Jun 192016
 

I got this question a few months ago from Taylor. My spammerator stuffed it in pending so it has taken a long time for me to see it. Sorry, Taylor!

his/her question was: “but I am asking is it possible for me to take the new bust upper part of the FR2 doll body and attach it to the body of Poppy parker? and would she be taller, than a normal poppy or shorter? like when u placed the 2 nun face body and poppy together. I want a poppy with a bigger bust and her flat feet but not shorter than normal, would it work?

My answer is: I don’t know! But what the heck I can give it a try and see!

I tried it last night and I’m sad to report that it isn’t do-able. The larger torso size of the fr2 leaves too large of a gap at the upper joint. It was a nice idea (and I was really hoping it _would_ work, but no dice!

Another FYI for folks who want their Poppy Parker dolls to have high heeled feet rather than the jointed feet–Poppy’s dimensions are the same as a monogram body. So that’s one fix for you folks. 😉

 

Jun 172016
 

Some thoughts on my collecting…

Let’s be clear, I’m not one of those doll collectors who have a closet full of dolls, dolls on shelves, boxed dolls on display and only a very few that ever escape from the box. Nope. not me. I don’t keep any doll BNIB unless I have bought it for someone else as a gift, and then I know it’s gotta go.

That’s not to say that I don’t have a great deal of dolls. I do (in my opinion). I consider it a case of I have 2 distinctly separate collections. One consists of my Volks and Japanese 1/6 dolls. I know all of them and they are all kept stored in a large sterilite box to keep them from getting damaged, etc. They’re “old friends” and except for a few culls that is now a static collection (since Volks no longer produces 27cm dolls and parts). The number is about 45 dolls in total.

I have about 10 male action figures on either Hot Toys bodies or on the various clone bodies that are out there. In the future I’d like to add a few more since my collection is skewed heavily toward being femme-centric.

So let me talk about the fashion dolls.
When I first got started in the hobby of collecting/customizing dolls I started with Barbies. Because they were easy to get, easy to customize and easy to sell on ebay. I really hated the fact that they had such poor articulation — the bend and click knees, no wrist joints, etc. When someone introduced me to Volks dolls it was a revelation for me that there could be dolls with great range of motion. The difficult thing with them at the time was seeing past all the joints, the bodies looked so strange compared to the Barbies I was used to. But I got used to it and they became my faves. Then Volks stopped making them and I started to flounder.

My friend Will told me about Takara Cool girls action figures. They offered a better ROM than barbies but they were beefy bodies with a weird joint at the crotch that made them appear to have a *package*. Nice if you put them in skirts, or anything that didn’t hug it. But not the ideal (for me).

Fashion royalty came along and at first IMO they were glorified Barbies with a much higher price tag. I didn’t see the point since they were like silkstone barbies–pretty but too limited for my tastes. Then they started to improve. And improve some more. And even more.
Nowadays Fashion Royalty are the dolls that I collect the most of.

Here are some reasons why:
The various headsculpts are the biggest draw for me. There is a lot of variety.
They tie in first place with the hot toys female headsculpts, but because I dislike their (HT) current bodies and haven’t yet had the $$ to lay out for some of the steel skeleton’d phicen dolls (which have some interesting face sculpts too)to try out as a character.

The next reason is because although their bodies started out crappy they have been steadily evolving into a better body for my purposes in shooting photostories. They still need me to make modifications on them, but I can cope with that especially when I see them creating bodies that are completely modular and prime for body part swapping.

So how many FR dolls do I have in my collection?
(I’m clumping poppy parker dolls & Color Infusion in with it since they’re made by the same co.)
It would be embarrasing to say I don’t know. Wouldn’t it? ;P
Seriously though, I need to start taking headshots of them so that I have a visual roster of them and what characters I have (or am) casting them as. I often buy my dolls 2nd hand or just their heads. When it comes to Fashion Royalty & Poppy dolls I have more heads than bodies.
I am going to finally admit it now that I have completely given up on Volks reviving their 1/6 line and am now a confirmed collector of Fashion Royalty, Nu Face and Poppy Parker dolls. I make them into my own characters, but yea, for now they are my go to dolls (and I make allowances for their limitations).

