LITTLE SISTER

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

 

 

There's a great local band that used to be called "Little Sister", but now goes by the name "Sister Seven", probably due to some legal thing. The singer, Patrice Pike, has an incredible voice, and the band has just resumed touring after releasing their latest CD. But she's blonde and doesn't look anything like either of these two.

04/08/00- The one on the right is kinda like Jane's little sister. She's 3/4 of an inch shorter (Jane's squatting for this shot), and she's wearing a modified version of Jane's head. To fit this particular neckpost, it was much easier to modify the head instead of sculpting and casting a new one: It's the difference between an hour or several days of work. I wanted to recreate the look of a Frazetta gal, so I gave her "smoky eyes" by adding the eyelids. Almost any change to Jane's wild-eyed look is an improvement. Her cheeks were made heavier, and her nose was thinned and given a slight upturn profile. Most of the changed look probably comes from the makeup paint-- Even in Frazetta's world of primitives, all the babes wore mascara and a hint of rouge on their lips. That's one of the cool things about Fantasy: mascara never runs, metal brassieres and underwear are comfortable, breasts defy gravity, and stiletto heels are better than combat boots...

04/09/00- Like I was saying about those metal brassieres... This is another one of those soldered wire contraptions, straight from Jimbob's kinky Boutique & Torture Chamber. It's purely a novelty item-- I wouldn't wish one of these one on any woman in real life (although chain mail brassieres definitely have their place, hubba hubba). But hey, I'd never made one before so it was a fun exercise. In static sculpture, you'd detail the flesh so that the wire looked like it was actually doing something (painful), but with dolls and their removeable outfits, the flesh has got to be kept in an all-purpose state.

Here again I've pinned a pair of hands to make them poseable. Jane's fingers are thinner than Joe's so the pinning procedure is more difficult. However, the hardest part is grinding to shape the individual fingers and cleaning up the mess.

The hands really affect the way a posed figure looks. I thought she looked silly being nekkid & all with her hands frozen in the original "hand job" pose. Some figure and hand combinations look okay like this, but in a lot of cases it looks highly unnatural when they're not actually gripping something. Think of how often you stand around with your hands looking like that? (but don't do it because people will stare at you and wonder...)

04/10/00- The basic idea: The costuming is really simple, which is what happens when ya go for skimpy. I used muslin for a loincloth, tied it with some hemp and decorated with a chain & frontpiece. Very similar to DMG's outfit, but what can I say? Versace designs don't belong in this world. The accessories & details (like the wrist bracelets) will probably get more intricate, and I suppose I'll even give her some footwear & mebbe a knife. I don't want to overdo it though, because simplicity is good too.

The Figure
Even though the end result is similar to what you've seen here before, creating this figure was a new exploration for me. Since I'd given the CC Joe figure a second chance, I wanted to give Jane the same opportunity. Previously, I'd written her off because I'd already devised another "formula" for femfigs. I also thought that the wide yawning gaps at her hip and thighs was unsalvageable, at least for a figure meant to show some serious skin. I still think that's possibly correct and it did cause a real "decision nexus" at the start of the project. Most problems aren't unsurmountable though and if you work at or think about it long enough, a solution will present itself.

The solution was to use the hip section from a "Workout Barbie". That figure is pretty impressive for it's smooth articulation, and the hip/thigh and torso/hip sections are tensioned with a heavy custom molded rubber band. There's no articulation clearance gap at all between the thighs and the hips to speak of: the thighs are ball-ended and the hips have sockets. The other really cool thing is that the angle of the seams is very steep and "V"-shaped, which gives an opportunity to develop some nicely cut costuming. In my Masterpiece Edition conversions one challenge was to shape the seam for bikini bottoms and retain some semblance of articulation. The Barbie bottom seems to work better which is probably due to the direction of the force line: In an ME body, the elastic pulls upwards toward the neckpin, whereas in Barbie, the elastic pulls across, from one leg to the other (just like the arms of an ME figure). As discussed in a recent article, Barbie's cross pulling design is better because the tensioning line is straighter. The only consequence of this particular application is that it's a narrow and compact area which requires the heavy tensioning force of their special molded rubber band. If that sucker breaks, I think you're SOL for a do-it-yourself elastic repair. Elastic length was an issue in other areas throughout the project.

The construction of Jane's body is nearly identical to CC Joe's. The only difference is that the torso/hip ball/socket is inverted (ball is in Jane's hip section, instead of the torso). Obviously, the figure is also a lot smaller and narrower. The narrowness proved to be a vexing problem for cross-tensioning the arms: By the time you've attached clips to the arms, there's not much room left for any tensioning elastic at all! It seems that the shorter the elastic is, the less stretch it has. Therefore, it was impossible for me to create an elastic loop which could be stretched outside the armhole for assembly: The arms have to be attached when the figure's disassembled, working through the torso opening. That was certainly a new one on me.

