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Engineering priorities?

Mar 9, 2012

    1. I collect action figures as well as BJDs and there are sizeable differences between the two in terms of engineering emphasis. Action figures are designed to be shown clothed but to be posed and displayed in realistic positions. This means that they are flexible and stable, but a naked action figure body is not a sight you want to see. BJDs, on the other hand, are designed to be aesthetically-pleasing naked. Their engineering tends to be driven by the need for discrete jointing and a smooth body line. This generally compromises flexibility.

      So, this made me question what my priorities are, in terms of the inevitable trade off between aesthetics, stability and flexibility. Would I be prepared to tolerate a slightly mechanical-looking body for the sake of flexibility or would I rather have a beautiful, but limited doll?

      I drew up a wishlist of what I would want from my ideal BJD.

      Stability: Must stand steady unsupported. Torso must be stable in whatever position it is put in. Arms and legs must stay up when raised.
      Flexibility: I want at least 45 degree flexion on elbows and knees, ideally more. I want legs that will bend sufficiently at the hip to easily enable unsupported sitting. I want a three-part torso that permits slouching as well as backbending.
      Aesthetics: The doll must look harmonious when naked. I don't mind joints showing at all, the doll doesn't have to be entirely realistic, but the engineering needs to look polished, not awkward.

      If I had to choose one as being most important, I tend to choose dolls that look good, rather than that are flexible or steady. But I hate having to make that compromise. I want it all! The line that comes closest to my ideal is the Fairyland CLine.

      So, do these things bother anyone else as much as they bother me? If so, what are your priorities? What is your engineering wishlist? Which company best approxinates your ideal? I want to know!
    2. I want wonderful and interesting faces and bodies that can sit perfectly and not tilt backward. I like it best if they also have a chest joint and hip joints that will allow them to slump a little or lean forward. These really are the main things with me, but also the head has to be in proportion with the body. I would rather not hybrid my dolls, but lately I have been disappointed with finally receiving my doll, only to find that they have Yo-sided heads on SD bodies. I prefer bodies that look great naked, but as I don't display them that way, I will settle for more realistic posing abilities.

      My best posing dolls are a Fairyland Little Fee and a new doll I just got, a Dollmore Eve, which is SD size. I usually have to tweak my dolls in some ways (suede, wire, etc.) to get them to pose, but I only had to suede the DM girl's hip joint and did nothing at all to the Fairyland doll. I want everything too. I wish all dolls posed as perfectly as the Fairyland dolls.
    3. Aesthetics will always be more important to me than flexibility. I have no need for dolls that bend every which way, and I find that the more flexible a doll becomes, the less attractive the body becomes as the number of joints increases as well as the type of joints generally switching to ones I find visually unappealing. I also want stability in my dolls. If I leave it standing, I want it to stay standing, and if I leave it sitting, I want it to stay sitting.

      So far, the company that's best given me what I want is Volks with their pureskin releases for the SD and SD13 lines. I'll also include the SD16 girl since she's in line style and jointing wise with them. These are all bodies that look lovely when naked, have very elegant and smooth lines, and are very stable. Their newer lines, like the SD17s and Graffiti, to me have sacrificed the aesthetics of their older sculpts for flexibility, and I do not like them at all.

      For smaller dolls, I also love my Bluefairy MSD's. Again, their bodies are very attractive and are very stable. I know I can leave them standing for hours and not have to worry about them collapsing.
    4. I think about this alot! Mainly from a photographic perspective - wanting to create more "art" images and wanting my wee inanimate models to provide a human-like tableau upon which experiment in pose can lead to statement in execution. The dolls don't quite get there but they are definitely the "most" there of any humanoid object I've worked with. The Dollshe DSAM bodies have made me very happy in torso flexibility but are still lacking in limb manipulation. The Soom jointed hands were a literal dream come true for me and all my dolls now wear them. When I think of what I would love to see I imagine a doll that can do the things on its own engineering that I do with fishing line - this is especially prevalent through the arm poses, but I would love to have a doll that could actually and somewhat realistically curl into a fetal ball. Or squat with its grip around its ankles....or...or....I've got a zillion ideas but they require patience and work to acquire and they don't always look acceptable.

