Back in Time Forward in Time
NOTICE TO REGULAR VISITORS
11/23/99-- I'm taking a vacation from customizing, so there probably won't be anything new here for a while. I'd hate for you to waste the long download times to figure this out... No, I didn't get my fingers caught in a food processor or fall face down on an upturned Exacto knife. I got a new computer. (Can you believe that I've been using an old 12" monitor at 1024x768?) This time I don't want to splash resin on the keyboard, or fill its innards with resin dust. So all the supplies & stuff got moved to a heap elsewhere so I could play with this new toy. Anyway, I can't predict when I'll pick customizing up again because it depends on inspiration. I may post non-customing related stuff here from time to time, mainly because I can't keep my mouth shut. Hey, did you know that Netscape Communicator 4.7 whups Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5/Outlook Express? No lie-- at least the scrollbars don't go spastic on ya. Did you know that the best beer is Duvel?
Hasta la vista-- Jimbob 11/23/99 (& Happy Thanksgiving)
11/14/99- Wow, it's been a long time since I've done one of these. I'm currently working on the Elizabeth Taylor headsculpt to fit an unfinished body I started working on last month (The Eva project). That body may be too skinny for ET though. Well, since this is fantasy, it would be okay for me to turn the figure into a "what if?" thing. What if ET had lost weight, grown larger boobs and starred in a Russ Meyer movie?
I recently bought my first issue of "Dollcrafter" magazine. It was a tough thing to do, seeing as how it's clearly marketed towards females. Sort of like buying toys for an imaginary son (named "Hooter") in the old days. Anyway, mainstream dolls are a huge institution which support a glossy monthly magazine devoted to crafting, filled with advertisments for supplies like molds, glass eyes, wigs, patterns... And the advanced techniques that those folks use (like kiln-fired porcelain) make GI Joe customizing seem third-world-ish.
There's an advantage to being less institutionalized though: Conventions aren't as firmly entrenched and change is easy. Let's face it-- GI Joes are dolls. Given this fact, why not borrow useful techniques from the mainstream doll world? I've been trying to do this by delving into styling my femfig's wigs and paying more attention to their eyeballs (but I refuse to paint the faux white dot reflection!).
Finally, I suppose I should mention that I'll probably be spending less time on the craft hobby as I'd like to spend more time learning computer stuff. (Hey, it's fun too!) There are gobs of tech/DP people out there and far fewer sculptors, but the computer guys drive the better cars... Anyway, less time spent = less frequent web site updates. That's the plan, anyway...
10/08/99- I hope the Doctor Ben Wa article provided you with a mix of entertainment and some useful info. If you're just tackling this sewing thing, you should definitely read Scott Baker's article too. We differ on a few points, but it's good to get that perspective. Learning the skill will take you far beyond swapping stock outfits; even if you're inspired to alter stock ones, you'll greatly expand your customizing horizons. The costuming makes the first impression, afterall.
I hadn't realized the possibilities that were present in the medical theme. Great googly-moogly, there are bunches of tools, both real and imagined, that you can create to make people wince! Can you say lacerating rectal probe? I knew you could. Another feature is the "naughty nurse" -- though less fashionable these days, she's a venerable institution of men's magazines. That project would be prime Jimbob-Wan style counterpoint to Hasbro's recent smiling VN nurse. Mine might be smiling, but it would be a wry smile, and for a different reason. Wow... and that might lead to an S&M queen (haven't I already done one of those?), a B&D babe... how can anyone possibly think that this hobby is limited?
Speaking of black leather, the Harley Davidson Barbie which started showing up in TRU is kinda neat. It's pricey, but the jacket, undershirt & pants will fit a Jane (you'd probably want her face Mike Cherry-ized, since in her natural state, zombie Jane is homelier than roadkill deer. Go conservative on the other alteration if you want the undershirt to fit.) The one problem is the boots-- you have to rip Jane's feet off to fit the tiny footed boots. (No big loss, since she can't stand with her feet anyway, and she can stand with the hard plastic boots.) The jacket isn't real leather, but looks cool--you also get a neat handbag & a pair of tinted (and therefore not opaque) wraparound sunglasses. There's a lot of useful stuff that you can salvage from this one, and the jacket's tailoring is incredible. Also...(while we're unabashedly talking Barbie) her Porsche Boxter (with motorized convertible/hardtop action) is currently a bargain at $10-- while they last. It's red & looks pretty good especially if you've got an equally fast-looking figure with a bikini top to seat inside.
