Jan 202013

For some time Giselle’s been on my desk, on the shelf, on the tabletop (sans any roomset to be had!). She is without a doubt one of my all time favorite fashion royalty dolls. Her sculpt is clean, well proportioned and I think it is one of the best that Integrity managed to crank out.

Giselle is still looking...

My first (and to date only, but that might change in the future—you never know) is Old is New Giselle. I liked how she looked moody, bitchy and cunning all at the same time.

What I didn’t like….or maybe I should say what bothered me about her was her blatant case of UES. For those of you not familiar it means Upward Eyes Syndrome. It’s what you get when you have dolls who look like they’re half way between rolling their eyes and attempting to see if they have something hanging over their head without actually moving their head to look!

This is how she looked before (with UES)


You see what I’m talking about?

So anyway, back when I was still in the UK I decided I’d give her a very slight repaint which meant I just moved her irises and pupils and adjusted her eyeliner (and whites of the eyes) every so slightly. I didn’t want to do a complete repaint because I didn’t want to risk ruining the very “thing” that made her Giselle. You know?

This is how she looked after the tweaks. I think it’s much, much, much better! (plus I like her with blue eyes instead of grey!) I did mean to blog about this months ago but you know, with the transatlantic move, finding a place to live etc….it just never happened until now.





Dec 012012

A while ago (like about 2+ years ago! LOL) I bought a So in Style Chandra off of feebay. I had to buy her on feebay because I couldn’t find the So in Style dolls for sale anywhere in the UK.

I got her nude and it’s been a while but I think this is the version:

Anyway, I got Chandra and I popped her on a MZ body (the one with the white hair in lacquered loops on her head) just so that she would have a little more poseability over her default barbie type body. It wasn’t fantastic (the old MZ bodies had hands that were tiny and claw-like and really put me in mind of some kind of horror movie!).

I am always keeping an eye out for re-bodying possibilities…and I realized I had a spare triad toys AA Alpha body (with no head).  I thought I’d see if I could mod it so that it would take the Chandra head. The skintone is similar (not an exact match, but close visually) and I’m willing to roll with that. Since the AA Triad Alpha body has a “cooler” tone I figure that down the line I’ll sand the body and give it a few washes of warmer color to help level out the skintone differences.

As far as getting the barbie head on —it wasn’t going to work initially…the Alpha’s neck is just too thick. As you can see The head just sits on top!

Not good! I decided that since the alpha body wasn’t going to be doing anything anyway, and that the neck plastic was fairly thick–I’d have a go at sanding it down some.  This is what the neck looks like un-modified (ok, mostly. I did make the front neck peg notch wider & deeper since this is Lilith’s body I’m using as the “before” comparison pics):

I hoped that if I could thin it enough to allow the Barbie head to fit on without it flying off (or creating a hole in the plastic neck).  As you can see in the photo below there looks to be a goodly amount of plastic in the neck area….

And I commenced sanding ….

This is how it looks so far.   Not very pretty is it? :(


But it’s getting somewhere.

And for those of you who’re wondering how much “extra” plastic there is on that bull neck: here’s a before and after (sort of) pic. Please forgive the crummy photo!

As you can tell I took quite a bit off the neck (rather rough at the moment, I need to find some finer grade sandpapers to make it look more like the rest of the body LOL). It’s looking promising though, don’t you think?

I still have probably another 1-1.5 mm that I’m going to sand off the neck. I can get the head to sit on the neck post firmly now, but I’d like a little more play in that area.

I had to also pare off some of the vinyl inside her head (the “lip” around the inside that hold the plastic barbie head knob inside).

Next on the list to do:

  • continue sanding the neck so it’s a little more aesthetically pleasing.
  • Then I’ll sand the rest of the body and give it some washes of color.
  • After that re-root (I have some restoredoll saran on hand)
  • Repaint Chandra.

I’ll update the blog with that when I’ve gotten the next bit done! :)

Nov 302012

You might remember from the previous post I was working on a Hot Toys Head. Trying to make her into something I was happier with.  I didn’t explain that the reasoning behind that was the fact that I got a knock-off 3.0 version takara body.

They can be found on feebay as “AA takara Cy Girl” action figure bodies (sometimes). *I’m not sure who that’s aimed at since the skintone is not compatible with any of the AA babs or clone heads out there???)

Visually** the body is a great match for the Hot Toys cuban female head. Which is great, right? I don’t know about anyone else out there but I really dislike the Hot toys female bodies.  I find it really disappointing that they don’t even dye the vinyl for the heads–the –skin….It’s painted on! (I wanted to see what the skintone was like and it’s…Ugh!@)

I had been warned about this by my good friend Will, but I thought I’d see how bad it was. Ugh. Well, it’s bad enough. I’m sure if I had more patience (something I’m in short supply of these days with the recent move and lots of making-do) that it wouldn’t be an issue. And it’d be less of an issue if I had an airbrush to repaint the head with. (in fact, if you’re one of those folks jonesin’ for one of the Hot Toys Caucasian female heads, I daresay you could do your own with the “cuban “head and an airbrush LOL!).

So since I wasn’t feeling up to doing a complete (skin and all) repaint I thought about what I had the biggest issues with with the head. Figured if I could fix those first maybe I’d like it a little more.  First and foremost I couldn’t stand the hair. I thought about trying to re-root the head (I still may down the line) but I don’t have the hair color handy that I’d like to use, so I decided a quick boil perm would do something….

BTW this is pretty much what she looked like beforephoto credit to Will, since I didn’t take a pic before I started the do-over LOL)Mine had a more serious case of UES (as in there were lines of white under her irises)

So I did her hair up in a bunch of tiny braids. That way she would end up with  a wavy/ crimped look .  It came out ok, but it’s nothing to write home about.