Anyway, just thought I’d share that.

Dec 262015
 

emerson 6

Lovely, isn’t she?

Emerson Appleton
I feel very lucky to have her in my collection. She has (in my opinion) a completely different vibe than Giselle (customized Old is New Giselle). She seems softer and dreamier to me.

So what do I know about Emerson?
Let’s see….

Emerson Appleton is in her early 20’s. Her personality is moody and creative with highs and lows. Her fashion sense is “I’m gonna wear what I want and anyone who doesn’t like it can sit and spin!” (This is tempered at times by her Aunts’ strongly worded recommendations 😉

em-9

Emerson (or Em as she is often nicknamed by friends and family) is single and looking but she’s had her fair share (and more) of jerks and wonders why she bothers looking. She is looking for someone who’ll love her no matter where she ends up in life, and she wants someone who is sensitive and willing to understand her artistic nature…Really, she isn’t very good at the whole dating thing and usually ends up waiting by the phone for the text/im/call that never comes for a second date.

Emerson Appleton

She has a small family consisting of her two aunts: Arabella Appleton and Agnes Appleton-Weld, and an Uncle: Theo Appleton & his wife and their children (her cousins). Emerson’s parents are deceased and losing them as well as her sister has left a mark on her psyche. She dislikes her Uncle Theo’s wife, but tolerates her at holidays when necessary.

Sometimes Emerson is looking for a place to hide away from the world.

em-11

She is struggling as an artist and although she has had her work shown in a number of galleries and juried art shows she isn’t “there” yet and wonders if she will ever be truly successful in the way that Warhol or Pollock were. Emerson is a trust fund-baby and as such doesn’t have to worry much about where her rent money is coming from as long as she stays in line with the budget her Aunt Agnes (known as Aunt Ness) made for her.

Quick facts:
Emerson’s favorite colors: black,  blue, dark purple and crimson/mulberry colors.
Favorite clothing: Emerson likes to wear everything from raggy T & Jeans to formal wear.
Emerson’s background: Born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. To: Joseph and Sarah (nee Black) Appleton. She had a twin sister who went missing as an infant. Emerson completed a BA in fine arts at Yale and decided that getting an MFA would be a waste of her time when all she wants to do is make art. She spent a year after graduation traveling and then moved to Seattle for two years before she settled in NY, NY. where she has connections with some galleries and restaurants to hang and show her work.

She goes out evenings to see bands play, and spends a lot of time in the libraries and museums around town.

Sep 142015
 

Here’s the deal: I wanted my Fashion Royalty, Poppy Parker & Nu Face heads to be more easily interchangeable and removable for when I want to change out a character’s “look”. Currently if I want to do that I either have to have multiple dolls (1 head, 1 body) for each character or else if I buy an “alternative look” head I have to go through the hassle of heating up the head, worrying about pulling it off, warming it up again, popping it on the new body (or the new head on the old body) and so on. I find that very stressful but I also don’t want to end up having 3 or 4 of each doll bodies just for a few different looks. Space is still at a premium in our house, you know?

This is a method that was suggested to me by my friend Will . I have done it with a few differences to use it on Integrity Toy’s Fashion Royalty, Poppy Parker and Nu Face lines. There is an unintended side effect with this mod — an increased range of motion at the neck allowing for more expressive head positions. 🙂

As usual, please be aware I am a risk-taker when it comes to my dolls and customizing them. I do it with the knowledge that in the process I may damage them. This modification is done at your own risk and I am only sharing my results and methods. If you plan on trying this I suggest using a doll you don’t mind so much if it ends up damaged.

