CHOP SHOP 2 - LAB NOTES

Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM

female robot doll maria 07/29/99- The "Chop Shop" project was started quite a while ago, and there appears to be little progress being made on it. True, our cat has gained a few pounds, and I've watched more TV than usual... I've gained a few pounds, but believe it or not, there has been some project-related hand-wringing going on.

From the start, the biggest problem has been, what's it gonna be? The project had its beginnings sometime last year, when I first decided not to use the Marmit body for the Ultraseven figure. I started patching it half-heartedly then, but didn't get very far. According to my current thinking, I may use the Maria II robot head (left), which was also created last year. This fits as a mask over the unfinished skull-like head I made earlier this month. Before that though, in my desire to do something different than just another Amazon femfig, I explored a few other things.

One of my "holy grail" projects is to create a female figure with an unusual "action feature": poseable jiggling boobs. (Okay, you can stop grinnin' now.) The problem with female figures sporting rock-hard boobs is that the costuming potential is limited-- you do 'em one way, and that dictates the type of outfit she's gonna wear. I'd previously tried this in a smaller format figure (Lady Death) using a compound called "Flabbercast" on the inside of a flexible urethane skin. While the material was extremely flexible and they could be smooshed together, the scale didn't provide enough mass to achieve what I was really looking for. The 12" figures offer a better potential to achieve this. The scale effect is a big problem. I don't think that Flabbercast is an adequate solution here either, and it's sort of a hassle to work with. In my search for alternatives, I tried a putty-like material used to "relieve stress", or improve one's hand grip strength. Hmmm... that's not what you think it means. It's like Silly Putty-- very viscous, and self-leveling. Packed inside a latex "boob-bra", it seemed to be poseable enough-- the theory was that the self-leveling action would fill out any deformations creating by smooshing it. Well, sort of. It seemed to be too chancey to invest all that work if the figure might end up with permanent inverted nipples. Besides, it lacked the "jiggle action" (And we all know how important that is!). I've abandoned the idea for now-- I need to amass a large volume of mercury to make this idea work. But hey... mercury... isn't that supposed to be poisonous? Well, maybe it's not such a good idea after all.

So I settled on the cyborg idea. Part of this was due to way the Marmit arm-shoulder articulation looks, and it would be difficult to make this look good as an organic figure without resorting to latex skin. There's only so much a bra-strap can cover! As I mentioned in the last "Remarks" update, I'm really waiting for some Henshin Cyborg figures to arrive before committing to any permanent work on this project: Ideally, I'd like to blend the sci-fi futuristic worlds together, rather than having lots of distinct areas. That might have an impact on how this figure looks, so in the meantime, the figure design work is being rendered in unbaked clay. Besides the basic bodywork done in Part 1, only the mask and upper torso boobwork are "permanent". Even the boobwork is conditional though, since it's epoxy putty over a vacuformed upper torso section, and the whole section can be removed. (BTW, this is one of my alternative solutions to the fixed-position boob problem-- conceptually like "designer boobs".) One thing which I can't test/simulate is body cut-outs. It would be really neat to cut out sections of the lower torso to simulate recessed piping & internal mechanism, but that's more-or-less, a one-way ticket. Wouldn't it be kewl to vacuform clear plastic covers over that stuff? Sort of like what I did with the Mall Babe's alternate head.

One question which needs to be addressed is why a robot would need boobs anyway? It's a reasonable question, since robots don't generally breast-feed infants. Furthermore, why have female robots in the first place, since robots don't reproduce sexually? These might seem to be tough questions, but are easily answered: Because I like 'em.


female robot doll maria 07/30/99-- Oh waow... not only are they bare & nekkid, but they're see-through too! Where else, besides The Visible Woman model kit, do you get to indulge in such shameless, decadent voyeurism? I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these, but I needed to test the vacuforming technique on this material. The Dragon figure whose limbs were harvested for this project won't be needing his display box ever again, so the big sheet of clear acetate was fair game. I doubt that any of my Dragon figures will ever need their boxes again, so there's plenty more where that came from.

