Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM
"I'm still getting dressed, but ol' butthead wants me to stick my face in here. Whatever..."
"I wonder why he's had me wear this stupid seashell pasta on my shoulder for a week? And what's with the ridiculous straps digging into my ass? And the steel bra? God, I hate working these Sword & Sorcery gigs. Someone oughta make those damned designers wear brass jockstraps."
"See what I mean? Imagine what it's like having the circulation to your crotch cut off by leather straps. And going home with that lovely impression of a steel ring below your belly. It stays there for hours! I'm not even going to go into the hassle of the wax job. It's all because of that damned adolescent male fantasy thing. I wish they'd just let me romp around naked. Like this outfit is supposed to stop swords or something?"
"Because this is entertainment, missy. Same reason we use sound effects
for space battles. People like to see skin and people like to hear explosions."
"That's easy to say when you're not the one wearing the steel bra. It's freezing in here! Can I just make explosion sounds instead?"
"Oh, don't be silly! We don't use space battles in sword and sorcery flicks. Hmmmm... still, I am not unsympathetic to your situation."
"No, I mean that from now on, I will instruct the designer to wear a brass jockstrap as he works. And maybe next film, you get to romp around naked, okay?"
"Hey, I just had to come by to let you know how much I like my new designer's
uniform. Looks real sharp, huh? Whaddya think?"
"Man, you look like hell!"
"Yeah, that's what I get for waking up at 4 am to come up with the costumes that you hate so much. Thanks a bunch."
"No, I mean, what's with the scar? Is that some kind of self-inflicted cult thing? I've seen lotsa guys with that same scar, same place."
"It's a guy shaving thing. I haven't broken in my Norelco Tripleheader yet. But anyway, if you've got any bitches about the costuming, I'd appreciate it if you'd come to me first, y'know? It's damn hard trying to work with this tacky brass thing."
"Well you're right... it's pretty tacky. But it doesn't look like you've got much of a package to protect. And what happened to your nipples?"
"Sheesh! Hey, I'm just making this up as I go along. Do you think I've got the time to give myself a package and nipples? Do you think I care about that? Gimme a break!
But since you're new around here, let me show you a few things which might help with your adjustment to life at Jimbob-Wan's... "
"Take a look at Miss Mary... One of my earlier efforts to break the Quad
F-cup barrier. Coming up with an outfit for that outrageous bod was... challenging.
Her back is constantly under tremendous strain. Her metal skirt weighs a
ton. She's had two back operations. But does she ever complain? Not a peep
out of her ever since her jaw got wired shut.
And see Mr. Tin Man? You wouldn't believe what a hassle it is for him to perform the simplest bodily functions that we take for granted. Word is that he takes medication to cut back on his trips to the john. Does he complain? Not if he wants to keep his job, ha ha. He endures it for the insurance coverage which takes care of his prescriptions and his failing kidneys. And you think you've got it bad just because you go home with the impression of a ring below your belly?"
"Jeepers! What kind of place is this? Why do you do these terrible things?"
"And why not? I do these things because I can."
Minx is the latest addition to the Jimbob family of scantily-clad female figures. Taxonomically, she's classified as Modiplasticus BarbiJane, the same as Alor of the Littlecups and Lindsey (of the Bulgingcups). Structurally, they're identical with only cosmetic differences.
This one was started after seeing the disappointing "Heavy Metal 2000- FAKK2" video, so I was in the mood to make something snarlier than usual. (I had intended to make the Lindsey figure a huntress, but she looked too innocent.) That came out in the facial expression, with the slightly upturned "Elvis" lip and subtle angry brow. It's only moderately expressive, since in my opinion, full blown snarliness is more appropriate for static sculptures where the fixed pose, body language and diorama base work together with the expression. After-the-fact, I notice that from the side, her pouty mouth looks a little bit like the character "Discord" from the Xena TV show. Or the "B'lanna" character from Star Trek Voyager. Well, not really, but it's fun to drop names.
I was trying to create another ass-whuppin' Amazon in the general spirit of the Primal World setting. It's home of rampant anachronisms and bizarre minglings of cultures. Hey, but it's just Fantasy! It's fun! To delineate this genre from it's near-cousin, Science Fantasy, instead of toting a Big Fuckin' Gun (BFG), she totes something lower tech, like mebbe a Big Fuckin' Spear (BFS).
