PRIMAL MAN

WARNING: bOObs below!

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

 

(Yikes! It's "Luke" McCain, fresh from the Death Star trenches!)

So... Bet yer curious about how ol' Jimbob figures out what to do next? Well, maybe you're not, but I'm gonna tell ya anyway...

The last update was the big near-completed pic of the "Demon Monkey Goddess"... I've since made a few improvements and she could use a few more-- nothing major or worthy of an update though. After passing the hump of the project, things settle into a more leisurely pace; but it doesn't get easier-- instead of doing, more time is spent imagining. I wrack my brain searching for improvements. One of these was a decision to do her bicep ties like the skirt fringe-- it helps conceal the elbow pit articulation. I've also thought about tattoos-- but I haven't thunk up an original design yet. And accessories-- Since she's sort of a clawed goddess, I didn't think she needed any weapons but I thought that she'd look mighty fine toting a severed head by the hair. Maybe later?

The process takes you into thinking about the world of the character. Even though DMG was inspired by and borrows heavily from Verotik's Jaguar God character, that character's attributes and environment are public enough to use without feeling like you're stealing their idea. She's primitive, muscular, big-boobed, clawed... that's pretty generic and you see that walking around, all the time. That kind of inspiration is part of our global cultural heritage which comes from world mythologies and the works of genre artists. My costuming changes--even if done for pragmatic reasons-- make it feel less like thievery. However, the attitude inhibits my duplicating their character's distinctive tattoos (which I think look kewl). I'm making figures for personal enjoyment so recreating their character would be legal-- that's not the issue. My goal is simply to personalize the creation so that I have the freedom to develop ideas beyond the confines of someone else's comic book character. If it's my baby, I can do whatever I want with it, guilt-free.

One of the world-extending "accessory" ideas is to create supporting characters. She's already got some plausible playmates in some of my existing worlds-- the FAKK-Q world, the Medieval world -- but the more options, the better. An obvious choice would be the Frazetta-inspired primal minion which I'd made for my original sculpture. I don't get really excited about making male figures-- most of the store-bought figures are males, and all ya have to do is change their outfits or give 'em new heads -- but at least this one would require some extra work to keep it interesting.

That's the basic notion at least. From there, you start thinking about specific construction issues. Obviously, I won't be able to do the costuming like my original DMG sculpture's minions because of the articulation seams. Yet, the costuming should retain the same primitive simplicity of the DMG, but without being the same. There are a lot of sources to draw from for inspiration; you have to take it on faith that you'll figure a way to work things out. (That's a whole 'nother issue -- costuming's actually a bigger issue than the basic look of the figure, since it defines the world that the figure fits into.)

Now it's time to take it out of the hypothetical... you need to select a figure to serve as the basic stock. After surveying the pile 'o bodies, I select a CC body. Part of my reason for this is that I'm not super-excited about making the character in the first place, so I don't feel like sacrificing one of my prime figures. This will serve several other purposes: It lets me give the CC-style figure a second chance for evaluation, and I suspect that improving it will be a decent challenge. I envision completely gutting it and redoing the tensioning design. Ooooooo... work! ... fun!

To give the project some momentum, I decided to work on the head first. This is a major feature of the figure, and it's something which can be worked on in isolation. It's a fairly quick & easy thing too-- I used an old casting of Rommel's head and puttied it up. When it's done, it can be used to drive work on the rest of the figure-- it's good to have something to inspire you to continue work on it, and having a glimpse of what it might eventually look like gives an interim gratification and inspires new ideas.

A lot of wacky ideas come to me while driving to work-- it keeps me mellow and my mind away from road rage. One of those ideas was a natural extension from the DMG figure-- privates. It's a pity that the area is taboo since it's ripe for loading with neato action features. As a customizer, you can appreciate such a challenge dispassionately, without getting hung up on morality issues. Whether I implement this or not, the exercise is fun-- I'm thinking of those toy frogs which leap when you squeeze an air bladder. This idea would be particularly apt in a "Randy President" parody figure with Trouser Tenting Action. (yuk, yuk... haven't we done this before?)

