Jul 032014
 

You probably didn’t know that I’ve been waiting what feels like forever for Wolverine to arrive at my house.  Ever since Hot Toys announced that they were going release a new version based on the movie The Wolverine. I loved the promo shots they showed but Hot Toys doesn’t always hit the mark with their production pieces so I didn’t want to let myself get too excited until I had him in hand, and could make a judgement on him.

wolvie

He’s staying and I’m very pleased. My friend is equally pleased to have made off with his katana, bone claw hands and metal claw hands (I’m not using him as the character of Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett so I don’t need the claws). His clothes are very nicely made and the extra shoe set is ace.

Ok, so I popped him out of the box (it was a nicely designed box, nice graphics etc.) and peeled his clothes off his body. This was for two reasons: he’s predominantly wearing black which tends to stain (and I wanted to check for staining) and second, I wanted to see what the body was like and why I couldn’t seem to get much in the way of bend on his arms.

So here’s the deal:

I was disappointed (although d’uh, I should have twigged this in the promo shots) that his upper arm is lacking any articulation. Call me spoiled, since my old HT true type bodies had a joint there. I have since found out that this is their standard “buff” body and they did away with the joint so that it was more aesthetically pleasing. Huh. I always prefer articulation over appearance but I’m just not the average 1/6 consumer…I guess.

So now, let’s compare this new Wolverine headsculpt with the older one I bought back in august of 2013 (wow! So long ago!! Where’d the time go??!)

ht-body-comparison-2

Both bodies have soft vinyl torsos over a framework. The Pro for the wolverine body is that it is dark and if it gets stained from clothing (or handling) chances are it won’t show or be as noticeable as on the TT muscular body. The pro with the muscular body is once I pop those overly long foot pegs into shoes he’ll be a tiny bit taller ;)

In the shot below you can see the ROM difference in the arms between the Hot Toys Wolverine body and the True Type Muscle body (there are a few other differences but right now I don’t feel like snapping more photos).

ht-body-comparison-1

You might (or not) remember that the reason I bought the Muscle Body was so that my Fashion Royalty girls would have the option to have a guy who wouldn’t be dwarfed by their amazingly tall selves… below are the Hot Toys True Type Slim, Regular and Muscle Bodies with Giselle (on her original Nu Face body) for height comparison.

ht-guys-nu-face-body-height-comparison

And here she is with Wolverine’s body (in the photo below she has been rebodied onto a poppy parker body and is therefore shorter than shown in the photos above!):

giselle-martin-wolvie-body

You can see that once I pop her in high heels that once more she’ll be taller than him… (Yes, I know that Wolverine, the comic book character actually was rather short, but since he isn’t being used as that character I don’t think that’s germane to my thought process at the moment…)

Of course, since Wolverine is a Hot Toys action figure I can swap his head onto another Hot Toys body…

martin-and-giselle-2

Don’t you think they look good together? And she can wear high heels and he’ll still be taller than her! :D

martin-and-giselle-1

The downside of the swappage is that the great clothes that he came with will have to go to whoever takes his factory body. The plus side is that he gets a slightly better range of motion and can (debatably) be used with the FR2/new updated FR bodies (depending on how much taller IT makes the new releases). And of course, with any Poppy Parker bodies…

So. Do I keep him on his original body? Or do I swap him onto the muscle body?

Jun 302014
 

A while ago I caved and bought a Poppy Parker, Irresistible in India doll. You may (or may not) recall that I bought her with the intention of swiping her body and re-selling her head–so that Kendall (aka Perk Colette) could have a poppy body that was close to matching her skintone and allow me a wider range of options for male cast members in the Wrenwood Hall / Actresses storylines.

To refresh your memory: this is India

poppy-india-parker

Of course, after I’d bought her, I found a sweet confection poppy body for super cheap and I bought that and popped Kendall’s head on it.

Which left me with India.

I hemmed and hawed and left her in her shipper, in her box for a few months. Then I finally broke down and de-boxed her. It’s usually a pretty sure thing that once I de-box (if I went and actually bought a BNIB doll/figure instead of getting it nude on the secondary market) that I’m going to keep her.

But she’s been out of the box for a while and I have been re-dressing her in an attempt to get a feel for what kind of character she might be (meaning more than just knowing she’s another one of the actresses on the show).

poppy

Her current face isn’t really inspiring me much… Yes, she is very pretty–but there is something missing IMO.

poppy-2

I’m still debating giving her painting some tweaks. Maybe change her lip color, her eye color and see how she looks from there? I haven’t modded her at all at this point but if she stays in my collection she will be.

Jun 082014
 

Yesterday I finally made time to go out after work and shoot some (non cat) photos with the nifty 50. I hesitated going to the local park/bike trail and my honey basically said wasn’t that the whole point of cobbling the old body & lens together? I said “yeah. something like that.” and after some hemming and hawing I got Giselle, redressed her in something appropriate and tossed her in a tupperware container and off we went down the road.

We got there and of course the place was teeming with kids and dogs. Neither of which I really want to have to deal with while I’m kneeling, or in some cases lying on my ample stomach to try to shoot photos. So Mark and I walked down the path a-ways until the noises subsided and the dogs and small people (and their keepers) went home. Out came Giselle from her tupperware prison and I looked for someplace likely to pose her.