I also decided that the two things that bugged me most (after the hair) were her eyes (she had a serious case of Upward Eye Syndrome) and her lips. I wish I’d taken some before shots because her lips were just …. icky. So I was careful about removing the paint from the lip area (I made a few small screw ups but they’re now camouflaged), and then onto her eyes…I didn’t want to futz around with trying to remove the paint fromt he eyewells and eyelids and have to worry about matching her skintone (such as it is) so I cheated and just painted new irises in the positions I wanted them on the head. Not ideal, but still better than the original UES. I also repainted the whites of the eyes (they wanted to be a little brighter) and gave an extra bit of flesh/pink in the eyerims.

** I said Visually. My Camera sensors make her look like she is suuuuuuper Jaundiced! Like yellow with a bit more yellow and a little more yellow added for good measure!

She’s still not gorgeous, but she’s improved.

I’m bumming about the skintone color difference when shooting with the camera. I’ve tried a couple of different settings and lighting situations but it’s not playing. I don’t think she’s going to get much any camera time until I get around to wholly repainting her head. :(



Nov 122012

You know it’s pretty rare when I get to meet up with other folks with a strong interest in 1:6 scale. But last weekend we were lucky here at the house to have a good friend come by. Will came over and I swore that before he left he had to do a photostory! (Me, a little evil? Naaaaah. Just determined!) We talked a bit and decided that we needed to do something with Viv & Gillian…since we had decided down the line that the two should be related.  He and I shot some photos and then spent a good chunk of time collaborating (and jumping back and forth in the “control” seat LOL) All my best to him for being a good sport! 😀

Among many other things that have gotten discombobulated during the move, I’m currently without the software for my website. So although its not the best option I am going to post the photostory here in its entirety. Hopefully at a later date I can move it onto the QU site proper. I’m going to try to hide them after a cut so that it doesn’t bog down loading of the page too much. Folks, please let me know if there are any issues! Sorry! I couldn’t get it to work! :(
**If some of the photos seem smallish/harder to read—try clicking the white X in the box on them…Sometimes it makes them bigger!**

Hope ya’ll enjoyed! :)




Oct 292012

Right now I’m torn between unpacking my workroom & leaving everything as packed up as it is.  At some point we have to replace the flooring, wiring and the paneling from the walls and replace it with sheetrock. Which makes it (unpacking) seem kind of futile since I’ll have to pack it all back up.

Right now I’m half in and half out of boxes and bags. I dislike it immensely since it hearkens back to the years I spent doing that as a kid and then as a young adult. and adult.

I really want to play with my figures and props…but you know, one of the biggest issues (Aside from the unpacking/no unpacking/ maybe unpacking) is the fact that right now I don’t really know where a lot of things are.

Oh sure, I know some of it is still in the UK. At my in-laws. Or in custody of friends. Those things I feel ok about…. but some stuff is ….just….MIA.

Did I pack them? Did I mail them to someone? Did I give them away? Are they waiting to be unpacked?

To be honest I just don’t know.

My brain is so tired from tracking so much other stuff. Following up paperwork that needs doing, arranging the necessities of life, making sure the cats are ok. That I can get us together.


Otherwise things here are kind of scary. There are gale force winds howling around outside (we’ve already had some issues with the Willow tree out back so let’s just keep hoping it doesn’t lose any branches on the house or kitchen! It squashed in the top of the treehouse!) Our electric is flickering a bit, and not sure what’s going to happen with the weather, but hopefully it will leave us and the house intact! 😀



Oct 232012

You probably didn’t know that in the last 3 month+ that I’ve been home I’ve been trying to be good and avoid all doll-related purchases. None of all that spiffy stuff that’s come out has been bought. Nope.

It’s not that hard since the money we have has to go to the new house and repairs. And basics:towels, food, dishes, you know…I mean, I know we’ve moved, bought a car, repairing/refurbishing a house etc, but sometimes you just have to give in. (I actually got this girl 2 months ago but didn’t do anything aside from leave her in the box until now–when we’ve moved so I could take her out and shoot a pic or two without getting picked on…)

The platinum haired stardoll was my downfall. We kept going to target or wal-mart to look at stuff (or pick up necessities) and I’d check out the dolls and there she’d be. Staring up at me in her box, mentally saying “Please rescue me! Please! I’m part of a doomed product line! Help Meeeee!”
Which of course I ignored.
But it got harder every time.

Now,  to be honest the outfit on the doll didn’t do much for me. I thought: “Eh, it’s ok….but just not that great. Not like that other one with the snazzy black capri jeans and grey high boot things!”

But that face kept looking at me.

But I knew, I’d read a couple of reviews…I knew the body was crap. So, how much did I really like that head? Was it worth the 22 bucks they wanted at target? Uh uh. How about the 17 bucks at Wallyworld? again, uh uh.

But then they went down to 14.99 at target.  Then the stardoll became a serious temptation.

Let me explain: when I buy a doll or an action figure chances are there was something about it that just grabbed me, or spoke to me.  With the stardoll it was the combination of the face mold and the hair.  I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t got a great many barbie heads (or complete dolls) in my collection of characters. There are a few, but not many.  I’m not really sure what made this one different for me.

But let me get on with this: I went back to the stores about 10 times (during our various shopping trips and errand runs) and constantly picked the doll up and hemmed and hawed over buying it. I’m on a really tight budget. Could I really afford to blow 15 bucks (16+ when you count in NYS taxes)? Nope.

But………..I did. Eventually.

I figured it this way: if I didn’t get her now, while on “sale” I’d probably end up waiting until they weren’t in the stores any more….which would mean buying her on ebay, and probably paying through the nose for her. Which would end up being even more painful.

So I considered. And re-considered. And Hemmed. And Hawed….

Knowing how crap the body is that she was going to come with I thought about alternatives. I know a lot of people use the barbie pivotal bodies, but since I don’t have any that meant I’d have to find something else.  Which meant I could either try using a female action figure body, an obitsu body or a volks body.