CC Design Notes:
The design of the CC figure is pretty straightforward as seen in the pictures, but here are a few interpretive details, if you're curious:

  • Neck: A nylon pin with a ball end is anchored to the body; the neckpin housing surrounds that, with a fairly small opening at the bottom. The size of the opening determines the range that the neck can move.
  • The waist articulation is similar: The heart is a two-piece assembly which functions as a joined ball & socket; one end is anchored to the hips, the socket plate on the other end interlocks with the torso section when the halves are glued together. The ball end is slit/compressible so that it locks in the socket plate at the factory.
  • The leg retaining pins fit within a narrow housing formed by the main pieces. A cast rubber shim fits within the channel and completely surrounds the edge ridges of the pins, and compresses when the housing halves are assembled and glued together.

It's finally time to dig in. The CC body is cut open so that I can see what type of changes I have to make. I see that the chest cavity will have to be completely gutted, leaving only the four smaller mating alignment pins. The center one will have to go to make room for the elastic. The elastic tensioning of the arms is a no-brainer; everything that aligns them in position goes, with only the entry hole at the arms remaining. Those will have to be enlarged to allow the clips to fit through, but that's no problem because elastic tensioning will provide it's own alignment. The rims at the ends get lopped off and the remaining shaft gets drilled for the clips. The clips are formed from piano wire, and strung together with several loops of elastic.

Converting the torso to a vintage-style tensioning design is as straightforward as the vintage design is simple. You could create the modifications necessary to enable screw assembly/disassembly, but that would be kinda silly. With the vintage design, the torso is a single piece, and all the parts which join with it are secured by the elastic tensioning. This means that the torso is a single piece which doesn't show any assembly seams: All it needs are four socket holes through which the elastic can be threaded to parts.

I replaced the CC neckpin with a vintage-style neckpin. This makes the elastic threading layout nearly identical to the the vintage design, and takes care of the overly thick and limited articulation of the CC neckpin. In order to do this, the neck socket was filled with putty and conformed to the shape of the vintage pin's ball. An enlarged hole was drilled for threading the elastic.

I kept the original hips/leg assembly because it was easier than trying to work out the ball and socket tolerances. Although I'm not fond of the gaping articulation seam or the way the legs are pressure tensioned, the design does allow a greater range of positioning. Again, since this isn't a femfig, I don't really care about how that area looks-- I'll just cover it up with costuming. This saves lots of work. The central elastic can be secured to the neck at one end and to the entire hip assembly at the other end (trim the separate ball subassembly and drill a hole for the clip). The only area which needs extensive rebuilding is the torso ball and the hip socket. With a well-formed ball & socket, the hips can be be given considerably better range than the original CC design.

Since I'm keeping the original assembly, I modified the hip section so that it could be screw assembled in case the legs need to be tightened. There isn't a lot of room to do this. The only available space is the groove where the torso/hip ball socket assembly (now the lower pin anchor) interlocks with the two hip sections. Mounting that assembly on top (and filling the groove with putty for a screw well) would mean losing the strength that the interlock provides, so I modified the anchor to hold the screw's nut: A slot was cut into one interlock wing of the anchor to house the nut, a channel was cut on the bottom to allow the screw to reach the nut and beyond (the nut isn't dead center, since it's as wide as the piece it's fitting into), and the other anchor wing was screwed to the front piece from the top down to secure the assembly to the front half.

Another structural modification is necessary: The CC body looks pretty ridiculous with its long legs and compressed torso-- sort of like a man wearing pants hiked up to his boobs. The torso/hip modification helps if you extend the torso. Still, the legs are absurdly long. I removed almost a quarter of an inch each from both the thigh and shin section. It makes the figure considerably shorter but better proportioned IMO. The shortening of the figure was a desired effect in my case-- Primal Man is supposed to be short, and it's one of the reasons why I picked the CC body in the first place.

Once the basic structural modifications are made, the surface of the figure can be sculpted in putty, finished, painted and detailed. It's probably a good idea to work on the costuming ideas somewhere during this rather than waiting to the end-- you don't want to mess up the final painted finish when trying out a costuming idea.

 

 

unfinished Primal Man & his horny mom

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