've been here a long time and I've just missed them (that's what I get for not spending every waking moment checking the webshop stock). Nevermind, I have a Pirate Fairy Rosetta now. :) The Pixie Party dolls seem to have been left out (we got the pirates and Stylin' something instead), otherwise I would've picked the Tink with the green shoes. On the other hand I really like Rosetta's dress. 

Pictured: articulation, barely

I'm glad I'd read the reviews beforehand, or else I would have thought there was something wrong with her knees. The articulation is ...barely there, really. This is as much as the knees would bend. 

And then there's that "knee cap", sticking out over the joint. It looks like the lower legs were pushed further into the socket than was intended, or maybe something went wrong at some point between design and manufacturing. The legs are pretty soft plastic, even the thighs, so I decided to boil them and take a look at the inner workings. 

To my relative surprise, the pins came out pretty easily - they do look like they might be designed to do that, but I don't think it'll work without heating first. 

ETA: yes, it works with the arms too! But you do need to heat them first (I used boiling water) so it's not as convenient as it could have been. Still, good to know!

The thighs seem to be pretty thick solid plastic, but a more handy person could probably make the holes less deep by drilling/dremeling them open and fill them in with hot glue. I don't know for sure whether that would work, and anyway I don't even have a drill, so I just cut away some plastic around the back of the knees. There's still some way to go, but it's much better. 

Pictured: articulation, kneecaps

Left: the thin edge of the knee socket deforms easily (temporarily), showing how soft the plastic is

One of last month's thrift store finds was a pretty nice Ariel doll whose head proved to be full of nasty glue (Mattel!!) so I'm keeping an extra eye out for that. There's no stickiness in the hair and the head doesn't feel hard, but there's a plastic smell that I've come to associate with the glue, so I'm a bit suspicious. The boots and plastic belt are a bit smelly too, but not the worst kind. ETA: Head seems glue-free! I took the chance to check when I removed it for a rebody experiment yesterday. Whew!

On that subject, when I cleaned out the fridge I found Ashlynn Ella's "glass" shoes, as stinky as ever. I finally decided to throw them away - I don't even want to be near them, and I don't feel ok donating them with god knows what chemicals leaking out of them. Oh well, I wasn't really a fan of the design anyway. 

Speaking of shoes, Rosetta's feet are smaller than I expected. Just a little too big for Fashionista shoes, but too small for Simba Super Model and definitely for MH and bratzillas. It's one of those weird inbetween-sizes. Then again, she's a fairy and probably doesn't need footwear except for when she's pirating.