I love the creek/brook that runs through the trail area.

creek

I only found the whole park last month when Mark came home and our friend came to visit. It seemed like a good time to explore our area, you know? ;)

Anyway…Here are some of the photos I took to begin with: (my favorite photos are at the end of this post)

martin-1

Hmm, did I mention a new guy showed up in town…? We’ll have another post about him later!

giselle-at-the-creek-3

You can tell by looking when the light was stronger and when I changed photo locations. For the photo below I really should have gotten down to eye-level but I didn’t want to lay on my belly in the mud. :P I know…it would have made a better shot. I have to think about bringing things to lie on, maybe?

giselle-at-the-creek-2

This next one is possibly my all time favorite of Giselle.

giselle-at-the-creek

giselle-on-the rocks

giselle-on-the-ledge-portrait-b

For some of these photos I had to get wet. I was standing in the creek to get them: but that’s part of trying to break through my camera/damage fear of shooting outdoors, right?

shooting-in-the-creek

Anyway, I think overall the photos came out pretty well. I was shooting without a tripod or other means of stabilization and that says a lot since I have incredibly shaky hands (and poor balance)! I did almost slip on the slimy/ moss/covered rocks under the water ,but I saved myself and did not go >SPLOOOOOOSH!<

So there you have it. The first batch of photos on my road to breaking through that mental roadblock! :D

May 312014
 

I thought I’d blogged about this already but apparently not! No wonder no-one had anything to say about my thoughts on the subject!

giselle Giselle however…Is concerned about what the future holds for her.

As I said in my last post, I joined IT’s W-Club and had a good look-see at the new FR line and Poppy Parker dolls that they will be releasing later this summer/early fall. Of course I ordered some, of course! I went nuts. LOL. :D Despite my euphoria at getting an Agnes, and Integrity Toys re-releasing the Ayumi 1.0 mold (as Tina Tanaka in the poppy Universe) I’m still bothered and a bit disgruntled that with all the “re-vamping” and “changes” that IT is/has supposedly made/is making to their lines of dolls that they seem more hype than actual changes. Ok, so the FR/ FR2 lines merged and now there’s just FR 2.0.

IMO one thing that really sucks is that they just keep getting taller and taller and taller! My other big gripe is that the articulation/ pose-ability isn’t improving in any marked way.

This is what I mean:
Remember back in 2009 Integrity Toys came out with the Handspeak System?

Wow. Removable hands. They made life a lot easier for those of us who re-dress their dolls, and gave us pose-options with a few different hand types.

The handspeak system is a very simple one. Hand with a jointed section with a long pin to insert into the forearm/wrist area. It’s mostly a friction fit. NOT rocket science.

(As an aside:Sadly, Integrity Toys didn’t bother to release any packs of hands with alternative or different poses. I’d have happily plunked down money on that. And even bought duplicates so I could put different colored paint on the nails as polish for them!)

Well, what have they done since then?

1) “Quick Switch” headswapping feature (on limited dolls-1st Joan Crawford doll, now some of the Poppy Parker & Jem dolls that were newly announced will have it.)

2) ERR…? Anything else I forgot about? I mean aside from adding the FR2 line and then discontinuing it and melding it with the FR main line? Does anyone know if the new FR 2.0 line still has the waist joint the original FR2 dolls had or if that’s been nixed?

As you can see they haven’t done a whole lot of world shaking upgrades or changes. Maybe, if I didn’t know about the wide array of female action figure bodies (which are constantly changing & evolving into more aesthetically pleasing AND articulated pieces) I’d be ok about it. For example, if all I’d ever collected or played with were barbies—I’d probably still be over the moon about ITs handspeak system. Maybe. I doubt it though–I’m a demanding collector/player. ;)

So back to that earth-shaking Handspeak System: Why couldn’t Integrity use the same thing for FR or Poppy Feet/ Legs? (again, because I’m a cross genre figure collector I know that 2/3 of the female action figures on the market not only have feet that are removable–interchangeable for flat feet or High heel feet)

Some people might say that it’s because adding those joints at the ankle (like Poppy Parker has) are unsightly and ugly. Some might say that they’d be fragile and unable to hold the weight of the dolls or the poses most fashionista doll owners want them to hold.

My response to that is this: many ball jointed dolls have those joints (and more) such as Sybarites, Dollfie Dreams, Soom dolls etc which are IMO “fashion dolls” not really doll-dolls. And of course action figure females, and also too, volks 27 cm beauty dollfies too. They all seem to function perfectly fine with that joint there.
Actually, thinking about it, didn’t Tonner’s Tyler Wentworth doll have removable feet at some point? Allowing her to have flatter feet or high heels??

Oh yes: they do!

24 bucks for a pack of feet?   I’d pay it just to have the options for poses! Why can’t Integrity manage to do something similar? WHY, Integrity? Why? *cries*
I’m not saying that FR/ Nu Face or even Poppy need to have ballerina feet (I have no ballerina dolls) but I do have dolls that I want to have more options for foot wear and poses!  It would be a great improvement on the lines to be able to swap out their feet. It would allow for more ranges in height (hello, notice that everyone in FR land is the same height as everyone else? Ugh.)

I’m not going all out here on articulating the Integrity Toys doll lines (for instance, I think they could also make the knee joint like the Syb’s but I don’t see them ever doing that they’d consider it too ugly, although the Jamieshow knees look ok).

Just talking about the next reasonable step from the Handspeak system. Shouldn’t it be the Footspeak?

My thoughts are this:

#1) They could either make the lower leg removable from the knee joint and sell a packet of flat or high heel (or uber high heel) feet separately. The pink line shows the post application.

footspeak-system-idea-1  footspeak-system-idea-2

#2 they could make the joint at the ankle (Hey, Poppy’s body already HAS a joint there! Score! If they wanted to test the feasibility they could release a Poppy with “foot speak” and see how that sells. I know a lot of people who dislike Poppy dislike her solely because IT made such a craptastic joint there. It flips back and forth when it SHOULD be a ball joint. unless they make it removable. Like the hands.)

