JEZEBEL
(MESSIN' WITH PERFECTION)

Last modified:
Wednesday, May 29, 2002 6:05 AM

 

Yeah, I like redheads...
and naked dolls with tweezers;
With huge plastic boobs and clean-shaven pubes,
she's the kinda gal who fits in your freezer.
With her naturally fake locks and her nipples hard like rocks,
she makes a deep impression when you squeeze her.
With those seams in her legs, she's sure to bear no eggs
and there isn't any point in trying to please her.
But no matter what they say, she will never run away
and pick up sexually transmitted diseases from junkie geezers.
She's just a plastic doll, standing naked, standing tall
and she's wielding a pair of pointed tweezers.

 

 

05/17/02- Hey, it's just the same old sameold and I might have been content to leave my commentary as bad poetry, but maybe some tortured, drawn-out prose should accompany those pics? Don't know which is more painful, so you get both. Understand, I don't have much to say that I haven't said before. This isn't an "inspired" project. It's gotten harder to come up with those because I've made mostly everything I've wanted to make. (and I still don't have a burning desire to make an Indiana Jones or Boba Fett...) So this figure wasn't created knowing what kind of role she'd play. This is just an exercise using BBI's "Perfect Body" figure as a base, and to try out a few things. I was tempted to use lotsa parts from Dragon's Svetlana figure since those would have made the job easier, but PBs are cheap and reasonably available, so that's the primary incentive. I just wish they were a little more perfect than they are. Oh darn... I've opened that can of worms again! Sheesh!!! Aren't you done trashing the poor Perfect Body figures yet? Arrrrghhh. Burn in Hell, heathen!!! ;^)

Before we get into that (and for the benefit of those who haven't followed the progression of projects) I should mention that this is a rebuilding of the figure according to a basic design that's been evolving for years-- it's not an attempt to simply alter the stock PB figure (the project starts with a disassembled figure). This is an intense undertaking which can take days or weeks of daily work, especially if you work a real job. The design is based on the vintage-style elastic-tensioned body, with the adoption of some modern improvements. The particular base figure used isn't really that important-- the surface features are totally negotiable. The parts of the figure that are important are the hinges and the precision manufactured parts like the ball-jointed feet. Those would be very difficult to recreate from scratch because of the precision involved, and also because of the materials used in factory production. It's much easier to use a hinge from a figure than it is to carve one out of a block of nylon. The rest of the figure is just something to sculpt over, similar to using a styrofoam core. Some figures have proportioning which needs less altering in certain areas (which makes me happy because it saves time), but I haven't found any yet that didn't need it somewhere. So that's what this is about...

As you know, I'm not a big fan of PB's replaceable megatits. Interesting idea with some potential but it's the kind of non-essential thing that should be done right, or not at all. (Having done three sets for "Gretchen Gazongas", I believe that in the long run, one set of the right boobs is enuf...) In addition to the points I've already made about this, at the Men With Dolls forum, word is that they aren't very paintable due to the type of plastic they're made of. Pfffftt...Strike 4. I'd already decided to go with the traditional design and dealing with the weirdo replaceable bodice design just took a little bit longer.

The PB's shoulder ball articulation deserves mention. Someone at the Men With Dolls forum pointed out a solution for increasing their range, based on the disassembly photos in my review. The solution involves slicing off the limiter tab on the backside of each shoulder ball; these fit into a trough on the inner molding of the back which prevents the shoulder balls from rotating. Slicing the tabs off removes this limitation, as the short edge of the shoulder ball can then be oriented in whichever direction you're trying to pose the arms inward. It's not quite the way that Volk's version works, but it's a worthy improvement-- and kudos to the guy with the insight (sorry, I went back but couldn't find the post). I haven't embraced the shoulder ball innovation (being undecided as to whether that extra articulation is worth the cost to appearance) and my goal was to gut the PB and make her conform to my design. So I haven't thought much about how the stock PB figure could be improved (My earlier suggestion for fixing the click-stop legs was meant to be sarcastic). Some things which I complained about in my review could probably be fixed fairly easily: The "leg closure" design defect could probably be fixed by grinding away some doll thigh/crotch meat.

Of course, the PB legs needed to be shortened too... just fit her bootfeet if you need convincing. At this point, I don't know whether I'll use the naked or boot feet for this figure. After making "Bunny's" thigh high boots with the Takara bootfeet, I'm sold on their concept for that that kind of thing-- boots that actually allow posing at the ankle? Cool. The BBI naked feet need a little work anyway-- the sculpt is a little off (narrow in the toes), and for a heavier figure, the rubbery feet introduce too much mush for a solid standing pose. (The PBs are light so it's not much of an issue) There are few things I hate worse in a figure than that, so I grinded out the length of the soles and up to the hard plastic ball, drove a screw in and filled the trough with putty. That noticibly improved the standing stability of the figure.

The arms bugged me too-- the CG figure's elbows just look better. I'm not talking about the seamline count, but about the sculpted contours: The CG's silhouette of transition between upper arm and forearm looks more natural. Ganged hinges tend to look too mechanical, with identical-looking hinge sections of the upper and forearm. I tried to fix this through sculpting, but wasn't entirely satisfied with the results. This figure definitely needs to wear arm coverings.

