BULL

Last modified: Saturday, January 13, 2001 10:58 AM

 

 

 

To prove that I am an equal-opportunity offender, for this project I've chosen to degrade and exploit the other half of the species. Hopefully, this will appeal to visitors who prefer seeing pictures of naked, large-breasted men. That's the gameplan. It's still early though and at present, this is the most butt-ugly figure I've ever seen. Which is not at all surprising since this is the Formative International SOTW figure whose feet I chewed off in order to cure little Annie Skywalker's stub-footed deformity. The screaming in the background is that whining Classic Collection figure, without the feet and knees. (Sheesh, it's not like he ever used them for anything!) Anyway, if the knife don't slip, this may be my first male figure with an alternate non-UNIX operating system. Bet ya can't wait to see how I pull that off...

--12/28/00

 

12/29/00-- (You don't REALLY want to see pics, do you?) I selected the SOTW figure for this project mainly because he was BIG. There are other big figures out there. Hasbro's Hall of Fame figures have massive chests, but their articulation sucks and they're made of a really aggravating combination of materials [Rubbers-- I hates 'em.] The Classic Collection figure has better articulation and is smaller, but its main drawback is that it looks like a man with pants hiked up to his boobs! Yeeeech. This particular incarnation of the SOTW figure has the combined hinge and swivel at the elbows and hands and the arm/shoulder construction looks pretty good, without unnatural structural accommodation for the ball & socket. There are a few things that must be done, articulation-wise, to bring this figure up to snuff.

Even though mine didn't have feet, I'd have had to do something there anyway: The knees don't swivel and you can't do that from the leg/hip joint either. I grafted a pair of legs (thighs downward) from a Classic Collection figure and built them up (the puny calves needed a lot more meat). The SOTW didn't have a real neckpin either, so I took one (and the head) from Mr. CC. One swift blow from a hammer did the job and put him out of his misery.

The SOTW figure has one of those rotate-only joints between the hip and torso, which would have been okay by me. However, since I was going to elastic tension the neckpin, I decided to create the lower anchor point in the hip section and convert it to a near-ball joint. I decided to do this like a Jane figure (If my memory serves): the ball is in the hip, and the socket is in the torso. This is upside-down from the vintage Joe design, but the pressure-tensioned leg assembly doesn't leave much room to create a socket. In my opinion it doesn't look as good, but sometimes you've gotta live with that. Likewise, I didn't mess with the pressure-tensioned arm articulation-- I was lazy, it worked okay, but I may regret that later. A channel for the elastic was routed between the arm assemblies, leaving enough material so that the tensioning posts weren't severely compromised. (I hope.)

Cosmetically, there's a lot of work to do. It's a good idea to start with the general proportions first, which means taking care of things like the arm & leg lengths, relative to the entire torso. I do have a bad habit of wanting to jump ahead to the head, since that helps define the character of the figure. Consequently, and as a result of sculpting over the CC head, the head's oversized. That perception can be "tricked" somewhat by the addition of hair. As a general observation though, doll proportioning is traditionally odd-- heads are usually oversized, and realistic proportioning makes them look "pinheaded". I'm guided by "the look" instead of the "8-heads" formula thing, so this is an intuitive and not scholarly thing for me. Besides, this is supposed to be a fantasy sub-human, and you can be really liberal with the proportioning.

"They don't call me Bull for nuttin'!" Even though I anticipate that the crotch will be covered, I needed to do something about that area. The expanse between the legs looks comically wide and unnatural, and there are gaping articulation seams. Fortunately, the leg cutouts can be reshaped without affecting the articulation mechanism; as usual though, such alterations do restrict the range of articulation.

You probably have several exclamation and question marks hovering over your head due to the subtle authentic 1/6th scale detailing. Fortunately or not, we have the technology to bring such dreams to life: Velcro. This is an extension of the "removeable hands" concept and allows for a variety of custom expressions including the basic forms; "gelded", "dangling" and "achtung, baby!" (in a mind-boggling number of decorative variations!). The use of miraculous Velcro minimizes the unfortunate tendencies of Snap-Off tools and natural foliage conveniently conceals the seamline.