Seriously, IT what were you thinking?  When you put her feet flipped back in high heels the line of the foot looks misshapen.  I deal with it because I love the fact that she can be shorter than other dolls but a lot of people avoid the line and or/ rebody their Poppy Parkers onto FR bodies because of it.  IMO they should re-do it and do it right.

So what to do?

1) I’m waiting for the Nu Face reveal later this year. Do I think they’ll have adjusted or added or done anything with the ankle? No. I doubt it. In fact, I’d bet good money that they won’t. I think the Nu Face girls will be taller, with slightly resculpted torso/ chest areas. That, and a new face sculpt or two. that I think is going to be the extent of the massively touted re-vamp.

2) A while ago I bought the Monogram Echelon on the doll page. I bought her specifically because she is the same skintone and chest size as the Poppy Parker body that I re-bodied Giselle onto. My original thought at the time was to tweak my other Old is New Giselle head and pop that on the Echelon body thus allowing me to have Giselle wearing High Heels when appropriate or having her in flats/ sneakers or whatever whenever I wanted. But you know, the more I think about that, the more I don’t want to have to have 2 versions of her head and body just for her to be able to wear some of the great high heeled shoes out there.

I’ll wait until the reveal, but if it reveals what I expect, then I will be doing some surgical re-modeling of the echelon and poppy bodies to give Giselle the interchangeable feet /legs she so needs and deserves! I have a saw and I’m not at all afraid to use it! :P

But my point is: as a doll collector, and someone who enjoys playing with them: I shouldn’t have to play chop shop with my doll bodies to get them to be as good as what other doll manufacturers are putting out there.

 

May 272014
 

This year was my first foray into the W Club. I figured it would be a good experience and allow me a sneak peak at what new lines, dolls, and characters that Integrity is putting out this year. I thought at most I’d get one. Maybe two dolls.

To be fair, the forums are good, the people are pretty friendly, and I have gotten a lot of information that I’d never have gotten otherwise. So there was a reveal earlier this month.It wasn’t for the long awaited re-vamp of the Nu Face line (which I hope beyond hope that they haven’t screwed with Giselle’s face mold since I’d really like to pick a few of her up for customizing/ making into alternative versions of Giselle Weston, Actress and inhabitant of Quinlan. ;)

The W Club makes it all about “secret” and “confidentiality” and all that jazz.  IMO they hype it up a lot.  Which, I’m not sure if people are paying for that exclusivity and feeling of being special or being in the first to know–or what. I can only discuss my personal motivations for being part of the Club.

I joined because I really was just hoping that they’d release an Agnes since I haven’t ever been able to afford one on the secondary market (she never seems to sell for under $200, and forget if you want her with some clothing, just forget it! Both of those things make her beyond the scope of my budget. Especially since I’m bound to eventually tweak and /or repaint her. Too much $$ for that…). Annnnnd there is supposed to be a release of the Nu Face line –and I wanted in on that before they went for scalpers’ prices on the dollpage and on feebay. So I guess I want that “first to know” info, don’t I? ;)

Anyway, I broke down and bought more dolls than I’d planned on.  A lot.

I know, I know. I Knooooooooooow
I said I’d just buy an Agnes if they had one–and maybe a poppy if there was one that appealed to me… Now before I go and start showing you photos of the dolls I pre-ordered, remember, this is my first go-round with the process…It wasn’t quite as straight forward as you might think it would be…

So, how does it work? How do I get the dolls I want? (provided there are some I want, right?)
I was asking that just about the time that they (IT’s W club) sent out an email stating when the webinar reveal was going to be.

The basic answer I got was: “You have to call or email  when you see the doll you want (during the reveal/webinar). Then  you hope that one of dealers carrying the line will take your order! Some will. Some won’t. Somne make you wait until after the webinar, some don’t. But order FAST because everyone else will be ordering then too!”

Didn’t sound like much fun to me.
Sounded stressful.
Sounded chancy.

Hmm…and I signed on for this? It wasn’t what I was expecting. I’d kind of thought that since it was  a club, that it would be all neat and orderly–and that there’d be (basically) a doll for everyone who wanted to order one.

>Head Smack< What was I thinking?!!

Well, like any good survivor I rolled with it. Rather than waiting til the day of the reveal (I’d arranged with my job to work the evening shift so I could take part) I decided to do my homework and check out the various doll stores/ IT dealers and see what kind of feedback and what their shipping & payment policies were.

I was quite surprised to see how much it varied across the board. Some wanted 25% down, some wanted 50%, or 75% and some wanted payment in full before they’d take the pre-order. Some of them were reasonable, some of them weren’t (IMO) and some of them were real jerks when I called. Those ones immediately went into the discard bin. I’m not going to pay someone money to be mean to me (I may be a masochist, but I never pay LOL) ;)
So I found two dealers who seemed pretty nice, capable of communicating, and willing to take my order (on the day of the webinar/reveal). Then all I had to do was wait for the actual webinar.

Well, the day came around, and voila! 11:30 I logged into the secret-magic-link that the IT people had emailed me so I could join the “fun”. I figured since it began at noon it was better to log in early and make sure I got all the tech/set up stuff out of the way. It was remarkably trouble free and when things started up it went pretty well. I wasn’t too thrilled at how the woman presenter was gushing over everything. Sorry, but no. Gushing will not make me want to buy something I think is naff.  Be real, would you?  I liked hearing the designers talk but the real show for me was (of course) the dolls.