The quest for novelty always causes me a certain amount of grief. The figure itself doesn't offer much new, so novelty's gotta come from the outfit. But I've already done several figures from this genre, and new ideas and materials are hard to come by. She's supposed to be primitive, so I didn't want to use textiles with floral prints or neon green patent leather. I've used most of my limited selection of primal-appropriate materials in other figures, so novelty can't come from there.
You can also search for novelty in the design. Rendering ideas on paper is sometimes useful to me-- I mainly use it to explore flourishes and detail. I've tried to design whole outfits on paper before, but the translation to reality is bumpy, which negates some of its value. I like to see and handle the actual materials to see how they look together, since texture and drape are important qualities of real materials. So I try different combinations out, imagining, extrapolating and trying to catch a glimpse of a promising design-- 99% of the doodlings result in boring, contrived or hideous ideas (I'm not a bold and innovative designer-- everything I create is familiar and somewhat functional). Finding the "groove" is a mystical and subjective process-- you know it when you see it. Unless you're extremely lucky, it's a long process. But you've gotta start somewhere, and it helps to have some "givens" to use as a starting point.
The metal brassiere was requisite. It's a clichéd staple of this mongrel art form. Who am I to buck tradition? (The sorry truth is that some of us depraved non-bra wearers love the idea of warm, soft flesh cradled in cold, hard metal.) And if you've got a metal bra, why not make a matching metal crotch plate? Time to start doodling with materials.
In the course of doodling I latched on to the costuming "theme" of the three leather straps. Actually, I doodled for a while, got frustrated and started working on the mundane practical stuff, like how to attach the bra and conceal seams. I needed a way for the bra's back strap to conceal the seam in the torso: The natural attachment place for a skinny strap would have been too high, but if I had three of 'em, the lowest one would conceal the seam. It looked kinda kewl.
On to the bikini bottom: I'd messed around with various looks for framing the metal crotch plate and they all looked uninteresting. From a practical point of view, one of the issues you face with those bikini bottoms is that to conceal the leg seamline, the design needs to be like hiphuggers from the sixties: Those modern high cut thong-styles just don't work. But you can get a bit of both by using the three-strap design, and the combined effect of that and the bra from sideview is interesting. So at this point, it became a minor motif which I made a conscious effort to expand upon. I guess the lesson is that you don't always need to start out with a fleshed out "artistic vision".
Another practical problem: How to make the thong-thing removeable? It isn't made of an elasticized stretch fabric, so you can't pull it on easily. An unusual attachment method was devised to take advantage of the softness and suppleness of pigskin leather, which has a little bit of stretch. The same qualities also help it stay in place. (It's not a design which would work well in real life, as I imagine it would be quite painful!) The overall effect is startlingly lewd, which is good enuf for me. At this time, I like the look better without the metal crotch plate.
In the process of trying to figure out what to do about the leg coverings, I stumbled across an insanely great technique which is remarkable in its common sense simplicity. Check out Costume Design: Footwear for making 1:1 scale boots. Even if you don't digest it all, you should latch onto the trick PDQ and be filled with excitement and wonder, "Why didn't I think of that???" It's a trick for making pattern of 3D contours. The gist of it is this: Wrap your object (in this case, the figure's leg) with a protective barrier (aluminum foil should work just fine). Wrap it with duct tape. Draw your pattern cutlines with a Sharpie marker. Draw your alignment hashmarks across the cutlines. Cut the patterns out along the cutlines. After this, you can flatten the pieces out, add borders and compensate for stitching, the fit, etc. Dang! Use your imagination-- this technique has a lot of applications beyond making footwear...
At this writing, the project isn't finished (in fact, it's been developing throughout this commentary, which means I've edited it bunches of times already). I just finished working on her knife and sword and I learned that brass is a much softer material than steel. You can actually take a scratched up, grinded blade to a smooth & incredibly polished gleam with high speed buffing using paste abrasives. It's amazing to see this happen. Apparently, I don't have "the right stuff" to do this to stainless steel.
Unfortunately, once you start piling on accessories, some of the "purity" of the design elements can become compromised. Oh well-- easy come, easy go.