What you’ll need:
To make 1 body & 1 head swap-able

  • 1 body (I have done this on the Poppy Parker, FR3 and Nu Face 2.0 bodies)
  • Neodymium Sphere Magnets. Minimum strength N35.  I used 8mm ones but you can also use 5/16th sized ones too. (at the end of the post I’ll link to some places you can get them from) You’ll need 2 per head, 1 per body
  • Lightweight cotton or muslin (about a 3 inch x 3 inch square)
  • Vise Grip Pliers (small size)
  • Safety Glasses
  • Needle & thread
  • Thin leather (pale in color to avoid any possibility of discoloring vinyl) or some other fabric that can provide friction to aid in holding head poses. You might have to experiment with what you have on hand. This is important though. As to thickness of the leather think of glove leather (fashion, not work gloves). About .50mm to 1mm in thickness.
  • Hot water (close to boiling-I would not use boiling as it may make eyelashes come off?)
  • Small bowl (for soaking the head and neck in)
  • Patience. You’ll need some for this as it isn’t the fastest modification to complete. Don’t do it if you’re in a hurry!
  • Here are a few of the supplies–sorry I forgot to snap a pic of everything.

supplies

Here we go! The fun, the excitement! The Nail-biting Drama!

First: get your supplies together and get your water on to boil. Get the small bowl ready so that you can put the near boiling water into it. Pour the water into the bowl.

water

I used near-boiling water and soaked Agnes’ head in it to soften the head up and get it off the body. If you’re comfortable using the heating pad, hairdryer or oven method to remove the head go ahead and do those instead. Get the water ready though since you will need it shortly.

soak-head

After removing the head, empty the water and re-fill again with near boiling water. Then place the neck & neck knob area back in the bowl to soak for a couple of minutes. Don’t forget to put your safety glasses on!

neck-soak

After about 2 or 3 minutes you can remove it from the water. Be careful not to burn or scald yourself with the water (it’s going to drip out of the body).

Get your vise grips ready. It is important to grip and pull the knob out squarely (in a direct/ straight line). Not at an angle. Doing it at an angle will increase the chance of stress fracture and neck cracks considerably!! 🙁

vise-grips-neck-knob

Pull with firm, steady pressure. Keep it straight.  Once the knob is removed get your magnet!

empty-post-hole

Rest the magnet on top of the neck hole opening.
insert-magnet
Apply steady pressure. Be careful as the magnet can easily slip out of your grip and ping across the room.

push-magnet

If you put the doll’s head in the water to remove it towel dry and allow to dry fully before going onto the next steps. (because you will be inserting fabric into the head you want to have it dry not damp or wet!) Also dry the body as best you can. Over night works ok, or if you’ve done it on an FR3 body you could remove the arms and lower torso to dry it off more thoroughly & quickly.

Next, get your fabric, magnets, needle and thread. Then insert the magnets into the center of the fabric and fold in half. Sew the base closed.

magnet-fabric

Wrap the thread around the magnets a couple of times. Tie off. Trim the fabric from the base of the fabric/magnet parcel.

magnet-tied

Begin pushing it into the head.

magnet-insert-2

The head holes vary in size so some will fit in better than others but they will all fit provided you are patient and apply appropriate pressure.

magnet-insert-5

Now, get your leather and scissors and cut out two small circles (approximately a little smaller than a dime). You’ll trim them down more so the size is not exact.

leather

Here is a photo to give you an idea of the leather’s thickness:

leather-insert-3

One will be for use inside the doll’s head-neck hole area, and the other will be for use over the neck-hole where the magnet sits.

magnet-insert-6

Here is how to do it for the head part:

leather-insert-1

For the neck piece it should look like this:
leather-insert-5

This is how both pieces should be positioned (I took the photo before trimming the neck’s piece)

leather-insert-4

At this point you’re almost done! YAY! All you’ve got to do now is gently position the head over the neck area (about 2 inches over it to avoid the magnetic pull) and then quickly put it in place (the magnets will help by attracting each other). It will probably take a couple of tries to get it on right (so that none of the leather circles show) but keep trying. You can always take them off and re position them when you need to.