They started with the Poppy Parker reveals. I didn’t really expect to want much. The whole spy-girl thing is ok, but I dislike Poppy because of her time period. It doesn’t appeal to me too much. (Now, take poppy, dress her in modern clothes and I think she’s much improved, and likeable.)
(photos below are all property of Integrity Toys)
They showed Lotta Danger Poppy Parker:
Poppy Parker Lotta Danger
She’s pretty, right? Nice coloring combination going on there.
Yea. I wanted to order her–but I didn’t order her right away–(while they were revealing the other poppy parker dolls) because I wasn’t 100% sure about her. To someone who didn’t collect action figures (male and female) the whole spy thing might have been cool. But come on. I know what the articulation on it is like. Poppy’s body isn’t one I’d use for a character that has to have lots of dynamic poses. Uh uh.
But still, she’s pretty looking.
I waited and thought about ordering her. I was pretty sure she’d be popular with that coloring combo.

Wondering what the other poppy dolls were going to be like–they showed another poppy who looked like it was influenced by some old Cleopatra movie crossed with the 60′s clothing styles. The paint application and coloring wasn’t as striking and I passed.
But then….
Somewhere down the line….they showed the “poppy friends”. (Sounds lame, right?)

Meet Tina Tanaka:

Oh. Wow.ppkimiko1
Oh Wow wow wow!
Integrity did something I never expected! They released a doll that used the Ayumi 1.0 headsculpt! FREAKIN AWESOME!@!!! WOW!!! :D :D :D

I was thrilled! I immediately called and ordered one. How could I not? She’s on a poppy body with the articulated ankles, and that means I won’t have to futz around with body swapping! Ok, I admit the face will need repainting, but I was buying her so I could customize her. Repainting ahead!At that point I tried to order the Lotta Danger Poppy and was told by my first choice dealer that she was sold out (bummer) but I did try my second choice (they’re second because they want a larger pre-order deposit) and they had both (so err, I bought the poppy as well as a second ayumi.

Awesomeness! Yay! Now, even if there wasn’t an Agnes in the collection I could consider myself happy. YAY@!@@ After the certainty that IT wouldn’t be using that sculpt anymore (since they now had the 2.0 sculpt in the FR2 line) it was great to see ayumi’s original sculpt being used.

They went through more of the line, introduced a few new characters (and the old Nadja headsculpt) and then went into the next section. I think it was the Jem stuff. I have a certain amount of nostalgia about Jem, but as a doll, and as potential characters in my photostories they are too limited. Plus, I think that the paint applications on them are really flat looking.
They went through the Tulabelle stuff and whatever else, and then –then they started doing the FR line. I’m all kinds of anxious at this point. Is my internet connection going to hold? Am I going to get disconnected at the vital moment??!

No. It all was good. and surprisingly, the whole FR line was pretty good looking IMO. Just as well that I don’t tend to collect them. There were however two dolls in that set that I wanted and did order:

Eugenia:(mostly because I wanted her clothes for other wardrobes)since I’m not always the biggest fan of the sculpt.
frcityprowl

frcityprowl2

And of course the other doll:

Elise.

on-the-rise-elisefrjolie
I thought I’d buy her and then see how I feel about her when she gets here. I suspect though, that she might end up finding a new home because I already have Escapism Elise waiting for a re-root. On the Rise Elise wouldn’t need a re-root but…I dunno. She was an impulse buy and I doubt she’ll stay.

And then….

And then……..

They announced the Event Doll–Agnes! WOOT! There it is! The golden ticket! Rawr!
(Do I sound like a complete nutter yet???)
high-visibility-agneshigh-visibility-agnes-1

Her clothes don’t do it for me at all, but that doesn’t matter. She’s ordered and I have someone willing to split a 2nd one with me (she takes the clothes, accessories etc and I get the nekkid doll) which totally stokes me because it means I can experiment with taking her hair down (which we were cautioned about in the webinar) and see how it goes. It also means I can (on that one) tweak the lips and make them slightly more frowny like a regular Agnes! Woot!

So… let’s see. I’ve blown 4 months of doll savings in one morning. ouch.  No one warned me about that! :P

Jan 172014
 

Let’s see… This is what Kyu looks like now that I have boiled his hair…

kyu-boiled-hair

He needs a haircut/style but I’m a bit stumped on what to do with it. Do I cut it short? Just cut the bangs area and try to level the rest out? I’m so clueless…. :S

Aside from Kyu needing his hair restyled he needs more doing to him.

1) He needs to have a joint-fix applied so he has a better range of motion.

2) Repaint or partially repaint his face. As it is now it’s pretty bland. It needs some life being given to it!

3) Make some clothes. Poor guy only has the threads he came in and IMO they don’t do it.

 

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Jan 082014
 

Tell me, what was Integrity Toys thinking when they gave London Calling Kyu his hair style?

london-calling-kyu-head-front

Can you really call that a hair style? I don’t know! I don’t think so.
It’s so helmet-head-ly. And…. What is this?

london-calling-kyu-head

Flocking? Uhm…o-kay… So we have massive side-helmet hair, flocking…..and…..

london-calling-kyu-head-side

Underneath that side-flip-helmet hair thing — MORE flocking?!

Ugh. What am I supposed to do with that? Ugh, Ugh UGH!

The way I see it, I have the following options:

1) thin out the side-flip so that it lays a lot flatter and closer to the head.

2) Cut the whole side flip thing off short enough to make the center look like a brush-cut. I suspect this may work because of the flocking on both sides.

3) thin the hair out, boil perm it so it will lay smoother and more flat over the flocked sides. This is the one I think I’m going to go this route and if it fails then I’ll go route #2. Of course there is the chance that the flocking will come off when I do the boil perm…

Right now he looks like this (which I find much better) LOL

london-calling-kyu-head-front-mussed

Jan 052014
 

Yea. I know. I said it was highly unlikely that I was _ever_ going to break down and get a Fashion Royalty guy doll. I know. And I’m now being forced to eat my words! :P

So I hear you asking…

Why, Erica? What’s changed? you might even look at me funny and say: Didn’t you just swap a whole bunch of your Fashion Royalty girls onto Poppy Parker bodies so you could use them with Hot Toys Action Figure guys?And you’d be right! I did!