Yes, someday a human will walk on Mars...

 

01/01/01-- Happy New Year and Millennium. Flashnet's web service has been down a couple of days (and just went up as I was writing this). Some folks are without electricity & water so this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It did give me a breather though, which is a good thing. This project-- YAWWWWWWNNNNN-ARRRRRGGGHHH... Helluva way to start a new year.

I've forced myself to work on this, and it has been Hell! I've completely redone his head four or five times already, trying to get a size and look that I liked. And I'm still not satisfied. He's just supposed to be a frickin' subhuman, so this is not rocket science. I'm trying to get the look of an ape-like primitive with a stoic gladiator's demeanor. This would approximate the character archetype of Tars Tarkas from Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter series; It's just been tough getting the balance of an intelligent, neutral and heroic subhuman. Consequently, at this point the figure shows the scars of my frustration. I painted a few essentials & posed him for these boring pic anyway.

One of the noteable things about this figure is that he's pretty tall: 12.5 inches (without heels). He's therefore the tallest figure I've worked on and it's taken quite a bit of work to get the proportioning that I think he should have. I didn't want him to have Max Steel's steroid fantasy look, but he did need some of that.

The SOTW's chest is as blandly sculpted as the rest of the figure; I've made a few stabs at dressing it up, per the general detailing of my "Darkwolf" figure, which is based on the detailing of a CC figure (I think). My art anatomy books aren't much help here since they're too realistic and depict normal humans (sans the beergut).

Originally, the forearms were massive and puffy-- they needed to be shaved down to a more reasonable taper. His SOTW hands are huge and out of scale, even for a figure this tall-- plus they're posed horrendously, the right hand fixed in an exaggerated "crack-digging" gesture. There's not much I can do about the size since they're made of soft PVC, which doesn't take too kindly to grinding, sanding or sculpting of any kind. Pinning his fingers could only partially normalize his obscene gesture. I may resort to cannibalizing some CC hands since they're slightly smaller and a little easier to work with.

The upper arms were also a problem-- they wouldn't set close to the torso, making him look like he was perpetually ready to crush some beer kegs. Shaving the torso and the underarm doesn't work since the limit is built into the ball hinge. Rather than mess with that, I made a 3/4 cut across the upper arm, jammed a shim in, puttied and grinded it to the natural curve.

Though you can't see from the pics, he's also got some topsider kneecaps. One thing I should have mentioned in the "Lilith" article is that you should drive a pin in the hinge mechanism to limit the forward range of the knee. CC figures have too much forward range and unless you limit them, hyperextending them may bust the kneecap off. It's a good idea to take the time to plan for safety things like this, even if you know that you'll never do anything so careless & stupid.

Outfit-wise, this character's role doesn't spark any notable inspirations in me. He's a primitive, hence the chamois loincloth thing (originally bandied about for the "Lilith" project). I've envisioned him as an unwilling gladiator type, so I soldered half-hoops onto his ankle and wrist bracelets (for fastening chains for restraint or for the drawn and quartered scene); they're darkened with some brass blueing compound. I've briefly considered dressing up his body with hooks, but I'm really kinda squeamish about the wild excesses of the body adornment thing. The white hair gave him a more distinctive look and opened up the possibility of different roles as an older, wiser subhuman. With Emperor Palpatine's hooded robe (first pic), he looks similar to an assassin in "Fire & Ice".

My ambivalence and floundering on this project (which you've probably noticed) is easy to explain: I'm not wildly interested in this figure. I'll admit that I didn't start this project just to balance out the scales of sexism or because I wanted to make a figure with balls. Instead, this figure was envisioned to fill a minor role in the drama-- that part of customizing which is rooted in "world building". Given the various stereotypical characters that I have created for this world, it's easy to fill in the gaps and create your own variations on the story. Unlike other media though, this one doesn't require a written script, so the possibilities never get cemented in a fixed and finite unchangeable script. (That's okay, because this isn't like George & Martha's little game in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe".)

George, Martha & visiting son

 

 

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