This is where I hit the first major stumbling point: the neck hole was too narrow (and the head in general) was too small to fit most of the doll bodies I had on hand, except the obitsu which it just was too petite in my opinion even if her head is smallish.).  A lot of folks use the stard doll heads on the pivotal barbie bodies but lacking any of those (and not too happy with the articulation on the fashionistas).

Boooooooooo! :( There went all hope of using it on a takara CG / TTL or Hot toys fem fig body.  I thought that since it was too small for those that surely the volks dolls would be a perfectly good option….. The eb volks bodies were too thick necked, and the volks beauty b was ok but still a tight fit. I didn’t like the way it was working out. Not good. But I was starting to think I’d blown my money and was feeling disgruntled!

But after some thought I dug out a volks neo teen body.  Amazingly, it fit both the neckhole AND the size of the head (at least moderately in proportion to it). The skintone isn’t a perfect match…but I can cope I think. Maybe she just wears a darker foundation? LOL But I’m happy with it because the neo is superbly articulated. And it can wear most barbie shoes.

So here she is: (forgive the crap pics, please. I don’t have a comb for her hair and  I’m not really set up for taking decent pics…)

She needs her hair trimming and taming. It’s all sorts of fly-away and half curled half-flat/straight.

I’m thinking she might work on the set of the costume drama (Wrenwood Hall). I can see her maybe someone working in the costume department. Not as the head, but maybe one of the junior costume designers or construction folks. I’m not sure if she has anything to do with the university, but I think that she has some interaction with Cass, viv and certainly the Wrenwood Actresses (Giselle, Marissa & Kendall).

Anyway that’s the only doll purchase I’ve made so far…

Sep 102012

Yes, it’s me again. I’m still jonesin’ to work on stuff, make stuff etc. But since I can’t I’ve gone through my “favorite” dolls (the ones who are still in my carry-on bag! LOL). While I was at it I was thinking about Claudia.

To refresh your memory this is Claudia:

Claudia was always supposed to come across as sexy, self confident and chic in a way that her best friend Mallory wasn’t.  I had a difficult time creating Claudia to fill that role, and fit (kind of) my mental image of her.

The problem I’m having with her is that she feels too “mature” to me.

Like maybe she’d be a better match in age as a professor, or other inhabitant of Quinlan…Maybe a gallery owner, secretary, or something.  Realistically, I know that you can get a range of students some of whom can easily pass for older adults…..but to me….I’m not so sure about this being the best Claudia. Does it seem right to re-cast her?

If I recast her, then the chances are I’ll end up using this custom for another character *to be developed based on appearance* but if I don’t recast her the odds are that Claudia won’t get much screen time because I won’t/don’t feel comfortable imagining her in that role.

What do you all think?

Would this custom seem to be a better match as an adult of some sort in Quinlan rather than a 19/20 year old?

Does she seem to have more of a “grown up” feel when you look at her?


Apr 292012

Because I have a habit of posting things on Flickr and then forgetting to blog about them (and vice versa) I felt I’d better catch up and post a few pics of the AJ custom I did.

I did her back at the beginning of the year around January or February but it took a long while to actually bother with taking any photos. I actually re-rooted her head back in 2007 or 2008 while on a vacation in Yorkshire… and it shows. I’ve gotten better at it since then.

Historically, AJ is one of my least favorite CG sculpts since she always looked a bit long in the face and rather bland. I think it was because of that (and my feeling I wouldn’t get anything better on that sculpt) that made me leave it in the head box for so long.

So here she is: (I know I need to snap more and clearer photos–but cut me a break since we’re packing for the move, huh?)

Anyway, I’m looking forward (if I can get the time) to shooting a few outdoor pics with her. And maybe after the move working on a variant custom of her. We’ll see since finding a new place to live will be the real priority. After that–then I can dive back into customs!

Apr 272012

I know I complain about Triad toys and their QC problems, but I really am glad at last to have a female figure who has a darker skintone. I bought her after looking at some of the photos of her online. Specifically there’s a great one where Etmcneal replaced her hair with molded hair. Nicely done, and made me really look twice at the figure. So I thought, eh, I need one — so I might as well customize her. Besides, how often do I really leave my dolls and action figures alone without tweaking them in some way???

Anyway, the first step was to remove her hair. NO great shakes there. Like with the other alpha, I found it was made easier by using the handy dandy heating pad. Looking at her bald head you really, really have to wonder WTF Triad Toys was thinking when they rooted her?!!?!!!! I mean, really??!

Ok, Now, I’m not being snarky here, but with that rooting pattern….she look a lot like a man suffering some severe male pattern baldness. And this head has gone way, way beyond being a “fiver” I think she is closer to being a “Tenner” :(

Luckily her previous rooting pattern didn’t make a bit of difference to me!

I’d decided (before I got her actually) that I was going to re-root her with dreadlocks. She is slated to be my artist-in-residence at Quinlan and I’ve really been looking forward to having her interact and get involved in plot lines. :)

The downside to her having such a hard head (and the fact that I need to keep it soft while rooting it) meant that I’d have to wait to repaint her until I had her dreads in-place. Doesn’t sound like an issue, right? But those tiny fibers can always find their way into paint and can be a bit of a hassle. I ended up wrapping her finished hair in saran-wrap. After removing her default paint her face has become shiny….and will need a matte sealant applied (but not now, it’s too damp here and my 1st attempt clouded up and meant I had to repaint her face a second time…which is good cos she went from being “meh” to someone I really am liking the look of!). Not pleased about the shine, but I’ll cope for now….But yea, it needs to get fixed since it makes photographing her difficult.

Here is how she’s turned out after all that! *as usual click on the white X to see larger images*

I know in the photos her eyes look green but actually they’re brown-ish!