What changed is the fact that Mark and I are going to be making doors & windows (and other things too) for Etsy.

I would feel rotten if we sold a door to someone that it is good for FRs and found that it was actually too short (not that that doesn’t happen in real life, mind you–our house is old and Mark smacks his forehead on them all the time). But still. We don’t want that to happen….

Kyu is roughly 13.5 inches which in 1:1 scale means he’s 6 foot 9 inches tall. He must be a model…or a basketball player! :D

So My FR girls are expecting an FR guy to arrive soon.

I was trying to source a low-cost, FR guy that I could tolerate looking at. Not an easy feat in the after x-mas financial state… I ended up selling 2 of my Girls Mission dolls to a fellow collector and using that money to buy London Calling Kyu, from the dynamite girls collection. It was a sacrifice–letting go of older, hard to find figures to get him. I really, really hope he ends up being worth it!

london calling kyu

I’m not overly thrilled with his appearance. However, I suspect that with some work I can make him into a figure I can tolerate looking at and using. And who knows–after a re-style, a bit of repainting and a re-name… maybe he can get cast in a role in Wrenwood Hall, you never know. ;)

The first thing I am going to have to fix is that “helmet head” thing he has going on.

Anyway that’s the doll update. ;) Keep watching Etsy — I’ll be listing stuff later this week (probably Thursday) and mark is still working on his technical drawings for the furniture he is making for etsy! Exciting things ahead! :D

 

 

Dec 132013
 

So it’s been a while, right? Since I managed to put together a Friday Monologue. I’m recalling now why I have been so reluctant to do them. My memory made me think it was just normal stress, and regular life stuff. But that is incorrect.

(You can skip through the following rant to the photostory! I’m feeling very rant-y today!)

The real reason is the software program that I was using. I’ve been using Plasq Comic Life 2. I had been using their original (first release) when I was in the UK and although it was buggy (and prone to occasional crashes) I liked it for throwing things together quick and easy.

I can’t say the same about Comic Life 2.0 for Windows(or the 3.0 which is in beta, that I had downloaded last week and after 1 use and looking it over decided to uninstall it.) IMO it’s a bloated program that has lost most of it’s charm–and any reliability it had. Today, in the course of working on Giselle’s FM it crashed a total of ELEVEN times. Eleven times in FOUR HOURS. Not good. Ok, I knew that I should always save every few minutes (or hell, any time I actually put some text in the bubbles) because I tend to diverge from my sketch scripts…and when I’ve done that, failed to save it and it crashes–well, that flash of creativity and insight into that character is gone with it. :(

I am going to say this now. Giselle’s Friday Monologue is the very last one I am going to be using plasq’s comic life for.

It’s too unreliable, too frustrating.
For example:

  1. No matter what I do or what settings I use the text always looks less than crisp.
  2. The interface for the program is so filled with bells and whistles and crap that it makes my eyes hurt. SCREW THAT>> Life is too short for crap programs.
  3. It is so buggy it needs an exterminator.
  4. Crashes like there is no tomorrow! (and for some of the scripts, there are NO tomorrows!)

What’s my solution?

I’ll do them old school from now on, in a proper graphics program.

Shoot, it looks like I’m going to have to learn my way around illustrator! >_< steep learning curve, but I can do it. You folks deserve to know the whole story behind each character. I’m washing my hands of Plasq’s Comic Life. (the comic part must be how many times I kept trying to use it! Bleh!)

I’d also like to apologize to some folks that I recommended the program to. When I’d done that I was still using the first edition, and was pretty darned happy with it. :S My how software changes–and not always for the better! >:(

ANYWAY! On to the story: Giselle’s moved to Quinlan, you know? :)

As usual CLICK on the image below for the monologue!Friday Monologues: #11 Giselle Weston

Dec 032013
 

So you may or may not recall that I got a Poppy Parker Spicy in Spain a little while back. I swas surprised at the time that I kep her because, well she didn’t really fit my tastes…but I kept her anyhow. I thought that if I did a partial repaint I’d like her better… And I do! :D

So here she is before:

poppy-spicy-spain-2

And how she looks after:

repainted spicy in spain 2

I like her new look a lot better although the repaint is pretty sloppy when you see it close up. But even so, it’s an improvement in my book!

 

Oct 142013
 

I posted about my first Poppy the week before last a couple of weeks ago…

I’m pretty new to Poppy Parker dolls.   I’m still getting used to the proportions of their bodies as compared to the other Fashion Royalty dolls. I do like the fact that they are capable of standing upright, unaided. :) That IS a big plus in my book.

What I don’t like about the Poppy Parker body is a pretty short list: (in order of most disliked to just tolerable…)

  • The totally and completely useless bust-joint
  • The ankle joints.

Sorry, but they could have used a ball-joint there and it would have been great and allowed a smoother line of the foot when “arched” to use in non-flat shoes.

  • The lack of a double joint at the elbow

Something that would allow Poppy (and whoever happens to have her body) the ability to hold a phone to her ear, etc.

So is there anything I can do about any of those problems?

Uh huh. Yep.  I think I may have an illness….I seem to be incapable of leaving my dolls alone and un-customized!

I haven’t tried to do anything with the ankle joint, and I know better than to try to put a double jointed elbow in. I’d have to do so much extra work that at this point I don’t think that’s feasible.

But I did do something about that wasted joint, the bust joint!