I've got a line on some more Neo Henshin Cyborg figures, thanks to Felix of Fantasia Toys. These would be some of the newest King Walder figures, and I should have a report on them in about a week or two. Meanwhile, Dragon continues to pump their figures out, and I'm beginning to plateau on it. They're great, but the constant pace is numbing. Too much gratification, much too quickly. The highs aren't as high... It's like having another monthly bill. This sort of thing could spawn a new occupational specialty: "Consumer Psychologist". Beware, lest you become more shopper than human! (And you thought my interest in exotic dancer figures was warped... )
09/24/99- What's with the weird stuff, huh? Something snapped while working on the "Gretchen Gazongas" part of the "Masterpiece Edition Dragon" project . The exotic dancer theme revealed a fresh & fun world of bright color, campy exaggeration & drama for me-- she really stands out in my lineup of olive drab/black garbed and gun-toting figures. (Coming up with her few accessories has been a real challenge!) Instead of making stuff, I've had a blast doing the web-thing: thematic virtual dioramas. There are even a few less-than-obvious links to some racier stuff. (a few people have found them... ;^)
As you've probably guessed, the ersatz "beauty pagent" thing is a parody. It doesn't have an ending date because it's intended to be an interactive and "living" part of the layout. Sorry that I couldn't include more contestants, but the freepoll thing is limited to 8 choices. (BTW, you can vote every two weeks.)
The jury's still out on whether the modular figure is a good idea. It sounds good, but in practical terms, we usually find one look we like and stay with it. It's a hassle to change stuff around unless you're working on a design. If you stumble across two designs you like, you're better off with two separate figures.
I apologize if this stuff isn't your "cup of tea", or if you find it to be offensively sexist. As they say, opinions are like pet iguanas-- everyone's got one.
09/10/99- Lately I've developed a nasty habit of starting projects without a plan. It's easy to fall into this because a figure has distinct phases: the figure, the headsculpt & the outfit. The hope is that during the figure-making phase, something will trigger an idea and I'll be farther along than I'd be than if I just sat on my duff thinking of ideas. Actually, lack of ideas isn't the problem. Selecting the one you want to act on is the toughie because there's quite an investment of effort once you commit. So expect the current project, Masterpiece Edition Dragon to be slow in developing: I'm almost done with the figure-making phase and I still haven't decided. But gee... I wish I hadn't looked at those Frazetta pics last night. They make my figure's butt & hips look so anemic... back to square one-point-five?
Hey, check out Mark Cole's website! He's been doing custom work since the 80's and has a lot of excellent work to show. I had the feeling of seeing something "ahead of its time" as I browsed his site. He's also written a Dragon figure repair article which uses an ingenious strategy which is far less destructive than my own brute force method. It just goes to show you that there are a lot of talented people out there who you don't know about yet!
Also, check out Richard Bonham's latest. The man is a workaholic-- he's working on some more things, and promises pics of them soon. (You know he does this as a sideline???) Hopefully those pics will be a little easier to deal with... You can't imagine the ordeal I had bouncing the bin-hex files around between weirdo shareware & antique programs, changing Creator and Type attributes, converting between "standard" (hah!) formats to come up with readable pics. The last SNAFU was having the server go down right as I was getting ready to transmit... There's one tiny data corruption remaining in a pic, but you probably won't even notice it. Hey, I'm not whining, I'm bragging dammit! And I'll bet the only thing you'll notice is how fine Richard's work is... ;^)
Finally, below is a "remarks" entry that I didn't post, right after finishing Maria 2K. I thought it sounded too preachy & redundant (yeah, yeah, I know...). Anyway, the sentiment is real, and I encourage you to open up your mind to new and unfamiliar territory. It's good for you (and puts hair on your palms)!
08/29/99- Dem ol' Post-Project Blues... It's exciting to finish a project, but it's also like saying goodbye to an old friend. If you're one of us (whoever we are?) though, your thoughts soon return to "what's next?" For me, the between time is a time of inspiration and idea-gathering. One of the current inspirations has come from the world of "Art Dolls", thanks to some e-mail from Cindy. I've just purchased a book called "Designing the Doll" by Susanna Oroyan. Reading through the first few pages was like reading a more literate and well-thought out version of many of the things I've been trying to say about creativity, the design process and making things in general. Ideas,tools,technique and materials are partners in the relationship, all bound together by the experience of doing. Although this web site focuses on toys and "action figures", it's an artificial and soft boundary. When you're customizing/modeling/craft/etc., you're really part of a bigger world which stretches from static sculpture all the way through animatronics along one axis, and from cloth dolls to granite sculptures along another axis. Susanna Oroyan (and others) call it "figurative sculpture". Through this breadth there are an incredible number of techniques and materials to master. If you limit yourself to polymer clay or styrene, for example, you're missing a big ol' gob of fun. Although it may be impossible to master all these things, being aware of their existence helps you to dream and to solve problems, no matter which specific subject matter you're interested in. That's what it's all about. Anyway, it would behoove you to take a look into the world of Art Dolls. There's so much variety, and a lot of the work will blow yer sox off. Here are some links which Cindy has provided: Jack Johnston, Tom Banwell, June Goodnow.