BBI'S DREAM GALS

A Look At Blue Box International's CY Gals, From a Naked Point of View

Last modified: Sunday, January 7, 2001 5:25 PM

 

I'd like to show a little bit of dignified detachment while reviewing these first female figure releases from BBI, but HOT DAMN! These figures win Jimbob's Seal of Approval! So far, of all the figures I've checked out, these come closest to meeting my vision of what a female figure should be. Not only are they closer to my personal perverted ideal of voluputuosity than any of the others, but they also offer a reasonably decent compromise of form & function with good proportioning, smooth-working articulation and quality construction. They appear to be a good platform for customizing: Even if you aren't into radical customizing, minor changes may bring them closer to your ideal. Here's the kicker, (and don't faint): They can actually STAND. (gasp!)

I must state however, that they might not be your cup 'o tea. You may wonder, "Where are the double-jointed elbows & knees?" Sorry, but there aren't any!!! Am I grinning? Yep. I came around to a retro frame of mind after seeing what the Articulation Race was wreaking upon Joedom. The balance of form and function is like an art, and 21st Century's Super Soldier seemed to be the ultimate expression of a tasteless trend of sacrificing form to function. The skin covered JAKKs Pacific dolls seem to go to the other extreme. It reminds me of a bizarre fiction I read on the 'Net about a stripper, who in competition with another stripper, decides to get a boob job. The other stripper gets a boob job. The competition escalates until further increases are impossible, so they resort to tri-boobs and rows of boobs, front and backside. Yep, it's silly. But it might make you stop to reflect and consider the path of the moderate. Sometimes a conservative approach is better. That's why I think it's commendable that this manufacturer has not blindly followed the trend, but has done the hard thing ;^) and analyzed the specific balances related to creating babe figures. Under the fishnet hose, Kat has the sexiest knees of any female figure thus far. (Sorry, but you won't be able to recreate the infamous Chessie Moore poses.)

Understand, this isn't a snipe at double-hinge construction. I like articulation. I think double hinges have advantages in some situations, but I don't think that they're unquestionably superior to a single hinge construction. Actually, since these figures' outfits are pretty darn skin tight and made of rubberized material, you're not likely to get that much range out of any articulation, even if they'd used double hinges. If you decide to change the outfits though, you can increase the hinge deflection range by using the old hinge shaving trick: By removing enough material, you can get a single hinge close to a human's hinge deflection (since that's fairly close to how we're built). But since you're removing material for the clearance we get when our skin & muscles compress, the appearance suffers. Which is the main drawback of a double hinge. And from the JAKKs figures, we see that the skinned solution creates the same problem as a skin-tight rubberized outfit. Hidden by baggy clothing, it's not much of an issue. With that line of reasoning though, it doesn't matter whether there's a realistic body under the clothing or a wire coathanger. So as I've said, it's a balance of form & function. BBI's creation isn't exactly what I would have done, but it's close to reflecting conclusions I've reached about this issue. (Just saw Dragon's Nurse-- whew! Poor Hans. Let's hope Neo Eve does something to remove this embarrassing anchor from Dragon's reputation!)

Overall, I'm reminded of a Marmit figure. The torso sections look a little odd, but I think they struck a decent balance. Like the Marmit figure, there's a fair amount of flex and rotation in the torso. It probably has a similar tensioning rubber band. You can't tell without slicing her open since it's a glued, and not screwed construction. The arms & legs seem to be the standard pressure tensioned design. (I'd have preferred an elastic tensioned solution to remove the yawning crotch gap.) Knees and elbows have the rotation built in with the flex hinge, similar to a Jane, but without the reliance on soft PVC. This is all pretty standard stuff. As you can see, the hands are removeable --and surprisingly they provide you extras instead of trying to sell you them later. Huh??? What the...??? There are a few innovations: the foot/boots are removeable and mount via a ball & socket joint. This allows them to pose sideways in addition to the usual rotation and front & back hinging. They're surprisingly tight and stable for a press-fit connection, but I don't know how wear will affect this. Part of the standing stability comes from the fact that this figure is mainly made of rigid plastic. It's light, the limbs don't flex and the foot/boot unit has a hard, flat and wide footprint which can make full ground contact thanks to the side-to-side swivel. (I think the ability to stand should count as a major innovation, but that's just me being cynical...)

