MASTERPIECE EDITION DRAGON

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

naked female doll

09/07/99- Yep, it's another femfig (unfinished of course). And once again, I don't know what it's going to be yet, so you get lousy pictures. As the title suggests, this is a fusion of Masterpiece Edition and Dragon figure parts. I guess I'm trying to zero in on my personal vision of an über femfig. You've seen female figures before, and you've seen figure slicing & dicing. There's only so much you can say about these kinds of things before you start becoming annoyingly redundant... So be forewarned. There are plenty of annoyingly redundant observations to follow...

Dragon Models has confirmed that they will be releasing a female figure (Eve) in their excellent line of figures. From the Dragon Message board: "We are working on Eve, just be a bit patient. We've rejected several prototypes, that delayed the girl. We want her to have better articulation, more human proportion (not like Barbie), but physically attractive like a model, be able to change upper torso. Two sets of concepts will be implimented, but we won't talk about it here. --Dragon" (Heh heh... Never heard 'em called "concepts" before...)

Kewl, huh? Except... gee if they're gonna be making them, I guess I don't need to? Well, maybe not. Even though they'll be releasing their version of "Little Annie Fannie" before the end of the year, I have my doubts whether they'll make the same design compromises that I would. Because folks, that's the name of the game when you're dealing with femfigs. There's the issue of articulation of course, but there's also the aesthetic issue which works against that. Throw the matter of fetishes into the mix, production economics & you'll see that there's a lot of jiggle room in this genre.

(pic: top-secret design drawing of one of the many faces of Eve. (It's a JOKE, dammit.))

Although the Dragon figures have great articulation, there are enough pluses and minuses for both vintage-style and Dragon figures to make them fairly equivalent: It's rarely mentioned that the vintage figure gets a respectable range of motion from it's single pivot elbow hinge. As I've mentioned in my Dragon articles, its neck, upper torso and waist articulation are rather limited, and the cost of all the articulation is a fairly ugly figure. Doesn't matter for Germans and SDUs, but for femfigs? Overall, I believe the shaping of the vintage figure is more appealing, and the tinkerer-friendliness of the design makes the vintage-style body my favorite for these peculiar transexualizations.

HIP-LEG JOINT: One of the main complaints about the design of the vintage-style figure is the limited range of movement at the hip-leg joint. This is a basic limitation of the tensioned ball & socket joint. The most free movement is circular rotation, which means they twirl very nicely in their sockets : Not useful for sitting poses. Unfortunately, it gets worse if you connect one side of the ball to one side of a socket. The elastic tensioning pulls in a straight line, and the channel through the fixed-in-position ball kinks its path. As a result, forward and backward sweeps of the leg at extreme angles don't work very well.

The combo swivel/hinge used in most figures today (like the Dragon) provides a much greater freedom of movement. Design-wise, the tensioning options are limited because there's so little room for a self-adjusting internal mechanism. In figures of this design, the parts are usually tensioned simply by friction and compression of the housing, and are prone to wear. So that's a consideration when you're facing 3 day's worth of work on the figure. Also, this design achieves a good deal of its range by minimally covering the joint mechanism. The resulting air space is ugly, and if you minimize the clearance, you quickly discover that the range of movement becomes restricted as well. So it appears that there is no perfect solution for an exoskeleton-style figure. The structural differences between these approaches and the human design is that we have tensioning muscles attached externally to our skeletal system. These are flexible and together with our skin layer, cover up those unsightly articulation seams, yet provide a wide range of movement.

Basically, it helps to know what you're making before you start adapting the figure: if it's going to wear pants or something that will hide articulation, why worry about the figure's naked aesthetics? That's reasonable... but these days I don't know what I'm going to make until I start tinkering, and lately my figures seem to wear less clothes, not more. Faced with this difficult choice again, I'm willing to sacrifice some aspects of the articulation for the figure's look. I'd rather have her look good standing up scantily clad than sitting down wearing pants.

ARMS: I prefer the overall sculpting of the vintage-style figure's arms; the Dragon's seem too tube-like and "puffy". I also like the way the vintage figure's shoulder joints connect, since they're self-tensioned by the elastic. Here, the problem of the ball socket is taken care of by a narrow groove, as with the neck. It's not great looking, but I've gotten used to the fact that the shoulder seam always needs to be hidden.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Dragon figure's much-raved about double hinged elbow really isn't that much of an improvement. Surprisingly, the vintage design gets very respectable travel with a single hinge. To accomplish this, the elbow is cut deeply, with a very pronounced ball in the elbow "pit". So the Dragon figure's arm looks better when the arm is fully extended. Here's the kicker though: Bend the arm... from the sideview, the Dragon figure's arm looks like it's missing a chunk of the elbow!

Nevertheless, I decided to replace the figure's arms with the Dragon's, from the biceps down. I made two cuts to shorten the arms at the biceps and the forearms. then whittled the contours. The main reason I replaced the arms was so that I could switch out the Dragon's hands (including the new poseable hands). This was maybe not such a good idea because the poseable hands are bigger than the regular hands, and even those are slightly big for this female figure.

LEGS: Again, I prefer the sculpting and overall design of the vintage-style legs. In this case, I replaced the single knee hinge with the Dragon's double hinge and shortened the legs. Here, there's more reason to switch to the double hinges-- the range of the vintage's single hinge is considerably less (although you could probably fix that).

I also prefer the design of the vintage figure's feet, since they're removeable, tighter along the rotation axis, and easy to recrimp at the ankle. Their main problem is that they're awfully long, especially with the extended heel. I shortened 'em by melting the middle, compressing them and resculpting the form. For pieces that come under a lot of stress (like placing them in boots), it's not a good idea to remove a section and reglue-- the strongest bond is usually the original material.

TORSO: I heavily re-worked the torso to create three sections-- the upper torso, mid torso and hip section (just like the "Mall Babe" project). As with that project, the aim was to create a "bikini-able" hip section, so that small clothes could hide the seam lines at the legs and hips.

One significant difference though-- this figure has replaceable...uh... "concepts"! I came up with this idea a while back, but the "Maria 2K" project made this an obvious evolutionary step. Since I don't know what she's going to be yet, this gives me considerable latitude.

Coming someday: Better pictures!

naked female doll

 

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