What do you think?  Personally,  I think she’s much improved over the original version……And she’s already demanding that I get busy finding and making her a funky, eclectic wardrobe to reflect her tastes. I like it when a figure seems to have that spark to them! 😀


Apr 242012

So, you’ll probably remember that I recently bought a Triad Toys Alpha Female action figure and reviewed it. As I wasn’t overly thrilled with the face paint application, or the hair I decided to customize her and see how she turned out.

Some customs are easier than others….Some are better than others. This one is not one of “the others” IMO. The Alpha was a little more labor intensive than I’m used to. The hard vinyl head (on par with Fashion Royalty doll heads) was difficult when it came to removing the hair plugs and re-rooting it was a bitch. Like with the FR dolls I found using a heating pad made it a lot easier. Still a bit of a hassle, but ok.I decided to re-root her with dark hair (using a mix from Restoredoll). I gave her a boil perm with the intention of giving her curly, wavy hair–anything had to be better than what she started with IMO.

I want to say also, that without any hair, and with no face paint the Alpha head (hispanic version) could pass for a gender neutral sculpt or yes, as a man. It’s not a soft sculpt and despite my best efforts I’ve ended up with a manly-female. :(


She’s Been Face Wiped. I ended up being so dissatisfied with her that was the only option. The remainder of this post is here for my archive purposes only.



Personally, I am so disappointed by how she turned out that I really don’t even want to look at her. I think I made the mistake of building  up how I wanted her to come out in my mind–and it just didn’t match up with what I hoped would shine through. Definitely not loving her even with all the effort I put in to make her better than her stock origins.

Am I being too hard on her?  😕

Should I even bother to name her? Make a character slot for her in the photostories?


Would she look better if I chopped her hair short to the shoulders?


Notes: the overhanging / deep set eye ridges were really annoying/ a pain to work with. If I’d had more patience I might have tried sanding them down some so they were less prominent. (I hated them mostly because they dictated how/where I could place the brows) and the tiny eyewells = urgh. Although that is also due to the fact all my paint brushes are completely knackered and really need to be tossed….


Apr 192012

Yes, against all expectations I broke down and bought an Alpha 2.0 from Triad Toys.

Let me preface this review with the following: I don’t knock Triad Toys as a company. I think they have good intentions (if somewhat off the mark). My biggest concern, and the main reason I generally avoid buying anything from them is the Quality Control issues that seem to have plagued most of their releases.

So I wasn’t too certain what to expect with this doll/action figure other than that I should be prepared for her body to fall apart in my hands.

Purchased: Triad Toys Alpha (hispanic version).

She comes with:

  • Black bathing suit (ala 1980)
  • Flat feet
  • Semi-high heel feet
  • Flat hands *default on figure*
  • Trigger finger Hands

First Impressions:

The body is considerably lighter than I expected (weighs 136 grams). I expected it to be a bit heftier, and to feel a bit more like a Takara CG. However, it is nicer than I expected and has an evenly dispersed tone/color in the plastic. The face sculpt looks considerably better in person than in pics online and I think there is a lot of potential in it. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the appearance of the knees but IMO they seem ok. After all, in real life not all knees are sexy!

Things I like:

The face sculpt: is a nice change from Triad’s usual fare of “angry” women. I’d say it’s a good relatively neutral look, and is something that could easily be tweaked in Photoshop for alternative expressions. IMO Neutral = Good!

The body: looks a lot nicer in person. The joints are reasonably firm and most of the joints aren’t eyesores. I like the way the bust has been sculpted and the fact that the bust joint allows for a pretty good range of motion when it comes to turning the torso. The  hip area is nice as well allowing a smooth transition  which I can see will make costuming & clothing the doll a much nicer experience.

Alternate Feet/footwear options: A definite plus is the fact that she comes with flat & Semi-HH feet. It’s also worth noting that the Alpha can wear/ use the boot feet etc from Takara CGs.

Clothing options: the Alpha can wear Ken clothes/pants. I’m not sure how well it fits the Dollsfigure clothing or CG default clothes.

Things I don’t like:

Stumpy neck syndrome. She’s got it. But to be fair it is no where near as horrible as it was with Triad’s first releases (the ones that were on the hotly contested triad/ Soldier Story bodies). Those were horrible!

The default face paint & hair: I understand that Triad was probably going for the “Neutral” look–but they could have done so with some lighter shades and had a better looking default face. The current paint applications along with the “meh” hair (reddish brown mix) doesn’t do much for the figure.

The Eyes: have been sculpted fairly small. IMO the sculpt might have looked a bit better with slightly (1 mm) larger eyes. But hey, some people do have small eyes in RL.

Hip/Leg joint Range-of-Motion: This seems pretty limited (not terribly, but enough that it’s noticeable to me). Generally in this situation I’d take the action figure or doll in question and shave out some of the hip joint & ass area to allow the upper legs more ROM. However, since the alpha feels rather light I’m suspicious that that area might actually be hollow pieces fused together…which means if I pare it down I’ll end up with a hollow hole which would suck more than the limited articulation.

Quality control Issues: Right out of the clamshell box —Some kind of melt marks on the leg, as well as what appears to be stress fracture/discoloration on the knee. Also a lot of flashing is either still on the figure or has been removed in a really haphazard (and messy) manner (I am not surprised, just a bit disappointed.)

Also a couple of random paint marks on her face (nose & chin). These don’t matter as much to me since I will be stripping her face & repainting her. *fingers crossed the paint stains come off*

In Comparison to the Takara CG 2.0 body:

Oh, I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I am biased toward the Takara CG 2.0 bodies. They are IMO the best thing out there and will likely be the gold standard until someone makes something better. I’ve done a basic (not overly intensive) comparison between the 2.0 and the alpha. If you have questions or want more pics let me know and I’ll try–but no promises with the move going on.