*cue scary horror movie mad scientist laugh* MWhahahahahahahahahahahha!*

A long while back I saw the photo-tutorial that Emlia did regarding increasing/improving the articulation on the Fashion Royalty Homme body. After giving it some serious thought I hoped that the Poppy Parker body wouldn’t be that different inside and began to take her apart. After all, I figured that since Integrity Toys made both of them they probably weren’t that far removed….

I was and was not quite right about that…..

Interesting to note that Integrity is not (as far as I can tell) using a giant nut to weight the body. But what I did find inside the Poppy Parker body (bodies actually since I did this mod on all of them except India) is that they are filled with varying amounts of hot melt glue.

poppy-parker-torso-inside-1

Not uber cool in my book, but, eh, whatever.

That glue did present something of a problem on some of the bodies because it was in the way (or there was just too much of it) of feeding the elastic through. However, because I am a determined kind of girl I got it done on all of my girls. >:D

And this is what the body can do after the mod — OIN Giselle has been re-bodied onto the new and improved Poppy body. (There are obviously more poses possible and more extreme but, eh, I’m not in the mood to take pics today.)

giselle-poppy-parker-body-mod-2

giselle-poppy-parker-body-mod-1

Now if, on the off chance you want to try this too and you want me to share the photos I tried to take of how I did it (during the process) let me know and I’ll update the post with some more photos–I just need to resize them etc. I didn’t want to bloat the post with a lot of unnecessary pics if no one was interested.

 

Oct 072013
 

It’s likely you know that one of my biggest problems to overcome with using the Fashion Royalty girls is that they are sooooo tall!

Because of their height it’s difficult to find them any male companions that they don’t tower over (aside from the male FRs).  I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last couple of years trying to figure out an alternative…a way to make guys (action figure/ hot toys) taller so that I could use them with my FR ladies. But alas I wasn’t lucky with that and I ended up with pairings like this:

Standard Hot Toys Male Figure & the HT Muscle Body

But even so….how many giant, muscle bound guys could I have in one city?
(ok–to be fair, a lot, but my wallet can’t handle more than one LOL).

giselle-and-the-regular-ht-body giselle-and-the-musc-ht-body

For example, Amber (http://www.flickr.com/photos/appark/) has been helping me to find a way around the height issues by re-bodying some of my favorite girls onto Poppy bodies (did I even know that was possible? No! Or at least not really? I knew she put a lot of FR heads on the Poppy bodies but I didn’t realize the improvement that a Poppy body could give the FR girls!)

Ok let’s look at the positives with regard to using Poppy Parker teen Model doll bodies instead of the Nu Face or Standard Fashion Royalty bodies:

The proportions are in general more pleasing. Not one of them is a massive difference but all together they add up to make a considerable difference IMO.

They are shorter! Yay!
And not by a tiny bit (like the difference between the Nu Face body and the Standard FR body). The bodies seemed to offer a solution I could live with! :D

Here’s a comparison between Fashion Royalty Flight Pattern Kyori and Spicy in Spain Poppy Parker (the height difference is actually a little bit bigger but my Kyori has a slump)

fr-vs-poppy-height-comparison-1  poppy-height-vs-fr-kyori-shoulder

And here’s a comparison between the Nu Face body and Poppy Body:

nu-face-vs-poppy-height

I did it. I jumped in and got a couple of Poppy Parker bodies (and 2 dolls…that’s a longer story) and set about swapping out heads on my Nu Face girls to the Poppy donor bodies.

giselle-and-kendall-apt-1

giselle-and-kendall-apt-2b

Now, on the off chance that like me you’d like to swap some heads here are some skintone matches (again courtesy of Amber (Appark on Flickr). :)

These are close matches for Old is New Giselle (FR standard caucasian skintone)

Spicy in Spain
She’s Not There
The Look of Love
Beatnik Blues
Forget Me Not (Blonde)
Holiday in the Hamptons

These are close matches for Colette Perk:

Irresistible in India
Sweet Confection

These are close matches for Ayumi (FR standard Japanese skintone)

Sweet in Switzerland
Lilac Frost
Isn’t it Romantic?

Coming later this week: I’ll post about the body mods I did to the Poppy Parker bodies and another mod that I am going to try out to see if it will work (wish me luck or it will remain the headless body forever!) ;)

 

Sep 262013
 

I’m not sure how I feel about Poppy’s face-mold…

I should probably explain that I originally bought her for her body and planned on selling her head (I’ll explain all that in another post). But I decided that rather than a painful decapitation Poppy would get a stay of execution and I’d try to see if she grew on me (hey it happens with the most unlikely dolls sometimes!) :P

She’s different from all the other face molds I have.

poppy-spicy-spain-face

I’m guessing that that is a good thing-except I’m not in love with her face.

Now, like I said in a previous post–I’m trying to expand my horizons and be more open minded when it comes to the dolls that I am adding to my collection.

Surely, Poppy can’t be all bad, right? (I have noticed that there is a kind of love-her or hate-her thing going on with some collectors of Fashion Royalty with regard to Poppy). For me, I think it will ultimately come down to if I am able to envision her as a character in one of my photostories.

So here are some pics of her I shot today.

poppy-spicy-spain-3

I can tell you that later this week/end I’ll be wiping her lipstick off and applying a color that I actually like. I’m not sure if I want to go with a more neutral/ natural look or if I want to go for a blue-based red. Or even plum.

poppy-spicy-spain-2

The nice thing about her face is that the eyeshadow she’s been given is fairly neutral and low-key. (although there is a flaw in it that bugs me–small lump :( I may end up wiping her eyeshadow after all) That in and of itself makes me want to try to use her in Wrenwood, but—I’m thinking that I want her as someone one on the scene (the set) but not necessarily an actress.

poppy-spicy-spain-1

There are plenty of other roles she could play, and maybe–if she gets along with Giselle at least–she could be a friend. Maybe. Or an enemy. Hmmm?

poppy-spicy-spain-6

 

 

Sep 082013
 

Sometimes you have to face unpleasant truths.