      I know that in two generations' time we will have objects that can do this. I'm imagining aluminum skeletons with a rubber-like skin. I'm imagining the Dollshe body inside of the Volks SD17! With smooth ball-joints and a bendable spine....
    5. My standards are awfully low, probably because I'm addicted to taking waist-up portrait photos. (There's a successful high-school-yearbook photographer lost in me.)

      I'm with you, MadamMauMau, on the Aesthetics plank, but I have a two-part Stability requirement: solid standing without support, both with and without shoes (and ideally with a very slight heel on the shoe); solid sitting without support (no rocking backward, falling over, or having to lean against something). My strongest preference is for two-part torsos with the joint at the ribs--I dislike hip/pelvis joints, but I'll tolerate them if I have to.

      Flexibility, in all honesty, doesn't matter much to me. I like it when I can get it, but I'm also perfectly delighted with many bodies (old Customhouse, for example) that satisfy my Aesthetics and Stability demands but really aren't very flexible.

      I do think I have another gauge, though, that isn't exactly engineering, but is kind of related: weight + resin "feel and look." I strongly prefer bodies that are heavy for their size while still being well-balanced and stable. Along with more weight, I prefer resin that isn't shiny or slick to either the eye or the fingertip.
    6. It sounds as though you are all like me and prioritise aesthetics, then. But at what a cost? Whilst I love the smooth lines of the EID body, for example, the restriction in movement drives me potty. But does it stop me from buying them? No. Would I buy a less attractive doll that had exemplary articulation? Possibly not.

      We already have these, in Tokyo Dolls and the other silicone or latex skinned dolls with a rigid armature, eg http://www.hlj.com/specials/seamlessdolls.html, and http://www.phicen.com/. But even these have the same issue that we are talking about. The armature is just as sophisticated as the articulation of the best action figures, but the skin compromises flexibiliy. It looks as though we can't have our cake and eat it.
    7. Whoayeah, but I'm not nearly as tolerant as you are. I owned an EID for about ten minutes--when I realized that he wouldn't sit up without considerable thigh-maneuvering, I knew I couldn't stand to keep him, no matter how gorgeous he was. (And he WAS.)

      So I guess I actually have a corollary requirement in the Stability--Sitting category: that the doll fall easily into a stable sitting position, with minimal human intervention.
    8. Hmmm. Interesting question!

      I find I'm inbetween. I have incredably flexible dolls but their posing ability is compromised by their tendancy to collapse or snap back into a favored position. Yes I love love love posing them!
      I have others who lack extra joints, look lovely but pose like a block of wood. Yeah they look great laying down but anything else isn't so hot. Of course the multi jointed dolls look a bit, off. All those segments make em look a bit ant like.

      Another interesting issue at least locally with our multitudes of Dollfie Dream fans, is stability. Those dolls stand and hold a pose but are Extremely limited! Yeah they can stand like champs all day but mobility is limited. At least with resin you can pull out a joint and prop it into place for pictures. XD I keep worrying about hearing a 'Crack!' one day if I push too hard on my vinyls.

      For me I think mobility is important but only if it works to hold it's pose. Like Iplehouse's bids. Which drive me CRAZY for their stiff little mummy bodies that despite being multi jointed Don't Work.
      Companies keep coming out with better and better bodies though! I am looking forward to seeing my Souldoll boy as he comes with their new fancy no string showing body. http://souldoll.com/shop/step1.php?number=2275 Looks like the right amount of flexibility with aesthetics kept!
      The girl looks lovely too but might have the sway back sitting problem so many curvy dolls have. http://souldoll.com/shop/step1.php?number=2274

      Long story short? I want it ALL.
    9. If it's a head I absolutely adore, I'll see if a hybrid is possible. I used to own a Breakaway, and while I think the Delf bodies aren't bad to look at, all of the ones I had ever handled were horribly kicky and just not stable. I also dislike hip joints on dolls since they mess up the line of the torso and that area is my fave part on a guy's body lol. So my Breakaway ended up on a Volks SD13 boy body and worked quite well.