For comparison I’m using a Takara 2.0 body from Catwoman (the comic version) with an AJ head, and the Triad Alpha Medium bust. CLICK THE IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION (easier to see)

1: The neck posts--The Alpha has a considerably thicker neck. This means that if you want to use non-Triad heads on it that it will take extra work and customization on your part. (Watch Silent G’s blog for a tutorial on how to do that–he’s working on one!). It’s also worth noting that the Alpha has a limited downward tilt to her head/neck. That _is_ easily fixed with a scalpel knife (you simply need to make the channel wider that the neck knob goes into).

2: Elbow joints— The Takara 2.0 has a double jointed elbow which is superior to the single joint that the Alpha has. Why Triad, did you do that when you had the double joint on the Otaku? Why downgrade the ROM?

3: Waists — The Alpha is long waisted compared to the 2.0 body. This is possibly part of the reason her legs look weirdly dumpy(knee joints not included). The actual joint on the CG 2.0 is cleaner/closed and generally speaking neater. I’ve had the Alpha waist joint pop at weird angles leaving a large area of “open” to her interior.

4: Busts/bust joints — The Alpha has an undercut bust joint which is rather nice. It will make fitting clothes a little easier and is a nice design feature. The Takara 2.0 has a combined bust/torso joint which functions well although for aesthetic purposes isn’t quite as nice as the undercut bust on the Alpha.

5: Hip/thigh joint — For movement & practicality the Takara 2.0 body edges out the Alpha in this area. The 2.0 has a wider range of motion and posing.  Aesthtically the  Alpha is better as it is shaped more normally and will look good in skimpy clothing & lingerie.

6: Hands/Joint — The Takara 2.0 wins hands down (LOL) as it has a superior range of motion without having to adapt or adjust the joint in any way. Other pluses are that the 2.0 can use hands from TTL, and Earlier versions of CGs (in this photo is using the hands from a 1.5 cg). While the ROM for the Alpha’s wrist is limited you can adjust it with some customization work. Another plus for the Alpha is that Triad has made an accessory pack of hands in different poses.

7: Crotch area — The Alpha wins this one for Aesthetics. It is a more natural looking shape. The 2.0 has what I call “the man crotch” which requires more care in designing clothing for to minimize that MC look.

8: Knees — Without any doubt the Takara 2.0 is superior. The ROM with the Alpha is very similar but aesthetically the 2.0 is just cleaner and flows better witht he line of the body. The way the design was done for the Triad Alpha it seems to draw attention to the joint which is a No-No IMO.

9. Feet — People have complained about the Large size of the Alpha’s feet. I don’t really think they are that large. they are hard plastic so if they really bothered you (or you wanted to use some smaller shoes) you could carve or sand them down.) They seem appropriate to the rest of the body. The plus is that Triad included a semi-high heel pair as well as the flat feet…I’ve been told that they will fit the shoes for some of the Tonner 16″ dolls. (I don’t have any so I can’t check!). Also another nice aspect is that the feet can come off on the feet cup instead  of at the base. That makes swapping out the feet/footwear a considerably easier experience.
Another positive is that you can remove the peg and foot and use feet/shoes/ bootfeet from the Takara CGs. You’ll need a pair of pliers for that though.

10: Sitting — not as important to those of you who plan on just having your figs standing around…but pretty damned important to me! The Takara 2.0 sweeps this one. The Alpha is unable to sit down with her knees together (so un-ladylike!). Pushing the Triad Alpha’s knees together results in her torso/hip area laying backwards…..This may be adjustable with some judicious scalpel work and paring (there was also an issue with standing up straight with legs–possibly related to the same area). Because the Alpha feels hollow I’m not certain how much scalpel work can be done on it without leaving gaping holes.

The Alpha Overall:  They seem to be decent for the amount they cost—bearing in mind that it will be a continual crap-shoot about the QC issues. When budgeting permits I’m willing to add a couple more Alphas to my collection.


Apr 112012

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation the other day about levels of effort, and attention to detail in 1:6 scale. Discussing our experiences and views about various forums, boards and gathering places of 1:6 goodness on the web.

Said friend told me that I (we, since friend is too!) an Elitist. When it comes to the hobby anyway. That we want to see better quality work being done, that we want to see people putting more effort into things than propping your doll up against a cereal box.

But I made the argument that we’re not elitists.

What we are is perfectionists! :)

I say this because while I know I don’t do anywhere near the best that can be done, I do keep trying to improve myself and my skill levels. I’m embarrassed by some of the photos or things that I put out there but I continually keep trying to do a better job. I guess that’s where the perfectionist comes in though–since I expect other people to keep striving to improve their skills and I guess…well, they just don’t want to.

The important thing for them (and me too!) is just that we’re all enjoying the hobby–whichever part of it we’re into, and however we go around it. Yes, it does frustrate me to some extent (ok, a LOT) but life is full of things like that and although I do my best I can’t really see myself as being the sort to inspire other people to think about or change the way they do their hobbycraft.

Things I know I need to work on include my construction skills, my photography (which pretty much sucks) and developing more patience to allow me to do more of the first two items! 😉

Of course, you could actually argue the fact that I am a 1:6 elitist since I am only interested in dolls and action figures that are in 1:6 scale. Anything else is “nice” or “interesting” but not enough to make me bother switching or juggling scales.

Anyway, just food for thought.

Apr 082012

I’m asking this because It’s come to the point where I need to really decide which of my dolls are important enough to go in my carry on luggage (1 bag) and those that are relegated to taking their chances in checked baggage.