Likewise, the hip-through torso-to neckpin elastic was very short. In this case, I was able to get sufficient tension from a small elastic loop and draw it up through the neck, but it wasn't easy. Of course, this absolutely had to work, or else the whole figure concept might have gone down the drain. Along with all the work to get it to that point. By the third elastic loop I was getting a bit anxious.

That pretty much covers the significant issues of the figure construction. As you can see, there's no lower torso articulation; that would have defeated the purpose of having the good-looking hip/thigh seam. You could say that the articulation there was moved way up higher, where it's hidden by her bra line. The legs were fixed: The original Jane legs were grafted onto the Barbie thighs above the knees so that she'd have rotatable hinges at the knees and feet. Of course the length of Jane's legs was fixed... you can't help but wonder what they were thinking when they came up with that. I don't do any of that textbook 8-heads measuring stuff with my figures, but I can easily recognize when something looks as wrong as that. Cosmetically, it was challenging to reshape Barbie's "tallywhacker" area from its original capacious expanse to something more normal-looking. (Dang, those Mattel designers are pre-verts!)

I guess the first thing that you were wondering about is what happened to the usual gargantuan boobs? My wife was shocked too. Despite my enthusiasm for such things, all I can say is that the figure's character dictates what it's going to look like. This one screamed out for small boobs, so there ya have it. I think it may have something to do with my cinematic vision of the relationship of boobs to characterization. I envisioned this character as a petite, shy and innocent gal, so it seemed appropriate (whereas a figure like DMG is a loud, robust, over-the-top demoness). It's a strange kind of stereotyping. Of course we all know that in real life, size is strictly a function of genes or the doctor's scalpel. And despite the fact that they get stared at an awful lot, breasts aren't windows to a woman's soul...

Since I used stock female figures as fodder for this project, I guess this doesn't qualify as a transexualization. I guess it's partially a realism conversion, combined with a reworking of the guts. Hell, I don't know what to call it. But if there's a general lesson to be learned here, it's that there's really no single easy "formula": Any figure or blob of material can be turned into whatever you want-- with enough work. Selecting a particular figure or parts of figures is a matter of efficiency. Use whatever makes it easier for you to get the result you want. I assess the potential of fodder by its hinging, articulation, type of material, general proportioning and size. These are things I'd rather not have to create on my own from scratch. I certainly couldn't produce as precise hinging as the factory can, and I don't have their inventory of plastics. My contribution comes from stitching it all together, and it involves some sculpting skill as well as a grasp of common sense mechanics. If you're interested in doing radical figure conversion, you can get a good idea of what's involved at Kouki's website, which has tons pictures of figure dissections.

04/12/00- Again, my tinkering with electronics came in handy. I replaced the chain bra straps and belt with a fancier jump ring assembly. I soldered each of the jump rings so they wouldn't open up and put a brass strip between them and soldered them together. It's sort of like making a belt out of the old style beer pull tabs (without the fun of drinking the beer).

The bracelets are made of sheet brass. A pattern was scored on the back with a dental pick over a thick piece of leather, which makes the pattern raise on the front. It looks sort of like it's embossed. I threw a couple of cheapo gems onto it because it still looked too plain. To tone down the shininess, I sanded them, applied a black acrylic wash and dabbed with a Q-tip which was lightly saturated with brass blueing. It's hard to see the effect in the photo, but if I hadn't done it the glare would have been a lot brighter.

The knife was cut from a piece of antiqued brass. At first, I thought it was plated because the cutting produced a shiny silver. I tried several other odds & ends which I thought might be brass. I even cut into a penny and was shocked to find that underneath the copper is a shiny silver color too! I guessed that somehow the process of grinding the stuff makes it shiny silver, and wondered why I was fixated on getting a brass color (?)... Anyway, I dinged it up really good and dipped it into that brass blueing solution-- instant black. I had to steel wool it off and tried again using the Q-tip dabbing technique. The knife's handle is made from a stained wooden dowel, which I've since shortened. Wood is a blast to work with a Dremel, by the way. One of my concerns with this is that it looks like a kitchen knife... I don't know how well it fits into this Primal World thing (or her costuming for that matter), but I really wanted to make a metal knife. I guess it's okay, since Darkwolf has an axe...

The second pic shows some decorative gee-gaws that I haven't used. I had some leftover putty and some extra time, so why not?

For her footwear, I cheated... I picked up a Zena as Shaman whachamacallit figure (pee-yew! These have got to be the most lamely articulated figures around!) because it was on clearance, and it had a interesting pair of moccasin booties made of a synthetic suede. I tried to bleach 'em, but the color wouldn't come out... Anyway, they're wrapped with the hemp, and look kinda bulky-- I think it's an interesting effect (but they're not that great and I don't waste picture download time on feet).

 

 

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