SF3D Ma.K MANIA 2011
Part 3 - Femfigs & Furniture
10/30/11-- Time for a break from the 1:6 Fireball project. Since I was over the hump, I started thinking about how it would fit in with the other 1:6 SF3D-ish stuff that I've got. Did I want my Fireball to be a space-based unit, and if so, should I give the pilot a helmet appropriate for space? Should I paint it white like most folks do with spacestuff? As you might have noticed, I generally don't place too much importance on staying within the official world of the property's creator. It's not meant to be disrespectful, it's just more fun for me not to be constrained by such things. So, as I surveyed the landscape, I looked at some old stuff that I thought was cool (like Paolo Parente's "Dust" and Da Joint's "Zero Metal Defence Capsule"), and some of the new stuff that's out there (Ashley Wood's ThreeA robots). Of course, I did a cursory review of the whole gamut of robotish stuff, from Terminator to The Matrix to Rosy from the Jetsons.
This SF3D/Ma.K 2011 stuff is the first 1:6 scale stuff I've done in quite a while. I wanted pilots for my robosuits as well as furniture figures for the "world". That gave me the excuse to check out some of the newer 1:6 offerings. In particular, femfigs... my longtime favorite! Sure, I've got some old ones socked away, but I was interested in learning about all the remarkable advances that had been made in the interim. Had the custom expression mechanism been perfected? Had the dream of inflatable doll breasts finally been realized? Were there any new body parts left to articulate?
The Mechanic The Medicom/Toys McCoy SAFS gal had a few things that didn't set right with me: She's awfully tallish (but without an Amazonian vibe) with a big face. While I like her tank top, her bare arm seams attract my eyes like a magnet.
I'd seen some rubber skinned dolls on eBay, which made me think that they might have improved the technology since the days of Jakks Pacific's giantess and Dragon's China Strike Force Norika Fujiwara. At the time, they were interesting curiosities but had way too many tradeoffs for the benefits. Mine ended up in a box somewhere.
I was willing to give the skinned doll thing another try; Cotswold Collectibles had naked Phicen dolls with a "Laura" head for a decent price.
Interesting. The quality of casting has improved since the old days: There are fewer imperfections and parting lines (that you can't do nuttin' about) in the flexible skin. The mix of removable hands and rigid feet make for a more "usable" doll-- Holy Moley, it can even stand! Of course removable feet and hands means that there are seams at those joints, but they're not nearly as noticeable as exposed elbow and shoulder hinges and much easier to hide while still showing lotsa skin.
Of course, you can't fool Physics, so rubber skin is still a dirt magnet and limits articulation: The internal skeleton's joints and hinges are strongly ratcheted so that posed parts can hold their position against the stretching of the skin; this greatly limits poseability, and frankly, the desire to change the doll's poses-- I always feel like I might break something if I push just a little harder. Her legs don't close inward quite enough for my tastes (to pose one foot behind the other). Skin (elbows, underarms) still puckers unnaturally through a normal range of articulation. Nevertheless, it is a huge improvement over the old stuff. I even like the "Laura" headsculpt; it's a nice neutral balance between snarly and glam.
Unfortunately, she wasn't the ideal replacement pilot for the Medicom/Toys McCoy SAFS because she's rather difficult to insert in the suit. It may be the friction of rubber sliding into the arms, or the fear of damaging the doll's skin, or the stiff ratcheting articulation... it just didn't feel right to me.
She makes a great mechanic though. Lightly attired in an exposed midriff display garment and oversized pants worn too low, she seems to have the vibe of some of Brickwork's 1:20 scale Ma.K resin figures. The role of mechanic seemed like a good use for a doll that could show a lot of skin and not have to endure the trauma of being squeezed into a hardsuit. Basically, she's a cool-looking piece of furniture.
This time, I used ol' reliable War Toys for miscellaneous bits and pieces (like her hat) that I'm not talented enough to make. (Hey, I made her quickie tank top and undies!)
Wespe Pilot I revisited my "Sow's Ear SAFS" because it looked awfully funky-- the legs were splayed kind of weird and I doubted whether I could ever fit a doll inside the thing. After fixing the legs (with hinges and vacuum cleaner hose), I tried to find a pilot for it. This SAFS is especially cramped since the model itself is smaller than the other Nitto vinyls. The only one that fit was an old Obitsu doll.
I've had some Obitsu and Volks fashion dolls for a while but I haven't used them for anything (well, I once made a spider witch) because they were so small, thin, and looked out-of-scale. There's also the problem of finding (or making/altering) appropriate outfits that fit and don't look like fashion doll wear. In a bag 'o unused dolly clothes, I found stuff from Dragon's Svetlana-- possibly the only stuff I own with a military flavor that would fit the Obitsu doll. As luck would have it, the outfit jived with my renewed interest in the Parente "Dust" stuff.
