Last modified:
Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:25 AM




  04/06/02-- So here we go again... A new project. Most of the recent real world intrusion has faded into the background and all those leaves that I recall bagging a week ago seem to have been replaced by new ones. Can you say "futility?" Taking on unanticipated debt from a new car isn't fun (especially since you can't put a new car on a shelf to admire), but as a change in the pattern of living, it can bring a feeling of renewal and purpose. The pattern of life may become mindlessly routine, but extraordinary events can prompt you to take care of stuff which had seemed too boring to deal with. In my case, this meant going through the boxes of unfiled, heaped "important papers" (so that's where my Social Security card has been hiding!) trying to find that special place where I hid the car title, assessing the particulars of our insurance coverage, spreadsheeting budgets, analyzing amortization tables...the kind of stuff that you deal with and forget. Yeah-- although I know that things aren't really desperate (the wife pulls the Cartier bucks compared to my Geoffrey bucks), pretending that they are is useful and has led me to assess my spending habits and to adopt a more conservative spending philosophy. So now I'm going to see if I can still find meaning in life by making do with what I've got. No more decadent thrill of continuous package deliveries. No more 3-figures-at-a-time orders, $100 toys, $30 taxidermy eyes, $50 Fedexed Flabbercast. Yeppers, life's gonna be different... (until the new routine becomes the old routine.)

On the customizing front, this new discipline means attempting a figure conversion using the last one I bought; BBI's Ebony. I wanted to see if I could do this fairly economically; using a single figure (instead of culling parts from several) and not buying any exotic materials specifically for this project. In old-think, that would have made this a fairly humdrum project, but the new-think adds the excitement of Discipline. Whip, whip... woooo.

Ebony is a divergence from the usual CG line-- an African American female figure with white hair, wearing a loud red & black outfit. While the other CGs fit into a "Charlie's Angels" mold, Ebony's furnishings make her look more like a hooker. That personna didn't do much for me, and I would have preferred just a dark-haired black gal in a more regular outfit. I have no interest in expanding my gag "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll" section with store-bought hookers, since it's a frickin' gag and you don't waste resources on beating a gag into the ground. Well, that didn't matter anyway because I didn't buy her because I liked the way she looked -- she was purchased for her potential as ethnic fodder. Ebony's a great candidate for my long-standing favorite figure genre: Gals who wear scanty and primitive costuming. I've only made one black figure before ("Voodoo Gal"-- not counting QOTDMG, who isn't human), so it was way past time for me to renew my credentials as an Equal-Opportunity Exploiter.

Ergo, Jungle Princess Ashanti. This is another figure for the primal world heroine gallery, where there always seems to be room for one more character. It's not intended to be a flashy & splashy project, but it had to be something that would hold my interest: Making a female figure seemed much more interesting than making another apeman. (... once you've made a Giant Demon Monkey Goddess, other figure projects seem kinda uninteresting...) This was envisioned as being a Frazetta-ish figure, to be outfitted with fairly humble decorations-- just enough to make that part of the project interesting and justify the "Jungle Princess" part, and yet not cover too much flesh. That's the part I haven't tackled as of this installment.

This is my first conversion of a CG figure-- I've disassembled one before, but haven't done anything with the mangled parts yet. The joints on that figure seemed too loose to bother investing the time and effort, and were too much trouble to fix. Fortunately, this figure had fairly tight knees and elbows. As usual, I converted the figure's construction to resemble a vintage Joe's; elastic-tensioned neck, arms and legs. In addition, I added traditional Joe-style neck articulation (because it adds expressive posing potential) and moved the upper torso seam higher (to hide it with minimal costuming). The hips/leg seam was likewise reconstructed for the same reason. As usual, there are the usual tradeoffs. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pics of Ebony before I dissected her but she's considerably taller than the "standard" CGs. This is due to a removeable longer lower leg segment, similar to the one used in Joanna Dark (which rotates, but isn't removeable). This seems to be designed for modularity-- it gives the manufacturer an easy way to produce height variation. Unfortunately, they chose to ignore the fact that tallness doesn't come from growing just one section of the leg. It takes looking beyond the distraction of seams, the balljoint ankle and the bootfeet to see that the proportions are unnatural. In addition, it's an unattractive tube-like extension, glommed onto the lower leg. [Apparently, BBI/Takara don't care that they're fucking up the aesthetics of their original design to give us these groovie features.] The standard CG high-heeled bootfeet adds to the height. After converting those to plain ole naked feet and hacking down the leg extensions, her height shrunk to a mere 10.75" (bald) -- about 5'3". After seeing her for so long as tall gal, she looked strange and stubby at first. Nevertheless, I think she's more realistically proportioned now and is about the same height as a regular CG wearing feet instead of the bootfeet.

