modernwizard: (Default)
As I mentioned last October, the Chinese BJD company Magical Angel combines low prices with extremely responsive customer service, a rarity in the BJD world, where language barriers and time differences regularly contribute to sporadic, frustrating communication with doll makers. Though I have none of their dolls, I really like them because they seem ready to do all sorts of custom things that most companies either don't do or charge exorbitant amounts for, like sculpting custom heads or making custom resin matches.

Anyway, I'm just making some notes for myself based on PMs that have been hanging around in my DOA inbox for a while.
  • For custom sculpting, MA accepts .obj files, and it is okay if the .obj files do not show eyewells, neck hole and headcap. One can specify head circumference, neck circumference and eye size. They would do a truly 1:6 scale head for Juniper [8mm eyes, 10cm head circumference and 4cm neck circumference] for $800.00.
  • For resin matching, MA will either match a photo [not recommended] or a body part, such as a headcap. For example, I'm thinking of getting an MA 60cm girl body with custom resin color for Yamarrah.  The custom color would add just $30.00 to the base price. As Yamarrah's head is a semi-translucent resin, I may go for a semi-translucent body, which would also jack up the cost maybe $20.00. Still amazingly cheap, though...
modernwizard: (Default)
Yet another Chinese BJD maker has appeared on the already crowded scene: Magical Angel. Given their extremely horrible product photos, extremely low prices and the resemblance of their dolls' jointed feet to those of the defunct Domuya BJDs, the suspicious crowds on DOA called bullshit. Magical Angel's marketing manager, Amy, then hopped on DOA and allayed everyone's concerns. [She also posted the following explanation of all three contentious points on the MA Web site.] The suspicious crowds on DOA then uniformly turned cordial and enthusiastic, especially given Amy's readiness to submit to interrogation. Fickle individuals...

Anyway, MA just recently announced their custom head sculpting service. "Standard" quality, whatever that means, operates in the exact same manner that Angelsdoll's custom sculpting service, but with a base price of $550.00. [They also have a "high" quality option, which starts at $785.00, similar to Angelsdoll's base price.]

I asked Amy if MA a) accepted .obj files, b) would add eyewells, neck hole and head cap and c) would sculpt to particular eye size, neck circumference and head circumference. She answered within several hours and said yes.

All right, the next time I have some extra bucks, I'm going to get a 1:6 scale resin sculpt of Juniper, probably plopping her on a Soom Minigem body with reduced breasts. Whoo hoo!
modernwizard: (Default)
In general thematic order, rather than strict chronological order:

1. Like dolls in general.

2. Learn about BJDs.

3. Research BJDs obsessively.

4. Select BJD.

5. Save up for BJD.

6. Purchase BJD.

7. Wait with impatience for BJD.

8. Debox in ecstasy.

9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 ad infinitum.

10. Wire limbs.

11. Paint own faceups.

12. Perform minor subtractive mods with X-acto.

13. Make hybrid.

14. Design clothing and wigs; commission others to make.

15. Design and perform additive mods with Aves Apoxie Sculpt.

16. Digitally sculpt own BJD head; use established doll company for some internal modeling and casting services.

What does the future hold?

Digitally sculpt own BJD body; use established doll company for casting services.

Manually sculpt own BJD head; use established doll company etc.

Manually sculpt own BJD body; use established doll company etc.

An alarming percentage of BJD enthusiasts end up making either their own original BJD heads, bodies or whole dolls. With Jareth 2.0, I guess I can definitively say that I, too, now belong to the alarming percentage.

Yes [sigh], I have become a dollmaker.
modernwizard: (Default)
You can see the shop on Etsy. These wonderfully expressive, lively heads look too large for the scrawny Mattel Barbie Fashionista bodies they are given. I wonder if she would consider putting one of the heads on an action figure body?

I originally noted these in 2009, and now, years later, I still want one. Specifically, I want a Kate [link to an example of the headsculpt]. She's the best!
modernwizard: (Default)
Uh oh...from what I hear, Nobility Doll's custom sculpting service has a poor track record of wretched communication and quality control. If I'm trying to get a sculpt made of a character that means a lot to me, I'd rather spend more $$$ to go with a company that I know makes good stuff.

Angelsdoll offers a custom sculpting service that looks like it could meet my needs. I really like that you can specify head circumference, neck circumference and eye size, and I think it's cool that they do their sculpting with a 3-D modeling program. [I wonder if they would accept OBJ files as source material?] I am also familiar with Angelsdolls' beautiful non-custom headsculpts, their prompt communication and their great customer service.

The only catch is that the minimum order is 10 heads. I have no desire or need for 10 heads...2 maybe, 10 NO! I also have no desire to go through all the work of setting up a group order to order 10 heads and distribute them all. I have therefore asked if I can get just 2 heads for the price of 10. Yes, that's $500.00 a head. No, I don't really care that I'd be overpaying. My Jareth short-circuits logic!