And that’s it! You’re done! 😀

I did this to almost all of my FR/NF/PP dolls so I have been able to ditch most of the duplicate bodies and now can easily change heads around. The best thing about this is that inserting the magnets in this way allows me to remove them if I should want to re-root or partially re-root a head in the future. Also, I can now swap Giselle from the Poppy body to the high heeled Monogram body when I want her dressed up in heels! 😀 😀 😀

Here are a few photos of Agnes with her new magnet head/neck mod. She’s upside down to show that the magnets are strong enough to hold her head on even against gravity! 😀

magnet-head-mod-complete

agnes-head-mod

agnes-head-mod-2

agnes-mead-mod-3

My thanks go to Will for the idea and encouragement, and to Mark for being willing to pull the neck knob out and push the magnet in so I could try to photograph it for the tutorial. 😀

Places to get Magnets From: Please note I don’t endorse these merchants I am only sharing where I got some of my magnets from and other places that carry them.

Thackery Handmade, LLC (on ebay) (this is where I got my magnets from. She ships quickly and the price per magnet is almost half that of K&J)

K&J MAGNETS  Will got his magnets from here and they have a stronger pull strength. I used weaker magnets (N35) so your mileage may vary if you use these.

Sep 102015
 

Modifying Fashion Royalty with Magnets? Really?

Yes! 😀

Ok, so unlike a lot of people out there, I never bought one of IT’s dolls that came with the “quick switch” body. Initially it sounded like a good idea but apparently it wasn’t executed the best and I guess a bunch of folks ended up with bobble headed dolls. That was a shame IMO since that could have had some great applications. Oh well.

I mentioned to my friend Will that I’d collect more dolls if I had the option to swap their heads out–meaning that instead of buying multiples of the same doll (to have one character who could have dark hair, one with blonde, different hair styles etc.) I could get the heads only and allow each doll to have one or two main bodies and as many heads as that character would need.

Will mentioned that he did something like that for his action figure girl, Gillian. He has something like 10 different heads for her and each looks different for different roles (she’s an actress).

I asked him if he thought it would work for the Fashion Royalty girls and he said it should. So I gave it a go. It was a bit of trial and error but it worked.

And the verdict is I love it!
It is exactly what I wanted and will allow my characters to have different looks while using only one body! 😀

If anyone is interested I can post a tutorial about it this weekend…

Sep 082015
 

There are times when in the course of collecting–be it dolls, books, antiques or anything else–that you find your focus or interest is changing. You notice that it’s trained on a different area than it was when you first started.

I am dealing with this now. And I have been struggling to accept it.

When I first started really collecting dolls (I don’t count my forays into making OOAK barbies as part of my collecting since I never kept any of them.) I was introduced to Volks 27cm Dollfies and Volks Super Dollfies (the original japanese ball jointed resin dolls). I owned both and then sold my SDs to concentrate on the 27cm/ 1:6 scale Volks. Volks appealed to me because they were fantastically poseable. They looked kind of weird to my eyes at the time because of the multitude of joints that they had. But I grew to love them and they became the main focus of my collection from 2000 to 2015.

For the record I’m not a big “collector” type.

My dolls & action figures get a lot of use. They aren’t shelf-sitters, or display models.
I play with them. I re-dress them. I photograph them. I write scripts for them…
I don’t have any display cases filled with 1/6 figures.
I don’t have a single figure that is BNIB or NRFB.

In time my collection expanded to include Takara Cool Girls, Integrity’s Fashion Royalty dolls as well as Takara Blythe. Each had pros & cons about them and none of them could knock the Volks out of #1 spot. Those others I would buy and sell according to how my interests waxed and waned. But never the Volks. I always kept them and kept an eye out for more of them. I started adding more CG & female action figures and Fashion Royalty dolls to my collection. It was interesting to see how they changed through the years almost all of them for the better.