Although the CGs have the most voluptuous doll bods currently out there, turning her into a "Frazetta-esque" figure required tinkering with her body proportions. In guitar-speak, this would be like stringing with Ernie Ball's Skinny Top, Heavy Bottoms. The CG's are already pretty full in the bottom compartment, but there's still room for packing in a little more. In order to make this look right, the top needed to be smaller than I'd grown accustomed to making. I discovered this through trial and error- the first ones thrust hugely and bulbous-like from her upper torso area and looked ridiculous. The decision not to leave it like that should correct the perception that I only make female figures with watermelonish tits: I recognize that there's a time and place for everything, and ultimately, consideration for the overall look of the figure should override personal fetishes about breast meat volume...[pause] Aw hell, who am I kidding? This one's got big tits too.

Although Ebony's headsculpt doesn't have very pure Negroid features, there's a hint in the mouth and jaw. It expresses a confident and relaxed look which is generic and normal enough for most figure poses. I've decided to use it, minimally altered, except for the backfitted eyes (which are a little off-alignment in this rushed-for-the-article pic). The fabrication of the "wet" eyes was prompted by an entry in the Message Board (and BTW, I will kill you if you don't write something in it) and after having bought some 8mm glass eyes; I don't think they sell 'em this small. Initially I made green eyes (pic at top)-- I was thinking "Queen of the Damned" and thought it would look neat, but it ended up looking weird. Not from the color though--A 6mm bead is really too large and misleads you about the proper size of the iris. They need to be really small-- so small that it's impractical to detail the iris. Putting tiny, round and consistently-sized pupils within the irises was difficult enough.

Okay, naming figures is kinda nerdy ("He names his dolls!"), but that shame goes with the territory. Still, it's useful to tag your creations with this extra property, since it identifies them and adds something to their imagined "character". The "Demon Monkey Goddess" projects were named functionally for expediency, despite my feeling that they needed proper names. Heck, if they were ever to spout any B-Movie or comic dialog, they'd need to know their own names so they could refer to themselves in the third person when boasting about the size of their breasts. Sounds like a simple matter, but it's not: The name has to fit the figure, and you hate to commit to something that doesn't sound right. It's almost as bad as trying to come up with a name for a rock 'n' roll band. BBI/Takara seem to have latched onto the nifty time-saving formula of using names of magazines like "Ebony", "Jet", "Sky"... I briefly considered that tactic, but the name "Four Wheeler" didn't fit this character very well. So I did an Internet search for African female names and came up with Ashanti. According to The Afrocentric Experience this means "Strong African Woman (Ghana)". I didn't find a name that meant "Jungle Princess with Wide Hips, Large Buttocks and Splayed Breasts", so that works for me...

Jungle Princess with Wide Hips, Large Buttocks and Splayed Breasts doll07-04-02 캹䫵ҹ "natural" ǡѹӤй ͧҹĊp һ Ѻا еŧ ẹ ͧҪԡ ... vɬײv GQܯ @@ M {b Q@ܯC -- Ŭ Ŭ Խ ̵-- ߼ ̶ , ! ä ü s[^ɂƂꂸAlXȊVXeL@I ɘAgd ݂sŒ ɂȂ܂ Bɂ ͋ƊEWZp̗̍p ܂ 񂪁Axm

FL̾զkӪסAɦ˯uzA GgvF L̡CڪD@O ḼnGu ڭ̪ DڡI Aϧ H. R. Giger ̦⦸AA!!! :) ϧ ̥ͨ o̵ oXuz LܥL̪ɭ ԡAL̻G u A̷ P... L@P @ @H I[ jQpި ձNPӨ ⤽qHΨӦ۵ ذߤ jǪ@ g٤p pX damn! i C̫ @ OFTO...

What's This All About? Wheeeee... it's time for some fun! Instead of the usual boring and meandering text to accompany the photo, let's pretend that this is a Japanese website and you're trying to figure out what the heck is going on. The machine translators usually aren't much help since they don't translate thoughts and context very well (so don't bother trying-- it's gibberish). But they can give you some clues, and I've inserted them into the text. It's up to you to put the clues and context together to arrive at the core meaning. So look at the picture, see how the entry fits into the flow of the project and article, check out the clues and see if you can figure out the gist of what the gibberish text probably says.

Give up? Quitter! :) Here's the official interpretation.