      If there is no hybrid alternate, I may actually pass on the doll. I do require my dolls to be able to sit and stand nice and stable. If they can't do that, they've pretty much failed in engineering joints as far as I have concerned, and I probably wouldn't be able to get past that.
    10. For me the biggest problem I've seen with dolls that are bad posers is lack of contact at the joints! It's never so much the shape of the joints but how perfectly they fit together and produce friction that gives good posing ability.Perhaps it comes from my love of robots ( i've collected transformers since Beastwars, If you want a look at some really crazy good engineering just pick up one of the newer transformers!) but it takes one super weird doll joint to turn me off of buying a doll. I actually like the look of dolls with really elaborate jointing systems.For me, so long as the doll can sit, stand, and do a few basic poses i'm satisfyed. But if it comes down to two dolls I like equally i'll always choose the better poser.
      Oh man I can't tell you how many times i've caught myself trying to bend my dollfie dream's arms further than a 90 degree angle :doh going from the insanely good pose ability of my obitsu 50cm to the lesser ability of dollfie dreams has been tough on my girls lol
    11. Every time I think I know where I stand on this issue, something comes along and changes my mind. I have bodies all over the spectrum, from my EID body that looks lovely but can barely do more than just sit and stand (and even just the sitting can be a struggle) to my Production Ariadne body that really doesn't work un-clothed but can assume any pose I could possibly want.

      I really love a body that looks good naked, but there is something extremely endearing about good posers. I love how much more relaxed and natural they look, and if it means I have to keep them fully clothed all the time then that's just fine with me.
    12. I think I also prefer looks to flexibility as well. And the one joint that I am most peculiar with in is the wrist. I need absolutely beautiful hands with a wrist joint that lets them be as expressive as possible.
      My dolls are never displayed naked but I like a lot of tight fitting clothing so I do like a nice body lines where chest and hip joints aren't poking out everywhere. But the hands are always showing so they're just as important as the beauty in the facial sculpt.
      If I had to give up several other joints, I would do it just to have those hands be perfect.
    13. I'd like a body that has been tested to make sure that all the joints fit together and work the way they should. I'd also like a doll that can pose on its own without me having to go out and buy thicker elastic, or wire the joints.

      I'd like a doll that has a certain aesthetic; I don't want something super realistic, because it's the little things that matter to me - like ankles, wrists and elbows. I like a body that's streamline. I don't like my BBB Apollo's body because the ankles and wrists are too thick, and I don't feel comfortable trying to modify them to be that way.

      A little OT, but I have two Volks Dollfies that have legs with slightly cracked seams, and it's because I had assumed that they'd be like all the actual BJDs I'd seen - having a decent amount of mobility. Those dolls can hardly do anything without me worrying about breaking something.
    14. I really dislike lower torso joints...I have only owned one that actually works (yay Dollstown!), the rest all seem to be useless or pop around so much they might as well be useless. And I prefer that line to be unbroken. A well done upper-torso joint and mobile upper thigh joints and sockets are really all that is needed IMO for a nice range of movement.

      I also hate double joints that are badly made. They're so ugly sometimes and I would rather have a nice stable single joint >.< Double joints that can support the dolls weight and actually function well are great...but, there's so few out there.

      Hand movement. If hands don't move I get really frustrated. Same goes for head movement. I really want mine to look up and down.

      Kicky legs. Ugh. My Delf and MNF bodies drive me crazy due to the kickiness.

