Isabel’s strung resin ball-jointed body, a 5StarDoll “tiny” BJD body with an Elfdoll Doona Ryung head, has the correct chunky shape for her character. However, I value more than just an accurately fat body shape. After years of playing with action figures whose well-engineered articulation allows for fluid posing, I want sophisticated poseability too!
In particular, I have lamented Isabel’s poor wrist articulation, the inability of the elbows to bend more than 110 or so degrees, and the relatively immobile ankle joints. Poor wrist articulation means that Isabel loses the ability to make convincing hand gestures, while limited elbow flexion means that she can’t touch her head well. She also can’t balance steadily due to her locked ankles. Since my characters spend most of their time standing around, talking, transmitting nuances of emotion through their body language, my main character is at an extreme disadvantage!
Well, I’ve been working over the past few weeks to correct Isabel’s deficiencies and create her a better body. After several plastic casualties [RIP, Herobuilders femfig and Sideshow Prometheus] and much experimentation, I proudly announce her completion!
Isabel’s new body represents a compromise between my desire for extensive articulation and solidity vs. my desire to maintain her particular body shape. I initially thought that I would move her head over to a DAM Toys body, of which I would pare down the neck and build up the chest. About halfway through limb reductions and chest additions, I realized that I was just creating a small, stocky, and incredibly ripped body. But Isabel is stocky, apple-shaped, and not incredibly ripped. I set aside that body regretfully, saving it for a future character.
Realizing that I should retain some portion of her torso and thighs if I wanted to keep her distinctive shape and bulk, I considered various options. Original head + 5StarDoll bust with DAM abdomen, ass, and legs? Original head, 5StarDoll bust, abdomen, and ass with DAM legs? The inclusion of DAM parts promised great articulation, but also a lot of labor to modify 5StarDoll parts to fit DAM parts.
In the end, my desire to a) do the least work and b) preserve Isabel’s uniquely thick, chunky torso + legs won out. I kept her 5StarDoll body, discarding only arms/wrists/hands and ankles/feet. I sacrificed some poseability, as DAM Toys folds much more deeply at the thighs and knees than 5StarDoll does. However, I did very little work on her lower limbs, only adding loops to the ankle cups and stringing them.
Once I resolved the problem of Isabel’s legs, I struggled the most with her arms. I dreamed of upgrading Isabel with the convenience of not only removable hands, but also removable arms. Dressing her up and down would be that much easier. I decided on the arms from a Sideshow Prometheus figure because a) their proportions most closely matched Isabel’s 5StarDoll arms, b) the double-ganged elbows hinged deeply so she could touch her forearms to her shoulders, and c) the approximate color match made repainting less of a challenge.
When I removed the Sideshow Prometheus arms, I kept the original shoulder pegs, trimming off the balls embedded in the torso. I thought I could just friction fit them into Isabel’s shoulder sockets, so I filled her shoulder holes in with two-part epoxy. That didn’t work; her arms kept falling out because the pegs were too short. I sadly abandoned my dream of removable arms and ended up stringing them permanently [see diagram].
In conclusion, this was my most extensive body mod to date and also my most risky. Sure, I can easily procure another 5StarDoll tiny body or DAM Toys or whatever I need, but I was working with my current favorite 1:6er, beloved [to me at least] protagonist of my latest serial. I have labored with so much love on her already that I really didn’t want to mangle her. Furthermore, I didn’t mind if my mods were messy and imperfect, but I wanted them tight, durable, and functional, as opposed to the jerry-rigged experiments I can deal with on minor characters. To that end, I think I spent about as much time just staring at doll parts, thinking about how I wanted them to fit together, as I did actually fitting them together. And hey — it worked! I now have a doll who can stand and gesticulate like an action figure, but who also has a fat shape most easily achieved in a resin BJD. Huzzah!