BARBRA UNDERWIRE, REVISITED
Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM

01/01/99- Maybe that's what happens when you run out of ideas-- you recycle the old? I've wanted to do a 12" version of my Barbra Underwire sculpture for quite a while. It didn't seem like it would be too difficult to do since she has distinctive features (huge, collagen-filled lips, and a funny nose), and I'd already studied the facial structure. Plus, as a gun-totin' momma, I knew she'd fit right in with the other stuff I'd already done.

There was always one problem though-- the nifty corset outfit was natural to do as a sculpture, but extremely difficult to do for an articulated figure. The GI Joe body has far too many ugly articulation joints which would show, totally compromising the look. Exposed neck & hand joints bother me-- but not nearly as much as exposed ball joints. So this puts some severe limitations on the outfit's design: You can't show nearly as much skin as you'd like to. (or as much as I'd like to!) Hence, the skimpy bra. But notice that she has to wear a jacket. Even if I'd made elbow-length gloves, I'd still have a problem with the shoulders, due to the design of the bra's strap.

The other design parameter for me is that I don't want to keep doing the same outfit, over and over. I don't mind the ever-present black, or leather, but I really didn't want to make another female figure wearing pants. So I decided to try out the long sarong shown here. At this point it's very crude; a place-holder pinned in the back, until I can test some other ideas. I'm thinking of putting in a long slit, so that a boot-covered leg can peek out.

I experimented with forming leather to make wearable boots, but saw that they'd have to be plain ol' flats. Nowhere near as neat as a pair of high-heeled boots. Obviously though, the stock Joe foot wouldn't fit into a pair of heels, or the boots would have to be pretty funny looking to accommodate them. So this is a fairly radical work-around.

The idea is to cast replacement feet/boots and finish up the boot top with leather. The casting itself could be covered with leather if necessary to better match the texture.

01/02/99 (lower picture)- The first version (left) were cast in a flexible material which gave good pin-foot tension when riveted. The problem was that if you blew at the figure, it would sway back & forth like a skyscraper because of the figure's weight & the "give" in the ankle. The second version was cast in a hard material, which eliminated this problem. Unfortunately, the pin-foot junction friction isn't ideal: with use, two hard surfaces rubbing against each other will grind smooth, and the rivet tension will lessen (since the rivet won't self-adjust). Some kind of compressive element needs to be built in, either via spring or compressible material. A couple solutions come to mind: using materials which are neither too stiff or too flexible, or sandwiching the two materials with washers. The toy manufacturers go the first route because they have chemistry labs to zero in on material formulation, and it pays off in simplified production (although I don't think Hasbro's found the right material yet with their CC line). The second route is more feasible for the do-it-yourselfer, but is more work intensive. For this project, I think I'll just make a mental note of this and leave things as they are...

Some details: The choker's studs were made with chewed-off ceramic pinheads-- the ones that they hide in men's dress shirts to make the package purdy, and annoy you when unpackaging them. Their rounded shape makes them much more attractive than flat pinheads.

My wife was kind enough to let me study the web strapping of an authentic 1:1 scale brassiere, so this one's functionally accurate. However, there's one technical inaccuracy for the eagle-eyed: the buckles are adjusted for the "max lift" position, but as you can see, the doll has very relaxed breasts. Adjusted for "full comfort", this brassiere would accommodate some pretty radical software, euphemistically speaking.

01/04/99- This shows how much height the heels add: Wet Gal (left) was slightly taller before I gave Barbra the stilts (approximately, 4 scale inches).

A few minor details were added-- the handbag and fingerless gloves. These will probably get detailed a little more. She still needs accessories to fill out the handbag, and she could use a thigh-mounted pistol or knife. I looked into making her a bottom to wear underneath the sarong, but with all the straps to hide the articulation, she ended up looking like "Hellina", a funky comic book character... Jeez. Then I'd have to worry about hiding the panty line.