I also wanted to shorten the arms. To do this right, both upper and forearm needed to lose a short length. The upper arm wasn't a big deal--very straightforward. The forearm was another matter. CG/PB hands have very long pins, and the retaining notch is at the very end. This tells you where the rubber retainer is located inside the forearm-- it's pretty high up there, located near the elbow hinge. Ideally, you'd want to leave that assembly alone, which means cutting the forearm after the pin ends. That leaves a fairly short section of material before the hinge, some of which can be removed to shorten the forearm. This is where the problem comes into play: After you've done all this, how you gonna join the parts? The join needs to be strong to survive flexing of the hinge. Superglue will work for maybe a few flexes before it shears. Since the handpin retainer is right at the cutoff, there isn't room inside to insert reinforcing rods between the sections. You can't do it strictly with putty unless you don't mind Popeye arms. Hmmmmm... My solution was to... sorry... I can't spoil a good one like this. This is one of those cool customizing puzzles which forces you to practice your problem-solving skills. It's not especially tricky or brilliant but I'll give you a clue as to how I solved the problem: "...there isn't room inside to insert reinforcing rods between the sections..."

Because it was easier, I reworked the original Svetlana "Via Borracho" head instead of creating an articulated neck/head from the PB figure (deferring this job for the 2nd Svetlana figure). I didn't use this head for the figure which ended up being "Bunny" because I didn't want to risk it for my experiment with articulated eyeballs-- in case things didn't go well. I got over that, but these backfitted eyeballs aren't equipped with the articulation mechanism. I tried, but adjusting and fitting the mechanism was simply too aggravating and this simplification made positioning easier and gave a better fit without gaps. It really got down to whether I wanted the articulation or well-fitted gap-less eyes with corneal humps.

The other thing that gave me fits was refining the facial features. I decided that I didn't like the original sculpt, but trying to fix that took a long time; resculpting and tweaking the nose, the eyes, the mouth, the cheeks, the chin --and I'm still not entirely satisfied. And now Dan'l B. tells me she looks like a CMT singer, Jo-Dee somebody... shudder ;^) Oh well... (So for Dan'l, here she is looking more sinister.) Apparently, that kind of anguish isn't exclusive to doing facial likenesses; even generic faces may need quite a bit of tweaking until you're either satisfied or burned out... and then she ends up looking like someone you've never heard of!

05/21/02- Here's a costuming idea or fashion disaster, or perhaps both at once. I spent an unproductive Saturday wracking my brain for costuming ideas and by mid afternoon, I was feeling awfully frustrated. The bad thing about thinking is that it takes as much time as actually doing something, but without producing anything tangible.

Sorry-- she never stood a chance of being a C&W singer; a Playboy playmate role was briefly considered, and although she looked pretty good in Barbra Underwire's black leather bra and Lindsey's white bikini, neither offered much potential for an interesting epic role. I really wanted to put her in the primeval world genre, and the black-haired pic and her high cheekbones suggested that she could be a woman of considerable power and influence (Jezebel, but not the Jezebel) or some kind of evil stepmother -- a take-off on the Disney villains thing. My "Little Sister" figure seemed a likely prospect for being burdened with this kind of familial baggage, plus she had a type of costuming that I haven't done to death. Since my soldering pencil was out, I started snipping, bending and soldering wires and this is the result-- once again, I avoided firing up my sewing machine!

I'm not gonna deny that she borrows a bit from Princess Aura (Priscilla Lawson) from the old B&W "Flash Gordon" serials-- the headress and face with big black hair do that. The torture bra is reminiscent of something out of Edgar Rice Burrough's "John Carter - Warlord of Mars", as depicted by numerous artists including Frank Frazetta. Even though both of those take place in spacey alien settings, I think the look works for primeval fantasy too. I just have to remember not to give her a ray gun.

One of the cool things about wire creations is that you can easily build on them. I wanted the bra straps to feed through the shoulder piece so I soldered a pair of threading loops on each shoulder. The shoulder piece is set to accept a cape (a possibility...) and the bra could be dressed up by hanging chains from the underside. If I were more adventurous with the design, elaborate sleeve hoops and all sorts of bizarre embellishments could be added.

The hardest part has been trying to figure out what to do about those damn elbow and knee hinges. The mesh material is an attempt to tone down the knees, but it looks hideous and really doesn't work. I think it's gonna go bye-bye, and I'll try sheer next. I've test fitted black arm coverings (as well as knee-high boots), but to my eye, they upset the costuming's visual balance, In the overall context, the arms look best naked, but the hinges are a major turn-off. I have no idea what I'm gonna do about it.

fantasy scantily-clad female doll Gee... that wasn't too hard after all. I'd have preferred a slightly more translucent material, but it's slightly translucent as you can see from the half-covered knee hinge, but opaque enough to conceal the elbow hinge. The idea is to distribute the coloration & show flesh over the whole the figure, concealing things like the knee joints conditionally-- the joints can still be visible depending on how the material's positioned, but it's more subtle than having both joints staring at you in plain view. Because you can have some flesh peek out, it's not as oppressive as having the bottom half of the figure a solid black.

Similarly, the forearms peek out from a bracelet open "sleeve"-- the material is attached to the upper arm bracelet, but open where the forearms would bend out, just enough to hide the hinge. The material can be positioned so that it fully covers the arms when they're straight, or opened slightly and folded back, like a shawl.

The effect of all this drapery is similar to a flowing robe. I think it goes better with the role of this figure as an older stepmother/queen-- age bringing modesty and a more conservative fashion sense, right? (Just ignore the superunderwired torture bra...)

The figure was named "Jezebel" after-the-fact (which makes perfect sense given that I didn't know who she would be when the project started). This is a somewhat controversial name due to its historical and language connotations. She isn't intended to be the Jezebel of the Hebrew bible, but some of those traits fit with the implied "character" of this figure's role. She's a woman who's used her physical attributes, intellect and willpower to achieve considerable power and influence. She's probably not a warm and caring person, but you don't climb to the top of the dungheap without stepping on a few backs. As I've mentioned in another article, dolls don't have personalities and aren't evil or good, so a shallow level of exaggerated stereotyping, built upon our cultural heritage, gives depth to the character of the lifeless doll.

 

PART 2