||[Note from Jimbob: I've turned Sean's message into an article (without his permission, of course!) with pics, which can be seen at http://home.flash.net/~jimbob1/art23.htm.]
Okay, if there's one thing I've learned from JimBob, it's this: in order to be more comfortable with anything past superficial alterations to a figure, you have to know how it works. I find it very helpful to take apart at least one figure in each line that I have any intention of doing work in, to see how they're put together, so that in the future I'll be better informed when I try to work on them.
To that end, I picked up an extra of the new Jakks Pacific dolls and tore it up. The results were fairly interesting... (I'll have to compare them to the new Jewel Girl Barbie to see if Mattell did things any better).
The underlying skeleton is a cheap, thin plastic figure with horrible clicky hinge joints at the elbow, knee, and hip(no ball hip? sacrelige!) The hips attach to a hard plastic pelvis peice, which is connected by a length of stiff but somewhat bendy wire, with a frame of loose ball/sockets for a spine, to keep it from bending too sharply or losing it's shape. The 'rib cage' connects to the spine, and has standard ball jointed shoulders. The neck is a smaller version of the spine, bendy w/a ball/socket frame.
The arms, legs, and upper torso are all covered in a soft rubber 'skin', which rides over the skeleton underneath, with some foam tossed into the gaps to keep it's shape(doesn't work). Arms are fully sealed and solidly embedded into the stuff: the plastic hasn't bonded, but there are holes in the skeleton so that the rubber is connected through it. Removing the insert w/o slitting down the arm would be a lot of work, if it's even possible.
The legs are solidly attached up to the knee, then have hollow thighs that are connected to the pelvis and to each other: it's all one peice below the waist, w/a hard plastic pair of panties over that(wierd effect).
While this means horrible hip articulation, as all those who’ve bought one have noticed, she has a new feature, previously unseen in any toy: real action Booty. Legs posed back, buttocks compress and stick out. Legs swing forward, buttocks stretch and smooth out with thigh curve, becoming less defined. Just like the real thing! That’s even wierder than the squishy boobs.
The torso skin is again one piece up to the neck: the boobs are separate from the inner skeleton, so they’re flexible: you could theoretically use this to advantage in costuming: add cleavage, wonderbra them, etc…
Recipe for fixing the articulation: take the plastic panties off, and there’s a seam under there where the torso and lower body skin connects: seperate them, and use a screwdriver to take apart the pelvis. Seperat the torso, remove the pelvis and set aside.
Cut the hip joint off, and replace with bendy wire, firmly attached to the legs' skeleton. Give it a frame of some kind, with a loose ball/socket at the hip to give it shape when it moves. Run the wire through the pelvis, connecting it in place as you go. Run it down into the other leg adn repeat. Thus you could get bendy/ball-socket hip joints!
If you’re feeling industrious, remove the entire leg assembly and replace with stiff bendy wire: this will allow more knee range, possibly. Removing the arm skeleton and replacing it with bendy wire as well might work: I don’t know about the swivel arm: you’d have to redo the shoulder entirely, I think. Then you’ll have a nicely posable, if oddly proportioned doll. At this point, I’ll stick with $3 uberposable Barbies at Goodwill: easily fixed up, better articulation, and more durable. I’d worry about the proportions, but I’m making anime girls, so Barbie matches. I’ll have to find another option for ‘real’ girls…