EDIT: Angelsdoll got back to me, saying that they would be willing to work with me on the price, which they are thinking about lowering anyway. \o/
modernwizard: (Default)
Now that I have made my solemn vow to myself not to get any more dolls until next summer, the temptations are cropping up.

1. There's a grey Soom Faery Legend Auber on the DOA marketplace for a very reasonable price. I have really liked this little dude from the moment he debuted in 2011, because he reminds me of Jareth. ["It looks like Jareth" is sufficient justification for anything in my book.]

2. Someone is soliciting participation in a group order for a custom BJD head from Nobility Doll ["press papilla good feel!"]. She wants to commission a sculpt of DAVID BOWIE from the Ziggy Stardust era.

EDIT: Never mind...she's commissioning it from DIM's MiniMee service. From what I've seen, DIM tends to make their headsculpts way too big, so I'm not sure if I would want to pursue such an order.

Well, anyway, now that I'm thinking about it, I see that I could use Nobility Doll's custom sculpting service my own self and get a doll that looks like my version of Jareth. Reference pictures below:

May 26, 2009: From mind to pen: did it work?

May 26, 2009: "Print to action figure."

June 17, 2009: Some guy I know.

Sigh...I've been pursuing the Ultimate Jareth Doll [TM] for years now. I will probably never quit this quest, in part because my version of Jareth does not have a fully fixed physical appearance.

EDIT: I no longer have the particular morph of Jareth linked in those three entries above, as it expired in the Great Hard Drive Expiration of 2010. But I do have Daz on my old compooper. Should fire it up and try to recreate that morph, then actually get it rendered in resin [at some point in the future]...
modernwizard: (Default)
Makies are the coolest thing I've seen in a long time: customizable, articulated, 10" dolls made of printed plastic. You design one online, adjusting all facial features with sliders, then choosing eyes, wig and clothes from a variety of options. They're like single-jointed BJDs, only without elastic! You can choose to leave your character digital, or you can order a plastic version of your character. The alpha session is currently open, with 20 of 100 slots left. One doll is 99 pounds including VAT [made in UK].

I would love to get one, but I don't have the money. I'd also like to wait until they have skin color options [currently only available in white] and adjustable body shapes. I hope this company succeeds and adds many more options. I've always liked online pixel doll maker programs, but have been annoyed at the lack of ability to actually have dolls made from the pixel characters. I'll be watching this company to see how it develops a little bit down the line...
modernwizard: (Default)
Courtesy of Andrea comes a link to Wildflower Dolls, an Etsy shop for limited edition 1:6 doll heads sculpted out of whiteware, made for Barbie or Fashion Royalty bodies. The sculptor has a rough, lively quality that really comes through in the sculpts. I like the fact that the sculpts seem a little hurried and impressionistic. Fawn is my favorite, with an expression of delicate surprise. I also love the sparkling mischief in Kate's eyes. I see a Frank doll in Kate.
modernwizard: (Default)
That's My Face constructs 3-D likenesses of people with the help of 2 photos [front and profile] and a bunch of data points about the boundaries of certain features. One use for the likenesses is that of 1:6 action fig heads. I'm not impressed for several reasons.
  • The software best captures "neutral expressions," meaning that the resultant likenesses lack the recognizable expressions that give people so much of their personality.
  • Because the likenesses are based only on front and side views, they completely neglect the width, depth and subtleties of the chin and jaw, not to mention the cranium.
  • On a more personal note, the likenesses require entirely too much fiddling to establish boundaries and then wait for the effect of those boundaries on the finished sculpt. I would much prefer working directly with material that I can touch.

Computers might be very capable, but they are not as awesome as people think they are for capturing vivid, lively, nuanced likenesses.
modernwizard: (Default)
One of my longish-termish goals is to sculpt a DECENT 1:6 head. While poking around to see whose friends lists I'm on, I found this page of eBooks on how to sculpt body parts with polymer clay. Could these be useful? Well, they're unquestionably cheap!
modernwizard: (Default)
H2 Creative is I think where Will's head originally came from. I think he's HH042. If so, then this is my reaction: right here.
modernwizard: (Default)
Professional toy sculptor turned freelance Chris Howes does beautiful 1:6 work. I've seen commission threads for him on various 1:6 boards full of members testifying to his greatness. He doesn't have a storefront of completed sculpts the way that Wanted Action Figure does; instead, he works on commission, producing at least 10 of each likeness at a time. Therefore, his likenesses require more of an outlay; however, from what I've seen of his work, he has greater accuracy and more suppleness of curve and musculature than Wanted Action Figure.
modernwizard: (Default)
Sideshow's upcoming entry in the Dead line is a zombie priest entitled The Harbinger. I must say that, while Sideshow's record for 1:6 likenesses stinks, they do a great job on The Dead. I love my Dead Babysitter [who became Zinnia Pascale], and I really like the Harbinger too. His hand sculpts look arthritic and bony, and his drawn face and rolling eyes accurately reflect a despair that I think much more pertinent to zombies than slavering rage. Sideshow really has to start making their zombies lose ears, though. I don't understand how this guy's brain became exposed without him getting an ear or two torn off.