Here’s the thing: Aside from Mark and the cats my dolls are the biggest thing that I worry about getting back to the states with me. I might be looking at them with the “lover’s eyes” meaning that I assume everyone would want them, and assume that they are naturally desirable…..I’ve been doing my homework and apparently there’s a moderate percentage of  bags suffer from pilferage (they take things from in them) and of course, some whole bags end up being lost. So that means I have to work out the following:

My airline allows me 1 carry on bag (weighing 12 lbs or less) that is 9x14x22 or smaller in size.

Now, bearing in mind that I’ve been doing my absolute best to clear out and whittle down the amount of stuff I want to take with me….How do I decide which of my dolls go in the ultra-limited space of the carry on?

How fat are my dolls?

There are 1000g in a KG/ 1 pound = 453.5grams/ 12 pounds = 5.5Kg

  • Volks EB doll (A,B & N bodies) (with head) = approximately 100grams
  • Fashion Royalty Giselle (nu face body with nut) = 166 grams
  • Fashion Royalty Kyori (reg body) = 160g
  • Volks Goh Guy w/ head = 149g
  • Volks EB doll (E,D,J bodies) (with head) = approximately 110 grams
  • Hot toys True-type Guy & head = 240g
  • Takara Cy Girl body & head  = 145g
  • Takara Cy Girl–Head only = 28g
  • Volks head (long hair) =50g

So….How do I decide who’s special enough for the carry on?

Do you have any favorites among my dolls?

(You can see most of them here:http://www.quinlan-chronicles.com/profiles and you can find more info about some of them in the Friday Monologues )

What do you all think?Who would you be sad to know went MIA?

I’m having a really difficult time deciding!


Jan 122012

You remember that I was working on the CG Electra?  She looked like this after I re-rooted her and wiped her face:

It took a few tries–I was feeling very fussy about the kind of look I wanted her to have. I was getting more and more frustrated since my painting brushes are pretty much shot (and they do really affect how my painting turns out). I also did a repaint of an old re-rooted AJ jead, and touched up the face paint on the FR Giselle and Ayumi heads….photos to follow at some point!

I need to find a name for her and to decide about how old she is.  How old does she look to you folks?

So what kind of impression does she make?

Okies I gotta go but I’d really love to hear your ideas on how old she might be! :)

Jan 092012

It’s been a while since I pulled any of my Cy Girls / CGs out to do some work on (or to take photos of). The good news is that I decided that one of them will be cast as one of the actresses in the Wrenwood Hall photostories/ Quinlan Confidential photostories. It’s going to be a kind of strange mix of dolls & figures but at the end of the day it’s what makes me happy, so why not? Right?

I sorted through my remaining CG heads and bodies to decide who I’d use.  I have a fondness for the Ice headsculpt but I wanted to have some variety.  I narrowed it down to a re-rooted AJ, Catwoman 2.0 (with the prussian blue hair), Midori (in need of a re-root), or Electra who I’d gotten off feebay a few years ago.  It was a toss up between Electra & Midori and I chose Electra because I don’t have any other characters currently using that sculpt.

Well this is how she’s looking now.

Since I got her off feebay, used and out of package with only a smattering of her original accessories  she wasn’t in the best of shape and her hair was pretty awful. D’oh! I didn’t remember to take any photos of her before starting the re-root process!

I’ve started re-rooting her with some saran from Restoredoll.

I’m rooting it in long and planning on giving her wavy or even curly hair when I’m done. At least that’s the plan! It might change as I go along.  If I manage to get her rooted & styled to my satisfaction I’ll repaint her this week.

Jan 052012

It’s taken me a few days to really think through what I want to do. I have a couple of different projects on the burners (yes all concurrently!) and my brain is certainly working overtime even if my fingers aren’t!

So, as I mentioned in the last post I am starting work on the dioramas for The Actresses. I Really need another tag to call them by since it doesn’t truly define all they do or what all of their stories will be about. Anyway, I should also mention that I am also working on the diorama  for the pseudo-medieval costume drama (Wrenwood Hall).

So far I’ve managed to:

  • Realize that I should indeed still use the old living room base for the Actresses’ living room. I’m still debating about actually finishing the fireplace or just pulling together a 2nd plainer one to do what I want. I just don’t see the fancier one working since I’m de-glamorizing the place considerably.
  • Scrounged around and found some old wood that I can use to modify the remaining roomset base into something I can use for the apartment (the kitchen–which will be a medium size between the base I use for the LR and the small base I use for the University Dorm rooms, offices and student lounges).
  •  Bought a box of spackling compound , a large container of white PVA glue and a bit of doweling.
  • Made a rough paper model for me to visualize how I want the 1st Wrenwood Hall roomset to look. (yes, I said 1st. If I manage to have enough supplies left over I may try to make a 2nd smaller room (on the new kitchen base). Maybe. 😉

I’ve also been thinking about the actresses themselves. I forget how nice it is to sometimes step back from your main projects (like the University themed photostories).  I have a rough cast of Actresses and support staff pretty much ready to go — unless I decide to customize some of them a bit more….(which, yes, we know I’m going to, Don’t we?)

I’ll check back and try to update with some photos in the next day or so!



Dec 312011

Yesterday was a write-off due to migraine. But today…

Here is the list of my Top 10 Toys of 2011!

Counting down to my favorites–beginning with #10

#10 Ishani rebodied on a Hot Toys Female True Type body

Description of Toy/Toyline: Ishani’s got a Fashion Royalty Isha head that I repainted, but I’d been struggling to find a body that was going to match her skintone and give her a better range of motion than the default FR body. Will was kind enough to send me the True Type body to see if it would work (he’s a great guy!). I did some operating on the HT body to make it workable with the FR head.

So why did she make my list? Ishani (rebodied) made the list because she’s now got a much more posable body with an increased range of motion. That is a very good thing!