One of the big things to realize about my collecting is that I collect the dolls and action figures because I want them to be characters in photostories. This matters because I want to be able to use _all_ of my dolls in my photostories–without any of them (except the Blythes) looking strange or out of place. My compromise with that was to think of the Volks as mostly younger/students for the University and everyone else fell under Non-University people. Not the ideal solution but I was willing to go with it, you know?

When Volks discontinued their 1/6 dollfie line I was gutted. I couldn’t see where that left me. None of the others could compare to their range of motion or articulation. But if there weren’t any more of them being made then I could no longer create new characters using them. Which made me feel lost.

What was I going to do?

I remained in denial for a long time. I kept hearing rumors that Volks was re-tooling their 27cm/1:6 line and that they would be releasing more dolls. I held onto that like a lifesaver. Because if they stopped making them then I had to deal with another issue: my Volks collection was anime style and was at odds with my action figures and fashion dolls–both of which were considerably less stylized.

So over the last year or so I have slowly started coming to terms with the fact that I need to put the Volks to rest. I am thinning out the majority of my collection and plan on keeping about 18-20 of them. The rest will go up for sale and find new homes and maybe collectors who don’t feel the same way I do about the fact that they are no longer available.

My newer focus is on action figures (both male and female) and fashion royalty dolls. At least with a bit of tweaking they can all work together as a cast–and that’s important for me.

I feel melancholy as I write this, knowing that I am admitting that I have to step up and embrace the change even though I don’t particularly want to.

I’ll blog again soon–and I promise it will be more upbeat.

Jul 272015
 

Agnes is a gorgeous doll. I feel very lucky to have her. I asked myself, “How can you see this and not want to have her in your collection?” So she was a no-brainer. It was difficult to scrape up the $$ for her but I managed it (selling parts of my collection) and I am glad I did!
This is her default appearance:(photos property of Integrity Toys)

aristocratic-agnes-1

She’s lovely, right? Yes.
I love her color combinations (I’m not usually a huge fan of blonde dolls) but this one works for me. And for the personality I think she will have in my photostories. That said, IMO she needs a little tweaking. Look at her eyes:

agnes-face

She is suffering from Upward Eyes Syndrome — that thing that makes the doll look like she is either rolling her eyes or getting ready to pass out. It is a personal pet peeve of mine and it is something I compulsively fix on my dolls.

So her eyes need tweaking. Check.
What about her lip color? Her eyelashes/eyeliner?
I’m not sure about those yet. The lips are a much starker, brighter red than in the promo pics. It’s not a horrible red…just not my particular favorite. Part of me would like to do her lips in a soft rose/nude because I think it would look great with her coloring and also lend itself to being more casual. I’m not sure though…

Anyway, just wanted to share.

Jul 052015
 

There is something about me that doesn’t usually allow me to leave my dolls untouched or un-customized in some way. I don’t know if it is because I like them to have something different about them than the other hundreds or thousands of them out there. Or maybe it’s an effort on my part to find and define their personalities. But whatever it is—it is. 😉

Now I want to talk about Voltage Erin.
Yes, I know she isn’t even in production yet and she isn’t due out until late fall or early winter 2015. But I look at her and I see possibilities. I thought I’d share a few of them here.
This is her default factory appearance:

voltage erin

I think she’s quite pretty as she is. It’s the newer headsculpt for Erin (with the open mouth). But she didn’t wow me, exactly. I kept looking back at the photos of her and thinking she was “nice” but off track from my color tastes. Which lead me to wonder if that was down to the simple fact she was wearing a yellow based red (I dislike those tones but love blue based reds). So…I wondered what she might look like with different coloring options. Please note that these are quick edits done in PS so I could get a vague idea…

voltage-erin-options
Anyway, we’ll see what she actually looks like once she hits the market. 😉

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