I'm tempted to get this guy for Ethan [the poor man is having such a problem being immortalized in plastic!], but I'd rather not wait an untold number of months before he comes out. His release date is Q1 2009, but toymakers are never on time.

I've been contemplating the creation of my own Ethan, but my current materials always daunt me. I don't have an appropriate sculpting medium, just the remnants of some peach Sculpey and some rotten air-dry clay that won't adhere to existing heads. I have a resin skull that could conceivably be the base for Ethan's cadaverous visage, but that involves building up features, and I'm much better at scraping out features by using an Xacto knife or sandpaper.

Maybe I should just get an unpainted resin sculpt and shave it down. The prominent brows, sunken eyes, dour mouth and narrow cheeks of Hugh Laurie could work, as seen in this sculpt by Wanted Action Figure.

On the subject of Wanted Action Figure, maybe I should get a Johnny Depp head too. I've been toying with the idea of remaking Will with an appropriately scrawny body, but that would require getting him a new head, since his current one is already way too fragile. The Depp sculpt approximates his features best. Now if I could just find a body that's as etoliated as the Obitsu Slim Male, but with slightly broader shoulders... Jesus Christ, it'd probably be best just to modify a PB or a CG 2.0!

I STILL have a hard-on for Medicom's Young Indiana Jones because my mind thinks River Phoenix=Will. I wish I weren't so interested in it, because I'm sure that there's something disappointing about the sculpt that the prototype photos don't show.

Hot Toys is issuing a beautiful 1:6 Edward Scissorhands soon. I want its clothes. The fact that I could probably get a likeness of Will out of the head doesn't hurt either.

Sekiguchi's Momokos continue to tantalize me. I draw very close to purchasing one, but then I always cheap out because I don't have a designated character for such a doll, who costs a lot, even on sale. That said, I have found Miracle Party Girl, Wild and Sexy Tune, Dash After School, Sweet Poodle, Lovely Folklore and Berry Hunter for <$100 with s/h. Too bad I want Sea Maze/Blue Labyrinth/whatever the hell she's called.
modernwizard: (Default)
The next time I have $400.00+ just bonking around, begging to be spent, I'm going to commission DIM's Minimee project to do a custom head of Juniper. She's an original character that I created in Daz back in my electronic modeling phase. Of all the experimental 3-D renders I did, she captured my heart the most. I was going to release her as a character, meaning a custom morph and textures, with several custom poses, but I never got around to it. She reminds me of Sardonix, only much more feral.Read more... )
modernwizard: (Default)

For those of us who want, say, a Dean Winchester doll, Wanted Action Figure does detailed likeness sculpting in a variety of scales, including life-size, 1:6 and Mego scale. I paged through all the likenesses available for purchase, and I have to say that Wanted Action Figure captures the essentials of the celebrities they are sculpting. I really wish that they did more women, though.

modernwizard: (Default)
 As I've mentioned before, I'm keeping a running list [part I here, part II here] of BJD companies that I do not deal with because of dishonest, dubious and/or illegal business practices. Now I've got a new one for the list: Dollkot. In advertising a custom sculpting service, Dollkot committed a pile of egregious offenses. Instead of showcasing their own sculptors' talents and results, they used photos from DIM's MiniMee project to illustrate their concept. 

Okay, that's dishonest, but it gets worse. Said photos from the MiniMee project were actually directly scanned from a magazine article in Haute Doll where MiniMee owners contributed their personal photos and comments about their MiniMee dolls. So, not only did Dollkot misrepresent its services, but it did so by doubly stealing: once from Haute Doll, which gave no permission for the article to be reused, and also from the MiniMee owners, whose photos and comments were reproduced on Dollkot's Web site without permission. 

To add insult to injury, their inanely cheerful response to Armeleia, one of the MiniMee owners whose photos and quotes were illegally used, implies that they thought they could get away with it. They removed the pictures, but why were they even up in the first place?
modernwizard: (Default)
Denny Kim, representative of Doll In Mind, struck up a thread about likeness BJDs earlier this year. After an initial spurt of interest and a round of orders in mid-February, the first set of custom sculpts are surfacing on DOA with model photos for comparison.



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