Three posts in one day? Oooft, I'm on a roll!
As you may have noticed in my previous couple of posts, there are a few new faces I've never formally introduced here and most of them have had rather a lot of plastic surgery!
Aiden here started life a year ago as a Disney Descendants 'Carlos' doll.
I got him super cheap in a set with an 'Evie' (who has since become a body donor for another doll I haven't finished working on yet!) on a trip to one of the big shopping outlets I never get a chance to go to myself as they're a bit of a faff to get to when you don't drive. We were there for something specific so I only had about ten minutes to browse which is absolutely not enough when you've got massive aisles of nothing but dolls to peruse! Luckily they were in a big discount section at the end of an aisle so I was able to grab them before I had to leave.
Anyway, they were both fully articulated...or so I thought.
Upon further inspection his wrists weren't, (But his ankles were? Why would you prioritise foot articulation but ignore the hands?!) but he had really nice gloved hands so I did the only thing I could do in the situation and lopped them both off, along with his horrible sculpted hair, which left him looking rather like the victim of a particularly hungry zombie.
|''I may be smiling here but I'm crying inside'|
On that point, I was intending to shrink his head with acetone as I absolutely hate big disproportionate heads on dolls but having his head carved open revealed two things - one, his head was now wide open and shrinking would probably have a really weird effect on the vinyl with nothing to support the face, and two, he didn't have the kind of neck post I was used to so I may not have been able to put it back on once it was smaller. It was a pain, but I resigned myself to it and started rebuilding his noggin from the inside out.
Rather than use milliput or another epoxy clay, as would have been the standard and sensible option, for some reason I decided to use felt and glittery hot glue.
|Again with the zombie analogy. Braaaaaaaaaaaiinnnns.|
I think the idea was to make more flexible hair that I could just sculpt as I applied it but even painted up it was a total fail.
Was it an experiment in using alternative materials? Yes.
Was it a successful experiment? Absolutely not!
The glue went all weird and reacted to the vinyl after a few months of sitting out doing nothing so I had to pull it all out and do it properly. Still, you win some, you lose some.
Going back to his hands, I carved out both sides - hand and wrist, and bought some old Action Man joints off ebay to try out.
They weren't ideal as they've got a pretty obvious metal joint but the gloves help to distract from them. Once I got them to fit snugly I superglued them in place and that was that! The wrist pegs I left unglued however so they could still swivel, but they're tight enough to stay put.
I also sanded his whole body and added shading with pastels and some subtle freckles with the old toothbrush flicking method. His face paint is a bit 'meh' and I'm not hugely happy with his eyes, but it'll do for now. It was really difficult to resist painting his eyes much closer together but with such a big face it would have looked really weird.
With a nice stable structure finally, I gave him a snazzy sidecut with some tibetan lamb's wool I had to hand and while it does go really floofy at the drop of a hat, it's easy to tame with a little bit of water.
He's constantly brushing his hair out of his eyes but it's a look that kinda works for him I think.
He's only really had one proper outing, in the last photostory I did at Christmas, but I think he'll be a regular, if I can get used to his massive head, which really does put me off. :( If I ever get another of that doll I want to try shrinking it first and then doing the resculpting and see if that works.
His boyfriend, the long suffering Jonas, hasn't really had any work done at all, but I thought I might as well stick him in here too as he's been here for absolutely ages!
I was browsing ebay last year for articulated bodies and this NIB Aaron Carter doll showed up. Normally I wouldn't bother with boxed dolls or indeed, celebrity dolls as so often they have absolutely zero useful articulation, but he was fully jointed and looked to be in good condition for spending nearly 20 years in a box. His clothes in particular were really nice - actual fabric, not plastic!
What ultimately drew him to me however was his face. He has a really nice soft smile and none of the usual super cheesy grins that plague most musical tie-in dolls. He also looked nothing like his inspiration which wasn't surprising, given that Aaron was about 14 when this doll was made and this guy looks like he's both in his mid twenties and has a lifetime gym membership!
I made the tshirt below for one of my Barbies but it was too big, but Jonas seems to wear it well. The trousers and shoes are original though.
I was convinced someone else was going to nab him before me but to my endless delight I was the only bidder!
I did a little research because the name Aaron Carter rang a few bells and eventually found -these- -excellent- pages about him and his dolls. I saw on the news the other day that he'd recently come out as bi which I found kinda funny seeing as I'd immediately decided the doll would be too when he arrived! Clearly he was meant to bi!😄
I lucked out with the pivotal chest and neck body, although for some reason they made the neck post and the vinyl head completely different colours so he looks like he's had his head chopped off at some point!
I touched it up with acrylics later in an attempt to disguise the join and now it's not so noticeable.
Articulation-wise, it looks better than it is sadly. Most of the issues stem from him being so buff - there's just too much plastic at the joints from all his muscles, and that really limits just how much they can bend. That said, it's an impressive range - head, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, knees and ankles!
|He needed a clean after nearly 20 years locked in a box |
and he looked hilarious floating like this in his undies.
