Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:28 PM



 This seemed like a good place to split the article since the digression was turning the original page into an unwieldly download. As it turns out, I'll probably use this head for the figure since it's got the additional gimmick of the poseable eyeballs (and I like it more). This is an über-figure project, thanks to the extra articulation which Dragon's Svetlana figure brings to the workbench. I'm still guided by the principle that adding articulation shouldn't compromise the looks of the figure too severely, but I'm being more accepting of the cosmetic deficiences of the ganged hinges. The kneecaps, at least, can be made to look more blended. However, the frontal view of the elbowpit may be a lost cause. Fortunately, Svetlana's ball-jointed ankles don't involve much of a tradeoff, except in a slight ankle springiness, and the foot sculpt is good. As I mentioned in the first part, adding extra articulation in the wrist is a no-brainer, since you can't make it look much worse. So yeah, how could I pass on the articulated eyeballs?

Normally, by this time, I'd have made a few stabs at the costuming, (whatever that will be...?). In this case however, avoiding that forces me to concentrate on finishing the figure instead of blowing off what the costuming might hide. --10/28/01


10/23/01 A DIGRESSION-- This is some quickie experimentation from an inspiration at Hiroki's website (and Eagle-eyed Joe too). Hiroki's work looks great-- his artistry has produced very realistic eyes, in addition to eyes which move. My effort here is just down & dirty; Using fake pearls marked with dots, I've done some similar stuff before (Real Doll 2020's eyelids) and wanted to show how this variation might be done, not that I was necessarily going to do it. I didn't want to try this on the current project, at least not yet.

My first idea involved making a frame with two eyeball sockets, each covering a little over 50% of each eyeball from the bottom (enough to hold them in place). From the back of these sockets, pins embedded in the back of the eyeballs were threaded through a crossbar. If you moved the crossbar laterally, both eyeballs moved in the other direction in tandem. If you moved the bar down, the eyeballs moved up. Problem is, if you twisted the bar, one eyeball would move up and the other down. Pretty goofy, yuk yuk. The bar would need to be restrained to remain horizontal. A horizontal threading slit and flat eyeball actuator bars would have probably done the trick but this was becoming too much of a hassle. A bigger problem was that there wasn't much room in the head for a very complex homemade mechanism.

The side-to-side mechanism was much easier to construct, and a lot more compact. It's basically a car's front wheel steering mechanism. The eyeballs rotate on a vertical axis and are connected to a hinged bar at the back. As you move the back bar from side to side, the eyeballs rotate in the opposite direction in tandem. This bar could be connected to a hinged lever to allow you to do it from the outside, or you could take the head apart and do it manually.

However, that's the easy part... The plastic eyeballs need to be cut out and the interior of the head at the eyes needs to be ground very thin to avoid a huge eyeliner gap and recessed, ill-fitting eyeballs. Of course, the eyeballs need to be spaced precisely too. And the most difficult part of all is to attach the mechanism to the interior of the head so that it fits snug without those eyeliner gaps (I used Kwik Tak for this temporary installation, which is why it looks funky): There's very little working space on the inside of the head which can make this very frustrating.

10/27/01 DIGRESSION AGAIN, IT THICKENS-- You tried training the eyeball to the head of the Dragon Svetlana. Temporarily because is first to show; now to showdown and off. First, cutting the occiput additionally to increase fit, you scoop out also around the eyeball entirely and hollow head-- too much! The ball of the pearl imposter applying, from reverse side to fit exposes overzealously. It conforms almost? To fix afterwards for head shaping. Adjustment of before eyeball tracking jig shown; it widens, now it installs. With difficulty you jig to align in small zone, yet the glue superior of insulation wire to interior PVC permits small movement without committment. To finalize correctness and rod to insulation bond; it aligns and is stronger. Before, to remove surface of pearl imposter is paint on plastic with no problem and realizes sclera. Now to realize impression surface cornea by paint (like traditional). Finally by rear-end coercion of rod into slides to and fro, it becomes hugely and is pleasant don't you think? Drill dangerous old boy!

(The preceding has been a reverse Babelfisherization to simulate a computer-mediated multicultural experience.)