The head and neck are Barbie-esque in construction, but done considerably more realistically. She just doesn't have that exaggerated stylistic look of a Barbie or even a JAKKs Pacific doll, although there's still a fair amount of pretty-gal stylism involved. It's just better proportioned. Likewise, she's a reasonable height too-- she's scaled to fit in with most Joes; shorter than the standard male Dragon figure, and about the same height as Dragon's Winona (but with much more meat on her bones). The hands do seem to be somewhat oversized, although it's less noticible with the alternate gloved hands. Also, the unusual boot/feet do limit the "universality" of the figure. You're really stuck with what you're given footware-wise, unless you're willing to resculpt the form or create a foot which mates with the removeable ankle connector.

BBI has done a great job with this product. I believe that these are the same as the Takara "Cool Girls", since "CG" is emblazoned on the box cover. (I don't know what the "CY" stands for, don't really care and learning the backstory isn't a high priority for me.) The first three released (KAT, SKY & JET) are basically the same except for the heads & outfits. For what it's worth, the head sculpts are all the same, they just have different hair and paintjobs. Also, the skin tints are different; Kat shown here is the most tanned.The accessories are identical: the mirrored sunglasses, Franchi shotgun, Desert Eagle, "50AE" (a small 9mm pistol, which fits into the holster), and Czech submachinegun. It's not primo quality, but it's not bad quality either-- the shotgun's pump grip works, as does the Eagle's slide-- you just won't find Dragon's reknowned razorcut level of molded detail. The same for individual outfits-- they're way above what's considered SOTW quality, and probably surpass a lot of 21C's tailoring. But they do use velcro and seem to shortcut some things that would make them primo quality. Sky's rubberized slightly irridescent skin-tight outfit is pretty interesting...

Anyway, they're a great bang for the buck at $25 to $30 a throw...(!) And if I had been making my uber-babe figures for sale, I'd feel pretty bad for having charged y'all a small fortune, and you'd have hated me for it. So I win, you win, and we're all happy now, right??? It's a dream come true. So get out there and BUY!!!

--Jimbob, 12/14/00

 

ADDENDUM, 12/21/00
Lose the sunglasses: According to some folks at the Sandbox, the sunglasses will stain the plastic head very quickly, and it's not easy to clean up. Unfortunately, chemical reactions between plastics seem to be a fact of life, and apparently it's up to us to get the word out about the particular cases. Is there a solution? I hate to speculate since plastics interactions seem to be so unpredictable. I think that time helps, since the rate of plasticizer loss and migration slows with time. Beyond that, maybe some kind of trusted, inert barrier between the parts? This is obviously a difficult question for manufacturers too, since we see this type of problem crop up fairly often despite the fact that they select plastic formulations with knowledge of a formulation's properties. I think the best thing is to be cautious, but curse the manufacturers when you get stung!


 

01/07/01-- No surprises here; this design is about as simple and straightforward as you can get. It's not advisable to do this unless you expect to do major cosmetic surgery. She's a bitch to get apart-- the glue works very well, and prying the halves apart isn't a pretty & clean operation.

Unfortunately, you can expect the arms at the torso to loosen up through time as the plastic wears from friction. There aren't any simple & elegant solutions either: You can wrap Teflon tape from the outside and try to hide it. The legs aren't as big a problem: the have a rubber shim between the posts, so that should provide a longer-lasting source of friction. The hip/torso is spring-tensioned so it isn't a concern. I think the elbows and knees have some kind of softer plastic hinge-- it's not a terribly tight hinge, but I don't think it will wear as readily as the hard plastic against hard plastic used in the arm/torso joint.