HUACA JUACA

Last modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2001 6:27 AM

 

THE PROJECT, RESUSCITATED

 

10/02/01-- You may recognize this guy from the "Remarks" section, about a month ago. It's something that was inspired by my vacation in Cancun and from wanting to create a head for a headless Neo Guy figure. Yeah, but that was a month ago!  Well... there's a time for customizing and there's a time for drinking beer, eating nuts and watching TV.

During that quest for enlightenment, I reaffirmed that the fun of collecting stuff comes from spending money and waiting for the results. But after the transient high passes, watching dust accumulate isn't much fun, and there aren't any deeper spiritual rewards to be revealed. So out of boredom and a delusional need feel self-actualized, my attention returned to customizing.

Funny thing is, this project is no more exciting now than it was a month ago! Sheesh! That's okay. Plodding onward through the fog builds character.

The biggest question was, how to costume the dude? The design parameters were fairly clear: Use in-hand materials to create a Meso-American-ish look which happens to conceal most of Neo Guy's plentiful joints. It's harder than you'd think, especially with really poor reference materials for idea pillaging and crippled with a lethargic attitude. I hate to admit it, but Barbie's endangered species coat played a big part in the solution: Although the spots are oversized, the texture and drape of the material seemed to work well. The rest is feathers, twine, beads and leather.

I did attempt to carve a headress out of wood, but wasn't satisfied with the results-- it looked too bulky, block-ish and didn't really capture the Mayan motifs. From the idealized stone carved artifacts, it's difficult to visualize how the real article was constructed. So I settled for a liberal interpretation of Monteczuma's Aztec headdress. (The actual artifact resides in a museum in Austria where it serves as a valued link to their cultural heritage.)

During this design-as-you-go process, I had to deal with some sad realities of the Neo Guy figure. In practice, it's not quite the be-all, end-all figure that I had characterized it as in my earlier review. One of the more frustrating aspects comes from its model-like construction-- the damn hands kept falling out as I was posing it. Teflon tape around the wrist post helps, but it's not solid like the feel of a vintage figure's hand connection. This is true of some of the other joints, although they don't fall out as readily.

The legs and feet also have a lot of "mush" and "chatter" which don't contribute to a very solid standing ability. Wrapping the shin-end of the knee's post with Teflon tape eliminated some of the chatter. I'm not sure what to do about the feet though. They're made of rubber, and the mush can't be eliminated with Teflon tape. The root of this problem is the extra rotation pin after the ankle hinge. To make this feature work, the hard plastic hinge is pressure-fitted into the PVC foot (which is where the mush comes from).

The extra rotation axis is really more of a gimmick than a useful design improvement. In theory it sounds neat-- the ankle can be positioned for solid ground contact from just about any angle. However, this is useful only for a barefooted figure where you can see and access the joint for positioning. Inside a boot or ankle covering, you don't know which way the swivel is facing, and you can't very easily access it to pose it.