Probably the quickest headsculpt I've ever done-- From Svetlana to mutant alien to another pouty-expressioned escapee from an anger-management clinic-- all within about four hours, with the sculpting burst lasting about an hour (preceded by some Kolache-eating). That's misleading since she's still pretty lumpy and the application of paint was premature... but that's what showing off is all about. Actually, I couldn't leave you with only that reverse Babelfisherization, so I had to rush it. If you can read Babelfisherized Japanese with understanding, mine shouldn't give you any trouble at all. And hopefully, Japanese readers will be able to translate that to something which makes more sense than regular English. Aren't I considerate? Something for everyone. Astute navel aficionados will notice the further refinement of what may be the most detailed belly button on a 12" figure to date. Ain't that special? Or did I do that already? I forget. These are the kinds of things you do when your back is fucked up and you can barely walk.

Some thoughts I couldn't express in my reverse Babblefisherization: Svetlana's head was far from ideal for this conversion. It's made of a very soft flexible plastic which is really difficult to grind cleanly with any precision, maybe unless you had primo condition bits. With my small cutter bits, it either didn't grind off or it suddenly did, ripping off more than I intended (as the mutant head shows), and always seems to leave a bunch of still-connected tattered waste. Achieving a well-fitted eyeball depends on how thin you can make the surrounding area, so this is extremely frustrating. On the upside, the rubber is relatively non-abrasive, so you don't have worry much about the painted eyeball rubbing off. Another problem was touched on before, when I was working on the original headsculpt: They eye sculpt of Svetlana is too flat. When you put an approximate scaled eyeball-sized sphere behind the eyelid, it's clear that the curvature of Svetlana's eyelid was sculpted for something about the size of a 1:6th Texas grapefruit. No way in hell you could fit two Texas grapefruit in a person's head... I like grapefruit and all, but I can't think of any situation where you'd want to do that.

"I am Hathor and my Testosterone therapy has had some peculiar side effects."
Asymmetry revealed, plus surprise "action feature" potential... shades of Stargate.


Obligatory mingling of sex and violence, as seen on TV.
In real life, sex, drugs and rock 'n roll are a more likely and benign combination.


10/30/01-- I don't feel like working: I knew that futzing around, dressing the doll would kill the drive to do the real work that remains. I painted the tan line & nipples just for the photos above (CY Girl fishnet body suit; Selena's slacks). And now there's the unlisted Halloween Bunny page too. I'm having fun with these mini-costuming updates, but they do take time and energy from the boring real work like sanding & painting. Anyway, she's naked again, waiting for me...

I noticed that the first pics of the new head look a little like Ally McBeal... and if you look at the lips and chin alone, it looks a little like Seven-Of-Nine. And if you look at this profile pic, she looks a little like the gal from the short-lived TV series, "The Lone Gunmen"... (or maybe the vintage porn star, Sue Nero.) Maybe? It's all coincidental; I'm just playing around with different facial features and feel lucky to come up with a face that I like.

Nowadays, from a customizing perspective, I'm not as keen on owning figures with faces that belong to other people, since they stand (ideally-- Buffy sits) isolated in their own worlds. Generic faces give you lots of possibilities for world creation without the curse of having to suspend disbelief. It's liberating. I think that's one of the attractions of the CY Girls-- besides the fact that they look good-- they fit into generic worlds of your own making. Hence, you "own" the character more thoroughly.

Takara's "Cutie Honey" figure, although not faithful to her fictional anime roots, might be too tied to her canned character for her to be useful for customizing. That is, if you actually know who she is! If you do, she probably appeals to the collector instinct, so a good many are probably going to remain virginal, in the box (like mine). It's the curse of knowing. Similarly, in the USA you don't hear of too many "Buffy, the Fighter Jock" or "Audie Murphy, the Vampire Slayer" customs. Elsewhere, where those characters aren't familiar, they could be seen as simple fodder and all bets are off. I did something similar with my Henshin Cyborg "Gai Gai Gar" figure. Blasphemy, no doubt. Mixed in with this curse of knowing is a tacit respect for the actual characters they're supposed to represent. If you know, they just don't look right in other roles. We're a media-centered culture, and owning faithful representations of our cultural icons appeals to our worshipful collector side.

So... there are a bunch of possibilities for costuming this generic figure. The spy gal look was just the easiest one. And actually, that process that doesn't have to end-- that's the fun part of customizing. But like eating spinach, you should finish your figure first, maybe?