Only by facing them and accepting them can you move forward and make progress on the things you mean to do.

giselle-9-2013

I have been one of the longest, staunchest supporters of Volks dollfies (27cm). I have collected them for more than a decade and I have loved their articulation, their ability to easily share clothes with other fashion dolls, and the fact that generally speaking they were low-cost and fantastic for customizing. For those reasons they became my go-to figures and make up the bulk of my 1/6 scale doll collection. However, it has now been years since Volks ceased production of the EB body type and the other options that they offer are….not for me. Yes, there are other 27 cm figures–Obitsu/Parabox make but for me those are too small and too petite.

Where does my collecting go from this point, now that I have finally moved out of Denial and into Acceptance?

Don’t get me wrong–I have a number of different kinds of dolls and action figures in my collection. I have Takara Cool Girls/Cy Girls, a few Fashion Royalty dolls, I even have a Barbie or two, but of all the other kinds of dolls that I have, that I really think I am going to start concentrating on are the dolls being put out by Integrity.

Did you hear me just eat my hat? Possibly. :P

Some of my biggest gripes in the past with Fashion Royalty dolls were:

  1. Poor articulation and  body design (compared to my volks-biased experiences)
  2. (cough) the price.
  3. They had hands that wouldn’t come off (pre-handspeak system) which made dressing them a PITA.
  4. Prone to loose joints and tended to be floppy and if I wanted them to sit upright on a couch without slumping I had to tweak the body. Not ideal IMO.
  5. They are Amazonian in height. That part made it difficult to find male partners for them unless I wanted a lot of tom cruise/ Nicole kidman kind of couples…. You get the point, right?

But….to be fair I had a lot of things to like about the Fashion Royalty dolls.

  1. They had some really lovely face molds. (I adore Giselle and Agnes and Natalia)
  2. They come in a wide range of skintones which makes for some nice variation and more realism in the population of people for my photostories. That was something missing in my collection.
  3. IT got wise to the idea that removable hands were a great thing and started using the handspeak system
  4. Integrity makes some nice complete figures, they make nice accessories and often times the clothing they make is done to a pretty high specification. Much better than most of the Barbie clothes Mattel puts out these days.

And of course IT has been playing around with the different kinds of bodies they’re making these days.

They’re making Poppy Parker, Misaki, FR2 and according to the word on the Web they’re revamping the regular Fashion Royalty Line and the FR2 line and will be revealing what the new body style and design will be like in October at the FR Convention. And I understand that in 2014 that they will be doing that for the NuFace line as well.

All of that speaks to the fact that Integrity, although not making dolls as posable as I’d prefer, is still working on making new dolls, trying to do something with their QC and also, giving people like me (head/body swappers) a wider range of options to choose from.

SO Yes. I have officially eaten my hat.

I am going to be collecting the FR dolls again, and doing my best to integrate them not only into my collection but also into the photostories that I have planned for the Quinlan Chronicles.

Just to be clear here–I’m not saying that FRs are my all time favorite OR the be all end all best doll out there… I doubt I’ll ever love them the same way that I love my volks. But for now, the Fashion Royalty/ Dynamite Girls/ Poppy parker / IT dolls just happen to be the ones that I have taken a new shine to and want to see what I can do with them….

 

Aug 312013
 

So I’ve been pretty quiet about stuff for the most part. But let me just give you a brief explanation of what’s been going on.

[WARNING complaining going on -- skip to 2nd paragraph to avoid long complaint paragraph]

Just over a month ago Indy was in a terminal state, I started a new job, and we started doing really major renovations on the house. Losing Indy took a big toll on me while my new jobs frequently has me literally smacking and hitting myself on the head to keep from saying things to customers that would lose me my job. It has been and continues to be for me a time of high stress and very little relaxation or fun. If the job doesn’t kill me then I’m going to be ok an we’ll have heat provided the renovations get done in time…..I had a problem with the car last week which sucked up a 100 bucks in parts and Mark’s valuable home renovation time.  I’m not sleeping well (I’m having nightmares most nights about work, or about missing Indy) but I’m hoping that as I get used to working the weird hours I’ll get used to it (I start anywhere between 2pm-4pm and end between 10:30 or 1PM not including OT).

That isn’t to say that I don’t have plans and I’ve given up on my 1/6 love.

As you could tell from my last post, I have gotten a new HT muscle body, and a wolverine (knock off) head. Mostly because I wanted my Old Is New Giselle to be able to have a boyfriend who was close to or taller in height than herself. That has been a real stumbling block and one that I debated solving in various ways…

Buuuuuut….Let me talk a little bit about my fashion royalty dolls and the difficulty they present me.

I like my fashion royalty dolls (not all of the ones that IT produces, but certain molds) but the biggest issue I have with them is the fact that height wise they pose problems with 1) finding them enough variety in male figures to play opposite them, 2) they have such amazonian bodies that they look a bit out of scale  and weird when shown next to my other dolls and 3) getting them to balance and stand is difficult–not impossible but a lot more difficult than I’d prefer to fuss around with.

So part of my last two paychecks went to doll related stuff. Yes.

Dolls.

I bought a couple of different bodies and I’ll share more info about them (hopefully over the weekend I’ll get some time to be able to shoot some basic photos and you can see. Maybe Im bonkers. But You know, getting the dolls has made me feel that little bit better.  I have this weekend off *yay* so if I can get caught up on chores and whatnot you’ll see some pics and my own personal commentary on what I got.
(Yea, I know. It’s not like you’re going to be waiting with bated breath or anything–but hey, for me this is all big news!)