I don't generally like muscle bodies but what can you do? If I ever get the chance to acquire one of the Batman/Superman MTM bodies though I'd consider a head swap if I could figure out how to dismantle his neck.
For now he's happy working as a barista at Deja Brew, where I imagine he first met Aiden and the rest of the gang.
Speaking of Deja Brew, another recent articulation adventurer was spotted there in her second form - Cassie!
She started life as a Tall Fashionista, '#55 Denim & Dazzle' whose hair and beaked nose(!) immediately enamoured her to me. I found an old jointed Fashionista body in my stash, but the skintone wasn't a great match and I really wanted her to still be tall, so after seeing someone mention it on Instagram, I checked out Integrity Toys website and saw they had a sale on some of their Fashion Royalty bodies - each headless body was only $15! I got hit with a £16 customs fee when the box arrived but meh, it was worth it!
I looked around for the best match and the 'Hungarian' skintone seemed close enough so I grabbed a 'FR2013'body in that colour and hoped for the best! I also nabbed a 'Poppy Parker' body in the 'Japan' skintone for my next victim - the girl formerly known as '#69 Blue Beauty'. I'd wanted her ever since I first saw that shock of frosty hair and those side glancing eyes online and when I saw her on offer in Tesco for under a tenner I couldn't resist and after a ridiculously convoluted session at the checkout when the self service machine didn't recognise the reduced price, she and a friend came home with me.
Since getting rebodied she's honestly right up there in my top five favourites, and she still doesn't have a name! (I'm leaning towards Marnie right now, or Callista)
It's not an exact match, as the body is a lot 'colder' in terms of tint, and I was hoping she'd be taller, as I wanted her to keep that same body type she originally came with, but I really love the fact she can wear flats as perma-high heeled feet really irk me. Cassie's new body isn't an exact match to her original one, but it's pretty close which I'm really pleased with because I was really unhappy with the old articulated fashionista body I had her on before.
This one unfortunately does have the heel feet which probably doesn't help with the height issue but the rest of her articulation is great. One thing I love about these bodies is the hands - they're so expressive! I'd really love a Poppy Parker doll *with* head one day as I just love the sculpt, but they're so expensive! 😩 The only downside is that they're both incredibly skinny - I tried to put the pair of stretchy lycra Barbie jeans Cassie is wearing, on the Poppy body and they looked baggy. :////
I know they're meant to be 'fashion' dolls and look like stylised models, but still, they're unhealthily thin. They're both going to get lots of clothes made for them though so I'll be sure to pad them out a bit. XD
Another Fashionista who got a new lease of life was this girl, the second Tesco bargain!
('#59 Tropi-Cutie' who is also unnamed! 😔)
She had rather a lot more done as annoyingly, articulated bodies in her skin tone are incredibly hard to find. I absolutely adored her face and hair but I knew she was going to be awkward to articulate. She was too dark for the yellow top MTM and I couldn't find any old SIS or Fashionista bodies that were affordable. So, failing all that, I decided if I couldn't find her a new articulated body, I'd make her one!
@dolljunk on Instagram does a lot of doll modding and he'd used plastic ball joints from HobbyLink Japan to great effect, so I ordered up a selection and waited patiently for them to arrive. They came pretty quick and the postage wasn't bad at all for travelling such a long way so I'd really recommend them! I struggled a bit with the joints as I needed to drill out the hands, arms and knees and I'm reeeeeally bad with dremels! I then accidentally glued a few joints solid so to say it was a challenging project was something of an understatement! I ran out of knee joints in the end so improvised with wire and hot glue. It kinda works, but looks terrible, so I'll just have to keep her legs covered at all times! I just bought flesh tone joints as I wasn't sure which body I'd try them on first, so I coloured them to match her as best I could with sharpies, though it didn't work hugely well.
I cut her dress off at the bodice and hemmed it, making a sleeveless tunic top thing with a makeshift belt over some pre-existing jeans. I like it far more than the dress tbh.
It was really interesting to see the differences in body sculpt between the fairly static Fashionistas and the more articulated ones. While I obviously much prefer the more poseable ones, I actually preferred the arms of the Fashionista - they're a lot more realistic in terms of musculature, and have really nice proportions.
My final custom of the post was one of the simplest to modify and definitely the cheapest!
I found this '90s Christie at a charity shop in Castle Douglas last year on holiday, and along with a whole host of other bits and pieces, ended up paying about £1.60 for the lot!
She had decent enough articulation, but I'm a stickler for wrist movement so her hands were chopped off and a wrist post drilled in each which took ages becaus 1990s plastic was much harder than the stuff they use now!
I accidentally ruined one of her hands by drilling clean through it and was about to admit defeat and search for alternatives online until I remembered that I still had some MTM hands knocking around after I replaced the ones on my Skyrim figures with gripping hands. The skintones obviously didn't match, but a few layers of dark brown pastel and dullcote soon sorted that out and now they look great! I also sanded and blushed the body with pastels, completely repainted the face and gave her a snazzy new 'do.
She doesn't have a name yet either, so any and all suggestions are welcome!
Now, that's all for now, the new Critical Role campaign begins in literally five minutes so I'll be off! XD