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): Well the truth is that I have a few issues with the Hot toys body. While it is IMO a vast improvement over the Fashion Royalty default body, I can’t say that I love it. For one thing, nothing I have fits it with the exception of some Ken clothes! I had foolishly thought that the clothes I made for my Takara CG female action figures would fit. I was wrong. :( So Ishani has moved up into the ranks of “needy” dolls. Meaning I need to sew a mini wardrobe for her before I can start using her in photostories and shoots. The other thing that makes it rank low for me is that the torso is vinyl and is prone to staining, and it’s kind of a pain to wrestle into and out of clothing.

Here is the original post dealing with Ishani: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4540

#9 Tristan

Description of Toy/Toyline: Tristan is a Neo Goh Guy body & head made by volks. I re-rooted him with a mix of restoredoll hair and NDR hair.

So why did he make my list? Strangely enough Tristan has made the list because I think he’s my best “guy” custom this year. I don’t do so well when it comes to painting guy faces and his is one that I didn’t get the immediate urge to wipe off! Also I have a serious shortage of guys and Tristan helps lessen it a bit.

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): He’s still pretty girly and there are some flaws with his face-up. My rooting skills are only so-so and it shows.

Here is the original post dealing with Tristan: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4575

#8 Art Nouveau vase in 1:6

Description of Toy/Toyline: Who made it is a mystery although it does have “Germany” stamped on the backside of it. It’s made of metal–possibly tin or lead/or an alloy. It’s a hefty little vase for its size–which makes me think it could be lead. It was an ebay find that was listed under 1/12 dollhouse stuff. It may be 1/12 but I find that it works perfectly well for 1:6. It’s 1 3/4 inches tall (about 43.5mm)

So why did it make my list?: Come on! It’s art nouveau and 1:6? What could be better? 😉 You’re bound to see it making various “background” appearances. I love the cattail design! (see it in the background pic of Tirrem?)

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): Frankly it’s in pretty poor condition (although not so bad when you assume it’s probably more than 15 years old, right?). When I move and have a proper workshop I may try to determine what it’s made out of and what the chances of me applying enamel to it. Depending on what I find out I might try to sculpt and cast something similar that I can then enamel. It’s certainly a nice excuse to get into metal enameling!

#7 Nerissa’s & Mallory’s Quilts

Description of Toy/Toyline: Err..I am the toyline, I guess? 😀 They were all made out of 100% cotton fabric, sewn and quilted by myself.


So why did they make my list? Two reasons: 1) They are needed pieces to complete other dorm room set ups and 2) They’re just nifty. I learned a lot in the process of making them and I like it when i manage to do that.

Downside to it: (aka why they aren’t #1 toy on the list!): There were a lot of mistakes I made on both of them, especially Mallory’s quilt. Because of those mistakes they really aren’t up to the quality I expected of myself.

Here are the original posts dealing with the quilts: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4826 (nerissa’s) and http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4843 (mallory’s)

#6 Ezio : Hot Toys head

Description of Toy/Toyline: Ezio is the head from one of Hot Toys action figure releases. I’m not too clear on what he is except that he’s a video game character. He was a great gift from Will when things were going spectacularly crap (and even if the head had been a flaming piece of crap I’d have appreciated it for the intention behind it). His sculpt makes him look like a moody bastard.

So why did he make my list? As I mentioned earlier there’s a chronic shortage of the male species in my 1:6 collection. Ezio (I keep wanting to refer to him as Enzio LOL) is slated to be a rival of Cass’s and a sometime lover. He might come to a bad end I don’t know yet. I do know he’ll be getting a new name.

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): The head is nicely sculpted but the coloring was way off to use on one of my regular HT true type bodies (did I mention he looks like a linebacker with those shoulders?) so I had to give him one of my 2 Hot Toys True Type Asian bodies. It was a much, much better match (although that now means that Gill’s only got one body–but he’d be ok with that since it means one less rival for Viv’s attention).

#5 Volks Excellent Base Bodies

Description of Toy/Toyline: Volks 27cm/1:6 scale dollfie bodies.  These are old bodies made pre-2005. These 2 bodies in particular are gifts from the IFDC convention.  For more information about the bodies (volks) check out The Volks Perfect File.

So why did they make my list?

They made the list for 2 reasons — 1) they’re more bodies for me to make customs out of, and 2) they have the bust types that I have been trying to get for a long, long time. The busts on them are smaller than the Volks EB-J and have a more natural look to them (you can’t tell from these photos, sorry!)

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): These are the old version of Volks excellent base bodies. That means that they have big gaps around their hip/thigh area (where the joint-age is). They’re shiny (which means I will have to sandmatte them) and chances are that if they are going to one of my more beloved figures that they’re going to need thigh/torso surgery. But that’s down to my personal preference. Of course the biggest downside to these excellent body volks is that volks has discontinued their production! Which means I scoop them up whenever I find them (and can afford to. These were my xmas gift for this year).

 #4 My 1:6 dorm beds

Description of Toy/Toyline: Set of 2 flat-pack able 1:6 beds that I made for my dorm room sets. Pretty Basic and meant to be a stop-gap until I get back home and can make proper ones.

So why did they make my list? Like the quilts they were needed for the Dorm room sets. The best thing about them is that they’re flat-packable so I won’t have a hard time packing them up.

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): The biggest gripe I have with them is that I made the bottom out of wood…I wanted to make them with metal and springs but didn’t have the $$ at the time to buy the supplies I needed so I went with the wood. They work as they are, but they’re not exactly how I want them so they’ll get re-vamped in the future. Also, my application of varnish wasn’t so even and I’d consider sanding them down (eh, maybe) in the future.
Here is the original post dealing with the beds: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4565

 #3 Chair & table from Carmen

Description of Toy/Toyline: A lovely arm chair & table set from Carmen. From the get-go she knew that I really loved the colors used in the armchair and it was among my faves. We periodically swap and make stuff for each other and these were just perfect! (there were also some 1:6 sheep pillows for Raven but I didn’t pull them out in time for this post)

So why did they make my list? Durr! They’re great stuff! I love the fact that they’re nicely made and I didn’t have to make it myself, or beg Mark to make it for me!

