Tales from the Tiny Hoard
The Lineup - Russell and Kyra
by, 11-16-2015 at 04:00 AM (7639 Views)
Okay, part two of the pic-heavy, 1:6 doll update!
A while after Lucy came into being, I decided to try another doll. While making Lucy's joints, I got really adventurous; arm-swivels (only found on my first of four prior dolls), cutouts, hinges, baked-in eyeballs... Most importantly, what I like to call the "baked potato" joint method. This lets me focus on each part of the doll separately - joints/mechanics, then the sculpt/aesthetics. For me, the two often work as two ends of a sliding scale, and though technically pretty neat, Lucy was farther towards the "aesthetics" end; very pretty, not very functional.
My next doll was an application of the new joint techniques I learned from Lucy, as well as some things I learned from playing with a resin doll at a meetup. I picked apart hip joints and knees, and finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing to make the poor thing stand.
On the aesthetic end of things, I wanted to try a male doll (per alternating masculine/feminine sculpt resolution) with a body type that's not particularly my cup of tea, sculpting-wise. Among my influences were some of the bigger Volks resin guys, old-school 50's tattoo flash, Chris Evans as Captain America, and an unhealthy love for semi-formal menswear. I wanted to try a dorito-shaped doll with more muscle than I was used to - all my previous boy dolls had either been stylized robots, small children, or based on characters who were specifically un-athletic nerdlords. Much as I didn't care for sculpting muscles, something had to be done.
I decided to make another 1:6 doll (around 12") because that scale is big enough to detail the heck out of/clothe reasonably, but small enough not to be daunting. Here's the un-baked headsculpt and hands before sanding:
For this head, I actually made a "skull" to sculpt on, to save myself the hassle of re-rounding the head every time I accidentally touched it. The back of the head and a frame for the neck joint, headcap and eye sockets was made over the foil core and then baked, and the rest of the face (features, ears, etc) was sculpted on top.
His body, like my other bodies, went together in pieces, and I really had no clue what he was going to be like shape-wise until the final assembly. He did come out lankier than expected, unfortunately, but I think it gives him some realism. Those little clay arms look very thick when you've only got one piece to look at... His knees and elbows were made using the baked-potato method, and then the limbs sculpted in one go after the joints were baked separately. In addition, I also added "locks" to the knees, elbows and ankles; there are little ridges that keep the joints straight for stability. When they're pulled a little, they will pop out and the limb can pose freely. This lets Russel stand unaided for a surprisingly long amount of time (and look cool doing so).
After I engineered the heck out of him, I gave him full-body blushing, tiny moles, arm/leg hair, perfectly-legal man nipples, very tiny 5-o'-clock shadow and some killer brows. He got a coating of TLS, but at some point in the re-baking process, his left knee got warped or something - it won't stay straight anymore, meaning he's a little off-balance. I'll probably have to fix that properly at some point - creative sanding and x-acto carving didn't seem to do much to tighten it back up, so I'll probably have to re-bake the peanut... Ugh.
Here he is, sans-glasses, at the St. Patrick's Day dollmeet! I BS'ed some clothes the night before, and in this picture he still doesn't have his glasses (an important part of the original design) or proper shoes...
However, you can see his eyes nicely - those were made with the same kind of resin as Lucy's, but with a clay base to get the right diameter iris. They were also hand-painted instead of printed.
An unanticipated bump; nearly all my dolls since the 2nd one on have used a loop inside the headcap to not only secure the cap itself, but hold the tension from the rest of the body. Naturally, this is stupid. It's Sculpey. It breaks and lots of my dolls have needed periodic re-gluing where the loops connect to their heads. Russell, as the first doll to get proper, working elastic, was strung far tighter than any previous doll. This meant that his head came off a number of times. Sculpey reinforcement, E6000 and hot glue all failed miserably to keep this poor little bastard in one piece. Finally, a friend of mine lent me some unholy epoxy slime guaranteed to not come off under any circumstances, ever. I mixed the stuff up and filled the headcap with it, and it's worked perfectly so far! Russel's head is in one piece.
Here he is after beheading #1, looking indignant.
The Halloween meetup was the next dollmeet my schedule permitted, so I whipped up a very nice greaser outfit for the guy, complete with a leather jacket not pictured. His wig was made from brushed yarn, ripped nylons, and some godly fabric glue. It was styled with watered-down Elmers clear school glue, which replicates gel wonderfully and will wash off without harming the wig. Hiding towards the bottom; his little compass-rose tattoo. I want to give him full sleeves, but have yet to decide on a design I like. The compass rose is all he's got so far.
In the next picture, you can see the tiny red sneakers I made for him, which were a struggle by themselves. I found a tutorial for cardboard doll shoes, and tried with polymer clay. After 3 hours of sculpting, they came out like clown shoes. After realizing I had no white craft foam in the house, I gave up and used cardboard. Somehow, they were still clown shoes. But they're very cute, anyway.
The next meetup called for some seasonably-appropriate and in-character clothes, so unfortunately, he had to put on his makeshift first wig again. On the plus side; I made some very tiny skinny jeans (because at this point I just accepted the fact that he's hipster trash ) out of my old favorite pair. I had the things for years an only stopped wearing them because they literally fell apart. Using an x-acto knife, I replicated the wear pattern and torn knees of the original. I like to think they're hand-me-downs - the little guy needs 'em more than I do.
Also at that meetup was a dolls-for-dolls Monster High megablocks set, and one of the club members' dolls, Submit. Submit is in the same scale as Russell (despite being very tiny) and so the two got to play dolls together and generally be adorable.
Compared to every other doll I've owned, Russell poses ridiculously well - he knelt and leaned and held things without so much as a wobble. I am very happy, considering there are company dolls out there that can't even stand unaided. Russell was originally supposed to be for sale; I anticipated not getting attached to his hard features and slightly-more-muscular-than-normal body, but he grew on me. I can now safely say that Russell is going nowhere any time soon.
Kyra, on the other hand, is.
Kyra is my second-ever doll, and she was an experiment in single-jointedness. It didn't work very well. I have no decent photos of her, personally, but I have found some on the Vermont Doll Lovers blog. She's maybe halfway down, after the 1:12 tiny I made from her extra clay. That little guy didn't have a shirt at that point, unfortunately, so he was (of course) posed seductively on the couch. Special thanks to ModernWizard for keeping the blog up and taking all those pictures!
Anyway - when I re-did my jumbled doll shelf to accommodate the 1:6 dolls and a little 18" tree, I took the poor creature out and dumped her in the box where all the unused 1:12 furniture was going, planning to put her in storage in my closet.
Some shred of compassion in me urged me to keep her with her people, though, and I felt awful and put her back with the other two dolls.
At the November dollmeet, though, I spoke to one of the members who's a fellow 1:6 fan, and I maaayyy be trading her for another 1:6 girl... It's amazing that someone cares enough about my work - especially my early work! - enough to trade me for it, and I'm looking forward to giving her a new home. She needs someone to appreciate her more than I can.
So - by December, I have to have Kyra re-wigged, re-sanded, possibly re-painted and fixed. As of now, she's got some serious broken pieces; a crack in the center of her 3-part torso and a busted thigh socket. I'm out of the Sculpey Doll Clay I made her from (it spawned a 1:12 tiny, somehow...) so I've mixed together some beige clay with some translucent and made a pretty good match. No idea how it'll fire, though, so I'll have to do some fiddling before laying on the mods.
I'll probably properly document the whole process on here - I want to have a functional doll by December! Wish me luck...!