LILITH

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

 

 

"If you're under 18 or disapprove of naked dolls, get the Hell out of here."

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Got milk?"

This is another one of those aimless projects that started out with no clear idea of where it was going. That's still pretty accurate for both this figure and this article. I'd acquired a "Selena" doll about six months ago but work was sporadic since I was concentrating on other things. Well, the hopper's empty and I'm back to finish her. Unfortunately, I jumped the gun on this by providing some details in an earlier "Remarks"-like article, so now I have to regurgitate and expand on some points-- so parts of this article may seem familiar. Nevertheless, you may want to see my other article, Pat 30581401, since that discusses the base figure.

The base figure has pretty good proportioning but I'm kinda odd and particular and I like "beefier". I've spent a lot of time reconfiguring her, and it's been as much, if not more work than doing a Barbie/Jane conversion. That's because I reconfigured her according to my basic Barbie/Jane formula-- I move the waist articulation up under the boobs and create a neckpin. It's actually more than that though. I redid the elastic tensioning so that the legs were independently cross-the-crotch tensioned to each other (like a Workout Barbie). That meant extensive trial-and-error hacking on the balljoints to make them work right. It was worthwhile though, since the legs pose better and can stay extended farther forward since they aren't fighting the upward pull of the through-the-torso elastic.

Since there was no neckpin, I had to create one from a Barbie neck and adapt the Barbie head so that it was somewhat more realistic. Which meant I had to cut off everything above where the neckpin connected to the head! In other words, the head was constructed much like a hand-made clay pot, building up the sides and finally sealing the top. If it ain't hollow, you get an even heavier head which makes the tensioning work harder to fight floppiness. So the neckpin is a hybrid-- the lower end is slotted like a vintage Joe's, but the top end retains the balljoint configuration of a Barbie style.

The neck is tensioned similar to a vintage Joe-- through the torso, down to the hip section (which in this case is the lower 2/3 of the figure). Unlike a vintage Joe, the elastic anchors to a heavy pianowire crosspin within the lower section. I also tried a different, quick & dirty approach to the elastic tensioning. Usually, we go for real neat and tidy with those elastic loops-- you use a puller tool to drag the hook out and over the neck's crosspin. It can be a real bitch when the elastic's stretched to the max and you've got pliers and parts in the way as you try to maintain the stretch and find the crosspin. I discovered that it was especially difficult when the elastic needed to be really short, so I did this out of necessity: Forget pre-made elastic loops. String your figure with a length of elastic, wrapped a couple or three times through its path; pull the ends out the figure at the torso/hip seam and stretch it real tight; start your knot, stretch and knot really tight, shove the excess elastic into the body when you're done.

Unfortunately, the limbs & hinges use that sucky soft PVC formulation and are joined with those plastic hinge pins that I like to bitch about. Consequently, you can't really tighten them. Even metal rivets don't work very well (and I have tried). In the ankles, this is a significant deficiency since this is a medium density figure and all the weight focuses there. If the balance isn't correct, the figure may stay put for a while and then, whammo! And her weight problem gets worse after I work on her. I saw several options: Replacing her feet with Cotswold feet; accepting the slight benefit of metal rivets; giving her a tail. I chose options 2 & 3 and for the time being, and they seem to have solved the problem. Giving a figure a tail isn't always an option, but it seemed appropriate in this case. The tail's a Gumby-style tentacle from an ID4 creature toy (he had plenty more), dressed up a little bit. Naturally, it would be more honorable to create one from scratch, but it's not worth the expense and effort to me. The foot replacement option is still a possibility since the pin size is identical to the standard of vintage-style figures. You could do the same with the hands, although your choices aren't all that great. Standardization is a good thing and it's puzzling why there's so little going on in the vintage hand aftermarket.

Of course I did the usual cosmetic enhancements, which should be obvious. Again, Fate guided me toward "gravity-defying bulbousness". (You've gotta settle on something when you have no idea where you're going, right?) The legs needed some work too: I shortened the thighs & shins and used the opportunity to correct the weird skewing problem at the knees. I also gave her topsider kneecaps to hide the hinges from the front. (I don't know why they chose such an unusual design, and then botched it with a production imperfection.) The horns are intended to be removeable, since I anticipated that they would be the most fragile part (and I was right-- they got shorter during the course of this article). The horns and the head are drilled for steel pins: The headside end got "Fabri-Tak", a fairly weak adhesive for hard pieces. In hindsight, flexible plastic horns would have been smarter since you rarely know in advance when you're going to knock a figure over.

So that takes care of the figure part. You can do all this preliminary work without having a real solid idea of what you're trying to make. I mean, it's a big-boobed femfig. Beyond that, it could go lots of different ways. And that's really the hard part. I wanted to make something for the Primal World but it gets difficult to find roles after you've taken care of the major players. And it's hard to get worked up about making minor characters. She needed a face, so I started on that. Originally, she was much snarlier looking, but through several revisions I came to envision her as being sort of like an "imp". Then I thought she looked kinda like one of Coop's Devil Gals, but with that blank-eyed Lady Death thing going on. Doing the pop-culture humor schtick would be a fun direction to take, since I could slip her into a low-cut T-shirt with a cutesy design: "I survived The Inquisition and all I got was this crummy T-shirt". Sure, Primal World has some anachronisms and isn't too terribly serious, but modern stuff just doesn't fit at all. Of course, butt-naked is appropriate in that setting, but doesn't hide articulation seams very well.

See? The hard part has just begun!

--12/20/00

12/22/00- Here's a first crude stab at costuming: Nothing too bold or original. It took a while before I settled on the snakeskin, and I went through a bunch of different material samples, including Santa Red (that would be too cutesy and too much a cliché, even for me), tattered chamois (looked okay, but the color didn't do it for me, and black fur (which looked like she had a really bad pubic hair problem). Snakes have that smack-me-on-the-head sexual innuendo thing going on, so it seemed a natural for this project. I was fresh out of locomotive/train imagery fabric.

The loincloth is unfinished, tacked in place for a quickie look-see. I first thought I'd only make a loincloth, but I was less-than-enthused with the look... too simple... so I decided to make a top. The top works against the naked look, but it hides some major seams-- I guess you can't have it both ways (at least with opaque materials). But snakeskin is very dimensional, so it provides its own points of interest. The bra fastens in the front with some interlocking claws: two wire hooks per side, soldered, facing outward. The bra could use a little more refinement, and there's still a bunch more work to be done on the costuming, but since Seasonal Joy is fixing to intrude, I've rushed it. It's almost time to start thinking about buying presents, ya reckon?

Have a wicked Christmas.

 

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