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): There isn’t really a downside to the pieces–only the fact that I had a few other things that edged them out of 1st place!

 #2 1:6 Dresser & Desks

Description of Toy/Toyline: Custom made Desks & Dressers made by Mark of MHModelmaking .Yes that’s his blog but it’s mostly about airplanes–I’m trying to convince him he needs to start a 1:6 blog for making stuff! He doesn’t think anyone would read it or comment…IF you folks who read this blog would be interested in him writing about 1:6 stuff please leave a comment on his most recent post on his blog! 😀

He made them all out of wood and spent a lot of time on them (they were my Valentines Day gift for 2011–they do indeed last longer than a box of tasty, delicious chocolate!)

So why did they make my list? I’d think it’d be pretty obvious that the build quality, the detailing and the overall usefulness made them hit really high in the rankings. All the drawers open and close, and the desk can be reconfigured 2 different ways. I might complain about how hard it is to get Mark to see how much I neeeeed something –but once he decides to do it he does a freakin fantastic job. I mean amazing.  The guy could be building 1:1 furniture with the care and precision that he puts in. I just wish I could clone him! 😀

Downside to it: (aka why it isn’t the #1 toy on the list!): Hmm, if I told you that I might have to kill you! No, seriously, the only reason they’re not #1 is that I fell in love with 2 of the customs I did this year. They beat everything.  Anyway, here is the original post dealing with the dorm room: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4262
and you can check out the website for more info about the process:  http://www.corsetkitten.com/dioramas/

And the #1 slot for 2011 goes to…… Astrid  & Nerissa

Description of Toy/Toyline: Both Astrid and Nerissa are custom volks dollfies. Astrid is an Old Type C head on a hybrid Neo-Excellent J body. Nerissa is a pale Neo volks head on a volks pale excellent A body. She was rooted with restoredoll Black Orchid saran.


So why did they make my list? They made it to number one on the list because there’s something about the way they’re painted that just speaks to me. I get a lot of joy out of posing them and planning storylines for them. They’re usually located somewhere in my desk-workspace.

Downside to it: (yes even at #1 there’s a downside!): I think I could have painted both of them better/more cleanly. I don’t however want to wipe their faces and try again since I might lose that little spark that makes them so special!
Here is the original post dealing with Astrid: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/3971
Here is the original post dealing with Nerissa: http://corsetkitten.com/blog/archives/4677

There you have it. My Top 10 for 2011.Comments anyone?



Dec 252011

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Winter Solstice (*a bit late*), Yule, etc. I hope that the winter is good to everyone and that the new year will be filled with good times and great friends!

Our gift giving this year was very laid back.  I gave Mark a set of Technical Pens (hard not to keep them for myself), a new keyboard (he’s very rough on his….think of the Samsonite Gorilla commercial and you’ve got a good idea) and last was a customized volks dollfie for him.  I’ve noted for the last couple of years how Mark is always happy to comment on my dolls and figures but that the one he always seems to include (and kind of covet) most is Merrit.

Of course, there was no way I was going to make him a Merrit (like the Highlander, there can be only one!) but I did want him to have a figure that he’d be able to really invest his time and energy into….I’ve given him various action figures and dolls in the past and they’ve all been swallowed up into some storage box somewhere. So I was understandably worried that I’d make him this one and it’d also go MIA. I knew he’d want a Merrit–which meant a volkd eb-N body & head….which 1:6 volks N bodies are pretty rare on the ground these days!

Which meant that I had to ask Mark what he wanted…. If I was going to do it I wanted to do it right. I wanted it to be something that would appeal and that he’d want to have around.

He thought about it.

Mark: I want a Merrit!

Me: No. That’s not an option! You have to have someone else! Someone different!

Mark: Hmmm.

Me: Hmm?

Mark: I want an Anti-Merrit! I’ll have a Tirrem. That’s Merrit spelled backwards! Tirrem Mesu!

Me: Err…like the dessert?

Mark: Yes, but spelled differently!

An Anti-Merrit? Like an Anti-christ? Hmm. This was a hard one for me to take onboard. I mean, Merrit is the coolest character. I love him even though I’m always working on new ideas and things to cause him trouble!

So I picked Mark’s brain about how he at least wanted Tirrem, the Anti-Merrit to look. I figured Mark will have to develop his personality & backstory. So far he’s told me that Tirrem is from Massachusetts or New Jersey and is rich and is pretty crap at Mechanical stuff  (Mark told me this morning that Tirrem has a number of motorcycles and a Jeep and keeps mechanics well employed)

Ok, so what was Tirrem supposed to look like then? (I vetoed the blue hair & mohawk). We sat down and looked at what the options were for hair, and Mark decided he wanted some bright orange hair.  I don’t know if that was because orange is the complimentary color to Blue (which Merrit has) or what. Got the hair and Mark decided that he wanted Tirrem to have hair like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.

So….Here’s Tirrem! (I was not allowed to give him the Quirky eyebrows I was inclined to since Mark said he wanted “regular” and not to make Tirrem “squinty”.) LOL

I did my best but the hair isn’t really as sideshow bob-ish as I’d have liked.

Mark also said that Tirrem only wears Black and Orange. So I had to make him a black long sleeve T shirt (and a sweater too), as well as a pair of black jeans with orange stitching.

Of course there were a few rules that came with Tirrem. They were:

1) Tirrem has to be kept on display at all times (out of Electra’s reach). He can’t be stored in a box somewhere.

2) Mark must take one new photo of Tirrem each week and either post it on his (alomst empty flickr account) or on his Blog.

Mark agreed to those terms so that’s that! Merry xmas ! 😀

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