By working on this figure so tentatively-- attaching the putty boobs to a vacuformed shell--it allows me to take a flexible approach, with a lot of different options. Internal detail can be built up directly on the original body or the putty shell can be engraved with detail. The clear shell can be used in parts, or not used at all. The clear shell can be airbrushed with clear areas masked out, or tinted. Also, by backpainting the clear shell, you can get an extremely shiny & chip-proof finish. Some of these things you can test before committing, and other things you can't without running the risk of having to go back to square one. No one wants to do that, so you always test the least risky ideas first. For example, practice your tinting & painting techniques on scrap instead of doing on-the-job training.

You can see some of the attraction of working with fantasy & sci-fi designs. Because it's a low-brow genre, it doesn't need to make sense, despite what some would have you believe. Clear boobs on a she-bot? What possible reason could there be for that? Duh... Because it looks neat? Think Giger's Alien. Imagine the space battles in Star Wars without any sounds because of the vacuum of space. Nahhhhh... Who wants that? Imaginary stuff is supposed to be fun, not scholarly. (Well, in fairness, it can be both...)


08/01/99- Sci-fi buffs will be familiar with the inspiration for this project (at least where it seems to be heading). The photo on the left was taken from The Metropolis Homepage, maintained and edited by the Rev. Douglas Quinn, C.S.P. The film is a milestone in our cultural heritage, so it's definitely worth checking out.

I've decided to name the figure "Maria 2K robot". These days, everyone seems to be asking "Why 2K?", which is a good enough reason for the name change. I assure you, it's not that big of a problem. (So I'm entitled to a few stupid jokes, okay?)

James, aka GIjOEdad came up with a neat & original idea: "...figure's see through chest--"liquid" (was thinking of the water/oil time wasters they sell at Spencer's-something akin to a lava lamp), then adhere the plastic to the figure so that it wouldn't leak..." Wow! What a cool idea! To expand on that, how about a faux circulatory system with a bulb-pump? If we try to make sense out of this fictional creation, it does seem logical that the protuberances would be used to store liquids rather than radar equipment or headlights.

Practically though, sealing off liquid would be a problem, since glue or a silicone sealant applied directly to the inside of the clear shell would would probably mar the exterior view because of the irregular glue line. However, one solution would be to have separate clear domes or sacs behind the clear skin. This allows you to move the sealing seams to the far-back, where they'd be less visible. Thanks James!-- it's a kewl idea and it's definitely worth playing around with.

Another interesting idea came from Sean Vandehey (who seemed apprehensive about proposing this, since it might seem "sick"... Sick??? Here? In this web site??? ;^) : The figure as a robotic Overseer of Hell, with screaming, tortured faces behind the clear torso shell's boobs... It's very imaginative, and would make a terrific garage kit sculpture, since you'd be able to use the sculpture's base to develop the environment. I'll probably stick with something more droll though, since the figure is already tied to an existing work.

female robot doll maria That's another issue: Since I'm not duplicating the Maria robot from Metropolis, I have a lot of freedom, but feel I should maintain the "look & feel" of the original. It's sort of like music-- when you improvise, you don't play completely random notes or no one would relate to what was going on. Instead, you string together familiar sequences, hopefully in a way that feels inspired and aesthetically pleasing. Same thing here. The overall look is the same, but there are differences.

This saves you some work wracking your brain looking for inspiration too... I spent hours looking at magazines to get ideas of how I might do the legs. There are only so many ways you can do these things! Eventually, I decided that there were a lot of elements from the original that I could approximate, just to serve as a starting point. The shins are close to verbatim in the layout of the elements. In the upper picture, the balls and pipes are similar to the original, but the hydraulics on the sides only suggest some of original's detail and serve to reinforce the mechanical nature of the figure.

The stuff littered around the feet are the kinds of basic shapes & details that I collect for this kind of "kitbashing". Hopefully, the N-scale model railroad wheels won't be immediately recognizable once they're puttied & painted; I like 'em because they have the spike on the end. Kitbashing isn't a quick process because you don't just throw stuff together. The "art" of this is selecting parts that you think look good together, so there's a lot of trial & error. Once you've positioned the basic shapes then you decide where to putty to blend the mish-mash together, and where to add additional surface detailing.

 

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