      Most of this stuff I can ignore if I like it enough for other reasons, but a lack of a working upper-torso joint is usually my deal breaker. I have two bodies right now that really tick me off...one moved to a character I don't care as much for so posing won't be that much an issue but the other...I've been considering upgrading him to something that actually works. Especially now when there are so many different possibilities to choose from!
    15. I like my dolls to be able to sit, stand, and hold a few simple poses, so I'm easy to please! On the one hand, I adore my Volks SD10 girls because they are so "doll like" to me, and the sculpt of their bodies is just awesome, down to the little fat rolls under their arms; even though they're not the best posers they are stable. On the other hand, My ShinyDoll Thaasa & Fragille girls can touch their faces (with an elegant single jointed elbow!), kneel, stand on one foot (in a high heel, no less), crouch, and do all sorts of other crazy poses, and they look darn good doing them because their joints are so smooth and don't gap at all. The only thing I can't stand on a doll is awkward gaping joints. I guess if I had to I'd sacrifice posing ability for aesthetics.
    16. What they look like is the number one priority -- If I don't like them aesthetically, it's not going to work out well even if they pose super awesome fantastically. When it comes to posing, I don't need them to be uber flexible, but I do want them to be easy to work with -- to be able to sit and stand without flopping around everywhere, to be able to hold the pose I put them in. I don't want stability sacrificed for flexibility which can sometimes happen. My favorite bodies are the Volks SD girl bodies -- so pretty, and while they aren't going to be doing any yoga poses, they are very unfussy to deal with. I also love the old version of the CH girl body for much the same reasons -- lovely to look at, simple to handle. For minis the AR LF body is superb -- very stable, very well balanced. Overall I tend to lean more towards single joints than double.
    17. I feel I've been spoilt by Shinydoll. Given that the sculptor holds a degree in Engineering, it was obvious that the way the doll 'works' would be a priority.

      The first edition compromised body line for poseability. Personally I think the current body is the perfect balance between body line and engineering, but then it's my personal taste. I don't like dolls which are too 'smooth' such as Iplehouse and new Souldoll, I like knowing the ball joints are there!

      It's nice that there's something for everyone's tastes out there :)
    18. I collect all kinds of dolls/toys and for me it's always been about aesthetics above anything else
      but I faithfully believe in the "beauty in the eye of the beholder" type of view. I collect
      dolls (and other toys) and make my purchases based on whether (first) I find them appealing
      to look at, and (second) because I find them cool, if they can pose well then that's a plus but
      not something I actually worry about. Although I always did lust after the S.F.B.T doll, I find
      everything about it mind-blowing-awesome and just inspiring to look at, but never did learn how to get one. T____T;;

      Owning a FL Chicline, I must admit he is my ultimate ideal of what I would love to see more of in terms
      of male-doll-bodies. Especially a broader range of body types (less beefy), with less exaggerated legs
      and in larger sizes but with the same head-to-body-ratio, which is basically the part I love the most about
      the CL (the amazing engineering is just a sweet bonus for me, with a body-line like that, I couldn't careless
      if it couldn't even stand on its own!).

      - Enzyme
    19. I seem to favor aesthetics slightly more than poseability, now that I'm thinking about it, but I do appreciate well engineered dolls. It seems the awkward dolls are the ones I've sold and if I liked the head, I kept it. Unnatural joints, like a thigh joint instead of (not in addition to) a fully functional hip ball-joint are deal breakers. I don't like my dolls to bend in places humans don't. I find I think long and hard now before buying a doll--read threads about the line and look at owner's pics before making a decision.
    20. My Must Have List:
      Limbs must be able to hold poses between straight and fully bent.
      Must be able to sit upright, unsupported, unslouching.
      Must be able to stand unsupported and ideally not tip over too easily.
      Cannot be top-heavy. (For instance, this keeps me from ever having more than just the one Realpuki.)
      Must be able to touch own face.
      Wrist mobility.
      Be able to look up, look down, turn head.

      My Ideals List:
      I prefer rib height joints instead of underbust joints when I have the option. The ribcage does not bend much.
      Being able to fold arms realistically.
      Being able to lie on stomach and propped on elbows, "reading" pose.
      Standing Contraposto (Google it)
      Sitting with legs folded.
      Able to slouch.