 

Aug 252013
 

Since I’ve been so busy with the new job and all the other stuff thrown my way by the universe I haven’t done a whole lot with the hobby. However, with the new job I finally had some money to splurge on something that I have been wanting: The Hot Toys TT muscle Body TT20.

Let me preface this review right now with WHY I am collecting and using Hot Toys action figures: They  work out pretty well with most of my female dolls and action figures…the only ones that they aren’t working as well with right now are the Fashion Royalty girls…which is why I was willing to splash out on this particular action figure. I’d heard / seen that it would work with some of the Female bodies made by Integrity Toys. Oh yea: and I don’t like the FR guys because they lack enough articulation for me to want them. :P

For those of you with a little curiosity or any interest I’m doing this review! :D

First let’s take a look at the packaging:

(not my photo.)

true-type-musc

It’s nice. Simple. Easy to get into. I like that. Not much waste and it’s not a struggle to get into. There is   a hot toys stand included.

The body itself:

The build quality is good.

It comes with extra hands which is IMO always a plus. the body has some nice details: some veining on the arms, well defined collarbones etc/ and some light “skin” texture (although that is more random and is less apparent on some parts than others.

The body is HEAVY.  I’m not kidding.

Ok, remember when I found the nut that they’d put in that FR Erin all those years ago? Well this is more  like they put a freakin’ brass knuckle the body! I’m not complaining though. It feels solid and at least if it is –then I feel the price is more justified. It’s much heavier than the standard HT true type body.

Ok, when you pick it up you know where at least part of your money went.

The ROM: maybe not all you’d expect, but still pretty good.

 

ht-musc-2

 

Potential issues & things I have go go “hmmm” about:

1) The size of the body…

It IS a totally pumped guy body, I guess that could make it difficult to fit some heads to it. Right now you see him with a knock off wolverine head. It works but it might take a bit to find a head that you would want to use with it and have sit on it the right way.

2) His chest isn’t solid abs or plastic like I had assumed…. but is a soft layer of vinyl or silicone over the plastic.

It’s not a deal breaker but  it does red flag that if I dress the body in dark colors on the top to be careful to have a barrier on it. OR to only do that for quick photoshoots and then change the top/shirt to something lighter & less prone to stain. the packaging did include a little warning note to say that acetone, thinners etc could damage the “skin layer”.

3)He has black spongy-cuffs on his feet/legs?

For me that is a huge WTF! (sorry  didn’t bother to shoot any good clear photos of that)

Is that supposed to make it easier/ better for fitting boots on the feet or what? I don’t know. I do know that it isn’t working for me and I have a few different ideas on what I can do about it…

1) apply a couple of layers of gesso and paint and try to get it to a near skintone match.

2) make an alternative one out of (??) craft foam maybe ?

3) make a replacement out of milliput and paint it to match.

Right now it’s not a major issue since when I get around to sewing for him and making him jeans and stuff I’ll make them longer. But for those scenes where things are bared…well. I don’t like wasting more time in post production photoshop than I have to!

Comparisons with other Hot Toys True Type bodies:

ht-musc-3-comparison

Hot Toys Slim body/ Hot Toys Regular body / Hot Toys Muscle Body

As you can see there’s quite a range of difference in their heights. I didn’t have a narrow shoulder guy to compare with but I believe those are the same height as the Regular HT TT Body?

And of course you need to see what he (and the others) look like next to Giselle…

giselle-and-the-slim-ht-body

Slim guy is looking more like her younger brother there…..

giselle-and-the-regular-ht-body

Do-able. Some tall women have shorter partners….

giselle-and-the-musc-ht-body

And as you can see….. Side by side Giselle and the muscle body (in this case with Logan’s head on it) works pretty well.

giselle-and-muscle-body-wolverine

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)

giselle-before

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.

giselle-after-2

 

giselle-after

 

Oct 312011
 

You know, the thing with working on things, and having all these projects boiling away in my head is that I don’t always remember to tell you guys–you know–what exactly I’m doing! Or how things are or have changed in the process (well of cooking in my brain anyway) :P  So, aside from updating the blog with pics of the things I made this last month, I ought to tell you that I am once more working on the dioramas for the FR girls. I know it’s been a while since I posted much about them, and y’all probably through I’ve tossed them in a box somewhere!

If you recall, my original plan for their sets was to make them a complete apartment.

What with putting the house on the market, packing things up, moving into the rental & stuff it all got shoved onto the back burner with me realizing I can’t do any of it until I move home (and then probably some months after that). But…..I really didn’t like that idea much. So I figured a bit of a compromise would be good. I’d make their living-room & kitchen and the rest would wait. After all, the important stuff in both those rooms are the furniture and props. Not the walls etc.

PLUS—— What’s to say that the Actresses couldn’t move? I mean, the show could become more popular and they get to move to a bigger, nicer apartment. Right? ;) or maybe move up to the penthouse instead of the basement??

I figured I’ll commit to making their living-room & kitchen. I was originally going to use my retro-kitchen for them but I decided that that belongs to the Daniels (Merrit & Jane) and I wouldn’t feel right using it for people in the same universe. I probably sound like a nut for saying that, but you know, like, whatever! :P

So that’s something that I want to work on for hte month of November. I want to really crunch and try to get at least the living-room complete. I already know what I’m doing for funiture in there so that’s fairly easy–hardest part is figuring out if I can get away using my standard room-base or do I need to make a new one (It’s kind of looking that way for the kitchen).

Ok, I’ll update later (tonight, maybe.) with sewing related stuff!

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