Ten years ago, I'd been blown away by photos of a 1:6 Dust diorama -- hulking robot armor, manned by Russkie-looking vixens wearing the familiar cloth tanker's helmet (see below). The Parente comic artwork was even better -- it was a mix of the retro WWII sci-fi genre with large-busted warrior women: My kinda stuff! Although they produced some 1:6 scale dolls in limited runs, it never really went anywhere. Despite very low production numbers, you can still find them on eBay and probably for a good reason. The dolls appear to be poorly articulated, with odd, stylized headsculpts. I thought about buying one for the outfit, but didn't.
With the Svetlana smock worn in low-cut mode (& no undershirt) and a tanker's helmet, the Obitsu doll with its pushed up boobs seems to capture the general spirit of the Dust characters. The gloves could stand to be smaller, but I'm not going to agonize over it.
The Obitsu doll is kinda ugly, but a surprisingly kick-ass bit of engineering, as I discuss in my 2005 review. For a non-fashion doll person, the problem is finding a use for it. The solution is to make them wear clothes so you don't see much bare skin. In this usage, the main giveaway (besides its petite size) is its long skinny neck. I bought the most "normal" looking head available, but it's soft and squishy-- Intended for rooting, a big fashion doll thing. It also had very soft eye detailing (no sculpted eyelids), probably because many fashion dollers cut openings to backfit glass eyeballs. I cut a hole in the top of the head to pour resin reinforcement because the head was too squishy; she's bald because I didn't want to mess with making hair-- besides, her helmet fits better without hair, and would hide most of it anyway.
Because of its size, the Obitsu doll is probably the best choice for the undersized Nitto 1:6 vinyls. (Doesn't it make sense to enlist or hire small people to pilot these things?) I'm using a Cool Girl body for my Fireball project, but it's a very tight fit: The shoulders rub against the interior arm pins. Of course, all this stuff could change, and probably will.
Cool stuff! Borrowed pics from Toyfair; source unknown. A different mech, the KV-47, sold for $3000 at the Dust website.
The 1:24 scale Dust playset (#1). Unfortunately, the mech would be over 2 feet tall at 1:6 scale.
Paolo Parente's Dust - Koshka Rudinova I've been intrigued by this property for quite a while. I first learned of the 1:6 scale stuff, and then recently learned of the Dust board game with cool miniatures, but the artwork and comics appear to be at the heart of it all. I finally read the comics in a trade paperback, and was surprised that it's such an incredibly thin collection of work to have generated so many products! What genius!
I finally splurged on one of the long-discontinued 1:6 dolls, the black-suited convention special Koshka Rudinova. I didn't have very high expectations due to its age and the funky posed photos, but the outfit looked interesting. I also thought that the stylized headsculpt looked interesting. (I seem to have developed a taste for these less-than-realistic sculpts with their quirky personalities.) Basically, I'd been intrigued by the first pics of the doll from nearly 10 years ago.
I was actually surprised that it was better than I'd expected. The figure resembled a later-version Cool Girl with ganged knee hinges, and the torso/tummy/hips were much better shaped than the Blue Box Toys Perfect Body dolls. The articulation was actually very smooth and tight. The only downer was a poor range of articulation in the elbows, and a lack of body cutaway under the arms, like the early Cool Girl figures. The lame poses in most of the photos are due to the thickness of the padded, tight-fitting outfit: The arms can't hang flat against the body because of the material's thickness and the lack of the body cutaway under the arms. I replaced the elbow hinges with a pair from a Perfect Body doll, and this increased the deflection range of the elbow, enough to make a noticeable difference.
Another structural difference is that the feet aren't removable-- they have ankle hinges and rotation, but there's no ball-jointed foot or extensions to mess with, or introduce slop. I appreciate that since the feet fit easily into the boots and don't pop off when you remove the boots. The ankle hinges seem to be as tight as they need to be, reinforced by the boots. Basically, I had no trouble posing the doll to stand-- something I always appreciate.
I like the outfit. It's made of a thick material that looks padded, and the top is very form fitting. The zipper's a bit oversized, but not distractingly so. The top is low cut, but a flap is buttoned down over it. Unbuttoned, the flap can be attached behind the neck, showing the fleece side. This is convenient for displaying cleavage, a disarming combat tactic.
The outfit only does a so-so representation of the artwork's amply-cleavaged outfit, but that's one of the many liberties you can take in the 2-D world that don't translate as well to dollyland. My only complaint about the outfit is that the pants are cut narrow at the boots and don't create much of a bloused look-- this gives the legs an straight taper that would look better otherwise. The belt and holster are made of brown rubber, painted black-- the black rubs off which can give a realistic worn look from handling. The flare gun is okay-- it breaks open for loading a round, but that kind of working detail is common nowadays.
Although I like black, I didn't much like it for this outfit since it seemed to hide a lot of the detail and stitching in the monochromatic sameness. Soaking it in bleach for a while turned it a lighter shade of gray with black accents. I attached a black rabbit fur collar, thanks to the tiny buttons that were used to secure the cleavage-modesty flap. This just gives more of that plush look.
Little Red Riding Gal
(Naturally, there were running changes after a few more purchases...)